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Sega Dreamcast Refurbishment

Discussion in 'Retro & Arcade Worklogs' started by qwertylesh, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    9,103
    Hey guys,
    I completed (part of) a Sega Dreamcast console refurbishment tonight,
    the console was sent to me by an awesome forum member who found it weathered out on a sidewalk and offered it to me to see if i could fix it up and put it to use.

    dreamcast is retro enough to post here yeah? :lol:

    I took some pictures of the process I performed to get the unit back to a functional, lovely condition. ^_^

    [​IMG]
    This pic was after just a bit of surface iso cleaning was done.

    When I got the parcel (a few weeks ago), my germo/ocd kicked in and I immediately isopro'd the surface,
    so unfortunately I don't have a photo of it in a dirtier state then this, but it sure was nice and dirty when it arrived! :D

    It also had a tacky bulldogs sticker just below the logo, showing just how yellow the rest of the unit had become (mmm bromine)

    [​IMG]
    upside down, not much explaining needed :lol:

    [​IMG]
    I took the shell off to give the topside a good proper detail cleaning job. I was also pleasantly surprised with the internal condition :)

    [​IMG]
    Cleaning tools at the ready!

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    upclose you can really see how splotchy and yellow the unit is :sick:, also you can see the sticker outline below the dirty dreamcast logo heh.

    [​IMG]
    magic eraser activate! god i love magic eraser

    [​IMG]
    you learn all kinds of tricks when you clean consoles up as a hobby.. :)

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    what sort of console restore would be complete without some finger skunge!! *weeeeew :weirdo:

    [​IMG]
    the skunge above almost pails in comparison to what i found underneath said buttons :Paranoid:

    [​IMG]
    off you go to the sink bath buttons! (>^_^)>~oo

    [​IMG]
    isn't that better now? :D

    [​IMG]
    OK, now she's looking a little more respectable!
    (yep, i assigned the dreamcast a gender, it's not strange dudes do it to cars all the time!)

    [​IMG]
    her eyes don't look scratched, but they're a little dusty :sick:

    [​IMG]
    there you go, nice and clean!

    [​IMG]
    next, i was wondering if her battery was shot, hrmm

    [​IMG]
    fortunately seems it was still holding power.

    [​IMG]
    fan was looking a tad crusty in the corners but overall not bad.

    [​IMG]
    another glamor shot of her all cleaned up nicely.

    at this point I didn't have a A/V Cable,games or controllers for the unit, so I ordered an adapter for my X-Arcade duo,
    I then ordered an A/V cable on the weekend and it arrived today.

    Since i've never owned a Dreamcast before, I was unsure if the console had a built in Dashboard or relied on bootcode off game discs (i've seen stranger unassumable things before!),
    I also found that the unit LED was not coming on at all, I packed up the unit in plastic for a few weeks until such time I had a Video cable to try get an A/V signal with the console.

    Once I had the A/V cable (today), I was certain the LED not lighting up was abnormal behavior for the unit since I wasn't getting Video or Audio on the unit at all.

    I jumped on google to see what others in a similar situation were learning about which part of the console is faulty.
    After finding a full disassembly guide, I disassembled the unit completely to look for any scratches or obviously burnt out SMT components on the dreamcast mainboard.

    [​IMG]
    shes in lots of pieces! I took the unit apart in front of the guide as to make the process easiest, and to ensure accurate reassembly (I only ended up glancing at the guide on occasion)

    [​IMG]
    the dreamcast mainboard, in all its naked glory.

    after inspecting the board and psu i could not find any pcb damage or problems with the SMT (at glance)
    The board was in pretty dirty condition with dust and tobacco and other particulate all over the place.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    some of the gunk cleaned off the PCBs

    [​IMG]
    Although the insides were a bit dirty, this was not enough to explain why it could not fire up correctly,
    i was beginning to think one of the ASIC or EEPROM chips may be busted, in a last ditch effort I considered giving the pcb a light DIY reflow,
    in-case the two main chips had BGA Solder Microfractures.

    [​IMG]
    My heatgun, which seems to pay for itself time and again..

