To place an order, just send me a private message through Dragon's Den, or an e-mail to mhall77[at]gmail.com
Q: Battery replacement? What’s this all about?
A: In previous console and portable generations, game cartridges used a lithium coin cell battery to store game save data. You can oftentimes find these types of batteries in such devices as hearing aids, computer motherboards, remote controls and so on. The batteries typically last for as little as 5 years, to as long as 20+ years and counting. However, they eventually become drained of all their power, and that means the memory chip on the game board no longer has system-independent electricity to retain save data.
Q: So couldn’t I just put a battery in myself and be done with it?
A: Of course. However, it’s not quite that simple. The batteries installed in game cartridges use a certain type of lithium coin cell battery with permanently-attached electrical leads. These leads are then soldered to contact pads or through holes on the game board. There are methods floating around on the internet that show how one might remove these contacts and attach them to a new battery - among them, using a razor blade, glue or electrical tape, of all things! However, this and other methods are not electrically/mechanically sound approaches. Very likely, such work would cause permanent damage to your game due to faulty connections or insecure attachment...not to mention that with one slip, one would be headed for the hospital.
Alternatively, one could buy a replacement battery exactly like the type that’s inside the game already. Unfortunately, this person would be right back in the same boat years later, having to de-solder a dead battery, and then soldering in a new one. As for the hand soldering process itself, that requires skillful work - especially when dealing with sensitive electrical components, like those found on a game board. Most importantly, the lithium coin cell batteries are also highly explosive when exposed to heat or shock, and can cause serious injury and/or damage when not handled properly.
Q: Alright, so what should I do?
A: Well, if you want to be able to play the game and save your data, that old battery has to come out, and a new one needs to be installed. I’ve done a lot of research, and my finding is no individual or company provides a forward-thinking battery replacement service. There are a few retro gaming stores (online and otherwise) that will sell you games that have new batteries installed, though they'll charge you a healthy markup for their trouble. But as before, when that battery dies, you’re once again stuck.
Years ago, Nintendo of America used to provide this service for quite some time through its licensed Nintendo Repair Shops. However, that affiliation program has long since been discontinued. Notably, Nintendo of America will no longer provide support for NES/SNES cartridges or systems, so classic collectors are really on their own. Even so, if you have games with dead or failing batteries, you are yet in luck! I am here to help you out, to provide professional service and a high-value solution with a very reasonable price to match!
Q: Ok, so what are you going to do with my game(s)?
A: The procedure is pretty straightforward. I remove the security screws on your game cartridge, open it up and take out the game board. Using professional solutions and tools, I carefully remove the dead battery and give the contact pads and gold connector edge (the one that connects your game to your console or portable) a thorough cleaning. For the battery contact pads, I use 91% isopropyl rubbing alcohol, and for the gold connector edge, I use a special combination non-abrasive metal deoxidizer and lubricant.
The great thing about this product I use for the gold connector edge is it removes virtually all contaminants that have built up over the years - even the stuff rubbing alcohol can’t get out. I have personally used this product on my own collection of classic games; I must say it is wonderful. Remember opening up that brand new game, and seeing how much the gold connector edge could shine in the light? From just one cleaning with this product I use, your game will be restored to that condition! It also aids in resisting future oxidation/contaminants, and even allows the game to slide more smoothly in and out of your console’s cartridge slot!
Once your game has been cleaned up, I solder a special part into the same location as where the dead battery used to be. Lastly, I pop a new battery inside that part, and close up the game using Phillips screws to replace the security screws (no more security bit needed!). Thanks to this part, it provides a firm and reliable electrical and mechanical connection to the game board. But this is the most important thing about it – this retrofit also allows you in the future to easily remove a dead battery, and slip in a new one in just a minute or two! What that ultimately means is as long as you carefully handle and store your games, they can conceivably last as long as you do!
Q: Well this sounds like a great idea, but why should I send my games to you for battery replacement?
