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Recapping is optional in most cases when it comes to consoles, there are exceptions though, but few.  Handhelds on the whole quite a few from the 80s/earlier 90s have problems with them, and also yeah

I've always heard Game Gear is one of the main offenders. I don't have experience capping one though.

This is true - the clock cap

It's funny you should ask this.  I've been capping arcade monitors and boards for years, but it somehow never occured to me to do any of my consoles.  Well just last year (2020) I bought some cap kits for my Turbografx and NES and installed them, but I honestly couldn't tell the difference before & after.  So, in reality, I would say that unless you're getting scratchy sound or blurred/bleeding colors on a CRT screen, I don't think capping consoles is anything you need to be pro-active about...

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Recapping is optional in most cases when it comes to consoles, there are exceptions though, but few.  Handhelds on the whole quite a few from the 80s/earlier 90s have problems with them, and also yeah the xbox and also the Neo Geo too.

Xbox and NG used that crap barrel type that'll pop and snot all over your board eating holes into it ruining the thing.  Best thing to do on those, remove it if it's good or not, mount a coin cell bracket and pop in a rechargeable cr2032 in there, which is what my NeoGeo MVS has.  The old pinball machine I had had the same issue but the original owner at some point(was always home used) gutted it and wired in a 3 AA battery mount which was a breeze to work with.

The handhelds, Sega, second NEC, and thirdly getting to Atari a bit...they used the most god awful cheapest fish smelling cheap as dirt caps.  If you find a game gear or a turbo express/pce gt these days that haven't been recapped, odds are they're dead, screen is nearly faded out, and the audio is scratch/faded or just gone.  That garbage sadly with NEC, trickled into their DUO line of PCE/Turbo style consoles as they're a disaster too that need to be cleaned up.

Outside of those from mainstream systems, no, unless you have a problem, Nintendo across the board, Sega on consoles, NEC with their tg16/pce systems and late revision of their duo, they're fine and only should be done if something utterly fails.

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Personally, I have more experience with recaps in the arcade side of things. For example, it's a good idea recap monitors. The caps are old and have been stressed pretty hard. Typically, whenever I get a new console I check, you never know the life it had.

That said, what comes to mind in my experience is most pc engines, the sooner you replace the capacitors as well as clean and neutralize what has already leaked.  Sega and NEC handhelds (as previously mentioned) also should be recapped as they can be bad. That said, your typical suspects aren't the only ones. I've seen bad caps even in consoles like NES

In terms of how long new caps last. The answer is depends. Higher quality caps will last much longer. Don't use cheap chineese capacitor kits, you are asking for trouble if you do.

What I'm saying ultimately is just check. Typically you can smell the terrible electrolytic fluid if they have leaked. If it has leaked, it is a good idea to change out ASAP as it is corrosive.

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I've done a few recaps, mostly PC Engine Duos and a Game Gear, all of them necessary due to the use of surface mount electrolytic caps which were bad quality during that period of time (they tended to leak after a few years), aside from specific cases like these consoles and others already mentioned it's pretty safe to assume you don't need to recap unless you have obvious problems, most consoles use though hole caps that are safer, if you want to be sure you could inspect the caps in your consoles and see if you can spot bad ones:
http://www.robotroom.com/Faulty-Capacitors-1.html

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Thank you all for the information thus far!
Any good/trusted resources for recapping instructions?
While not specifically mentioned, these are kind of in the ballpark of what was so I'm wondering if they're of concern:

  • Atari Lynx
  • Sega Nomad
  • NeoGeo Pocket / NeoGeo Pocket Color
  • Tiger handhelds / Game.com (Since part cheapness seems to be a factor.)

How concerned should one be about older stuff? (Atari, Colecovision, Intellivision, etc.)

Also, will caps go bad even if the system isn't played and just sitting on a shelf? (Slower/Faster?)

