Controller slot 1 button 1 getting finicky

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By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

30-09-2019, 06:24

My techie friend explained to me how this almost certainly IS an issue with the solder, so apologies for doubting you guys. Wink Thanks for all the help, and sorry for my tech ignorance on this matter! I've learned a good deal today.

I guess the only remaining question now is if I can use controller port 2 for most of my single-player MSX games until this issue is fixed. I feel like I probably can, and Bosconian certainly gave me no trouble with it, but this is less something for you guys to answer, and more something for me to find out on my own by popping in a few games and just... seeing what works!

Thanks again for all the help and advice, everyone!

-Tom

By Grauw

Ascended (10005)

Grauw's picture

30-09-2019, 20:06

It could be something else, but cracked solder is just the first suspect for any port that sees frequent plugging and unplugging, it’s a common failure. Recently I also had two devices with micro-USB ports which had the exact same problem, a little reflow and adding some more solder to the mounts for extra solidness fixed it in both cases. Opening the case was the most trouble for those, the one had tens of little screws, and the other was glued Smile.

MSXes are relatively easy to open usually, sometimes you need to put a little pressure on things, but do take care not to force anything. Iirc the turboR (similar case to the WX) is opened by first removing the screws and then pulling open the case at the seams from the back, lifting it over the floppy drive (you do need to pull a bit for that). Kinda hard to describe. Feel free to use some tools like a flat screwdriver to keep the case apart while working on it, but be careful not to pry and nick the case.

By Meits

Scribe (6432)

Meits's picture

30-09-2019, 22:18

Here you get a good view on how to open the thing.
Some small tips:

  • Have it unplugged (duh), but powered on (so the power button is not in the way)
  • Don't have a disk inserted (so the button is not in the way)
  • By watching the linked clip you see not all screws on the bottom go out. Two are for cartridgeslot A. You will need to get those out as well, but I'd do that a little later, when you've got the top side off.
  • Use some creditcard/plectrum like device to pry open. Best to start around the cursor keys and go around clock wise.
  • Be aware that the backside might resist fierely to let go.
  • When the top is loose, don't pull it away. First disconnect the front panel cables from the main board.
  • Be carefull with the keyboard membrane connectors. Pulling them out (straight up) shouldn't be an issue. Getting them back in (straight down) is a bit harder.
  • Don't be afraid of jumping keys. The keyboard is a closed unit.
  • Remove the diskdrive (just screws and cable)
  • Disconnect the PSU (left top)
  • Disconnect the battery back-up (too long ago to remember if that's easy or if it needs cutting/resoldering).
  • Screw away the reenforcing iron plates away from the joystick connectors.
  • Get the screws out of the main board.
  • Get the main board out and be a bit easy on the printer connector.

It's a bit of a pity that the solders are on the downside of the mainboard, so you'll have to disassemble the whole thing. But there are way worse machines, trust me ;)
Do document every step taken. By pictures if needed.

By Grauw

Ascended (10005)

Grauw's picture

30-09-2019, 22:32

That’s a nice guide, Meits! I should bookmark your post so that I can find it back in the future Smile.

Oh, and make sure you work on a clean surface while opening it, preferably on some (nonstatic) cloth to prevent scratches.

My turboR had a leaky battery in it when I received it so while I was cleaning out the gunk from the battery slot I let the crumbs get on the table, and then I put my turboR with the front edge on some of those crumbs and that’s how I made the first scratch on my otherwise pristine new turboR GT Crying.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

01-10-2019, 01:26

That... all sounds incredibly scary. I think I'll hold off until I can have my techie friend help me, as I'd be TERRIFIED to do all this to my poor MSX. Wink

Thanks for the info, though, nonetheless!

-Tom

P.S. The game I was playing when I discovered this problem, Dragon Slayer IV: Drasle Family, also allows you to use controller port 2, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. Most games seem to be controller port 1 or nothing, sadly! Good on Namco and Falcom, though, for thinking of this when designing Bosconian and Drasle Family.

