Original Post

I just got an as-is Virtual Boy on eBay for cheap and I’m trying to figure out exactly what’s wrong with it. When I turn it on the sound comes on but there’s no picture, and the left side of the unit vibrates very loudly once every couple of seconds before eventually stopping after about 30 seconds. It won’t respond to any button inputs as far as I can tell. I also noticed that the IPD dial is very stiff and difficult to turn. I have a gamebit screwdriver coming in the mail so I’ll have to wait for it to arrive before I can open it up and have a better look, but in the meantime does anyone have any idea what the issue might be?

7 Replies

Well it could be so nasty inside something is causing a blockage somewhere(s) because you said it’s stiff to adjust. The banging could not be crud but misalignment of the mirrors within. It also could be something far worse, a real part failure and not a falling out of alignment issue.

Better really not to speculate without eyes on the inside of it so maybe just wait and take some pictures.

Well, I opened it up and took a look inside. Other from the stiff IPD control (which I assume could just be fixed with some lubricant?) everything looks relatively normal. There doesn’t seem to be any kind of damage to the mirrors or lenses, or any bulging capacitors on the mainboard. The mirrors move freely as I assume they should and there doesn’t seem to be anything obstructing them. I turned the system on while it was open and the mirrors don’t seem to behave normally though. I looked at a video and it seems like the mirrors should be moving back and forth at a constant speed. Instead, once the system is turned on they continuously speed up until they start doing the buzzing thing I mentioned, then they slow down and speed again several times until they stop moving altogether. Is this a sign of misaligned mirrors, and if so how would one go about realigning them?

I hate to say it but you may have a larger problem that possibly can not be corrected by current knowledge. Those mirrors should always vibrate at a very fast to a blur consistent pace (like hummingbird wings) and they shouldn’t change let alone stop. This could still despite no bulge be a cap issue, but worse it could be a short or damaged IC and that likely maybe beyond anyones means to repair or replace without cannibalizing another busted system. This is assuming you’re right about nothing else causing it to sputter and stop as you seem only at a basic level certain of things reading your words. There is a way to re-align them, only one person surely knows how but others are investigating I’m sure, but that doesn’t seem like where sliding something over a bit would cure it.

Images/Video would be extremely helpful in this case. However, I believe from doing some research all of the hardware that oscillates the mirrors back and forth is done by the smaller board and should have some sort of printing on the PCB labeled “SERVO PCB 23.” This is the PCB with an 8Mhz crystal unit. While I haven’t learned too much yet on how these crystals are wired. A capacitor could very well limit the output of the clock signal that is provided by that crystal. I’m assuming that if that oscillates too quickly there is a shutoff mechanism in place somewhere in the hardware. Then, it would kick back on to try again. Do both of the mirrors have the same problem or only one? This seems like a bad part, just hard to tell what part it is at them moment.

Keep us updated!

I am horrible at searching this forum. I always look to Ben to post specific answers! lol. There is a thread here that discusses the mirrors and servos. There were things discussed with electronics as well as just bending things back into place. After reading your 1st post I instantly recalled this thread because I think it will relate to what you are experiencing. I just can’t find it! Help, Ben?

There’s a few Virtual Boy servo mechanisms for sale on eBay, would I better off switching out the current one with one of these, rather than trying to repair it myself?


That may have to be the way to go, but that particular seller you linked I think as a matter of principle or a lesson should never be bought from in the VB community. The guy is a notable price troll who jacks up rates, tears up systems to sell each individual part for a high fee too. If you need to find the part, find another seller. 🙂


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