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

 

 

 

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”

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?”

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”

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”

The Superior Instruments Dynarometer 1260 Vintage Electronics Restoration

I am still trying to figure out the back story on this restoration project. What I do know is this is a Dynarometer Model 1260, under the bezel of the meter movement is says Superior Instruments Co, New York NY made in USA. I am not sure if these were sold as a kit or even the exact model year. If I was to guess I would say 1950’s give or take a few years.

A friend was tossing this out so I adopted it and decided to keep it from the landfill. It was dirty and quite rusty. After a through examination to make it operational again would be virtually impossible, however restoration as a piece of art would be the second best thing.

TOOLS YOU CAN USE

Continue reading “The Superior Instruments Dynarometer 1260 Vintage Electronics Restoration”

Working from home? Put that extra monitor to good use!

If you have been mandated by the government to work from home due to the Covid-19 outbreak and would like to be a bit more productive, it may be time to look in the basement or attic for that old monitor you just couldn’t throw away. I personally find it way more productive to work on two or more displays at a time and hopefully you will too.

The portable usb monitor

The simplest way to add an additional screen to your laptop or desktop computer is to plug in a USB portable display. This type of display is easy to install, easy to move from computer to computer, easy to travel with and reasonably priced.

My personal favorite is the ASUS MB169B+ 15.6″ display. 
ASUS Portable Monitor

This display is simple to install, powered by the USB port so there is no power brick to worry about and is super light weight and is about as thick as a pencil. Best part its under $200 at Amazon

The only problem is at the time I wrote this post they were in and out of stock and difficult to find, and if you could find one in stock shipping lead times were over 10 business days.

Recycle the monitor you have

If you don’t want to go out and purchase a second display for you laptop or computer you may be able to simply recycle what you have on hand. The tricky part is making sure you have the correct cables and adapters to connect the monitor to your laptop or workstation. Continue reading “Working from home? Put that extra monitor to good use!”

Dell Latitude E5550 Battery Replacement

In the office we tend to buy Dell Desktops and Laptops. In my opinion they are no better or worse than any other brand and are priced competitively. Normally we have a 3-4 year cycle moving old equipment out and new equipment in. This one E5550 has been hanging around for whatever reason and was feeling slow. I originally popped the back cover to upgrade to a SSD and noticed the battery was in bad shape and needed to be replaced.

E5550 Battery Replacement

From the looks of it, two of the cells out gassed and have a belly. This is very bad since the battery capacity is obviously reduced. It is also dangerous to the hardware since the added pressure from the battery could damage the system board or cause the case to crack.

E5550 BatteryE5550 Battery

Where to purchase a suitable replacement?

Continue reading “Dell Latitude E5550 Battery Replacement”

Exchange Server Tip – Allow all users to see each others calendar

I work for a mid sized accounting firm and collaboration is an important part of making our group efficient. Mangers need to peer in on their staff calendars and the staff also like to see where there managers are. Exchange calendars are easily shared, however most staff members either don’t know how to do it or forget to allow access.

First step – set up a group in active directory

If you already have a group with all users in it you can simply use that. Otherwise access active directory and create a group (like the one below) and add all your users to it.

(GROUP)-Shared_Calendar
Share your calendar the manual way

You can easily have each user do this in Outlook. Simply access your calendar then click Calendar PermissionsExchange Calendar Permission Continue reading “Exchange Server Tip – Allow all users to see each others calendar”

Does anyone remember the floppy disk punch / notcher?

Floppy disks are all but a memory for most. They have gone the way of the tape cassette and VHS tape. I can remember back in the late 80’s and early 90’s shopping Radio Shack for 5 1/2 disks to feed my Commodore 64 1541 disk drive. The only issue was the 1541 could only write one side of the disk, so the backs of the disks were wasted. Disks were expensive a 3 pack would run $15 or more!

Floppy Disk
Wow Expensive!

 

As luck would have it, a creative person would develop a solution to alleviate some of the pain my 15 year old self was suffering due to my full allowance going to floppy disk procurement.

 

The 5 1/4 Disk Punch!

Continue reading “Does anyone remember the floppy disk punch / notcher?”