Replacing The Save Battery – Game Boy Color

Done

I never realized how much we take flash memory for granted. A little over 20 years ago the go to choice to save your game using a Nintendo Game boy color was a lithium battery. This was an excellent cost effective choice at the time since the batteries had a 7 to 10 year life span. Nintendo never counted on how resilient their games would be, or even how nostalgic their customers are.

Fast forward to present day and the lithium batteries have all gone dead making it impossible to save your game for later use. Luckily with a couple dabs from the soldering iron and a $2.00 battery your cartridge can be back up and saving games in no time!

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

You will need a good soldering station. Soldering stations come in all shapes and sizes and price points

Something like the one to the left sells for about $50 on Amazon.  If you’re like me I would spend a little more for variable heat control and some extra tips.

 

 

Replacment batteries are very inexpensive. This set sells for $15 on Amazon and even includes the security bits you will need to open the cartridge cover.

 

 

NICE TO HAVE TOOLS

A quality silicone mat to use as your work surface can protect your work bench and also help keep the screws and parts organized while you work. For $18 its worth every penny! (Amazon)

 

I also recently picked up this 140 piece tool kit form Amazon as well. It was $20 and has every security bit you may need to open electronics.

 

Replacing the battery in a Game Boy Color cartridge

 

Battery replacment
Rear Cover

The first step is to remove the security bit from the back of the cartridge. Simply unscrew with the Nintendo security driver and it should come out with ease. (If you purchased the replacement batteries on Amazon they usually come with the bit) Once the bit is removed the front cover slides down and then off. DO NOT TRY TO PRY THE COVER OFF – IT WILL BREAK!

 

Battery Replacment
Remove Old Battery

Next, remove the circuit board from the cartridge and place on the side (you wouldn’t want to damage it by accident) Locate the battery in the top right and begin heating the old solder joints. Gently pry up the battery using a plastic pry tool or case opener tool

 

Battery replacment
Battery Removed

One the battery has been removed, clean up the old solder pads. Here you can use some solder wick to remove some excess solder or simply heat the pad to flatten the old solder.

 

Take one of the new batteries and check the polarity of the battery in conjunction to the circuit board. In other words line of the positive (+) with the positive on the board and the negative (-) as well. Putting the batter in backwards will damage the cartridge!    Lay down some fresh solder to secure the battery and you’re DONE!

Done
DONE!

Give it a test run in your Game Boy and you will be once again able to save games.

Tips –

  • Work slowly
  • Make the soldering iron hot, but not TOO hot. I like 700~750deg
  • Use solder wick to remove some of the old solder
  • Don’t get solder on anything else. It could short circuit the game.

Thank you for reading my blog,
Joe

Visit my online store www.geekgearstore.com

 

 

 

Frigidaire Dryer Repair For $20 FFLG3911QW1

There's noting more aggravating than having a fairly new appliance (that is out of warranty) quit working. However there's nothing more satisfying than fixing it yourself and saving $200+ on a service call. I have a 5 year old Frigidaire washer / dryer combo unit and recently the dryer stopped getting hot. The unit continued to spin /tumble, however no heat. The dryer is gas and giving it a good listen there was no attempt to even light the flame. It was time to take the dryer apart!

TOOLS YOU CAN USE
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Some type of screw gun or drill with a Phillips bit set. I personally like this Makita, but never the less a cordless drill or screw gun would be helpful.

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A stubby screwdriver set is also very helpful they are so inexpensive and available for $10 at Amazon like this one.

We need to test some of the parts. Any digital multi-meter with an ohms / continuity scale will work just fine. They are very inexpensive  $25 at Amazon

Time to take the unit apart

I am going to describe to the best of my ability how to take this dryer apart, however there are some great YouTube videos that explain it better than I can. I still recommend you read my description as I will tell you what my personal experience was during the process.


 

  • First disconnect the power
  • Shut off the gas line
    I did not disconnect mine, but it might be a good idea to do so.
  • Shut off the water lines
    Again, I left mine attached, but it might be a good idea to disconnect
  • Remove the drain hose from the sink or stand pipe
    Guess what, I left mine connected.
  • Remove the dryer vent (use the stubby screwdriver)
  • Now locate the dryer motor access cover and remove the two screws that are holding it to the dryer. You should see the motor, belt and belt tensioner.  If you have never done this before take a quick picture of how the belt is set around the motor

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  • Push the tensioner to the left, this will give the belt some slack and allow you to remove it from the motor
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There are 4 screws on the rear of the unit (RED ARROWS) remove them (it will make life a bit easier later.

Work your way to the front of the unit. There are two screws holding a white trim cover on - (YELLOW ARROWS) remove them and set the cover aside

Under the trim cover remove the two screws that hold the control panel on, (BLUE) arrows. Then push down on the control panel to remove. *** IMPORTANT *** Disconnect the dryer door switch.

