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Handheld Hijinks Vol 4 - A Lynx to the Past

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  • 22-03-2023 4:18pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 7,647 ✭✭✭


    The Atari Lynx is a handheld that I'd only ever seen once as a youngling, it was a rare cat back then (and even now it's not entirely common.) I was half on the lookout for one, trying to convince myself not to bother, and failing as usual. A nice looking example popped up on eBay, sold as not working or powering on, so I said I'd take a chance on it. Capacitors are often a common point of failure with these, as are the power stage components too.

    I was able to grab a capacitor kit from the ever helpful Mark over on the Digital Delights eBay store - https://www.ebay.ie/str/digitaldelights (properly nice guy. I've bought from Mark before, and will continue to do so, so if you're looking for a few repair parts etc, give the store a look.) Unfortunately he was out of stock of the Power Stage Repair kit for the Lynx, but I was able to grab one of those from another seller on eBay.

    Anyway, on with the work!

    ^^ The Lynx is a Model II Lynx, and is in overall quite nice condition with the small exception of a scuff on the upper left of the screen lens. I'll keep my eye out for a replacement lens, as they seem easy enough to change.

    ^^ Battery cover is present. To open the unit, you need to remove the rubber grips, then the screws are exposed.

    ^^ Patient on the table, ready for surgery. It's a small little board, and initially seems in very nice condition.

    ^^ First signs of age, a capacitor had begun to leak.

    ^^ All caps removed, pads wicked where necessary, and cleaned with IPA.

    ^^ The Digital Delights cap kits always come with this handy cap map. Saves time just ticking them off as you go, it's a nice touch/little detail.

    ^^ This cap necessitates de-soldering of the RF shield, in order to bend it back and expose the via's.

    ^^ Once done, the shield can be soldered back into place (being sure to insulate the capacitor solder points as they'd short on it.)

    ^^ All caps done, soldered, clipped, and board cleaned down with IPA.


    ^^ These are the power stage components that need to be changed. It's a shotgun approach just swapping them out like this, but they're known points of failure, so in my opinion, while in here working on the board they may as well all be changed at the same time. It's a Mosfet, x2 transistors, a resistor, and a diode.

    ^^ Mosfet removed, and pads de-soldered and cleaned.

    ^^ Kapton tape as a heat mask, because these components come off fairly easily using the heat gun method. I've added some flux here to aid re-flowing the old solder.

    ^^ Components removed. They're pretty small, so an anti-static tweezers comes in handy here.

    ^^ Power stage repair kit (Mosfet, x2 transistors, x1 resistor, and x1 diode.)

    ^^ Resistor soldered in. The proximity to the shield doesn't help here, but if you tin one pad, and use a tweezers to feed the resistor onto that pad while flowing the solder, that tends to work well.

    ^^ Transistors soldered in. It looks like there's tons of solder on them here, but there isn't in person, the legs are absolutely tiny. Sorry for the blurry pic!

    ^^ Mosfet soldered in.

    ^^ Diode cut down in size, shaped to fit, and soldered in. These kits all supply a through hole diode, not an SMD one...so a little bit of bending is needed here!


    That's all of the components changed out, time to re-assemble and test.

    ^^ Back together and ready for testing.

    ^^ 9v center negative PSU needed here. I don't have a Lynx one, so my multi-psu will have to suffice for testing.

    AAAAANNNNNDDDD......nothing. Black screen. Balls. The system powers up to a red light, and I can hear the game running though, which is at least one good thing. So I decide to disassemble again, and check things over.

    ^^ Aahhhh, a broken solder joint on the screen backlight. That explains while I only see a black screen. The pad is gone by the looks of it though.

    ^^ PCB Mask removed with a fibre glass pen, just enough to expose some copper for the solder to bond to. All soldered up now, and ready for testing (again.)

    ^^ Lovely, it lives! Ok the 90's lcd screen isn't exactly lovely, but I'm glad I've saved it. There's quite a few dead pixels as can be seen here, all those white dots aren't supposed to be there!

    There is a problem with the controls though. Right on the dpad triggers down, for example. I'll need to disassemble (again) and check it out.

