Category Archives: Repair


Philips FW380i Mini System Repair Part 1

The Philips FW380i Mini System landed unexpectedly on my repair table last August. I never intended to get one of these models because the CD-i part is at the lowest end of CD-i hardware (very similar to the Roboco mainboard of CDI450 etc.) and also the build quality of FW mini system is not something I would have bought or used in the 90s. However, this particular CD-i mainboard was only used for this model and has some very unique features such as a separated servo board, a connector for communication with the FW part and even some unused connectors for a disc changer – which unfortunately never saw the light of day. Long story short: this model was never properly analysed, which is why it piqued my interest.

In this article I will show you how I carried out the disassembly and basic cleaning last year. I will follow up about diagnosis, repair and possibly modifications at a later point. The exact model/version I’m taking apart here is an FW380i/20 – which means that a 22ER9956/20 DVC mini cartridge was installed at the factory.

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Pippin Atmark Troubleshooting and Repair Information

A collection of technical information to assist in troubleshooting and the repair of Pippin Atmark consoles. You can use it side by side with the disassembly guide in my Pippin Atmark PA-82001-S Monitoring Unit article from 2019.

You will find details about the FFC of the control buttons, the Matsushita CR-504-L optical disc drive and the VOLTEK SPEC7188B power supply unit. The information applies to both “monitoring” and retail units.

Control buttons FFC

These are the control buttons on the top of the Pippin and what they look like on the back. When you open the case of a Pippin, pay special attention to the FFC (flexible flat cable). Otherwise you could damage the control buttons, the FFC or even the ZIF connector on the mainboard.

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Nintendo AV Famicom With Switchless NESRGB Maintenance

My Nintendo AV Famicom that I equipped with a switchless NESRGB solution in 2016 is spending most of its days on a shelf as a backup console. It still needs some maintenance, which I will cover in this article: cleaning, securing the NESRGB, placing the LED and repairing the expansion port cover.

Last week, I just wanted to quickly test some Famicom carts and realised that the console wasn’t outputting any picture or sound. There was still a reaction on the TV though: black picture and a crackling sound when I switched it off. Fearing the worst, I opened it up and saw my favourite insulation tape. However, as I’ve learned in the past, this stuff disintegrates over the years and sticks to everything, so now I was apparently in for not only a repair but also a clean. I opened the console and plugged it in again. When I removed some of the insulating tape, graphics rubbish suddenly appeared on the TV. On closer inspection, I realised that the NESRGB board was tilted slightly backwards. It must have come loose at some point.

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Philips CD-i RC6 Remote Control Hack

A quick and dirty hack to save a broken Philips CD-i RC6 remote control with a Sega Mega Drive controller.

Most CD-i players come with or are compatible with the 22ER9055 CD-i Commander, an RC6 remote control with a pressure-sensitive thumbpad. There are three known versions of the CD-i Commander:

  • RV 7701 – standard remote for most CD-i Players.
  • RV 7704 – with additional stand-by button for CDI660 and 670.
  • RV 7706 – with additional controls for CDI740.

When buying a used remote control, your first action should be to check the battery compartment for obvious leaking damage and also take it apart to find hidden damage. You never know if there were accidents in the past and previous owners just cleaned out the battery compartment without looking further into it.

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NVRAM+RTC Solutions for Philips CD-i Players

There are two main types of NVRAM+RTC solutions for Philips CD-i players to store user data and settings: 8 KB and 32 KB. They have a built-in battery that powers the non-volatile memory and the real-time clock. These two types are not compatible and thus cannot be replaced with each other (at least, not without hardware and/or ROM modifications).
There are other types, also 8 KB and 32 KB, but they concern only very few and rare devices. I point them out when necessary.

In this article, you’ll find information about the different NVRAM types and their alternatives. You’ll also find tips for repair and upgrades. If this looks familiar to you then you have probably read parts of it in my Modifications for Philips CD-i Players article before. Since the NVRAM section grew so large, I’ve completely rewritten it and will continue to update it in its own article.

Philips CD-i 8 and 32 KB NVRAM
Philips CD-i 8 and 32 KB NVRAM
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Philips CD-i Mono III / IV Fuses

Replacing blown fuses in Philips CD-i players with Mono III and Mono IV mainboards – sounds too simple to write an article about. That’s why I’m going to dig a bit deeper into the topic. An important fuse sits on the mainboard and protects the -5 V rail. I tripped (over) it by accident and was confronted with these weird symptoms that are hard to diagnose:

  • No video output (well, there is something, but see below)
  • Service Shell video output with a rolling/flickering image
  • The disc tray opens on its own (tray loader motor is constantly spinning)
  • The spindle motor is constantly spinning
  • “cd” flashing on the VFD
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Philips CDM 12.1T Laser Sledge Replacement

This guide shows the replacement of the laser sledge in Philips CDM 12.1T CD mechanisms. It assumes that you have already cleaned the lens and done the necessary troubleshooting to rule out other errors (see this article for diagnosis with the Service Shell). If you only get dirty disc messages or experience stuttering audio/video from time to time, you can still follow the guide to clean and grease the mechanism.

For documentation, I replaced the laser sledges of two CDI450 players with unreliable or no disc recognition at all. I took different approaches to find the easiest replacement procedure, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly see pictures where things are in different places.

Philips CDM 12.1T laser sledge replacement
Philips CDM 12.1T laser sledge replacement
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Component Lists

This is an overview of the lists of capacitors and other components that I had to create in order to repair or modify my devices. Currently, all of them are already featured in my repair articles, but I will add further lists that are not featured yet or are a work in progress.

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Philips 22ER9021 CD-i Gamepad Repair

Recently, I acquired yet another CD-i player for repair and it came with a Philips 22ER9021 CD-i Gamepad. The gamepad showed two common signs of usage: Broken cable insulation and an unresponsive D-Pad.

The coating is broken right behind the cable strain relief. I’ve seen much worse cases of broken insulation and even ripped out conductors, but this still needs to be fixed before it becomes worse.

Philips 22ER9021 PCB - front - with broken cable insulation
Philips 22ER9021 PCB – front – with broken cable insulation
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Texas Instruments TI-82 Serial Link on Windows 10

In the early to mid-90s, the Texas Instruments Ti-82 Graphics Calculator (or Graphing Calculator) was introduced and became a requirement in some high schools. I never had the official serial link cable to connect mine to a PC, but it came with a calculator-to-calculator link cable. That cable was very popular during math lessons for trading pictures, programs and games. We had several games back then, but I only remember one game, a Breakout clone programmed in TI-BASIC that was painfully slow.

I still have this calculator, but it was sitting in a drawer for more than 20 years. In this article, I will bring it back to life and connect it to a modern Windows 10 PC to install a Breakout clone or something better on it.

Texas Instruments Ti-82 Graphics Calculator
Texas Instruments Ti-82 Graphics Calculator
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