Original Post

Trying to solder the ribbon cable on the display ended up breaking the ribbon cable. The cable looks like it’s a bit corroded inside anyway. Is there any reason I can’t just solder 30 tiny wires of appropriate length to the display pins and also to the pins on the ribbon cable slot? It won’t be pretty, but is there any good reason why it wouldn’t work?

101 Replies

You can do that, but it is a VERY hard job to pull off. I have started one and didn’t finish it yet.

I would commend you if you get it done! Keep us informed on your project. If cables break, it is very frustrating because you cannot do anything about that.

I know it won’t be easy. I’m not afraid to try. I’ve still got some very thin wire left over from when I did a GC video HDMI mod on my GameCube using a Pluto IIx development board. I have a steady hand, and my trusty Hakko 888d with several tips so I’ll let you know how it went when I’m done. I’ll have to attempt it while the kids are in bed. Nothing is worse than trying to do detailed work while the three of them are fighting over a toy.

I bet it wouldn’t be too hard to find an appropriate flat ribbon cable replacement of the appropriate pitch. There may, likewise, be a corresponding locking connector that could be soldered onto the LED board as well.

Just a thought.

I had thought of that. I’m not sure what is meant by “pitch” and a lot of the ribbon cables from inside old computers that initially popped into my head would be too large to be of much help. By using the blue 30 AWG wire I have on hand, I think I can make it work without waiting for shipping. If there were replacement cables that would be ideal. The solution I have in mind would make soldered connections to the connectors pins and should be entirely reversible should a replacement cable ever reach production. I think I can even tie the wires into a ribbon config using some thread. It would be tedious, but the result might be worth it. I’ll just keep telling myself that at least I’m not attempting to make sure replica of the ROM modules used in the Apollo guidance computer. Lol. I may eventually opt for zn actual ribbon, but I’m not even 100% sure there isn’t some other issue with the display.

Could you explain pitch to me?

Pitch is the with of the cable, what you call AWG

It took about 6 hours but I got the one display rewired. The other ribbon cable broke in the process and no longer works. I had to desolder the ribbon cable connector to solder these wires.

Now the results.

I still have lines. I don’t think this one likes me.

I’m debating whether I should spend another 6 hours wiring up the other one in the hope that somehow it will magically make the lines disappear.

Another thought might be capacitor replacement, as I accidentally touched the side of an electrolytic capacitor while soldering.

I’m not really sure where to go from here.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by SpectreVR.

It couldn’t hurt to try, Console5 sells a cap kit for the VB that’s ready to go.

Left eye is now wired up, but won’t turn on :-\

Just happened to come on and see this – I did the same around when I joined PlanetVB… took me weeks and many retries, but this one in the picture below works like a soldered VB now. I probably had it right the first time I did it, but I made the mistake of using plumbing flux.. it may have kept giving me shorts.

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You know, it may simply be easiest and provide the best longevity to simply have new ribbon cables made – one end with fingers that connect into the motherboard’s connector, and the other end that terminates in pitch-perfect castellated holes for soldering onto the LED board.

That would eliminate the most frustrating and difficult issues of the VB displays, improve the console’s lifespan, and be a great deal easier for the average solder monkey to manage. Also, flex cables are comparatively cheap to make.

Do I smell interest?

Long term this will be essential as I’m seeing signs in every VB ribbon cable I’ve looked at of the copper in the ribbon starting to corrode. First the glue goes bad, then the copper and everyone discovers that the solder fix permenantly fixes one problem, but doesn’t do anything to prevent the inevitable.

RetroDan wrote:
You know, it may simply be easiest and provide the best longevity to simply have new ribbon cables made – one end with fingers that connect into the motherboard’s connector, and the other end that terminates in pitch-perfect castellated holes for soldering onto the LED board.

That would eliminate the most frustrating and difficult issues of the VB displays, improve the console’s lifespan, and be a great deal easier for the average solder monkey to manage. Also, flex cables are comparatively cheap to make.

Do I smell interest?

If you know how to design flex cables/PCBs and have them printed, then yes, you are smelling interest from me. 😀 If not, then I may start learning it myself. I have at least one LED board with no cable, that can be used for testing.

Ideally, they would also have a tab attached like the stock cables, to allow easy insertion/removal from the VB (and they also seem to help thicken the cable at that end for a good firm seating)

If there will be reliable replacement cables available for not more than €10 each, I will be all over this!
I think €10 is pretty expensive, just to set a max price, because even with replacement cables, it doesn’t guarantee a fixed display if there are one or more dead LEDs on the board itself. Hope something like this will come to fruition!

Splain wrote:
If you know how to design flex cables/PCBs and have them printed, then yes, you are smelling interest from me. 😀 If not, then I may start learning it myself. I have at least one LED board with no cable, that can be used for testing.

Ideally, they would also have a tab attached like the stock cables, to allow easy insertion/removal from the VB (and they also seem to help thicken the cable at that end for a good firm seating)

I’ve designed PCBs before – not flex cables – but I can’t imagine that it would be impossible for me to make the transition.

I can’t imagine the cables would be expensive, though. I’ll get to some designing and whack up a prototype, but I’d like to be able to order 100 (50 sets) at least, for cost reasons. I have no data to back it up, but I can’t imagine it would cost more than $20-$25 for a set.

RetroDan wrote:

Splain wrote:
If you know how to design flex cables/PCBs and have them printed, then yes, you are smelling interest from me. 😀 If not, then I may start learning it myself. I have at least one LED board with no cable, that can be used for testing.

Ideally, they would also have a tab attached like the stock cables, to allow easy insertion/removal from the VB (and they also seem to help thicken the cable at that end for a good firm seating)

I’ve designed PCBs before – not flex cables – but I can’t imagine that it would be impossible for me to make the transition.

I can’t imagine the cables would be expensive, though. I’ll get to some designing and whack up a prototype, but I’d like to be able to order 100 (50 sets) at least, for cost reasons. I have no data to back it up, but I can’t imagine it would cost more than $20-$25 for a set.

I think $20-$25 is pretty expensive, I would have thought they would be dirt cheap, just the start up would be an issue. If you can get the costs to limit to $12 a set I would order 10 sets straight away.

TheForce81 wrote:

I think $20-$25 is pretty expensive, I would have thought they would be dirt cheap, just the start up would be an issue. If you can get the costs to limit to $12 a set I would order 10 sets straight away.

To be fair, I’m just estimating. As I said, “I have no data to back it up”. I’m just throwing babies at the wall to see what sticks.

First Iteration of what I am dubbing the VirtualCable:

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Looks good to me, if you can supply them at a very reasonable price, it will be a very nice addition to repairing displays!! Still won’t be too easy to install, align and all that, but skilled people should have no issue doing that.

TheForce81 wrote:
Looks good to me, if you can supply them at a very reasonable price, it will be a very nice addition to repairing displays!! Still won’t be too easy to install, align and all that, but skilled people should have no issue doing that.

Actually, I’m on my third revision right now of this cable design. I’m used to using Proteus, but it’s not quite capable of some of the design options I want, so I’m having to learn EAGLE. Nothing like a project to force new knowledge into your brain-hole.

I dub it ‘brainal’.

Current 3rd Iteration; now to find a decent fab house.

Current fab prices for OSH park are costing $25 per pair. Obviously, a real fab house will allow me to drop the price with quantity (and I’m shopping around), but I’d like to get an idea of how many people I could reasonably expect to get on board. The more I get, the lower the price can get per person. I would like to get it down to about $10-$15 per pair.

  • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by RetroDan.
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