Tales of Hardware Failures

Reserved for classic gaming discussions.
User avatar
Posts: 1864
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 7:33 pm

Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby scotland » February 15th, 2016, 9:52 am

In the last few weeks, I have had several issues of hardware failures. Its ranged from my modern cell phone dying for no apparent reason while I was on travel, reducing me to using the physical yellow pages, to my Commodore 64 dying last night (during a text adventure of all things), due to what I think is the PLA chip overheating.

Especially for old computers, with all their ports and peripherals, it is a challenge to keep it running. It is like getting a beaten up boxer in shape for the next fight, but sometimes you wonder if its time the old boxer hang up its gloves. I understand the legal issues on protecting intellectual property, but its a fact that old computers, consoles and arcade machines are fading away and becoming too expensive without emulation. Emulation is preservation, and preservation has societal value.

Hardware failures are the opposite end of the "All the way through" thread that celebrates one of us completing a game. Its that frustrating part of the hobby that stops us in our tracks. Do you have any tales of tech failure in your gaming?

Posts: 19
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 11:44 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby juhis815 » February 15th, 2016, 11:23 am

This one is pretty hard to explain, but my Nintendo 64 inexplicably resets at random during the gameplay without any reason, despite the fact that I don't even touch the Reset button.

I'll probably have to clean the contacts in the cartridge slot to see if that makes a difference, because I really want to revisit Mario Party 2 from my childhood.

Posts: 348
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 11:44 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby Herschie » February 15th, 2016, 12:31 pm

scotland wrote:
Emulation is preservation, and preservation has societal value.

I agree. I just ordered my first flash-cart for the NES. Whether or not I intend to pirate games (I'm not), the one major advantage is that it'll actually work, unlike a quarter of my library. Not to mention the space that it'll save. As time goes on, more and more stuff comes out, you end up needing more and more room. Of which I don't have in my two-bedroom apartment.

Old hardware seems to work better than new in some cases. Such as the Red Ring of Death that most Xbox 360 owners have experienced at some point or another. Which happened to me right smack dab in the middle of my season of MLB 2K10. This was right after Microsoft made the decision to stop fixing them for free, and right before they started fixing them for free again. So I had to pay.

Posts: 570
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 4:23 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby Sut » February 15th, 2016, 4:52 pm

Definitely. My ST's double sided disk drive decided to only read single sided recently rendering most of my games unplayable. Thankfully a disk cleaner sorted it, for now at least.

The ST is my system that seems to require most maintenance, along with my PC-50x system whose game select buttons seem to stick and require a regular dousing of WD40 to get them to operate.

Curiously my Spectrum which has probably had the most battering of all my systems never causes me any trouble.

Posts: 56
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 7:50 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby Teddybear » February 15th, 2016, 7:03 pm

This really is a good topic. I am in my mid-40's, still use a "pay-lo" cell phone (with no picture or data capability) and savor my morning coffee and evening brew while using a desktop PC. Emulation has no interest for me, nor will it ever. While I truly understand the point of view of those that differ from this.....if I can't plug in the original cartridge (or floppy disk) I am not playing it.

I have acquired several back-up systems in case my primary ones die out. In the case of those video game consoles that are famous for failure (Colecovison and C-64) I am three-deep.

I do not have the time, inclination or desire to figure out how to repair a faulty system that was produced when Reagan was president. I am just in this for the games!

User avatar
Site Admin
Posts: 11008
Joined: April 1st, 2015, 7:23 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby VideoGameCritic » February 15th, 2016, 7:44 pm

Interesting topic. As you know, I have pretty much EVERY console ever made. Here are the ones I can recall that failed:

Sega Master System - recently started saying "software error" whenever I put in a cart. Obvious NOT a software error.

Turbo Duo - Audio problems. Sent it out to be fixed... twice. The guy who fixed it the second time can be found on my links page. Did a good job.

Dreamcast - Disc stopped reading. I think this happened to two systems.

Xbox - Lost two of these when they got the orange ring

Xbox 360 - Lost at least two to the red ring. Tried to fix but didn't last.

Colecovision - bad picture so I got it upgraded to composite output

32X - pins broke when I stuck reproduction cart into it.

Playstation One - Lost my original to overheating.

Playstation Three - Broke my heart when my original Darth Vader model stopped working. Tried to fix to no avail.

Philips CD-i - disc tray stopped working so had to replace rubber band (fortunately I found it on Ebay).

