Watara Supervision Repair Guide (gameboy-esque model)

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Watara Supervision Repair Guide

(gameboy-esque model)

Symptoms:

  • No Power On Led
  • No Display
  • No Sound

Reason:

  • No Ground connection

Supervision was kept in mint condition with no use for almost 15 years. Some days ago I tried to turn it on but it failed with the symptoms stated above. I searched on the net but there exists next to nothing about repairing a supervision unit. So I decided to try on my own.

I assume that anyone who reads this text has a basic understanding of opening up an electronic device, soldering etc, so I wont get into many details about how to open the unit, separate the screen from the main board etc. Moreover the supervision is a pretty simple device, however careful moves are required when dismantling it. So, first of all remove all 6 screws, do not be in a hurry to take apart the plastic case since you have to carefully detach the screen from the main board. They are connected together in the upper side of the unit (the main board is screwed on the back plastic case and the screen well, on the front plastic case), so try not to bent or break any connector. Moreover there is a ribbon cable (seems very fragile) connecting the main board with the gamepad controller. Now all we have to do is to detach the main board from the back plastic case in order to have access to the cartridge connector. This is easy, just remove the screws holding the board on the back case. Picture 1 shows pretty much the situation (note that in this picture the main board is attached again to the screen)

In my case the problem was that for some reason the screen circuitry had no ground connection. According to this article http://blog.kevtris.org/blogfiles/Supervision_Tech.txt the cartridge slot connector should have a pin allowing ground connection. This pin is the upper rightmost pin as we are looking the unit with screen facing down. It is the pin the screwdriver is touching in Picture 1 So all we have to do is to give ground to this pin. Ground can be found at the power supply plug, at the place where the screwdriver touches at Picture 2. Solder some wire to connect the pin with the ground like I did in Picture 3. Note that I did not solder on the cartridge connector’s pin itself but I followed the printed line which leads to a small hole just beneath the 5th and 6th connector pins (Picture 4). But of course it’s ok if you solder on the 1st pin itself. In Picture 5 you can see the black wire soldered to the ground at power supply plug.
That was all, give some power to the unit and if this was the failure reason it should light up. Bear in mind that the unit must have a cartridge in the slot in order to power up. So don’t forget this and think that the unit is still dead.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Picture 3

Picture 4

Picture 5

Cheers to all! Thanks for reading,
eLefas (C) 2012, first published at http://www.pleft.eu/watara

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13 comments on “Watara Supervision Repair Guide (gameboy-esque model)

  1. ferinfinland says:

    Hi, I bought a ‘Broken’ Watara Supervision (same model). This one powers up (red led) and sound is ok, but nothing is pictured on the screen.

    I opened it up but nothing seems to be wrong… do you have any schematics of the console or any idea on what could this be?

    Thanks in advance

    • elefasgr says:

      hmm my case was different for sure, so I cannot advise you on a solution. I suppose you have experimented with the contrast knob (that’s the easy thing). For some schematics check the file http://blog.kevtris.org/blogfiles/Supervision_Tech.txt, look for the LCD System. If you have a multimeter tool you can check if the “lines” on the screen pcb have current or voltage while the console is powered on, maybe a resistor is blown up. I am only guessing since I cannot test it myself. Please provide me feedback of your efforts.
      thanks

  2. elefasgr says:

    Sorry for the missing pictures, I will try to upload them again as soon as possible.

  3. ferinfinland says:

    Hi again!
    I borrowed today a multimeter and did some readings. Unfortunately I didn’t really find anything strange… as I said, sound and buttons seem to work fine, so I guess it has to be something lcd related…
    Although I have to start saying I’m no expert with it (just the basics), so forgive me if I say any stupidity hehe.

    Don’t know if you could help me here, but since you’re the only one I found that has done something related to Supervision fix, here’s what I found:

    a) I measured the contrast knob, from minimum (output around 1.5V) to maximum (near 12 V). What do you think about those values? They were measured between the lowest two pins.

    b) The item in red in the following image (don’t know the name in english: http://s12.postimage.org/egsok75wt/photo_4.jpg ) is over a grid, and although it doesn’t touch it when open, I think it has contact when the shell is closed…

    c) These two pins ( http://s13.postimage.org/6kc5qcbbr/photo_1.jpg ) are in short circuit. Measured continuity with the multimeter and resistance was 0. Seems odd but maybe it’s ok… Looking at the txt could be those are Frame Polarity/bright control, right?
    On the other side lcd lines seem to have voltage when turned on.

    d) This capacitor here ( http://s12.postimage.org/dk9881dbh/photo_5.jpg ) doesn’t look in great shape… but there’s no way to check it without desoldering it, right?

    A couple more images:

    So, as I said, just wanted to keep you updated… it’s not much and will give it another go some other day. I told you I’m no expert, so any guidance will be welcomed!

    Thank you in advance and regards

    – Fer

    • elefasgr says:

      Hi!
      Looks you did a thorough job there! Wish I could help you more but as you can understand by yourself it is difficult to make “guesses”. Me too, I am very amateur at hardware electronics (I am a software engineer), just for hobby so no
      expertise here.

      Maybe your LCD had it’s days over so no matter what you do, only a replacement will do the job right. About the 4000 resonator, I suppose since it is the system’s clock (at 4MHz) if it was not working right, the sound should also come out distorted, you stated no problem with sound however.

      About the capacitor the best thing would be just to replace it with one of the same specs. Checking it could be more complex, I do not know if you can check if it is working only with a multimeter.

      It will be very interesting if you manage to repair it, keep up my friend.

      • ferinfinland says:

        Same here, hehe.
        Well, I’ll keep trying next weekend. Will let you know if I can come up with something.

        Best regards,
        – Fer

  4. Andrea says:

    Hi guys!
    I’m a very unfortunate owner of a Watara Supervision (with tiltable screen) which, in fact, never really worked fine.
    When I was a child I thought that white lines on the display were normal. The only thing that I hated was that my console kept resetting randomly while I was playing…
    The contrast knob always gave me problems…
    Now I think that my aunt (who gave it to me as a gift) may have bought a pre-owned faulty console without knowing… but who knows?
    BTW I hated it.

    Now if I manage to turn it on either it doesn’t show anything at all or it just displays random black lines (accordingly to the actual contrast setting). But listening to the sound I can tell that it keeps restarting the game over and over and over again…

    ferinfinland, I’d like to help you with something:
    about a) “HOORAY 4000” chip, in my Supervision there’s a stripe of adhesive tape protecting it from touching the other board
    about d) your capacitors don’t look very well. But why don’t you try sprying over them some contact desoxidizer? I’m sure it’d help you.

  5. pardo says:

    update more please

  6. blink13 says:

    Reblogged this on blink13 a movement in information and commented:
    Awesome !

  7. ali says:

    Hi
    My watara super vision has some missing vertical and horizontal lines is there a way to fix it

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