Famous console malfunctions -Part 2

MALFUNCTIONLast Thursday I looked at the two biggest hardware malfunctions in gaming – but they weren’t alone; far from it! Every major console manufacturer has had issues that somehow sneaked past QA and made it into the public domain.

The issues here are far less serious than those in Part One; in fact it is completely possible that you never knew these issues existed because you probably never experienced them. I can assure you that there were/are a very real thing!

Here we are then, three more console malfunctions of varying severity.

Dreamcast random reset issue

sega_dreamcast-copyThe Dreamcast was one hell of a system, with features that were a decade ahead of the curve and a games library that surpasses many of the “classic” systems in terms of quality – but one thing it was not, is flawless.

I got my Dreamcast on Christmas Day 1999; that very same system still gets played to this day. However I have one numerous occasions had to open up my system to fix the same issue; the random reset issue!

The random reset is the most annoying fault in this series – once minute you’re playing your favourite game and the next you’re staring at the Dreamcast dash board! The problem is exactly as it sounds, your system will randomly return to the home screen losing your unsaved progress and it was caused by two main issues with the consoles design. The first one (and most common) is that dirt and grime accumulate on the sensor that detects whether the disc lid is closed; the grim stops the sensor making clean contact and tells the console that the lid is open (even when closed). This can be fixed with an ear bud and a quick wipe – the second cause of the problem is a slightly more difficult fix (but still incredibly easy) and it is caused by the PSU not making clean contact with the motherboard.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe two components connect through 4 metal pins, because of heat these pins will; over time, expand and shrink and will eventually move away from the connectors causing the Dreamcast to run short of power needed to operate and thusly resetting. To fix this issue you’ll need to open the Dreamcast and push the pins towards the connectors – it’ll take 5 minutes and a cocktail stick to solve.

This issue could’ve been avoided by SEGA with a little more time in R&D – but we’ll forgive them that because they purposely designed the DC to be cheap off the shelf and easy to program for – an aim that they well and truly achieved. RIP SEGA and the Dreamcast.

3DS bottom screen damaging the top screen issue

3DS screen scratchThe 3DS launch was a disaster. There is no other way to put it. Nintendo followed up the most successful handheld ever (the DS) and absolutely fluffed their lines. The communication was shocking; making it difficult to see that it was a new console rather than just another refresh. Its launch line-up was devoid of anything remotely resembling a “system seller” and was generally just thin on games. Beyond all these issues and the infamous ambassador program there was a pretty serious flaw with the famous clamshell design – the bottom screen was raised, ever so slightly from the body and with force and time it would scratch the top screen.

N3DSComplaints came in far and wide from customers stating that their screen was damaged at best and destroyed at worst – that’s right, if you slam your OG 3DS hard enough (and it has to be incredibly hard, repeatedly) that bottom screen can crack the top one rending your £250 handheld useless.

It was a pretty widespread problem that Nintendo; to my knowledge, have failed to ever address it (Nintendo love us really) – the refreshed models (N3DS) have somewhat negated the issue by making the raise area flatter and much more curved; therefore minimising the contact. It is mind-boggling how people can support such atrocious business practices and hold Nintendo in such high esteem.

For the record I never had this issue, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!

PS VITA Battery Empty Error

This one is another that plagued me for the longest time; and again it was a ridiculously easy fix that took all of 5 minutes.

vita_backpanel_cables.jpgThe issue is most annoying, for no apparent reason the VITA will become incredibly difficult to charge; often not charging at all. The times it does charge within five minutes of play you will receive a “low battery” warning and the battery indicator will begin to flick between empty and full until the machine randomly powers down due to the (full) battery being empty.

The problem will persist much more aggressively on some days and not appear in others – it was extremely frustrating. It also caused me to have issues identifying the root of the problem; I thought that it was my charger or my battery – it took me ages to diagnose the issue because googling it brought up absolutely no hits!

The issue is actually caused by the ribbon cable that connects the battery to the motherboard; for some reason (perhaps dust) it will randomly begin to experience bad connections and trick the system into thinking the battery is dead; when it is full. The fix is simple – open the VITA, disconnect the ribbon cable and immediately reconnect it then close up the system.

There we have it guys, some famous examples of console malfunctions.

Can you think of anymore?

Share them in the comments/facebook/twitter!

One thought on “Famous console malfunctions -Part 2

  1. There’s another Dreamcast issue that you didn’t mention: The GD-ROM disc-reading issue where the drive’s laser will have problems reading discs after some time. The fix is simple but not permanent: You need to open the disc reader and use a small screwdriver to turn one of the screws to increase or decrease the laser’s power. It worked for a few years but it finally, finally failed for good at the start of 2017 for my Dreamcast. Rest in peace.


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