Edited by Berserker
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On 1/13/2021 at 1:36 PM, SNESNESCUBE64 said:

Personally, I have more experience with recaps in the arcade side of things. For example, it's a good idea recap monitors. The caps are old and have been stressed pretty hard. Typically, whenever I get a new console I check, you never know the life it had.

 

I wish I didnt' fear being wrecked by the rear of the monitor on my NeoGeo, I'm convinced it's a cap or two, or the flyback, either I've not done before.  The top 1 horizontal inch of the CRT get a light bit of wavy/curl to it, nothing obnoxious or damaging, but noticeable, just not distracting.  Personally if I knew how, and I could get a big enough square LCD as they get into the thousands after 20" I'd throw a LCD in there.

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6 hours ago, Tanooki said:

I wish I didnt' fear being wrecked by the rear of the monitor on my NeoGeo, I'm convinced it's a cap or two, or the flyback, either I've not done before.  The top 1 horizontal inch of the CRT get a light bit of wavy/curl to it, nothing obnoxious or damaging, but noticeable, just not distracting.  Personally if I knew how, and I could get a big enough square LCD as they get into the thousands after 20" I'd throw a LCD in there.

Try adjusting horizontal hold. Should be a knob on the back of the monitor chassis. That said, you only need a slight adjustment.

Edited by SNESNESCUBE64
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8 hours ago, Tanooki said:

I wish I didnt' fear being wrecked by the rear of the monitor on my NeoGeo,

I hear ya .. I've always been leery of messing with CRTs even unpowered .. a buddy of mine got zapped back in high school shop class from one of those things .. not fun (he was okay though)

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20 hours ago, Tanooki said:

I wish I didnt' fear being wrecked by the rear of the monitor on my NeoGeo, I'm convinced it's a cap or two, or the flyback, either I've not done before.  The top 1 horizontal inch of the CRT get a light bit of wavy/curl to it, nothing obnoxious or damaging, but noticeable, just not distracting.  Personally if I knew how, and I could get a big enough square LCD as they get into the thousands after 20" I'd throw a LCD in there.

Yeah, what SNESNESCUBE64 said.  Some monitors have two horizontal pots, so try slightly adjusting both of them (the other one may be labelled Horizontal Line).  Your issue will most likely come out with a small adjustment of one of them...

Edited by Dr. Morbis
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On 1/14/2021 at 9:38 AM, Berserker said:

Thank you all for the information thus far!
Any good/trusted resources for recapping instructions?
While not specifically mentioned, these are kind of in the ballpark of what was so I'm wondering if they're of concern:

  • Atari Lynx
  • Sega Nomad
  • NeoGeo Pocket / NeoGeo Pocket Color
  • Tiger handhelds / Game.com (Since part cheapness seems to be a factor.)

How concerned should one be about older stuff? (Atari, Colecovision, Intellivision, etc.)

Also, will caps go bad even if the system isn't played and just sitting on a shelf? (Slower/Faster?)

So here's the thing about capacitors, it's hard to say when they will fail. Things really changed in the late 80s/early 90s as new regulations required manufacturers to change their formulas. This is why devices from this time period have a such a high failure rate, they were just inferior parts. Speaking from experience, capacitors made by Nichicon, Rubycon, United Chemecion, Panasonic, anf Illinois Capacitors tend to be the highest quality ones. 

Like I said, its hard to say whether or not an old cap will fail. I've never recapped an atari if that helps. That said, I don't really do console repairs. To answer your question about caps sitting for a while, they do have a shelf life, but I don't think with a high quality capacitor that it matters all too much.

In terms of resources, console5 sells the best cap kits around and has instructions and all sorts of info on their website. They use only the good capacitors. If you decide to source them from elsewhere, avoid ordering cheap caps from brands like lelon, jackcon, and chong. They are inferior in quality and may fail prematurely.

