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Nintendolife article about dying hardware

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I dunno....there are a lot of bad 3rd party power supplies out there for the NES. Ones that claim to handle multiple systems seem to be the worst. I've read lots of stuff on how these might or might not damage your system, something I'm not educated on, but after having THREE new third party PSs fail on me (two brands, one I bought twice), I DO try to get original nowadays. Maybe I'm just lucky, but I've never had a original PSU die for my older systems (though I have bought stuff at tag sales already having bad PSs).

RetroGameCave's power supplies have not let me down yet.

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Replacing power supplies is the #1 thing you can do to prolong your systems, well that and getting a cap kit installed. GOOD power supplies, usually the ones lovingly made by the fan community. Some consoles (Colecovision, c64, some 800xl power supplies etc) have really badly designed power bricks that WILL fry your system when they go out. Used to think c64s were really poorly made until I swapped out the power supply with a modern one. Now I know better.

Keeping them plugged in, in a temperature contolled room is key too. Prevents the caps from decomposing quite as fast, and the hot/cold seasonal temperatures can crack solder joints and break fragile ribbon cables. Garages and moisture are not a retro consoles best friend.

 

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Keeping them plugged isn't a good idea, especially with an original PSU. A good idea tho, is to pull your system out of storage each month and make them run for a while, 10 minute is enough, 30 minutes would be ideal. you don't even need to plug them to a TV (but hey use that as an excuse to play them). Because indeed, electrolytic caps degrade if not used, so powering them on a regular basis is a good idea. It's true for portable system too. BTW it works for displays too. If you have a computer with a dedicaced display, you should power it too! If you plan to not use it, push the light controls down so nothing is displayed on the screen, so it works but nothing will get burned on the phosphor. This, or run a demo on it :P

 

It's true even for systems that you got recapped, unless it was recapped with dry capacitors that are normally never degrading when left idle (mica capacitors made 100 years ago are still useable and unless damaged by moisture, even still have their original capacity!)

 

Because keeping them plugged with the original brick will only make the transformer warm and it will degrade. (ok, some systems cut the power after the internal power supply so keeping it plugged keep the whole power supply unit under load, but it's not the most common thing.) If you have a recent power supply which would be a switching supply, then it simply won't send any power in the system because it won't draw enough current (but that mean you don't have to worry about leaving your system plugged all night).

 

I can only agree on storage, tho. Stable temperature and humidity is key. Stability is more important for temperature; your room doesn't have to be warm, but you must have a stable temperature. If you have an insulated basement on a dry terrain, it would be good, even if the temperature isn't high.

Keep in mind that under 12°C (54F) humidity will condense so you want to have more than that, but you don't need to heat it up to living room temp.

Edited by CatPix
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I'm surprised we haven't moved to the point where power supplies are modular and support more than one system. It's absurd to have a separate brick for Atari, nes, sms, etc, when they don't really consume that much power and likely won't be powered at the same time. You'd think someone would have an adapter that had 10 common system plugs and one AC plug.

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These articles are the equivalent of doomsday prepping for retro gamers. Of course everything dies at some point. But I'll tell you what, I've been doing this for decades and all my systems work. For the ones that did go squirelly it wasn't hard to find someine who could fix it.

 

Take care of your stuff and it will easily outlast you.

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I'm surprised we haven't moved to the point where power supplies are modular and support more than one system. It's absurd to have a separate brick for Atari, nes, sms, etc, when they don't really consume that much power and likely won't be powered at the same time. You'd think someone would have an adapter that had 10 common system plugs and one AC plug.

That's what I did that year that I bought 4 different AtGames flashbacks -- Coleco, Intellivision, Atari, Sega. Fun times. I think all of them (maybe not the Sega) all ran off the same hardware.

 

All the mini consoles that run off microUSB seem to have the right idea. Some of them don't even include the power brick anymore, since they can run off your TV's ports.

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These articles are the equivalent of doomsday prepping for retro gamers. Of course everything dies at some point. But I'll tell you what, I've been doing this for decades and all my systems work. For the ones that did go squirelly it wasn't hard to find someine who could fix it.

 

Take care of your stuff and it will easily outlast you.

 

Exactly. In fact, going over my system failures for my entire lifetime, we have:

 

1 NES, given to me painted black with cheap acrylic and with a replacement AC running too high for the system... in other words, basically fried before I got it.

