Vulnerable MSX hardware
This page was last modified 01:32, 21 December 2017 by Grauw.

This page describes MSX hardware which has an above-average risk of failure on certain components. Owners of these should inspect them and ideally replace components as a precaution to avoid damage.

Capacitors

Electrolytic capacitors have corrosive fluids inside which can leak. When leaked these corrosive fluids will eat through the board and damage it. Some manufacturers have used bad capacitor batches which are more susceptible to leaking than others.

Pay attention to these models:

  • Sony HB-F1XV [1]
  • Sony HB-F1XDJ [2] [3] (the ELNA caps are risky, the Nichicon ones are ok)
  • Sony HB-F1XDmkII [4]
  • Sony HB-F1XD [5]
  • Panasonic FS-A1 [6]
  • Panasonic FS-A1mkII [7]
  • Panasonic FS-A1F [8]

When you see leakage underneath capacitors, or they are “bulging”, they must be replaced. Capacitors also should have “vents” etched into the top which can break to release pressure, capacitors without vent are best replaced as well.

Batteries

All MSX2 and up computers have a battery to power the RTC (real-time clock). Some cartridges with SRAM for save functionality (e.g. FM-PAC) also have a battery inside. Sometimes these have a plastic casing which provides some protection, other times not.

Once drained these can start to leak, especially alkaline ones. To avoid damage empty batteries should be replaced or removed. If the MSX has removable batteries, always take them out before putting the MSX in storage, even when they’re not empty yet.

Lithium batteries are a good alternative for alkaline, in Europe e.g. Energizer and Varta sell Lithium AA batteries. These are marketed as “pro batteries” and more expensive, but since they are internally solid they do not leak and also last longer. (Note, Lithium batteries are not to be confused with rechargeable Li-Ion ones.)

Casing

  • Philips NMS-8250 / 8255 / 8280 — The front plastic has become very brittle and breaks easily, so these should be packaged with extra care and protection when shipping.