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On 1/15/2021 at 7:44 AM, SNESNESCUBE64 said:

Try adjusting horizontal hold. Should be a knob on the back of the monitor chassis. That said, you only need a slight adjustment.

and @Dr. Morbis too.  Surprisingly it doesn't have one.  I've gone over it like a half dozen times using SNK reference points from hard mvs and other places.  Most of the action you can do with it is on a convenient detached mini board with the twists on it screwed into the wood plank the MVS motherboard/cover sits on.  THe few others they're in a crappy spot along the back of the monitor, and I've tweaked each of them a few times to no effect.  I've nailed down as good as it can get on that CRT in every other way.

 

It just has 2 issues, one is just CRT crappiness or it really does need some coil replaced, because it seems to change the horizontal width BY game, and then the light bit of wavy in that upper inch.  Like I can go from Bust a Move to Samurai Shodown 3 and on BAM you can't see both the scores clearly across the top with cut off on one side I think, maybe both, but not evenly, yet SS3 is fine, no cuts in any corner.  I fix BAM, then SS3 and various others will get screwed, it's a no win.  That and like the what 300lbs? of weight a 25" Wells & Gardner with the heavy bolts and metal frame it rests in make it a bitch to move, even on a dolly, far worse than a pinball machine which shocked me.  I'd love to just find a nice LCD to shove in there, no/low latency one like the non-retail TV industry pops out, but over 20 or 21" I forget which it gets into the 1-2+ thousand price range which is a joke.  LCD would be crisp, clean, clear, no changing sizes, no wavy bits.

 

Since I refuse to mess with flybacks and recaps on a voltage trap like that I know an old guy in town that runs a place called Arcade Odyssey and 5-6 years ago I had him over, cost me $75 had him reflow the solder on the first pinball I had and repair a couple ribbon cable issues it had and learned quite a bit.  I kept his number, so I imagine I could when things work out for the guy, have him come over and push it away from the wall and get it done.  It just hadn't been a bit priority as it hasn't become any worse.

Edited by Tanooki
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On 1/12/2021 at 8:29 AM, Berserker said:

Had a few questions about recapping. Thanks.

  1. Will all consoles need recapping at some point?
  2. What consoles should be recapped? (Considering it's 2021 now.)
  3. How long does recapping last?

I do this kinda thing for a living so hopefully I can help

 

1. Yes. There are several different varieties of capacitor. Ceramic, tantalum, and electrolytic being a few examples. The ones we need to consider are the electrolytic capacitors in our consoles. Those are volitile, and have a finite lifespan even when unused. The NES, for example, has a ton of ceramic caps, but only about 8 electrolytics. Those ceramic ones will most likely never need replacing, but the electrolytic ones absolutely will.

2. That really depends. I would generally recommend recapping anything 15 years or older. That being said, if it ain't broke don't fix it. All of my NES consoles are using their original capacitors from the 1980's because they still work. If I ever notice issues with performance, those will be checked and if neccessary, replaced.

You need to use the highest quality caps you can get your hands on when doing a replacement. If you cheap out on caps, you will probably make things worse rather than better.

3. That's a hard question to answer. Cap quality varies wildly, so depending on how good the caps you use are, you could get anywhere from 5 years to 20 years.  I recommend using the best possible quality you can find.

 

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On 1/14/2021 at 6:38 AM, Berserker said:

Thank you all for the information thus far!
Any good/trusted resources for recapping instructions?
While not specifically mentioned, these are kind of in the ballpark of what was so I'm wondering if they're of concern:

  • Atari Lynx
  • Sega Nomad
  • NeoGeo Pocket / NeoGeo Pocket Color
  • Tiger handhelds / Game.com (Since part cheapness seems to be a factor.)

How concerned should one be about older stuff? (Atari, Colecovision, Intellivision, etc.)

Also, will caps go bad even if the system isn't played and just sitting on a shelf? (Slower/Faster?)

good quality caps have a guaranteed 20 to 30 year life span  but ive seen caps last longer.  i have several atari 2600s from the late 70s that they still work fine.  caps go bad no matter if there running or not its just their nature.  i think ceramic caps dont go bad or they have the longest life span.

 

i like to use console5 they use all japanese brand caps  like panasonic nippon and rubycon  and are reasonably priced. 

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