Mario Kart Arcade Repair (SMD)

Mario Kart arcade repair

The Electric Starship had an Mario Kart Arcade GP 2 that was misbehaving. Diagnostics indicated that we needed to replace one of the surface mount ROM chips. David the 8-Bit Guy jumped in to help with this Mario Kart arcade repair because he had some experience working with SMD device.

Mario Kart Arcade Repair Video

Watch the video of David repairing the Mario Kart Arcade GP 2!

Removing the Existing Chip

First things, first David pulled the hot-air rework gun out of storage and heated it up.

These guns work by heating air very hot and blowing it on the device, rather than heating the tip of an iron that will physically touch the chip. Hot air is necessary because we need to heat all of the pins up on the device at one time, rather than a single pin at a time like through hole soldering.

You want to use some caution here and slowing warm the chip (or whatever device you are replacing). If you just immediately hit it with hot air you could crack the chip or otherwise damage it from the abrupt temperature change. This is called pre-heating and there are several ways to go about it. In this case we just used the hot air gun and slowly raised the temperature until everything was in the right range.

After the legs of the IC reach the right temperature the device will lift off the board sort of like magic.

Before moving to the next step The 8-Bit Guy removed all of the solder from the pads using some flux and solder wick.

Normally, we’d use solder paste to solder the new device back on, but for some reason David couldn’t find any in the shop today. He used the method of just putting solder on the pads using regular solder.

David placed the chip over the pre-tinned pads and then heated chip chip and pads back up. After a few seconds all the solder begins to flow and you can feel the chip sort of just settle into place.

David then used a magnifier to check all of the legs just to make sure there were no bridges or other faulty connections.

With the board installed back in, this Mario Kart arcade repair seems to be complete! The game is now working correctly and all is back to normal! As you can see Mike Woods from Electric Starship Arcade playing the game and having a blast!

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