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#1
Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 6/25 22:20
Newbie
Joined 1970/1/1
2 Posts
Long Time User (15 Years)
I recently purchased a Virtual Boy with intent to repair, and have got it working again, however, I'm not too happy with it at the moment. The problems that it had was the entire bottom of the unit must have been sitting in some water at some point because all external connectors (luckily not the cartridge slot) are completely corroded.

When I got it, the corrosion was so bad I couldn't power it on since the pins for the controller board were too corroded to make a connection. I finally managed to get it to work by desoldering the ports and scrubbing them clean. It was pretty flaky though, so I just jammed some thin stranded wire in the remaining ports I couldn't get clean enough, and that seems to work for now. It's not a great fix, and I but it at least proves the rest of the unit is working.

The other part of the system that is corroded is the audio board. It does output sound, but the headphone jack is unusable, and I can't lower the volume of the speakers since the adjustment wheel isn't working. The right speaker is also too quiet.

What I'm asking from people here, is what would you do to repair this unit? I've looked on eBay for replacement audio/controller boards, but to replace them both would end up costing me about $120 CAD, and that's not in my price range.

I've considered just gutting the controller board and replacing it with something like ethernet which would be easy, but it wouldn't look very clean. It also doesn't solve my audio board problem.

Another idea I've had is to see if I can 3D print a new plastic replacement for the controller board and replace it entirely. The hard part for me would be doing the 3D modelling as I've never attempted that before, and don't exactly have the skill set for it. It could make an interesting challenge though, and would be something worth sharing if it worked. I can see there's already 3D models of the female controller port intended for use with extension cables, so that would maybe solve the actually hard part to model. Still doesn't solve my audio board problem though. I might just need to try and clean that one up, and maybe replace parts?

Thoughts from the community before I do anything else though?
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#2
Re: Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 6/26 2:54
Virtual Freak
Joined 1/27
USA
84 Posts
Well I'm not sure if you were sourcing ebay for those parts, but they do come up cheaper. Problem is there's this one disgusting piece of garbage on there that strips down units and charges exceedingly high prices per part just to stick it to repair people (lost$$found is the ebay name.)

The audio board if itself is fine but the wheel and the phones jack are fubar, you could just try and pop them off, do a thorough cleaning, and if that fails with fresh solder, see if you have a busted trace to bridge, or find another (not necessarily VB exactly) style wheel and phones jack and put them in as replacements. The left or right speakers on those are detachable with its own plugged in little cable and easily removed, again ebay would be best to just watch for a non-clown seller.

Given the few parts, broken units do turn up and they'll sell for at/under $50 shipped (USD at least) and given what the audio wheel, audio jack, speaker and your bandaid fixed bits cost you could just gut the parts and get it going again with clean OEM pieces.
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#3
Re: Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 6/26 5:12
Virtual Freak
Joined 2017/10/29
USA
96 Posts
Long Time User (1 Year)
Quote:

VmprHntrD wrote:
Well I'm not sure if you were sourcing ebay for those parts, but they do come up cheaper. Problem is there's this one disgusting piece of garbage on there that strips down units and charges exceedingly high prices per part just to stick it to repair people (lost$$found is the ebay name.)

The audio board if itself is fine but the wheel and the phones jack are fubar, you could just try and pop them off, do a thorough cleaning, and if that fails with fresh solder, see if you have a busted trace to bridge, or find another (not necessarily VB exactly) style wheel and phones jack and put them in as replacements. The left or right speakers on those are detachable with its own plugged in little cable and easily removed, again ebay would be best to just watch for a non-clown seller.

Given the few parts, broken units do turn up and they'll sell for at/under $50 shipped (USD at least) and given what the audio wheel, audio jack, speaker and your bandaid fixed bits cost you could just gut the parts and get it going again with clean OEM pieces.


tell me about it. i have to buy from that seller... even going outside of ebay with her she still charges too much. i have to explain to every one i sell replacement screen to that i dont make up the prices and that is what i buy them for broken. ive thought about just ditching fixing VB consoles and start what shes doing but at a much more reasonable price including pre repaired displays. did you see how much shes wanting for the dang controller port XD its like 50 dollars....
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#4
Re: Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 6/26 5:16
Virtual Freak
Joined 2017/10/29
USA
96 Posts
Long Time User (1 Year)
Quote:

foldor wrote:
I recently purchased a Virtual Boy with intent to repair, and have got it working again, however, I'm not too happy with it at the moment. The problems that it had was the entire bottom of the unit must have been sitting in some water at some point because all external connectors (luckily not the cartridge slot) are completely corroded.

When I got it, the corrosion was so bad I couldn't power it on since the pins for the controller board were too corroded to make a connection. I finally managed to get it to work by desoldering the ports and scrubbing them clean. It was pretty flaky though, so I just jammed some thin stranded wire in the remaining ports I couldn't get clean enough, and that seems to work for now. It's not a great fix, and I but it at least proves the rest of the unit is working.

The other part of the system that is corroded is the audio board. It does output sound, but the headphone jack is unusable, and I can't lower the volume of the speakers since the adjustment wheel isn't working. The right speaker is also too quiet.

What I'm asking from people here, is what would you do to repair this unit? I've looked on eBay for replacement audio/controller boards, but to replace them both would end up costing me about $120 CAD, and that's not in my price range.

I've considered just gutting the controller board and replacing it with something like ethernet which would be easy, but it wouldn't look very clean. It also doesn't solve my audio board problem.

Another idea I've had is to see if I can 3D print a new plastic replacement for the controller board and replace it entirely. The hard part for me would be doing the 3D modelling as I've never attempted that before, and don't exactly have the skill set for it. It could make an interesting challenge though, and would be something worth sharing if it worked. I can see there's already 3D models of the female controller port intended for use with extension cables, so that would maybe solve the actually hard part to model. Still doesn't solve my audio board problem though. I might just need to try and clean that one up, and maybe replace parts?

Thoughts from the community before I do anything else though?


strip it down to the bare metal and scrub it with white vinegar and salt mix. that will remove the rust and corrosion. as for the audio board i might have one that i can sell you but im not sure. other wise id do the same to it with white vinagar and salt if yo ucan solder i would touch the solder up and oil the volume pot to see if yo ucan revive it.
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#5
Re: Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 6/27 17:36
PVB Elite
Joined 2003/7/26
USA
1464 Posts
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#6
Re: Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 7/1 19:00
Newbie
Joined 1970/1/1
2 Posts
Long Time User (15 Years)
So at this point, I've taken peoples advice to clean with vinegar and scrubbing. I've reflowed the solder connections on the audio board as well. It's definitely markedly improved, but it's still not 100%. For some reason the audio slider only affects the right speaker, but not the left. The controller board is still kind of flaky, but it's much more reliable at the moment. It seems to be mostly working for now anyways. I'm not sure how long until it starts to corrode again though.
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#7
Re: Any suggestions on how to repair a heavily corroded controller and audio board?
Posted on: 7/3 4:15
Virtual Freak
Joined 1/27
USA
84 Posts
I'd think if it's only fixing 1/2 the speakers, then you have a cold/bad solder connection to the spot where that speaker is. Is, is the problem, is could be the ports, the trace between ports, solder at any junction. I'd work your way from A to B to C along the line and figure it out.
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