    [​IMG]
    After delicate reassembly, and some detailed contact cleaning of all the power related contact points, (ports/slots etc) to my delight, she fired up!!

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]
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    precious bootloader!

    [​IMG]
    looks like that battery I checked earlier isn't perfect afterall. -_-

    [​IMG]
    Huzzah! I immediately go find a disc to test the laser out with..

    [​IMG]
    Success! the laser is in perfect shape ^_^

    [​IMG]
    Back into my collection you go.



    -post success caveats and notes-

    I've ran the unit for several hours, I found that it is struggling to regulate power 100%, though these units are known to have contact issues,
    I may need to take her back apart and sand down some of the internal power related pins for better contact.

    I'll likely find that the sanding method may not completely correct the power regulation problems and will look at buying a cap replacement kit for the unit,
    after all I want it to play perfect for when my dreamcast games arrive :Pirate:

    once its up it rarely seems to crash out due to power problems, its ran for over an hour in one go before it gave out,
    I'll continue to exercise the current caps and see if they come good with the sand method mentioned above, while i wait for a recap kit.

    hopefully I wont need to put the parts under the heatgun again, and don't intend to until I'm confident all the caps are regulating properly. :)

    thanks for reading/looking, If/when I install a recap kit, I'll probably post up the process on here.


    ----------------------------------------------
    Last update: Dreamcast is 100 percent fixed*!! !

    as per post #20, after doing the further contact fix, the unit has been running flawlessly for more than 2 and a half hours!! \o/

    happy days, big thank you to craig for sending me the unit to fix up and keep, you sir are awesome :thumbup::thumbup::thumbup:

    *bar one easy cr2032 replacement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  2. karnophage

    karnophage Member

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    Awesome job. Keep us posted.
     
  3. HeXa

    HeXa Member

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    nice cleaning work but learn how a multimeter works :p

    you were using the continuity tester (lowest range resistance setting) to check voltage ;)

    EDIT: though I guess if you knew the battery chemistry and it's temperature, you could diagnose it's health somewhat. For a 3V LR cell, 416 milliohms isn't healthy iirc.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  4. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    Haha my bad, I assumed the readout was odd because I had modified the multimeter. the settings clear as day wrong in the photo, not sure how i derped up so much at the time XD

    Does that setting work for measuring the caps and checking traces?

    Ill replace the button cell next time I pull the unit apart and I plan to improve the psu to pcb contacts :)

    Edit: and ill get another stock multimeter lol
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  5. BuuBox

    BuuBox Member

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    Nice work. :)

    Rechargeable button cell batteries are a PITA. Hard to find, hard to solder, have to replace every few years.

    I put a 2 x AA battery holder in my DC. Just fits.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  6. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    nice! cheers for the tip, might do that too :D
     
  7. HeXa

    HeXa Member

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    checking traces - yes - it ill beep or buzz

    for capacitance, you don't have a dedicated function for that but you could use the 2000 resistance range to observe the behaviour of caps. Will give you some idea about health but not value
     
  8. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    Awesome thanks for the info :D

    my modded Multi has a 400v 400 microfarrad built in cap so ill need a stock one for measuring the caps on boards
     
  9. HeXa

    HeXa Member

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    you did a soft power auto off mod? just hold down the button :p

    don't spend another $15 on one of those... spend $40 on a better model like

    http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=QM1323&CATID=97&form=CAT2&SUBCATID=1060#1

    auto ranging, does caps, temp and frequency :thumbup:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    nah, I added a disposable camera flash pcb and big caps to the multimeter for 400volt spot welding small wires together :D

    I picked the chunkiest cheapest multi at the time since it met the criteria to fit in the parts, theres a Spool up and second on/off button on the side of that modded multi you dont see in the pics, for using the weld function.

    Ill see if i have a pic.. hmm i dont, but i have a video of the first welder mod I made that was eventually jammed into the multimeter with better caps :lol: the multimeter has the same buttons as per the initial prototype in the video.

    the $40 jaycar unit looks very nice, a little too nice to take apart and mess with, I'll need to get one for continuity and SMT testing. cheers :thumbup:
     
  11. Lord Belial

    Lord Belial Member

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    Very nice work.

