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My Astrocade Fan Mod


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I've been running my Astrocade with the top half of the case removed and with a fan pointed at the mainboard. It's worked well, but it's kind of a pain to set up. And it's ugly.


Anyway, I was looking for a non-intrusive, non-destructive way to ventilate the interior. I'd already removed the RF shield.


I took apart an old laptop cooler and tried to fit the 80mm fan inside the Astrocade, below the keypad. It does fit, but it's too heavy and bulky. I picked up a cheap 40mm case fan and attached it to the underside of the keyboard assembly with a 3M Contact strip (very sturdy, actually). The fan connects to the electronics of the laptop cooler. Very quiet, and it does an pretty good job.


Pretty easy to do if you're looking to cool off those custom ICs and the RAM.



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Thanks for posting this. I am always looking for Information.

I have a real low height fan from a broken MacMini.

I could only get it to fit inside where the back edge connector is. I also removed the knockout plastic to let air in, and someday I may have a RAM expansion.

I power it with the left most cassette connector pin and ground.

Is it okay to put a fan right on the ram chips under the keypad? I am fearful the magnets will mess with the ram somehow.

It blows left towards the top two large chips (which get hot to the touch) and towards the left side where it probably mostly exits out the bottom slots. All the rest of the bottom slots are covered by the circuit board (except that small section on the left).

There are slots in the "game program" tray, so heat can exit there.

(I haven't felt the data chip after use, but if they attempted to heat sink it, it must get hot.)

The left side seems to get the hottest, with the data chip, the power regulators at the front left, and then those other two large IC's at the top left.

My solution right now is to move air toward the left. Wind chill, baby!

Also right now I have removed all thermal paste off of the custom data chip. And of course the top/bottom RF shield.

I probably won't feel completely okay until I get some thermal paste and a metal sink on the custom data chip, but I feel a lot better with the cleaning of the custom data chip and the active cooling I have now.


Is it normal to turn on pixelated, and then clear when you press reset?

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Yes, I think it is okay if you get a garbled mess when you first power on the unit, as long as it doesn't return after you press Reset.


IMO, it is most important to keep the custom data IC the coolest (the one with the heatsink). The other custom ICs don't get as hot. Also, I learned that if you have any "stuck" pixels, that could mean that the RAM is going bad, so I like to keep the RAM chips cool as well.


The keypad creates a kind of heat "tent" over the custom data IC, and I think my little fan at least keeps the air flowing through it. The fan is at the same angle as the keypad, so it is kind of directed at that IC and is about an inch or two south of it. It is almost directly over the RAM, with about an inch clearance.

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Thanks for sharing; I thought about doing something like that, but laptop cooler seems to be doing a good job by itself.


One thought: I would think placing the fan so that it was directed straight through a hole/vent in the case would be the best way to remove heat from inside the unit, otherwise you're mostly just circulating the hot air around inside the unit. Of course, that helps, but maybe a laptop cooler is still in order?

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Good thought. Doing so can only help. There are some tiny vents in the cartridge well that I never noticed before. Right now I'm doing the fingertip test. Play about 15 minutes, then lift off top half of case and touch the heat sink/ingot. Before the fan mod, it got super hot after running only 10 rounds of Checkmate.

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