Replacing Mega Drive Cartridge Connector

cartridge connector

Removing and replacing the original cartridge connector in the Sega Mega Drive 2 console.

Damaged Cartridge Connector

Recently I was send a pair of Mega Drive 2 consoles with dodgy cartridge connectors. The story was that some previous owner had been rather fond of those cheep Chinese clone cartridges or multi-game carts (not EverDrive, don’t worry) As a result both machines had damaged or crushed pins in the cartridge connector slots.

Its not easy or practical to repair a cartridge connector slot, although sometimes it can be pit right if its only a minor problem. In this case we decided to just replace the whole connector.

Removal

Firstly I dismantled the console and removed the RF shield section. Annoyingly this Mega Drive had also been modified with a switch for region and video selection. the extra wires didn’t cause a problem, but the fact that the switch had been super-glued to the case did annoy me slightly.

After I freed the board I removed the 2 large screws holding the rear retainer plate. The cartridge connector is also attached to the board with 2 hollow rivets. I drilled the tops of these off.

Now it was just a case of desoldering the cartridge connector with my trusty desoldering vacuum gun. This tool makes nice clean removals and speeds up a job like this no end. I hate to think how long it would take to do this with a normal soldering iron and a normal solder sucker…

With all the solder and rivets removed the cartridge connector simply lifted out. The solder points were cleaned up to remove what little solder escaped the desoldering gun.

Replacement 

I found a few listing for replacement 64-pin connector edges on both Aliexpress and eBay. I went with these ones. They shipped from China and go to the UK in about 2 weeks.

Installation was as simple as press it in place, making sure all the pins lined up, then solder. Easy.

Now I reassembled and tested the Mega Drive.

I must point out that I have not tested these cartridge connectors in the long run. I don’t know how it will stand up to continues use. They do seem to hold the cartridge firmly and worked without any problems as far as I can see. I didn’t spot any oblivious scratching to the edge connector on my EverDrive MD after inserting and removing a number of times.

Everything seems to be fine with these replacement connectors so far.

Thanks for reading.

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8bitplus – 2018