    ^^ Screen and mainboard removed in order to release the cover for the controls.

    ^^ The membrane is quite filthy, and has signs of ageing/cracking in a few places, so I'll likely replace this as a later stage.

    ^^ All done for today, not a bad few hours work.

    So left to do with this Lynx are a new/replacement screen lens, a control ribbon/membrane, and I think I'll go the whole hog and replace the screen with the modern IPS one. I would have left it stock if not for the dead pixels, but they'll likely continue to die and degrade over time, so it seems a good candidate for a modern screen replacement.

    Post edited by CiDeRmAn on


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 34,849 ✭✭✭✭o1s1n
    Master of the Universe


    In this day and age I really don't think anyone should be having to deal with old LCD tech on handhelds, it's just masochism really - IPS all the way!

    Nice job bringing it back to life. The Lynx is one of those consoles I have never owned or even seen in person. Any time I went to buy one over the year I was a bit too concerned about it either arriving DOA or being close to it.



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,874 ✭✭✭Steve X2


    Nice job. I remember seeing the Lynx on an episode of Baywatch back in the day, which really made me want one. There was other stuff on Baywatch I also wanted, but just like the Lynx I had to wait a few years 🙂



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,647 ✭✭✭Inviere


    I've made a bonheaded mistake with one of the power stage components 🙄 I'll remedy it tomorrow, see can anyone spot it...



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,154 ✭✭✭Quigs Snr


    I have two of them here. One of each variant.

    Both work. But I would love a third with an IPS in it. Keep us posted if you manage to make it work.



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,245 ✭✭✭KeRbDoG


    Nice. I lad in my primary school brought one in a little after it came out. Looked class back then but there wasn't a chance in hell of getting one myself. Only noticed now that the GameGear come out a year after with an equally funky screen.



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  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 34,593 CMod ✭✭✭✭CiDeRmAn


    I have one of those somewhere, a rare case of Sega releasing a console that was miles better than everyone else's.

    The shenanigans they got up to code Stun Runner on it was bananas!



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,647 ✭✭✭Inviere


    I presume you mean Atari? I really don't know much about the library of the Lynx, are there any gems/worthwhile games picking up for it?

    Also, might be worth asking Kerb to check yours for cap leakage, it is a known point of failure with these (as it is others like the Game Gear etc)



  • Registered Users Posts: 34,849 ✭✭✭✭o1s1n
    Master of the Universe


    Meant to say, that is one seriously bodacious thread title. 😁



  • Registered Users Posts: 34,748 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Well it's not as if there were a lot of polarised 2-wire components to fit...!

    Great work though and great write up. I used to hang around the computer section in Easons, pirating Amiga games ahem when this came out and some lad brought one in one day. That was the only time I ever saw one in action.

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 34,593 CMod ✭✭✭✭CiDeRmAn


    I have one and a couple of games, I think it needs a cap kit done. But they are a decent machine and, really, it is only the Atari ports from their arcade titles that makes it worth having, from Xybots to Blasteroids



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  • Registered Users Posts: 7,647 ✭✭✭Inviere




  • Registered Users Posts: 7,647 ✭✭✭Inviere


    The resistor that comes with the kit...i fit it in place of a capacitor. Bonheaded stuff, just lost concentration, and only copped it by chance that evening looking at the pictures. Swapped now, no harm done thank god



  • Registered Users Posts: 34,748 ✭✭✭✭Hotblack Desiato


    Yikes! Thought it was the diode...

    Fingal County Council are certainly not competent to be making decisions about the most important piece of infrastructure on the island. They need to stick to badly designed cycle lanes and deciding on whether Mrs Murphy can have her kitchen extension.



  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 34,593 CMod ✭✭✭✭CiDeRmAn


    On a personal note, I'm exhausted!



  • Registered Users Posts: 7,647 ✭✭✭Inviere


    Blame Vanilla for that one man 😁 Cheers

    I've replaced the images showing the error I made, just incase anyone else uses this as a guide. Vanilla only allow 24 hours to edit a post/thread, so I had to draft Ciderman in to make the edits!



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