Repair and recap of a rare PC Engine LT. Would not power up. Replaced caps and power regulator. Capacitor replacenent. power fix. PCE LT.
PC Engine LT
I’m still slowly making progress in finishing the last few jobs here. This one was very interesting. A PC Engine LT that would not power up. The power supply was tested and working correctly by the owner, and the LED on the front would light up indicating there was power getting in to the console, but no picture on the screen or sound. Also nothing when plugged into a TV via the Interface unit IFU.
The PC Engine LT is the most highly desired PC Engine variant ever made. Only released in Japan and in very low numbers it was super expensive at the time, and even more now. In 1992 most people would have been impressed with just a LCD TV. The LT had one of those too, as well as a great way to play HuCard games.
Just like the PCE DUO and GT, the LT’s are prone to capacitor leakage and damage.
The customer told me it was working back in 2008 when he got it while in Tokyo. Replacing the capacitors and cleaning the leakage from the board was my first job.
Dismantling and repair
When I got the console dismantled it was easy to see the affected areas. The PCB actually looked wet!
The leakage has spread under most of the components in the power area as shown above. I found that I had to remove the metal RF sheild and even the HuCard socket to get everything clean and give me more room to work.
Here we can see the motherboard with components removed, all cleaned to prevent further damage.
The leakage had spread to the underside of the board, probably through the connecting VIA holes.
This area is mostly power related and was the most probable cause of the problem. The IC in the middle of this photo is a DC-DC voltage converter.
As you can see its almost floating in the leaked cap juice, and showing signs of damage to its solder joins. The fluid was almost certainly shorting this chip. I removed it and cleaned the area thoroughly. I decided to replace the IC with a brand new part rather than risk reusing the old one.
All the new caps were installed, other parts reinstalled and LT reassembled. Switched on and….Working!
Reassembled and tested
I was actually quite impressed with the LCD screen quality. Moving graphics did cause a blur and ghosting affect, but not as bad as the Sega Game Gear or Nomad. Its more like a slightly larger GT screen. It also seems to have a slight image retention when going from high contrast screens. All this is probably normal for screens from 1991-1992 and to be expected.
This is a very nice console and a very rare one too. I wish I could have kept it for myself. Returned to a very happy owner 🙂
Thanks for the opportunity to work on such an exclusive piece of gaming history. I never thought I’d get a chance to try one of these out.
Neil – 8bitplus – 2019