Various Hax- part five

… or weird stuff continues


A stag-party cake for a serious Amiga fan.


OK, so here is the fifth part of various hax that I’ve gathered over several months.
Let’s start with …

Dirty NES

My friend Jesionen asked me to have a look at the NES that he received.
He had no problem fixing electronics but he had a minor problem with a dirty case that he could not sort out.
Here is how dirty it was …

That’s right, someone spray-painted it with this delicious blue color 😀
The trick here was to test various carbohydrates that I had in my workshop and check which one softens that ugly N64 sign…
… but there was a catch as usual.
I didn’t want to destroy the original texture. Finally, after a few minutes of petroleum ether treatment, I could start my standard cleaning procedure.

Here is the final effect 🙂

Jesionen was happy with the result 🙂

Amiga 500 modulator hax

Since I’ve created my version of the Amiga 500 modulator based on AD724JRZ chip, I’ve figured that I could put it inside an original A520 case to simply get a better picture quality but keep it original.

First I had to desolder all the parts.

Next, I glued the RGB4ALL module in the place of the RF box and soldered all the wires.

Viola! here it is 🙂

You can get RGB4ALL here

Desoldering gun hax

Here is a quick and dirty hack of a desoldering gun that I own.
It had a glass tube originally but it got accidentally broken. I ordered a new glass tube but I also needed that desoldering gun at that moment so I came up with a dirty hack that included a cut polyethylene syringe and a piece of steel wool 🙂

It worked quite nicely.

Sega Master System quick fix

My colleague at work bought a Sega Master System. He had that cool machine back in the day and he wanted to refresh his memories 🙂
Unfortunately, it didn’t work at all.

Quick motherboard inspection revealed cold joints and that was easily fixed.

Testing followed.

However, all I was getting was this.

My first guess was that Z80 CPU was fried so I desoldered the original and put a socket with a spare Z80 in it. It turned out to be a good remedy 🙂

Now, my friend has a working console and I have super nice homebrew beer 😀

Amiga 500 PSU

This is not a hack/fix really but rather a hint. However, it took me a while to figure it out so I am sharing it. I had an Amiga PSU that seemed to have invisible screws …
After a long while of looking at it, I’ve figured that in fact there are screws hidden under plastic plugs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remove these plugs so I had to drill ’em out. Here is how it looked.

Acorn Archimedes 3000

This is actually a hilarious story with my friend (Bachoo) Acorn Archimedes 3000.
Bachoo told me that it is not working (video output was out of sync) and that he had it sent over to another retro refurbisher that tried almost everything and still couldn’t sort it out. As usual, I’ve treated it as a challenge and I said that I can take a look at it but I can’t promise anything since I am not an expert in Acorn machines (no worries ;P that was a long time ago ;P).

Indeed, it had some problems.

I’ve disassembled it and taken a quick look at the motherboard.
Here are pics of the weirdness that I’ve encountered.

The hilarious part starts here 🙂
At that time I didn’t know much about Acorns, so I started googling.
One of the very first search results was about sync problems that people have with this machine LOL.
It turns out that all I needed to do was to press and hold the DELETE key. That apparently resets CMOS settings to defaults 😀
The whole repair was simply about pressing a key …. lolololol


C64 joystick problem

I had a nearly fully working C64 motherboard. The only problem was that one of the joystick directions was not working at all.
I didn’t even bother to which exact pin signals from joy port to CIA goes once I saw this:

I was like … hell yeah, I’ve nailed it, it has to be the problem …..

I’ve spent quite a while tracking the source of this issue.
It turned out to be a broken trace BUT … under a solder mask!!!
Here is a zoomed picture of this trace after removing the solder mask.

Soldering a short wire on it sorted out this issue.

Lesson learned: use your multimeter wisely 😀

Desoldering hack

My friend Jesionen asked me to desolder a chip of an Amiga 1200 motherboard because he didn’t have the proper tools to do it.
Problem is that a chip is surrounded by a lot of plastic parts that I didn’t want to be melted by hot air. I’ve come up with an idea of a custom temperature shield made out of copper sheet. It worked like a charm.

Result: Jesionen is a happy owner of a motherboard with replaced faulty chip 😀

Speccy 128k +2

This is the last of the hax or rather curiosities that I’ve encountered over the past months. I had a ZX Spectrum 128k +2 (black) to repair and it didn’t work at all. Obviously, I’ve started with RAM replacement because some of the chips were getting extremely hot while a machine was powered on. How surprised I was when I saw this.

I was like … WTF! what is this? what kind of RAM is that?
Of course, browsing the Internet helped a lot, so that issue was sorted out quickly by replacing the set of RAMs with proper chips – 4464 or 81464 in that case.
However, it still didn’t help …
My next guess was to swap an ASIC which btw. is weirdly mounted.

After swapping ASIC a speccy was alive again 😀


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