Coleco Game Repair (Pac Man, Ms. Pac Man, Donkey Kong, Frogger & Galaxian)

Page 2, time to start looking at some common problems:

One thing that can go wrong with your game is that it won't power up at all, or there's no sound. The first obvious thing to check for is loose wires. There should be 4 wires coming off the main board, two for power and two for the speaker. Speaker polarity doesn't really matter with these kinds of speakers, but power obviously does, this image shows where the wires should go for Pac Man (other games will probably be slightly different). One thing I did notice was that the two battery connections were labelled B+ and B-, and the two speaker connections were both labelled PZ (piezo buzzer speaker), this will probably apply to other Coleco games (I have not opened them all... Yet.).

If these wires all seem intact, and your game is not working at all, there could be other problems, some of which I will cover later.

Also, while you are here, just look for any obvious damage to the board, remains of any liquid that might have ever spilled in the game, evidence of battery corrosion or any insect-related deposits of any kind (including living ones!)

Wait a minute! My Pac Man board looks NOTHING like this! (Hehe, check THIS out...)

My problem is that an entire row of the VFD is not functioning. I'm suspecting a loose (cold) soldier joint somewhere between the CPU chip and the VFD. The image to the left shows (in red) all the VFD connections on the board, and the image below is the CPU and it's connections. We'll look at my troubleshooting steps in a little bit.

On to more dis-assembly. If what you need to check isn't available exclusively on the backside of the circuit
board, remove it from the control panel / front plastics by removing the 3 screws on the main board. Holding
it with the control panel facing down, lift off the circuit board. If you hold it with the control panel facing up,
the joysticks and fire buttons will fall all over. You should be left with this:

The joysticks can be lifted out, and can be taken apart if you have the desire to do so. The little football-shaped part on top comes off with the screw located in the center of it. You can also pop the two brown X shaped items off the circuit board (check for glue though, sometimes these are glued down). For each joystick, you will have a stick, a 'football,' one screw, one spring, and the X-shaped thing (this helps control the movement of the joystick, if it's missing the game is somewhat harder to play).
Joystick not working correctly in one direction? If it's been a heavily played game, one (or more) of these rectangular metal switches could be damaged (I've seen holes worn all the way through them to the point that they break in half). Or, they could have been pressed down so many times they they refuse to pop back up (causing your character to always be moving in one direction). Repair of these is simply a matter of replacing the metal rectangle. The tricky part is finding a replacement. If you always play the game by yourself (and it's a two-joystick game), you could swap one out from the other joystick. If you are really crafty, you might be able to replace them with a completely different kind of switch.

If you need to remove the plastic lens that covers the screen, remove the two red-circled screws
in the picture below, and it will pop right out.

Onward to find out what I had to do to fix my game! NEXT PAGE
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