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Author Topic: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?  (Read 3108 times)

SleepyFist

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Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« on: February 03, 2016, 05:08:30 pm »
The game in question being an incredibly obscure little hack n slash by the name of Rolans Curse II.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolan%27s_Curse_II
https://m.youtube.com/watch?list=PL0F4D7EDD70633D32&v=kTMZgykparg

Anyway,  this was one the very first games I owned and my old cartridge seems to have gone through some kind of weird burnout while a friend of mine was playing it,  it passes the security check on startup (nintendo shows up unscrambled),  then it transitions to the game and...  Nothing, black screen, tried on gba sp, gba, gbc, gbaplayer,  still nought but black, tried lightly polishing the connections with alchohol,  nothing, dont have tools to get the casing off the game either,.

So any suggestions, homebrew tool ideas?

And no this is not something I will emulate.

FAST6191

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2016, 05:48:05 pm »
We would really have to at least see the internals to see what might be wrong with it. If the cart detects, boots and then blackscreens and never gets any further there are typically three things I would suspect

1) Some kind of corrupt save it can not clear. Not common.
2) The memory bank controller (according to http://www.advanscene.com/html/Releases/dbrelgb.php?id=1087 it is mbc2, http://problemkaputt.de/pandocs.htm#mbc2max256kbyteromand512x4bitsram ) has failed in some way. If it boots then something detects but then if something fails the mbc might not be able to continue with the game.

Assuming it is not a failure in a ROM chip then you might be able to find a donor mbc2 cart and swap chips over (for a similar idea, albeit to make a flash cart rather than repair something http://reinerziegler.de/readplus.htm#Home%20made%20carts ). If you are not familiar with electronics and do not have the gear* then for the time and effort I would probably buy an everdrive instead.

*it might be possible to do with a well tip and drag soldering, I would much prefer hot air though.

SleepyFist

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2016, 06:04:52 pm »
The chip is somewhat dirty and has corrosion on the back around the battery.

February 03, 2016, 06:45:00 pm - (Auto Merged - Double Posts are not allowed before 7 days.)
Sorry about the blur,  im working with wha ive got.



Tried carefully cleaning off as much as I could,  still a no go.



Assuming it is not a failure in a ROM chip then you might be able to find a donor mbc2 cart and swap chips over (for a similar idea, albeit to make a flash cart rather than repair something http://reinerziegler.de/readplus.htm#Home%20made%20carts ). If you are not familiar with electronics and do not have the gear* then for the time and effort I would probably buy an everdrive instead.

*it might be possible to do with a well tip and drag soldering, I would much prefer hot air though.

Unfortunately it looks like everdrive  might be the way I have to go, since I have no skills in modding chips.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 07:27:24 pm by SleepyFist »

FAST6191

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2016, 07:29:12 pm »
macro lens/mode that is not and it is often hard enough to tell what goes when I am staring down a scope with optimal light. No immediately obvious lifted pins or anything though.

When you say corrosion do you mean something like http://www.robotroom.com/Capacitor-Self-Discharge/Flux-residue-fibers-and-other-contaminants.jpg which looks unpleasant but is mostly harmless or actual rust/green dust/pitting?

Even without that it could be a non visible fault inside a chip though.

SleepyFist

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2016, 07:41:17 pm »
Some of both I think,  there was a bit of green/white residue,  on the back of the chip and the casing,  as well as what I assume to be either rust or flux resdue.

Lord Raptor/PkT

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2016, 07:50:49 pm »
Sincerely, I believe that the battery of the cartridge is [sulfating] corroding the PCB.
Try to dettach the battery form PCB.
Member of the mythical group Paladin Knights Translations.

SleepyFist

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2016, 07:59:53 pm »
Detached, badly,  the top connector broke away from the board and came with the battery,  bottom is somewhat bent/twisted but still attached,  no corrosion under battery, still blackscreening.

Updated pictures (pre ripping off the battery)

Front (still somewhat blurry)


Back

« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 10:32:35 pm by SleepyFist »

siryoink

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2016, 09:43:52 am »
Green residue is definitely corrosion caused by oxidization.  It's especially visibile near the resistor closest to the battery.  Use rubbing alcohol & a q-tip to remove, and replace the battery / solder in a new connector.  It's possible the battery is required to boot, and has went bad.

SleepyFist

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Re: Broken gameboy cartridge: can it be fixed?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2016, 03:10:46 pm »
Green residue is definitely corrosion caused by oxidization.  It's especially visibile near the resistor closest to the battery.  Use rubbing alcohol & a q-tip to remove, and replace the battery / solder in a new connector.  It's possible the battery is required to boot, and has went bad.
Don't have a soldering iron,  but when I have the cash to buy one Ill give that a try :thumbsup: