Original Post

I’m sure this has been discussed to death but I can’t find any good topics in a quick few searches so I post.

I got into the VB hype again tonight and decided to pull the lesser of my two non-working ones apart. Usually, it has lines on screen or static, like so:

or

After some snooping around inside my Virtual Boy last year, I noticed something:

See where the pinkish ribbon meets the green circuit board? That’s the problem, right there. The age of the systems coupled with whatever they used to attach the cable to the board (glue? solder?) means that the connection wears out over time. After all, when you turn the IPD dial it physically moves the two large black sections seen in that picture.

I haven’t found a solution to this problem yet. I’m interested if anyone has any ideas, though. I’ve thought about re-running each wire individually, but that would take a TON of intricate solder work, which I cannot do. 🙁 If anyone has any ideas or known solutions, PLEASE post, so that I may love you forever.

Maybe we can find a company that will do a bulk-repair for us? :b

Oh well. Here are two more pictures.

Inside the unit:

And my high score from UFO. :b

  • This topic was modified 12 years, 6 months ago by jrronimo.
22 Replies

So, if I avoided adjusting the IPD as much as possible, could that extend the life of the VB?

If you’re willing to sacrifice the unit, why not try applying some hot glue to wherever its coming off?

So, if I avoided adjusting the IPD as much as possible, could that extend the life of the VB?

That’s my /theory/, but I can’t guarantee anything. If you don’t have problems now and have your stuff set right, though, I’d touch it as little as possible. However, this could of course lead to problems of damaging your eyes over time or making the unit’s plastic pieces ‘set in their ways’, which would make them harder to adjust later.

If you’re willing to sacrifice the unit, why not try applying some hot glue to wherever its coming off?

Not so simple. The connections that are between that pink cable and the green circuit board are what the problem is. Putting some sort of glue on the outside would do little. My current theory is that I’ll have to re-solder all of the connections, which will be nothing short of a huge pain. If it works, though, perhaps I could set up shop repairing VBs for people! 🙂

I’m new here but i think i can help a little with this common problem… in fact i think i’ve got the solution!!!

I think every single virtual boy “alive” will suffer this “desease” sooner or later, i have tested 4 units and each one of them had this problem ( problem that was not noticeable to the retailer when they bought them in the second hand market to resell them )

I don’t know what causes the problem, it seems to be something wrong with the contacts, first i thoght it was something related to the mass cables screwed to the board of the LCD’s, but further testings ( touching the board with my fingers in different points ) seemed to work at random and had very different results… So i don´t know why, but it seemed somehow logic ( as the results were irregular ) to ” remark ” all the lines in the LCD PCB… how was it done ?… cheapest and easy solutions seem to be the best from time to time: Using a pencil… i used a 2B ( soft pencil ) in order to get more cabon attached to the PCB with less “scratching” of it… I remarked the part of the PCB that is near the ribbon that goes to the main board, and fine tunned it ( trial an error done with the virtual boy with a game on ) using cotton to clean it, or remarking the line… Testings done today seem to keep it OK… so i think we’ve got some kind of solution here…I’ll keep you informed on how this fix behaves

If a pencil fixes it, a more permanent (maybe dangerously so :P) solution would be those conductive ink markers they sell for PCB repair. Or, you could try to mix your own conductive ink/paint.

Just the change left over from my last $0.98 purchase…

Desert_fan_club> That is a FANTASTIC idea! Seriously! I have some spare time over the next two weeks and I am going to see what I can do. I can’t believe I didn’t think of it before!

Hehe, this is the beginnings of a ‘Virtual Boy Pencil Trick’, maybe (like what used to be common with processors and video cards. :D)

Runner> Good call. Do you know of any websites that selll those pens? If I can fix my VB up with some pencil-lead, a ‘permanent’ fix would be much more preferable.

wow. I’m new here as well. I picked up a used virtual boy for $15 at a garage sale and the lines are minimal. There are some lines, but the lines arn’t nearly as bad as shown above in that picture.

That cable is atached to an “LED print head”, I have not been able to source the origional part bit Im giessing it would run around $30 for a new one. Someone with more free time thain me might have more luck.

David

I have not tried it yet but apllying som heat to the ribon cable where it meets the circuit board might reset things. Maby rub an iron on it with a pece of cloth to stop the iron from sticking to the plastic.

David

That cable is atached to an “LED print head”, I have not been able to source the origional part bit Im giessing it would run around $30 for a new one. Someone with more free time thain me might have more luck.

I figured what the part was, but it’s probably proprietary to Nintendo. Unless we could get the schematic and make a bulk order, I would guess that we will not be getting new ones any time soon.