Next there are two screws directly below the screws you just removed. They are holding a silver plate on. Just take the top two out. No need to remove the entire silver plate.

WE ARE GOING TO TAKE THE DOOR OFF

Two more additional screws hold the bottom of the door on. remove them.

Next work your way to the top front of the dryer. 4 screws need to be removed. Now the door can come off! Get some help. The DOOR IS HEAVY!

Ok we're in!

There is a little black piece of rubber in the top center of the dryer. Its called a drum stop and needs to be removed.

Now the entire drum needs to come out. You could use a helper with this step. The drum sits in a bearing at the back of the dryer wall. Its like a ball and socket. Lift up on the back of the drum to remove the ball from the socket. (this may take a little bit of effort.)

Slide the drum out (don't catch the belt on anything!

WHAT PARTS TO TEST
dryer

This is what the inside of the dryer looks like with the drum removed. Kind of simple, don't you think?

Lets get to testing, all the way in the back on top (RED ARROWS) are two thermal fuses. This is the most common part to die. Start w/ one of the fuses and remove one wire. Then check across the fuse (both legs) with your multi-tester set to continuity. A BEEP = GOOD!

The first part I tested was bad! Thermal limiter 137032600, I believe they sell everything at Amazon and was able to pick this one up for $20

Moving down the line, be sure to test the flame sensor as well (Aqua Arrow) same procedure here, pull one of the wires off and check for continuity.

The yellow arrow points to the leads for the igniter. Use the OHMs setting on the meter to see if there is any resistance. If is shows OPEN (or infinity) its bad.

Same goes for the gas valves, check for resistance.

CLEAN ME!

The reason my dryer failed was because of lint buildup. Over the years lint collected behind the drum and it looked burnt. There was lint in the door, the sides the exhaust fan, pretty much everywhere. Use a vacuum to clean the entire dryer before you put it back together. don't forget the back of the drum.

IMG_9008 (Copy)
IMG_9009 (Copy)

A couple of closing thoughts

  • DON'T MOVE THE DRYER AROUND WHILE ITS APART! The sheet metal is so thin it will bend.
  • The door was hard to get back on because my dryers sheet metal shifted a bit.
  • The BELT GOES GROOVED SIDE DOWN. While you are in there you may want to order a replacement belt.

 

Thank you for reading my blog,
Joe

 

Microsoft Surface 3 – Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle

Microsoft Surface 3

In our consume it and toss it world we tend to discard our old electronics for the faster, better newer items. I know we are pretty good at recycling our old electronics, but wouldn’t it be even better to repurpose our old gear, maybe give it a new life as something else? I had an old Microsoft Surface 3 sitting on my desk collecting dust for a while. The specifications were pretty weak. 4GB of RAM, 64GB disk, and a really slow mobile processor. Compared to today’s standards its barely enough to run Windows 10, at least the disk was SSD.

What I did with my Microsoft Surface 3

Looking at the Surface I saw a great opportunity to make a wall clock weather station! With just a few prep steps and a neat low cost trick to mount the surface to the wall I had this project done in under an hour.

Continue reading “Microsoft Surface 3 – Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle”

My Battle With COVID-19

I haven’t posted to my blog in over a month, and not that anyone cares, I do this because I personally enjoy writing. (even if I’m not that good at it) When I started this blog back in 2017 my mission was to write articles on things that I found useful, content that I could refer back to overtime and if it happened to help someone else GREAT.  Three weeks ago on October 21st I was diagnosed with COVID. I am happy to say I’m still here and almost fully recovered. I would like to take a few moments to record my experience.

COVID-19 IS SERIOUS!

To all the people who said COVID-19 is not real, IT IS 100% REAL and will knock you on your ass! I’m not exactly sure when I was exposed to the virus, I’m not a “front line” worker. I take reasonable precautions, wash my hands often, wear a mask, but still managed to get sick.

IMPORTANT – LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

On October 20th I came to work and had a headache. Nothing strange about that. A couple Advil and pushed through the day. I remember going to bed Tuesday night feeling extra tired, but again nothing I haven’t experienced before.

On Wednesday October 21st I woke up with what I thought was a head cold. My symptoms were headache and a bit of post nasal drip. I went to work again and didn’t give it a second thought. As the day progressed I felt a cough develop, nothing Luden’s cough drops couldn’t fix. I completely ignored the signs and put everyone I work with at risk to catch COVID!

Continue reading “My Battle With COVID-19”

Microchip -Ever Wonder Whats Inside?

We take electronics for granted in todays society. Microchips are in everything! Computers, TVs, Smart Phones, Microwaves even your car! If it plugs in and turns on there’s a good chance a microchip will be inside.

Have you ever wondered what is a microchip?  I don’t want to cover the history of chips or integrated circuits (IC)  in this article, however lets leave it as miniaturized electronic components on a die that is encased in a plastic shell. The components are  usually transistors and millions of them can be on a die to compose a single chip.