PSP light - right side of screen blinks white

I think that's about it, so far. I do have backups for a few systems (Dreamcast, 2600, Saturn, GameCube) but don't actively stock those (too expensive and no enough space). I think it's a good idea to maintain good ventilation and not put systems on carpet.

Posts: 266
Joined: April 8th, 2015, 12:20 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby ESauce » February 15th, 2016, 11:28 pm

Good topic. I've had a few failures:

NES Toaster - I was around 8 when we replaced this with a toploader. I'm sure it just needed a pin replacement but this was before the internet.

Genesis Model 2 - This broke when I was 10 or so and we replaced with a model 3 from Toys 'R Us for $20. The model 3 still works but my brother has it. I use my wife's model 1 which she has from her childhood and it still works great. Only issue with it is the rf port started to go but I just ordered an av cable (different port) which is better anyway. The model 1 definitely seems like the best option for just a Genesis, although not the best if you want a 32x and sega CD. The model 2 seems like the most poorly made, but the model 3 can't play some games--to my knowledge it won't play Game Genie, Virtua Racing and Gargoyles (no picture in Gargoyles).

Original Model PS2: It didn't break completely but it stopped reading discs and I had to open it up to fix it. I was able to get it to read most discs, but couldn't get it to read black-backed discs. I have a slim PS2 that I use now. It has worked for longer than the original so seems better made.

Xbox 360 - Mine broke but it wasn't the three rings, just one ring. It was still just a random failure that was entirely caused by poor design but the extended warranty that Microsoft applied to the three rings of death didn't apply to the way mine broke. I am still angry about this. I've had my second 360 for 5 or 6 years now and no issues so far though.

Nintendo Wii - My launch day Wii broke about a year ago. For a while it was making a really loud noise occasionally and I'd have to unplug it to turn it off. Now when I turn it on it gets stuck at the health and warnings screen. I only used it as a Gamecube since I had transferred my Wii data to the Wii U, and fortunately I still have a Gamecube for that, so I don't really have any need to replace it. But it's disappointing because it was the only launch day system I had left.

And my slim PS3 has been occasionally making a terrible sound with it's disc drive, so I'm kind of counting down the days on that one.

Disc drive systems definitely seem more prone to failure, for obvious reasons. The original toaster nes has its share of issues but they are easy to fix. Other than my model 2 Genesis and toaster nes, I've never had seen a cart-based system fail, and when they have failed it was after many years of use. The original model 360 gave me the fewest years, and is the most poorly made system ever.

User avatar
Posts: 1864
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 7:33 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby scotland » February 25th, 2016, 9:00 pm

I have been cannibalizing parts rebuilding some TI99s. One frankenstein unit was working, but still had keyboard issues. After replacing the keyboard with a different but "should be compatible" one, the up direction on the joystick was not working. Was it the joystick? The adapter for the joystick? Did I break a pin or contact inside? The up cursor seemed to work, so thats good...

Here is how awesome the internet can be. I googled about the a problem with the joystick up direction for a 35 year old family computer and found a handy hobbyist made troubleshooting guide.

Turns out the caps lock key was depressed...

User avatar
Posts: 192
Joined: July 31st, 2015, 8:10 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby Shapur » February 25th, 2016, 11:02 pm

First was my front loader NES probably about 20 years ago. The usual 72 pin connector problems.

My launch day Dreamcast stopped reading discs in about 2002, I think. Replaced it with one that is still running fine but has developed an oddly dim video output that I can't seem to fix.

Xbox 360 from Jan 06 developed RROD in 08 or 09. Sent it and they fixed it for free. Kept working until about 2013-14. Replaced thermal paste on GPU, kept working until about 6 months ago. Power supply might be the issue, but at this point is it really worth messing with?

PS3 20 GB. I posted about this in another thread. It has developed an overheating problem. I've got some new thermal compound and a nice new screwdriver set, so I'll try some home surgery in a few days.

Over all not bad. Almost all of my systems are still working.

User avatar
Hardcore Sadism
Posts: 245
Joined: April 7th, 2015, 7:10 pm

Re: Tales of Hardware Failures

Postby Hardcore Sadism » February 26th, 2016, 5:02 pm

The only reason I even purchased the PSP Go was to expand my collection, and even at that, I am astounded (not really) at how badly this thing is built. It doesn't even age well after years of not being used. There are dead pixels everywhere and the whole thing gets hot after ten minutes.

If you want a cheapier and (less) crap PSP, go with the E1000, the plastic is apparently not that great but at least the LCD is better built than this piece of trash.

Return to “Classic Gaming”