Some time ago, I was planning to order a Concerto cart for my 7800.
Around that same time, James mangled the daylights out of a POKEY, trying to remove it from a poor, unsuspecting Ballblazer cart. I offered to attempt to fix it, if he wanted to send it to me. So he did, presuming it to be DOA anyway (he subsequently bought a replacement POKEY from Best).
I didn't have anything to test it in though (and I wasn't about to mangle my own Ballblazer cart for testing), so I used the excuse of sort-of now having a POKEY to order my Concerto.
A year-and-a-half later, I finally got around to attempting to fix the chip.
Now, I didn't hold out much hope for success. I figured at best, I'd have a 30% chance of this working.
I think that was pretty optimistic, if you look at the pictures of the aftermath linked above.
When it arrived, I didn't think it looked all that bad.
Although that was the pretty side. This side...
Yeah. Ouch. It looks like James desoldered about 2/3 of the chip successfully, then just lost patience and tried ripping it out the rest of the way. (Just speculating... I'm sure James would never get impatient. )
So first things first - a little desoldering wick and some tweezers to clean-up and gently unbend the pins:
So that all cleaned up pretty well, and just left me with one completely-broken-off pin, and one half broken one (third from the left):
So to fix it, I decided to graft on a donor pin from another (dead) chip. I have a pretty-good collection of them now, from fixing up a few 2600's. Here's one from one of John's consoles:
For ease-of-access sake, I picked a corner pin that looked particularly stout, and chipped away at the resin with side cutters until I got a nice amount of the leg exposed:
Then I broke off the chunk underneath. Neatness does not count here - I'm just making sure I don't damage the pin that I want.
Then a couple of quick bends and presto! Donor body part!
Now I had to expose the top of the leg on the POKEY. I carefully scored the resin with a razor saw:
I had to be careful not to cut too deep and damage the part of the leg I needed to get to:
Once scored, I figured I could just pop the piece off with a pair of side-cutters, as I'd done on the donor chip:
No such luck. I spent about 20 minutes gradually chipping and scraping my way down to metal:
Next, I cleaned and tinned the contact:
And used a spare chip socket to line up the donor. Sorry for the blurriness. iPhone 6S. (I refuse to upgrade.)
A quick touch or two with the soldering iron, and the leg was attached!
Next, I had to fix the half-broken pin (again - third from the left):
I forgot to take a picture of clipping the donor pin off, so I craftily Photoshopped one. Nobody will ever be able to tell the difference!
I then forgot to take a picture of clipping off the broken half of the POKEY pin, and again was forced to show off my mad Photoshoppery skillz:
I used the socket again to line them up, and grafted the new pin on top of the old one:
And the other side, because of course I remembered to take a picture of something I didn't need to:
So would it work? Remember - I'm giving myself a 30% chance of success, so I'm not expecting much. First though, I figured I'd better see if the Concerto cart itself actually worked. I'd never tested it, POKEY or not.
I popped it into my 7800 with a fresh SD card (since I can't find my old ones), fired up a 7800 test binary, and presto! No POKEY! Because I hadn't installed it yet. But hey - the cart works. I tried a few other binaries just to make sure, including Ballblazer (which was deafeningly, and unsurprisingly, silent).
Time to install the Hacky POKEY! Opening the shell, I somehow managed to break off a tiny little alignment pin. Bummer. But that's what screws are for.
I gently (or gingerly even) seated the POKEY in the socket, and carefully squeezed it into place:
Everything fully seated, and no bent pins! I considered throwing a little JB Weld over the corner to tidy it up, but I kind-of like the look. It has a history to it now. And also, I didn't want to spend the time on it (thirty percent chance of success and such).
Before doing anything else, I checked continuity from the chip through the board. Just to make sure that if the chip still worked (thirty percent), that the signal paths were good.
I then reassembled the cart...
And fired it up!
Would it work? Well... first I had to wade through the Concerto's startup sequence:
Looks pretty good for stock RF.
Then I loaded the test cart binary...
And... nothing! Still no POKEY.
But then I thought, "What if the test binary doesn't see the POKEY because it's in the Concerto?" The Concerto isn't exactly 100% compatible. So, I fired up Ballblazer...
And was met with some reassuringly jamming tunes! The POKEY worked! Take that, other 70%!
You'll just have to pretend this is video. But the music is there.
Just to be sure, I fired up Commando:
And that worked, too! (Again, you'll have to pretend.)
So I managed to revive James' mangled POKEY! And now I have a working POKEY for my Concerto cart!
Unless he wants it back.
That would be awkward. I'm kind-of attached to it now.
And yes, my 7800's video is a
little bit lot on the dark side:
But my monitor is calibrated properly for NTSC:
It's hard to get a good picture with my iPhone (refuse to upgrade), but yes, the PLUGE is clearly visible in person:
Not sure if adding a UAV mod would address the brightness issue, but I'll likely try that at some point.
experiment practice on John's 7800, that is. You think this POKEY was a mess? Just wait.
But that's a story for another time...