1 Genesis/Sega CD combo that was all but dead when I bought it... we're talking snowy video & manually spinning the disc to get the motor to catch.

1 Atari 2600 Vader that was bought as-is & turned out to be dead

1 PS2 with laser death, repaired for free by Sony

1 SNES that stopped giving a picture- but fixed with a disassembly & some cleaning

1 Intellivision with unusably unstable picture- but fixed by disassembly & just wiggling wires

1 Channel F that works save for a broken button- repair pending finding someone to work on it

1 Atari 7800 that works but needs a color adjustment- repair pending finding someone to work on it

 

So in 20-ish years of collecting, we have 3 dead, 3 fixed, and 2 pending. And all 3 of the actually dead systems were very early in my collecting days, and all expected to not work. The last time I bought I system that broke & stayed broken, Gamestop still sold cartridges.

 

There's nothing wrong with a little preparedness, but don't sweat it too much- you're probably doing fine with basic maintenance and not keeping your stuff in a garage/attic/basement.

Edited by HoshiChiri
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I think it's less about hardware being totally down than it is about not wanting to do the increasing amount of cleaning, tweaks, and fixes. I feel this when I switch from my toaster NES (which has me grabbing q-tips before I even plug it in) and my NES classic. I turn on the latter and it's like magic in comparison.

 

I mean, a 47 Chevy is a lot of fun and there's no matching the look and feel... but if you just want to go to the store and back, a Ford Focus has a lot of appeal.

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According to several manufacturer's datasheets, many EPROM chips (the ones with the clear window) have a retention span of >200 years. Old EPROMs have monster-sized cells and each of those cells holds millions or billions of electrons. Masked ROMs and fused PROMs should last as long as their silicon stays intact, likely longer than even EPROMs.

 

But today's flash memory cells may have just 20 or so electrons per cell - each cell responsible for 6 or even 8 levels of charge. And it's all analog anyways. So there's not much beef there.

 

Anecdotal information, hearsay, runomrs, and advertising-for-next-generation-gear, all tend to claim today's densest flash media has that ~5 year lifespan too. More unsubstantiated claims and internet rumors say it can be extended by powering it on occasionally. But no explanation of what goes on inside the chip or storage device is given. Does the controller refresh those tiny weak cells? Is leakage slowed or stopped by energizing the cells and surrounding circuitry?

Edited by Keatah

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I'm surprised we haven't moved to the point where power supplies are modular and support more than one system. It's absurd to have a separate brick for Atari, nes, sms, etc, when they don't really consume that much power and likely won't be powered at the same time. You'd think someone would have an adapter that had 10 common system plugs and one AC plug.

Well while it seems like a good idea, it's a bit more complex than that.

For most sustems tho your idea would work just fine... but really, you could as well buy an universal adapter with a set of generic output plugs :

adaptateur-secteur-universel-pchero-ac-d

9 volts, 1500 amps would cover your needs for Atari 2600, NES, SNES, SMS, Megadrive, Atari 5200 (I think?) Neo Geo AES (not CD - also some Neo Geo AES seems to be powered with a 5 volts power supply) PC-Engine/Turbografx-16 and the Jaguar. With modification of the power input, it would work for Atari 7800 and Videopac without internal power supply. Also with the US SNES as it got an odd connector if I remember well? Or maybe it's a generic one but different from the NES?

 

Other consoles used their own power supply, built-in, or different voltage(s) (Neo Geo CD require +5Volts and 12 volts, Intellivision 2 require 15 volts if I remember right, and the N64 has it's own power supply block thing).

 

Basically with little investment and memory you can already get that universal power supply.

A medium solution would be to make an adapter from the console to a standard connector and use a standard good quality 9 volts power supply with the mating connector.

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Or, if you're into console modding, why not just have an internal power supply that matches what the console needs and all you would need is the same type of power cable the PlayStation 3 and 4 use?

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I don't trust those wall warts with multi voltages. They seem to fry out ofter a few years...if they can do that, then what's stopping them from randomly one day frying your console? I used to use them with digital guitar pedals back in the 90s and was sick of buying 9 volt batts that would drain in mere days of use. After the second wall wart stopped working I got an official AC adaptor and haven't looked back.

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