A: No doubt, there are a number of highly skilled and trained electrical assembly technicians out there. However, many of them do this sort of thing for a living, and aren’t interested in doing side-work outside of the factory. So really, there are a very small number of individuals who have both the qualifications and dedication to restoring classic games. Of those who are willing, they will charge you quite a bit more than I will, and only to replace your game batteries with the exact same type that died. What I’m providing you with is not just a simple replacement service, but a way to keep your games running for as long as you own them! As for my qualifications, I worked as a highly-valued electrical assembly technician for an ISO-9000/9001/9002 and QS-9000/9001/9002 company in metro Detroit for a number of years. In addition to my skills at the worksite, I have also performed custom repairs and replacements for my own devices, as well as for family and friends. I always use quality tools, supplies and accessories, as well as ISO-certified parts and batteries. From start to finish, this service is all about professional, quality work.
Q: Good, so you know what you’re doing...but what if something goes wrong?
A: I guarantee my work for one (1) year from the date you receive your retrofitted game back from me. I promise your game will be able to save game data the first time, and every time, so long as that battery holds a good charge. When it eventually dies, just replace it and you’re back in the game – simple as that. If you end up having trouble with saving your game data during the warranty period, just send it back to me, and I’ll test and repair the affected game(s) free of charge. Your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Q: Alright, I’m interested in your services. What will it cost me, and how do I get my game(s) to you? How do I get them back?
A: The cost for the battery retrofit service and professional cleaning is $8 per game, for quantities between one (1) to nine (9). For orders with game quantities of ten (10) or more, I’ll cut you a discount – just place an order, and we’ll work out the price. As for shipping, the cost, packaging and method for getting the games out to me are entirely up to you. Ship them as carefully or cheaply as you like, and use the fastest or slowest method you want - no problem! What I do in turn is re-use your packing materials, and ship your games back to you using United States Postal Service (USPS). I’ll always inform you when your games arrive, when they have been retrofitted, and when they have been shipped back to you (with tracking numbers when requested).
On a related note, I am accepting orders for GameBoy Color (GBC) games on a case-by-case basis. There appears to be some type of physical defect with the EEPROM IC chips, which are responsible for holding the actual save data, in combination with the battery. Because of this, it is not always possible to get these games back in working order. I'll have to ask you some questions about the condition and performance of your game, before an order can be placed. Please private message me for details.
Q: What forms of payment will you accept?
A: I will take any form of payment, so long as it’s good, mind you! That means you can pay using cash, check, money order and debit/credit card. I would recommend that if you pay with cash (and remember, you assume all risk for delivery of cash payments), please double-envelope your money using the security type that prevents someone from peering through it with a light. I will wait for checks and money orders to clear first before beginning the work - though these days, that doesn’t take very long. Debit/credit card payments are accepted through PayPal – once your order has been placed, I will send you a billing invoice. Please note you don’t need to have a PayPal account to make a payment with a debit/credit card, so you won't have to worry about creating an account to place an order with me.
Q: Not too shabby....so what about console repair?
A: I have recently expanded into NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Sony PlayStation and PlayStation 2 console repair! Those games and systems aren’t much good to you if you can't use them! Currently, I am taking orders on a case-by-case basis - just private message me, explaining your situation. If I determine your console can be repaired, then related costs/quotes will be provided to the customer for consideration. If the console can be repaired and we mutually agree on price, then payment will be determined at that time. I'm still in the process of supplying a sufficient inventory of replacement parts for the aforementioned consoles. Once I have it, I will most certainly provide flat rates for console repair like I have with the battery retrofits. Whatever those rates end up being, they will be competitive and provide you with the best value out there in return. As I said before, your satisfaction is guaranteed!
Q: Do you plan on offering any other type(s) of console/game services?
A: Absolutely. I'm always doing research on a number of different services I could provide that will further extend your classic consoles and games! Check back with this FAQ, as I will be updating it as the situation changes.
Edited by Zenithian77, 10 June 2010 - 07:04 AM.