I wanted to ask what game systems you know how critical design flaws waiting to go wrong, or could be aptly noted as "ticking time bombs". With the popularization of the fact that PS4's will not be able to play games once a cmos battery goes out due to an engineering and programming oversight, I feel like I need to make a list of ALL major design flaws like this. I can't find an easy one on the internet or reddit, so I intend to make this a list for general use for anyone wondering. I'm well-acquainted with retro consoles, as those are likely the more dire cases and it's become obvious where the design flaws are over time, but honestly if you have any information on consoles after 2006 please tell us what you know. I also don't know much about pre-gaming industry crash consoles like the Atari. This list is not supposed to be "common console failures" even if it coincides heavily, it's just meant to highlight what needs attention due to probable impending doom.
Here is what I know of so far:
Pre-5th Gen Consoles in General: May have leaky capacitors, period.
NES 72 Pin Connector: The NES 72 Pin Connector is bound to give out eventually. If an NES doesn't work, chances are it's the 72PC. Luckily, NES's are REALLY easy to open up, as they only use the standard philips screwdriver head. Here's a guide on
. Almost ANYONE can do this one and the 72PC should be under $12. Alternatively you can just try and clean it to extend its life a little more until a replacement is absolutely necessary.
Gameboy/GBC/GBA Dead Pixels: Dead Pixels are basically inevitable with these handhelds. An LCD replacement will be necessary if it becomes a problem eventually.
Game Gear Capacitors: It's not a specific problem like the Xbox is, but all the capacitors used are all pretty bad, so they need a broad replacement at some point or another.
CD-i Timekeeper/Saves Battery: It's a similar problem to the N64 problem below, where save data and time are kept on SRAM rather than EEPROM or other formats, where SRAM requires constant energy to keep its data. Here's the REALLY bad thing about this battery though, you can't simply replace it. They put the lithium battery IN THE SRAM chip (or A chip, I forgot if it's the SRAM actually). I dunno much about it, so
. Hopefully it's enough.
Nintendo 64 Carts AND Controller Paks: Some of the earliest Nintendo 64 carts and controller paks used SRAM to save memory rather than EEPROM, meaning a battery was needed to keep the save files intact. And unfortunately, the list of games affected include a lot of system sellers, such as Ocarina of Time, F Zero X, Mario Golf, Super Smash Bros., etc. being that these were some of the first games. These batteries will eventually need to be replaced. Alternatively, buying a modern memory pak that doesn't depend on SRAM will allow you to make saves indefinitely.The N64 itself has no major design flaws.
Dreamcast Controller Ports: Did you know that if you pull out your controller from a Dreamcast while it's running, chances are that the controller port won't work anymore? This is because the controller port resistors have basically fused, though that's a lazy way of putting it. It's not a "ticking" time bomb, it's more like a pressure sensitive bomb. To fix this issue if it arises, here's a DIY guide. It involves soldering though, so many may not have the station or know-how to fix it.
Original XBox Capacitors – All models except 1.6: The original Xbox used a clock capacitor that has a nearly 100% chance of leakage eventually. When it does leak, it'll begin to corrode the PCB board of the Xbox itself. Many of the other capacitors are also poor quality as well. Honestly, if you have an original Xbox, you should get those capacitors replaced ASAP! It's difficult to DIY since you need to have a soldering station and know how to solder, but if you're up to it
Remember to clean any corrosion. To be honest, if you're going to do that though, you may as well do every capacitor. If you open your Xbox today, you could find ANY of the capacitors leaking.The very last revision of the original Xbox, 1.6, used better quality capacitors.
XBox 360 Overheating – Original, Core, Elite, Arcade: This is by-far the most infamous one on this list I'd wager. The Red Ring of Death is a well-known phenomenon and unfortunately it's a general overheating problem coming from the processors and stuffy design. As such, anything in the thing could go wrong, the entire thing is the ticking time bomb. The only thing you can do with these is be careful. The Xbox 360 S/Slim and E models are free of this problem. I understand that this one doesn't necessarily fit on the list (impending doom), but I couldn't resist.
Playstation 3 Overheating – All Phat models: Playstation 3 Phat models can easily overheat in the right conditions. It's funny, because it's in the same generation as the infamous XBox 360 Red Ring. Whatever they were doing back then, they really rushed those consoles out. The problem can at least partially be attributed to thermal paste must be replaced after 10-15 years. As such, a solution can be to replace the thermal paste, but that isn't easy to DIY if you don't open consoles. It may be worth looking into a repair guy from a local electronics repair store though.
You'll need a T10/T8 screw head, a small Philips head, and a Flathead. And here's a list of possible decent quality thermal pastes to replace the arguably low-quality one that was in the Phat anyways.
Playstation 4 Clock Battery: Cmos battery can run out and requires the PS4 to connect to the PSN. With the PS3 being cut off from PSN soon, it becomes apparent that maybe one day the PS4 will be cut off as well, and when that battery runs out, the ability to play games will be disabled. It would need to connect to the network to re-enable. The solution is to jailbreak the Playstation 4. Apparently the battery was engineered this way to hold trophies? Pretty stupid-sounding. I dunno enough though.
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