I have not tried it yet but apllying som heat to the ribon cable where it meets the circuit board might reset things. Maby rub an iron on it with a pece of cloth to stop the iron from sticking to the plastic.

I’ve thought of this, too. However, it would be REALLY tricky: if you melt /too much/ solder, you might run connections into each other, thus making a VB 100% useless. Instead of 50% useless, haha.

I’ve replied to LOTS of questions about this over the past few years and I’ve been working on making a tutorial for fixing it on my website, but I haven’t gotten the time to update my site, and it’s down completely ATM.

The problem is usually the connection between the cable and the LED bar PCB, although one that I fixed was just the cable had come a little loose in the connector on the motherboard.

I’ve found that rubbing your finger across the cable on the LED bar side that it fixes it temporarily (usually a few months). I haven’t tried yet, but I’d like to try a heat gun, although I’ve completely ripped the cable off, and the glue isn’t a gooey glue, so I doubt that it’ll help much more than just pressing on it with no heat.

desert_fan_club: Are you saying to rub pencil on the side that connects to the motherboard? I don’t see how that could help since that side isn’t usually the problem (although maybe that was your problem).

How I’ve fixed it in the past and it’s still holding now is rub the connection to make sure it’s tight, then take a narrow strip of electrical tape and wrap VERY tightly around the cable on the LED bar, and make sure that the end is right by the screw so when you tighten it, the tape can’t come loose. I haven’t tried it yet, but I was thinking later that the clear packing tape might work better, since it doesn’t stretch as much as electrical tape, so you might want to give that a try.

Oh, and have you guys looked at the PCB? There’s no solder on it to resolder… it appears to be just a physical contact between the cable and the PCB, held together by some glue.

DogP

I figured what the part was, but it’s probably proprietary
to Nintendo.
No, Sanyo designed this part for LED printers back when laser diods where painfuly expencive. There are several patents that cover the unit:

US 4,605,944
US 4,779,108
US 5,084,714
US 5,307,089
US 5,808,650
US 6,124,875
US 6,281,991
US 6,677,970
US 6,853,396

I have the above patents but have not had time to go over them, thats why they are not on my website yet.

David Tucker

I repaired my VB by pushing on the ribbon where it conects to the leds. Just try to find a spot there until the screen reacts and then push hard en rub down, not up or sideways. If you are patient enough you will get it to work, I don’t know how long but I played my VB for half an hour and it works perfect now. One screen wouldn’t work and the other was a little vague so I worked out the problems very easily. Oh, if you need a gamebit screwdriver, get it from ebay and take the 4.5 gamebit it should work.

it looks like i found a solution for that problem.
i used a hotglue pistol to fix it.
I used only a little bit of hot glue and after that i used gaffa tape over it. the flicker was gone an not came back so far.

I can verify that pushing on the ribon cable with a smoth object (the handle of a screw driver) fixed all of my horizontal lines. Note however that vertical lines and displays that waver in and out of focus are not caused by this ribon cable, and I dont have a fix for them. In a side note the mirror driver is very sensitive to over voltage, I shorted a wire on my VB with an osciloscope test lead and now I have a very nice mono virtual boy.

David

Does anyone have any insight into why the left side tends to go before the right? I have 6 units that are bad on only the left. 2 units are bad in both, and none are bad in just the right.

On a side note, (not to poke fun at your misfortune) the very nice mono virtual boy made me laugh my ass off.

…still that is probably less annoying than those lines.

Is there anyway to fix the lines permenantly once they occur? Sometimes if I give it a little shake they go away, but I don’t want to damage my VB. What should I do?

I’ve kinda noticed that the left eye goes out more than the right, but eventually they both seem to always go out.

And yeah, fixing them is possible, I’ll be posting a howto on my site once I get my webspace back >_<. DogP

Necrobump.. I have a VB with no display and no sound aside from faint static. Would this be related to the ribbon cable? I’d have examined it myself, but my security bit is too wide to pull out the four deepest screws.

Currently using the AC adapter to power my Genesnes.

It sounds like you might have a deeper issue than that. It is my belief that the ribbon cables are only associated with visual problems.

Sound and other issues could be something worse.

If you have access to a dremel and a grinder bit, you can hack your game bit into something more useful for VB purposes…

I cut the ‘thin end’ off and then cut a slice across the remainder so that I could use a flathead screwdriver with it, like so:

Are you using your VB’s AC adapter to play games on your Genesis or the other way around? If you have the AC adapter pack for a VB (i.e., the part that slides onto the controller), then you should be using a Super Nintendo’s AC adapter — they’re exactly the same for my revisions.

  • This reply was modified 12 years, 6 months ago by jrronimo.

 

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