Repair Log: Namco System ND-1 – Namco Classic Collection Volume 1

Last week I caught a listing for a “Free non-working unknown Namco PCB”:

I instantly recognized it as the Namco ND-1 Hardware used for their Namco Classics Collection games. Checking the ROM label in the image I confirmed it was Volume 1. I own Volume 2 and have been looking for a reasonable priced Vol 1 to complete the set. I figure you can’t beat Free+Shipping for a non-working one; well worth the risk so I picked it up.

Namco boards from this era have a well known issue with the SMD capacitors failing and leaking and causing trace damage on the PCB. Usually this is symptomatic in the form of failing audio or non-booting long before permanent damage occurs. It’s hard to tell from the photo if this was the cause but either way my hope was that I could revive this board with a recap.

Upon getting the board in I was surprised that all of the caps look decent, there was a tiny bit of oily residue (indicative of leaking caps) near the RGB Amp but other than that it was completely clean. I also tested the cap on the voltage sense circuit (usually this will prevent the board from booting if it goes bad) it tested good in-circuit but sure enough the board had no signs of life when attempting to power it on.

I did notice that the Filter (FIL21) for the power pins had been cut out and bypassed with some bodge wire. I’ve seen this on plenty of boards before and usually it’s inconsequential and boards will run fine like this but I soon noticed that there was a diode (D1) missing nearby too… surely that can’t be the culprit, right?

Well I had a FUBAR Tekken 3 board in my spare parts box and looking over that it had the exact same Filter and Diode as this board (confirmed by comparing the component on my working Namco Classic Collection Volume 2 board). So I got rid of the bodge wire and swapped in the filter and diode from my parts board….

SUCCESS! The Board sprang to life, sound work great too, crazy that the only reason the board didn’t work is because someone stole some parts off of it; you never know.

We’re not done yet though. There is some issues with the colors, note that the green is really weak and everything has a shadow. I suspect the caps that were starting to produce residue near the RGB amp are the culprits, but I didn’t have any replacements handy so I had to order some.

About a week later the replacement caps came in, I recapped the RGB Section and now the graphics are bright and crisp without any shadows.

While this revival worked out. it’s worth noting that they don’t always. Often you’ll discover that the bad part is something that is no longer produced, or a bespoke component that you can’t get anywhere else. Buying broken PCBs is a gamble so make sure you’re factoring that in when you opt to buy one.

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