Microchips
Finished Chips

Here is a great example of some “dead bug” socket style microchips. 

EPROM Chips
Vintage EPROM style chips

These are older microchips and the there are a few where you can actually see the die through a small window. These chips were know as EPROMs and were programmable!

Actual Microchip Die!

This is the inside Die Chips found in sophisticated IC’s. The die was fully processed and the next step was to bond gold wires to the different connection points on the IC die and connect them to pins on a plastic IC package. This step was not done.

60 ICs
ICs in their carrier

These are fascinating to study under a strong magnifying glass or microscope. Great for making “electronic jewelry”, study and training.

Continue reading “Microchip -Ever Wonder Whats Inside?”

How To: Paint Correction On A 30 Year Old Car

I love cars, to me they are not just a functional piece of everyday life but more a work of art. Even the ugliest car had to be designed by someone who thought it was a good idea at the time. My kids are getting older and my youngest is learning to drive. We were fortunate to have a 1991 Toyota Camry dropped into our lap. A 30 year old “beater” that runs and drives and is in surprisingly good condition. The only problem is it has 30 year old paint, that has apparently never been waxed or polished. The goal is to do a paint correction that would give the car a great look from 10ft away (lol)

BEFORE!

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Building A Budget Gaming Computer During Quarantine

Who would have thought sitting home daily with my two kids during the Covid-19 crisis would lead to the kids each wanting a gaming computer. After pricing out what a “pre” made gaming computer would cost it was decided to build our own on a budget. The goal : How powerful a computer could be built for under $1000.

Gaming computer parts

The debate was on, which parts to spend money on and what parts could we save some cash.

Processor – AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (3rd Generation) $155.00

Ryzen 5 3600
Ryzen 5 3600

It was decided the 3rd generation Ryzen 5 3600 processor would be used. The Ryzen would give great performance at a budget price. At the time of this post the Ryzen was down to $155 on Amazon (I paid $175)

 

MOTHERBOARD – MSI B450 gaming Plus Max $110

Finding a gaming computer motherboard proved to be a challenge. I would guess due to the shutdowns in China, and higher demand (I’m not the only one building a gaming computer) many motherboards were out of stock.

MSI Motherboard
MSI Motherboard

You are going to want to look for a mother that supports the AMD Ryzen 3000 series. I original purchased an MSI Gaming Plus Max and it was broken out of the box. Then I went with an ASRock motherboard, only because it was in stock and it too was broken.  Finally  I found an MSI B450 Gaming Plus Max in stock and it was $110. Since I purchased the board the price has increased to $215 on Amazon. Keep searching and you will eventually find a good board in the $125 range. Continue reading “Building A Budget Gaming Computer During Quarantine”

Vintage 1973 Sencore FE160 Field Effect Meter

Another old meter to add to my collection. This Sencore FE160 meter was manufactured in 1973 and has aged quite well. I connected the meter to a wall outlet and it fired up and is working great! The only reconditioning was to give the exterior and interior a through cleaning.

When cleaning equipment I like to use as mild a cleaner as possible and work my way up to something stronger if necessary.  I find automotive products to be very mild and since I’m always cleaning and polishing my cars I have many different types of cleaners at my disposal.

Great Cleaning Products to use:

Continue reading “Vintage 1973 Sencore FE160 Field Effect Meter”

1940’s Zenith Radio Restomod

Old radio enthusiast please don’t send me hate mail after reading this blog. I know many of you will frown on what I have done to this 80+ year old radio. I promise you this Zenith will get tons more use in its current condition rather than in original form.

The project consisted of gutting the original electronics from the radio and replacing them with newer more modern tech. Resulting in a working radio that still has the spirit of the original.

Parts List – Hardware

MS Surface

An older Microsoft Surface Pro 3 – I don’t recommend you go out and purchase a surface for this project. Re-purposing and old laptop, or tablet is ideal to keep the cost down. I’m sure you could even use a Raspberry Pi with an external display. I just happened to have an old Surface that needed a new job. Continue reading “1940’s Zenith Radio Restomod”

Restoring The 1920’s Everedy Gear Top Bottle Capper

Covid19 has pretty much left me trapped in the house over the last few months. Needing to keep busy I started to clean out the basement, selling some stuff on Ebay while tossing the rest out in the trash. I did come across this Everedy Gear Top Bottle Capper under a table gathering dust and rust and decided it would be a good restoration project. Restoration would be very easy as there are only a few parts and the capper was simple to take apart.

Tools you can use

Since the bottle capper is made of cast iron and had some serious rust, I decided to go with a wire brush to remove the dirt and prep the surface for paint.

wirebrush
$9.00 Brush set

 

Wire wheel brush set – About $9 at amazon

 

Continue reading “Restoring The 1920’s Everedy Gear Top Bottle Capper”