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Anyone here ever (try to) replace a Master System Battery?


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#1 Ratty OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2011 10:42 AM

In my years of retrogaming I have so far been able to avoid soldering. But I feel the time has come.
Recently I purchased a copy of Phantasy Star for the Master System (after years of only having 1 game for it I figured it was high time to beef up my collection) and am eager to play and preserve this important classic. But after having almost lost 60 hours of gameplay on my first playthrough of Final Fantasy 6, I think it's a good idea to replace the battery before starting an RPG or other lengthy game that one has just bought.

I found this tutorial http://pineconeattac...er-system-cart/ online but it kind of stresses how scary soldering can be.

I want to preserve and experience the history of games but a battery blowing up in my face is not conducive to that! Are there any tips for a first time solderer?
What kind of solderer /solder sucker should I look for? (This http://www.aaroncake...nics/solder.htm seems to be very helpful to that end though I'm wondering if a 30W solderer is good for games?)
I could just take Phantasy Star to the newly opened retrogame shop/computer repair place and ask if they can fix it but I feel going into the future soldering is probably going to be an increasingly useful skill for the retrogame hobbiest to know anyway. I have SNES and a few bootleg GBA carts I need to replace the batteries on as well so it might be a good time to invest in the equipment. Any advice is much appreciated!

Edited by Ratty, Sun Dec 4, 2011 10:51 AM.


#2 jferio OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2011 11:26 AM

I use a 25W, have desoldered and soldered lots of stuff with it, so you should be fine with the 30W. They sell them as low as 15W, but that's going to be too lightweight for most tasks.

There are a few options for desoldering. Some people use desoldering bulbs or pumps, but there's also desoldering braid, which is a copper braid that wicks the solder away once it's liquified.

I would recommend that, if you're going to replace the battery, use a battery holder instead of a pre-welded battery like what's in there now. Yes, it'll be decades before it needs to be changed again, but if you're going to replace the battery, make it easier for someone down the line.

#3 dendawg OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2011 11:26 AM

As long as you avoid touching the battery itself with the soldering iron you'll be fine. If you're still worried about overheating the battery you could always use a heatsink while you're soldering.

#4 Ratty OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Dec 4, 2011 2:44 PM

I use a 25W, have desoldered and soldered lots of stuff with it, so you should be fine with the 30W. They sell them as low as 15W, but that's going to be too lightweight for most tasks.

There are a few options for desoldering. Some people use desoldering bulbs or pumps, but there's also desoldering braid, which is a copper braid that wicks the solder away once it's liquified.

I would recommend that, if you're going to replace the battery, use a battery holder instead of a pre-welded battery like what's in there now. Yes, it'll be decades before it needs to be changed again, but if you're going to replace the battery, make it easier for someone down the line.


I would, but I don't think a battery holder would fit inside the tiny master system cart. If I'm remembering right most MS carts were "1 mega" or less, Phantasy Star was 4 so it's pretty tightly packed in there, as you can see in the pictures in that tutorial I linked. The guy doing the tutorial got the battery just a small fraction off the center the original battery was on and had to cut off a casing peg sleeve to get the case on again.

Might do the battery holder technique for SNES and/or NES games in the future though.

Also thanks for the advice about the soderer. I'll try to find a 25W

Edited by Ratty, Sun Dec 4, 2011 2:46 PM.


#5 zylon OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011 5:01 PM

When possible, I just desolder the batteries from genesis sports games and use those.

#6 Bruce Tomlin OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 10, 2011 7:08 PM

Do NOT just try to solder tabs onto a naked battery! Not only does the battery chemistry not like to be that hot for very long, but the metal surface doesn't like alloying with solder. Welding != soldering. The tabs should be spot-welded to the battery.

I heard the other day about 1) freeze the battery first (to minimize the effects of heat on the battery) and 2) file down the battery surface and tin it with a blob of solder first, but really, you can get CR-2032 batteries with pre-welded tabs. (FYI, if you can get a BR-2032, that might be better for long term constant use, as compared to say, a remote key fob.)




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