By Meits

Scribe (6432)

Meits's picture

01-10-2019, 11:32

Well, maybe it's good info for the tech so he doesn't have to experiment on how to open it. Smile

By Grauw

Ascended (10005)

Grauw's picture

01-10-2019, 22:44

Didn’t mean to scare Smile, just I always feel like the more information and tips going into something the better! If you ever want to open up a computer and fix a problem, and believe me they are some handy skills to get comfortable with even on a simple level, really if you just take your time, stay organised so that you remember where things went, and handle with care, you really can’t mess up that badly Smile.

Like my turboR, sure it got a scratch, but if it didn’t get one from that then it probably would’ve gotten one from carrying it around to MSX fairs, and I got to look at the inside which is cool, I got to replace the drive belt without help from others, and recently I even tweaked the audio circuit which was definitely getting into intermediate level Big smile. I think the most challenging thing I ever did was fix the memory mapper on my CX5MII, that involved putting wires on the CPU and probing and such, but maxis was a real champ guiding me through all that.

I occasionally held a soldering iron in my teens so in that sense I at least knew what that was about, but I don’t have an electronics background.

By sd_snatcher

Prophet (3453)

sd_snatcher's picture

01-10-2019, 23:06

@wyrdwad

Since you live in Japan, try to ask Takamichi for tips on good MSX technicians there.

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

01-10-2019, 23:28

I think I may know a place, actually -- I'm going to ask at Beep this weekend if they can do this, and I think they probably can. And if so, I may take this opportunity to upgrade my system, since it'll be open anyway -- I've been meaning to install some extra RAM in it anyway. Wink

If Beep IS able to work on it, too, I'll be happy to give them the extra business, since they've been really good to me these past few months. I've sold a number of games to Beep thus far, and each time, they've given me really fair prices on them, and even threw in an extra 500 yen here and there simply because they say I'm a good customer. They're pretty much the coolest store around, and the guys who work there are about as knowledgeable and trustworthy about old hardware as you can get.

-Tom

By wyrdwad

Paladin (931)

wyrdwad's picture

18-03-2020, 03:51

Bumping this old thread because my controller situation has gotten a tad bit worse (and I STILL haven't gotten around to opening the WX up to fix it), so I want to make sure there are no additional steps required here. I assume this is symptomatic of the cracks in the solder getting bigger, and just means it's more crucial than ever to get this taken care of, but I don't want to assume too much, especially when there are people on this board who know a lot more than I do! Wink

So my previous issue was just that button 1 (button A) wasn't responding from time to time on whatever controller I had plugged into controller port 1, forcing me to jiggle the connector or unplug and replug it in order to successfully get it working again.

This has morphed over time, however, into an issue where the right direction on the D-pad stops working from time to time (while button 1 mysteriously now works without any trouble!), and I MUST unplug and replug the controller to get it working again -- jiggling alone no longer fixes the problem.

More worrisome, though, is the fact that I own three controllers with rapid-fire/turbo switches on both button 1 and button 2, but NONE of the rapid-fire switches work anymore when those controllers are plugged into port 1. If I switch on rapid-fire even to the lowest level, the corresponding button will simply stop working until I switch it off again. (This has always been the case on certain select games, but it's now happening on EVERY game, including ones where rapid-fire worked without any difficulty previously.)

Also, one of the three controllers I own no longer functions in port 1 whatsoever. I own two Arvel JoyCards and one Needs JoyCard, and while both Arvels work in port 1 (minus the rapid-fire), the Needs simply doesn't function AT ALL in port 1 anymore. (There is clearly some difference in the internal functionality of the Needs, even though it looks identical to the Arvels, because I previously found that I couldn't use the Needs controller to play Andorogynus -- though it's always worked perfectly fine on every other game. Someone on here ultimately explained to me why this is, and it had something to do with the signals being sent to the MSX by the controller, but I can't recall who gave me that answer, nor what the exact reason was. I assume that's in some way connected to the Needs no longer functioning in port 1, however!)

So, yeah. Sorry for the tl;dr, but in summary, what began as an issue with button 1 sometimes dropping out has now morphed into an issue with the right direction dropping out, rapid-fire no longer working at all, and one entire controller failing to function. So is reflowing the solder on the controller port still the only issue, do you think, or has something else likely gone wrong?

Thanks!

-Tom

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