Friday, October 14, 2016

I Guess it's the Small Victories.

After watching some videos online of how to make NES homebrews using donor cartridges and PCBs, I decided to try my hand at taking apart an old Gyromite PCB I had laying around. A while back I bought quite a few games with NES to Famicom converters inside to make into actual converters, which left me with quite a few Famicom and NES game PCBs with nothing better to do with. So I figured I would start by trying to remove the chips.

After painstakingly removing the solder from each leg of each chip, I decided to try and pry the chip out. As I was applying moderate force I heard a crack and quickly panicked. Did I just fuck this up? Even though I have a few more I still didn't want to ruin one, because I would still like to use them all, if possible.

After I heard the crack I decided it would probably be best to test my skills at soldering the chip back into place. After a few more minutes of making sure each chip leg was bathed in solder and comfortably seated to the contacts on the PCB I popped the board into a Famiclone and fired it up.

Oh boy! It's glitchy! I'm pretty sure I just fucked this thing up. Again, this isn't a huge deal, but I would like to have used them all and been able to make a few NES homebrew games I could be proud of. If nothing more than just a confidence booster, I needed to check over my work and make sure everything was done right. I had to make this work!

It was only then that I realized I hadn't resoldered the alignment pad. On some NES games there is a vertical and horizontal alignment pad that needs to be soldered. After putting a nice glassy blob of solder on the correct pad I popped the PCB back into the Famiclone and fired it back up. Would it work this time?

Yep. It worked this time, but quickly the realization that I had just set out to remove the chip, panicked and completely resoldered the chip made me feel confused. After the feeling of confusion wore off I decided to chalk this little experiment up as a confidence boosting skill. Hey, I had desoldered most of the legs and once I panicked I proved to myself that I could resolder a chip right back into place. All I need now is a proper solder remover, a chip programmer, chips to program and games to put on the chips.

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