The Game & Watch corner

Anything relating to non Sinclair computers from the 1980's, 90's or even before.
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Juan F. Ramirez
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The Game & Watch corner

Post by Juan F. Ramirez » Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:28 pm

I think the G&W fans (like me) should have a thread here and share stuff and help with some non working units, like the case I'll tell you now.

I have some models. One of them is Donkey Kong G&W mini version:

Image

The problem is, as you can see, the game works, I can listen to the sounds, but the upper screen doesn't show anything.

Is there a way to solve the problem?
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by RMartins » Thu Jul 11, 2019 10:18 am

Juan F. Ramirez wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:28 pm
Is there a way to solve the problem?
Most probably yes.

The LCD, if in good shape (not cracked) usually is not the cause of the failure.
On these devices, with swivel cases, there are a bunch of wires, that pass across the swivel which are prone to break.

So, if you can open it very carefully, and take some snapshots, I might be able to help.

when you open it, be very careful with any item that is used to fix the LCD to the case, since there is usually a conductive ribbon, used to pass electricity to the LCD elements, that you should avoid messing with due to possible alignment issues when putting it back, although it's easy to fix or realign.

But essentially, it should just be a matter of replacing a few wires (or a ribbon cable) with good multicore flexible wires.

If you don't know how to solder, find someone who does, to avoid doing more harm than good.
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by Juan F. Ramirez » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:33 pm

Thanks for the reply.

Let's see if I can do that, I'm a bit clumsy as to opening and handling electronic gadgets.

Anyway, that's not the only model with problems. I have a genuine G&W Parachute with similar problems (and I'll post it soon).
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by 5MinuteRetro » Thu Jul 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Juan F. Ramirez wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:28 pm
I think the G&W fans (like me) should have a thread here and share stuff and help with some non working units, like the case I'll tell you now.
Ooh... can I plug my little YouTube channel then?! Snoopy G&W:

Also, I have a faulty Grandstand Mini-Munchman ( that I intend to take apart in an attempt to fix. I imagine the tips here will apply equally as well, but if anyone has specific advice on what might be wrong I'm all ears.
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by RMartins » Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:50 pm

Those conductive rubber ribbons can eventually decay (rubber falls apart), depending on the original rubber quality.

You can find similar conductive ribbon from other trashed devices, or you can buy it new online.
It can be easily cut, with x-acto knife. It's just a bunch of parallel lines, that connect top to bottom.

That last video, is most probably a problem in that conductive ribbon.
You can just take it out, and put it back again.

But you know what you risk, you can fix it, or you can get more faults.

Better have a replace at hand, in case the conductive rubber ribbon disintegrates.

NOTE: Some of them only contact on 2 opposite sides (from the 4 sides of that long ribbon), so orientation might be important.

UPDATE: These are apparently known commercially as "Conductive Zebra Strips".
https://www.ebay.co.uk/sch/lammesss/m.html

There are several measures and sizes, you need to get the same size has the ones you have/need.
Warning: Be sure to confirm the pitch too (distance between consecutive conductive connections).

Remember: length wise, you can cut it to whatever length you need.
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by 5MinuteRetro » Fri Jul 12, 2019 11:18 am

RMartins wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 8:50 pm
That last video, is most probably a problem in that conductive ribbon.
You can just take it out, and put it back again.
Yep... and thanks. That was my guess but it's nice to have a second opinion that concurs. If i get a quiet moment later today I'm going to bit the bullet and rip it open -- I'll report back!
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by 5MinuteRetro » Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:43 pm

Well, I got brave and opened it up...

Image

No ribbon cables/zebra strips here. So, I got a bit braver and prised out the circuit board. Still no ribbon cables. In fact, it seems the display is hard-wired to the board:

Image

That's a bummer. Moreover, looking closely, I fear that might be a break in the trace/solder (circled in red)? Hard to say for sure, as it might be by design, but it looks to me like it might've flaked away over the past 38 years:

Image

So, given that my eyesight is now terrible and my hands not nearly steady enough to attempt soldering I think that might be game over for me. But any suggestions welcome!
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by Juan F. Ramirez » Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:57 pm

Now time to show my G&W Parachute, got it in 1982.

It had been working ok but some time ago I switched it on and sounds ran ok but the images didn't:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by RMartins » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:00 pm

5MinuteRetro wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:43 pm
Well, I got brave and opened it up...

No ribbon cables/zebra strips here. So, I got a bit braver and prised out the circuit board. Still no ribbon cables. In fact, it seems the display is hard-wired to the board:

Image
I see a dark grey ribbon on each side of the screen.
The thing is, you ALWAYS have to have some conductive way to pass electricity to the glass substrate, to excite/align the crystals.
So you always have some rubberized conductor to pass signals from the board to the screen.

5MinuteRetro wrote:
Fri Jul 12, 2019 4:43 pm
That's a bummer. Moreover, looking closely, I fear that might be a break in the trace/solder (circled in red)? Hard to say for sure, as it might be by design, but it looks to me like it might've flaked away over the past 38 years:

Image

So, given that my eyesight is now terrible and my hands not nearly steady enough to attempt soldering I think that might be game over for me. But any suggestions welcome!
I would suggest you try the device out of the case, with batteries on, over a NON conductive surface (plastic covered table), and gently press the screen, while it's on, to see if the fault disappears.

This will allow you to check if the problem is in the ribbon or not.

The photos clearly show that the only thing making pressure on the screen is the case itself.
So it might be the case, that due to aging plastic, the case is not stiff enough or has distorted slightly, and hence might not be providing enough even pressure to make all screen contacts work.

If this is the case, a simple paper frame, can be cut, so that extra pressure can be created between the case and the circuit.

But it can be as simple, as that solder joint being faulty.
You could try find someone to help you fix it.
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Re: The Game & Watch corner

Post by RMartins » Sat Jul 13, 2019 9:06 pm

Juan F. Ramirez wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:57 pm
Now time to show my G&W Parachute, got it in 1982.

It had been working ok but some time ago I switched it on and sounds ran ok but the images didn't:
That means the crystal oscilator is operating fine, as well as the micro controller, at least to some degree.

You probably just have a faulty ground or similar, not reaching the screen.
Or the rubber ribbon has completely degraded.

Or you could have a case of not enough pressure on the screen, due to aging.
Try it outside of the case, as explained before.

Remember, that both rubber ribbons need to be in the correct place, which is not easy, when the thing is not on the case (provides alignment).

Another trick is to just put it back, and just leave out the back of the case, and then gently squeeze the circuit against the front bezel, to see if you get any output from it, when power is on.
Juan F. Ramirez wrote:
Sat Jul 13, 2019 5:57 pm
Image
If you touched the screen with your fingers, specially near the edges, where the contacts are, you most probably left microscopic oil spots from your fingers that can prevent electrical contact.

If this is the case (I hope not) you need to clean it with isopropyl alcohol, and use a lint free cloth so that no dirt is left in the contacts.
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