Whenever someone calls me to come and service their game, or tells me they have a game to sell, I always ask the same question first. Have you been changing your batteries regularly, or did you remove them if storing your game for a long period of time? Most of you already know that battery acid damage is the leading cause of game failure. It’s also the leading cause of many games getting junked or parted out sadly.
Sometimes you get lucky and the batteries don’t leak or the acid is contained in the battery holder. Other times it gets far into the board damaging chips, diodes, resistors or even worse eating the copper traces. Some boards can be repaired, some boards are simply too far gone to fix.
There are several ways to prevent battery acid from destroying your game. The first is to remove the batteries altogether if you are putting your game into long term storage. Another way is to install a remote battery holder, but that won’t protect your game in the long term since the acid can, and will, travel up the wires. I’ve had many people suggest using lithium AA batteries. This can be a viable option, as long as you always use lithium batteries instead of regular alkaline that you may have lying around in the moment when they need changing.
You can install an NVRAM, which is a non-volatile ram meaning it will hold it’s memory when the power is removed. The downside to using an NVRAM is that they are quite expensive, can sometimes alter game functionality (on rare occasions I’ve seen this happen) and can ultimately fail meaning you will need to buy a new one, if they are even still available.
Lastly you can install my battery adapter board. This is the simplest, most economical way to preserve your game. It allows you to install a CR2032 coin cell battery where the original AA batteries used to be. It requires no modification to your board and is a fraction of the cost of an NVRAM. My battery boards are my original design and are now Patent Pending. Be sure to check back for upcoming posts as I will go into more detail of the pros and cons of each of the methods I described as well as more advantages of my coin cell adapter battery boards.