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Why planning console upgrades is important



When doing console service work and especially when adding in upgrades like audio video type stuff. It is important to plan how everything is to be done so that you can make sure that things can be undone in a manner that is at least service friendly in the future. As an example of how NOT to do this, I had a pair of 7800s come in last week for services. One of them was to remain in stock condition but get refurbished internally but otherwise working great. The second 7800 on the other hand was sent in with complaints that the paddle controllers don't work on it. This second 7800 was apparently purchased already upgraded with a UAV setup. While the UAV installation itself was fine and no complaints there, my issue was how they did the AV jacks as shown below...



Now the hot glue is NOT the problem here as that can be removed easily with some alcohol. The issue is how the jacks were done. What they did was to install the main board back into the console first with the UAV already in place. Then they installed the s-video jack and TRRS jack for the audio output afterwards. While again, this presents an easy way to make a no cut type case solution. It also means that the main board cannot be removed without removing the AV jacks from the console. Even with the glue removed, there was a washer on the audio jack on the outside of the case to prevent it from being pushed into the console. The s-video jack that was used also has a lip around the edge of it that prevents it from being pushed back into the console shell. So, in order to replace the TIA chip (Reason for the faulty paddles), I had to cut the wiring and remove these jacks from the console first before the main board could be removed.

After talking to the owner of this console for a bit. It was decided for me to go ahead and redo all of this using one of my newer installation methods. Along the way, a few other options were requested as well. Here is how the main board looks now after having all of this redone;



So yes, the UAV was reinstalled using one of my newer mount board solutions. Because the RF was already removed and not provided with the console. I removed the remaining resistors left behind that the mount board would normally solder against. With the resistors removed, the mount board will fit into the vias left behind properly so it is easy to install as a very secure mount. A 10pin mini din was then soldered onto the main board ground traces in the RF section. This is wired to use a Sega Saturn AV cable which, are easy to get and cheap cost. This allows for not only the s-video they had before, but also composite output and the audio too all be routed to one spot that is secured the board itself and not to the case shell. The original TRRS jack for audio output was reinstalled as an audio input jack so that it can allow easier mixing of external audio sources through the console. A primary example use case is with the AtariVox adapter for instance. The TRRS jack is now soldered to the main board but with foam core both under it and around it for support in addition to epoxy resin to hold it fast onto the main board securely. Again, this allows for it to not have to be mounted to the case shell.



This still allows for a near no case cut modification but with the added benefit that the new AV jacks are now mounted to the main board so the entire assembly can be removed easily for future servicing as needed. This installation does require having to widen the RF opening to allow for the cabling to fit through and seat into the connector properly. But in this case, the RF opening was already widened for the s-video jack. So I just had to round it out a little bit more. Still provides for a much cleaner look over all from the rear of the console.



And now that everything is self contained to the main board and it can be removed easily for future servicing. That means the next doesn't have to place curses on me when he needs to open up the console and work on it. BTW, this is one of the nicely looking 7800s I've had come in for service to the ITC.

So in summary, when doing work like this, make sure to plan everything out and think about how it will come together so that it can be worked on in the future should that be needed. It is obvious that what was done here was to take shortcuts to get the console done and ready enough for selling. But that doesn't mean it was done completely correct.



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