    Is the heat gun used to try to remelt the solder to re-establish a connection?
     
  12. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    Yeah the heat gun was used remelt all the visible surface mounted soldering (mostly the underneath side)

    I also used the heat gun on the two big BGA chips in the middle top of the board.

    Since the system wasn't booting up at all, I wanted to be confident that the BGA chips had no fractured solder balls, since you cant see the solder by eye, reflowing the chips was a bit of a shot in the dark.

    The powerup problem could've been the BGAs or it could've been some contact point (between PSU/MB/Optical/Controller PCB) that was preventing it from firing on, so I just addressed all factors to get it working :)
     
  13. Haxman

    Haxman Member

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    Great teardown!! I have two dreamcasts that I have had to disassemble and fix various problems but they seem to be incredibly resilant.

    From seeing how nice you de-yellowed the cases I am going to try it on mine :).

    Welcome to the best video console ever club.. :)
     
  14. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    I didnt even need to retrobright the unit, after a nice magic erase of the outer surface and having it sealed in plastic for 4+ weeks, the white seemed to balance out really well on the plastic and it really looks brand new :D

    I'll be taking the unit back apart tonight and correcting the common PSU contact problem.

    I plan to lightly abrase the pins and retensile the connectors, then put a thin layer of superglue on the opposite side of the pins to make them a little fatter, should hopefully rid the reset problem if all of the units caps are actually fine. :D :leet:

    I can't wait to get some games for it, currently have Sonic Adventure being shipped to me.

    Will probably need to look into getting some proper dreamcast controllers and VMUs

    I can't thank the sender enough, what an awesome thing ^_^
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  15. mookie3three

    mookie3three Member

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    Nice work dude.
     
  16. power

    power Member

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    nice writeup and nice work on the resto as a Sega man I've always wanted a DC but just never got one - inspiring stuff.

    What are your fave DC games?
     
  17. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    mookie - cheers buddy :D

    power - I dont have any games yet so I can only guess, my wishilst is these titles though:

    Capcom vs SNK
    Gauntlet Ledgends
    GTA2
    Marvel vs capcom 1&2
    Soul Reaver
    Sonic Adventure 1&2
    Street Fighter Alpha3/3 third strike/3 double impact
    Puyo Puyo 4
    Vigelante 8
    worms amargeddon/worldparty

    or anything rtype/blazing star type side scrolling epic space shooters.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  18. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    Update:

    I took the unit back apart tonight and performed the 'PSU Pinout sanding trick'

    I didn't actually use sand paper, but a number of various precision dremel tools (by hand, no dremel), and made sure all of the contact points for the psu were shined up.

    sorry I didn't take any pictures of the work done on it tonight.

    Originally i stated i was going to make the pins thicker using glue on the non contact side, but instead I decided to use conductive carbon grease on the pins, this way they should never lose contact even when theres temperature fluctuations or vibrations.

    I'm hoping the uptime holds for a long time tonight, which would save me recapping it.

    wish me luck, its currently running, fired up perfect first time from total cold power, which is a promising sign :D
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014
  19. Haxman

    Haxman Member

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    Soul Caliber
    Marvel vs Capcom
    Skies of Arcadia
    Sonic Adventures
    Crazy Taxi
    Jet Grind Radio
    .
    .
    Way to many to list.

    I have never seen a console with this kind of good game ratio (good games/games released).
     
  20. OP
    OP
    qwertylesh

    qwertylesh Member

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    Update!!!

    It's been running for 1 hour now without any problems whatsoever, so it's beaten last nights uptime record.

    Im starting to think the grease and sanding may have done the final trick :D
    lets see if its still going good by 12, i sure hope so ^_^

    If it lasts until 12 with no more resets/problems I'm going to solder the PSU to the Mainboard - permanent fix.

    ----------------------------------------
    Dreamcast is 100 percent fixed*!! !

    after doing the further contact fix, the unit has been running flawlessly for more than 2 and a half hours!! \o/

    *bar one easy cr2032 replacement.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2014

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