General Repair FAQ
Almost all video game consoles have the same basic components: a power supply; a motherboard containing the CPU, GPU, and RAM; an interface for media input (cartridge, disc, or download); connections for video and sound; and some method for user input. Because of these common features, many consoles will share problems, and the process of diagnosing and repairing the malfunction will often be more or less the same.
The purpose of this FAQ is to help guide you in diagnosing a problem with a console that has not yet been explicitly written about on this wiki. It's assumed you're not an idiot and that you've already tried the obvious steps (are all the cables plugged in, is the TV on, etc.). First, check if the issue you're having falls into one of these categories:
- The console will not power on.
- See the Power Supply section.
Problems with the power supply typically result in the console not being able to turn on, although sometimes only certain components are affected (for instance, a CD drive). Other problems that may be related to a faulty power supply are self-resets or an image with a lot of interference. To diagnose a power supply, you will absolutely need a multimeter.
The console does not receive power.
The first thing to do is confirm this is a problem with the power supply and not a "no picture" issue. Some consoles, like the Coleco Vision, do not have a power LED or any other physical indication that the console is turned on without being connected to a display. Usually it is obvious when a console turns on, even if it's not working properly, because the display will change colors. However, some displays have a solid black screen as the default "no input" screen, and a malfunctioning console, when powered on, may also display a black screen, but if you pay attention you can easily spot the difference. CRT's will usually give a brief flash when the screen is initialized and the sound of the raster will change.