GBA Slowdown

Discussion in 'GBA - Hardware, Devices and Utilities' started by kunoichi49, Aug 14, 2016.

  1. kunoichi49
    OP

    kunoichi49 Newbie

    Newcomer
    3
    0
    Dec 14, 2009
    United States
    My GBA has a bizarre problem where sometimes everything will run at a severely reduced speed (~1/3 speed is my rough guess). It did this when I first bought it (many years ago, brand new), then stopped for a while, but is now doing it again...

    Has anyone else had this problem? I'm stumped as to what could possibly cause it.
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,553
    9,379
    Nov 21, 2005
    Some people did overclock the GBA to get increased speed and I guess you could have a dud crystal. Alternatively the GBA has a GBC inside it and the timings might get mixed up. (GBA at 17 MHz and the GB/GBC at 4 or 8). If it is that then try cleaning the little black slider switch inside the GBA port. Most of the time if it is a switch related thing though the screen will change size to be like the GBC one though.

    It is certainly not a common failure mode we see around here and I have not heard of it before, though I am hardly an authority on the matter (seen loads of dodgy screens, buttons/switches, speakers and connectors but most people that have fun stuff like this would probably look elsewhere for assistance). It might ultimately be a simple "solder this"/"replace this cheap device" fix (the fact it went away and came back could well speak to an iffy solder joint somewhere*, indeed I would place a not unreasonable sum on it being as such), however it could well take someone with real tools and skills a while to figure out and GBAs are not that expensive.

    *assuming the port thing did not work if you turn it upside down or on its side does it go away?
     
  3. kunoichi49
    OP

    kunoichi49 Newbie

    Newcomer
    3
    0
    Dec 14, 2009
    United States
    Cleaning it seems to have made it crap out entirely now. :blink: I guess it was on it's last legs.

    Your solder theory seems right to me- I'm not sure if I was imagining it or not, but it seemed like certain orientations would make it go away sometimes.

    I'm gonna take it apart and see if there's anything obviously wrong with it. I'll keep you posted if you're interested.
     
  4. kunoichi49
    OP

    kunoichi49 Newbie

    Newcomer
    3
    0
    Dec 14, 2009
    United States
    The circuit board was missing an (apparently magic) screw of all things. Works flawlessly now.

    Putting the screw in visibly made the circuit board flex a bit, so I guess that's what did it?
     
  5. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,553
    9,379
    Nov 21, 2005
    Might have been. I have certainly had warped circuit boards break traces, vias and connections between components, or ground things that did not want grounding out, before. Likewise gravity can be enough to put it into order or take it out; I have been in places before where they were doing medical electronics, had to test everything in every orientation for just this reason, tedious beyond belief to do it but worth it in that world.

    If I was giving any kind of warranty on such a fix it would be "see it working in my hand, see it working in yours, good because that is the warranty period over". It might well last another 20 years but at the same time I would not be surprised to see it go tomorrow.