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  3. Revisiting the Atari Lynx Console Repair

Back in 2017 I decided that my Lynx II was a great candidate for multiple repairs. That project has been done and dusted, the Lynx works really well and I couldn't be happier with it overall. However, I did want to come back to the repairs again to show what I did, and to talk about future plans I have for this and my other Lynx consoles.

So lets see what the repair project involved! The Lynx I picked was quite crippled. It had a cracked screen cover, black lines across the screen and very quiet sound. My goal was to fix all of this by re-capping its motherboard, replacing the plastic screen cover, replacing the broken speaker and installing McWill's LCD screen mod.

Disassembly was fairly straight forward and I covered it in Part 1 - introduction and case disassembly.


Re-capping the motherboard was the first repair step. Since old/leaky capacitors are quite a usual problem on old consoles like this, it was the most logical step before attempting any other repairs. Even if there was nothing else wrong with the console, doing a re-cap would extend the console's life and should be done for any newly purchased retro console.

The capacitors for the Lynx were quite easy to come by, I used the picking list to decide what I needed and ordered them online. I've covered the process of replacing these here: Part 2 - re-capping the motherboard.


Once all of the capacitors were replaced the next task was to fix the crackling speaker. It looked like the speaker was burned out by the previous owner by plugging in the power jack into the speaker port - apparently a common enough problem that there was previous mention about it!

I couldn't get an exact match for the original Lynx speaker, but made do with something very close and it actually turned out to be louder and nicer sounding. I talked about what was involved in replacing the speaker here: Part 3 - broken speaker replacement.


With the speaker sorted out, I moved onto the cosmetic part of the repair - Part 4 - screen cover replacement. It was a bit challenging to get the old screen cover off, but the consolation was that it was really easy to get the new cover in its place!


The last part was to install the McWill LCD screen in place of the old screen. This mod was really quite amazing! The new screen made the Lynx graphics really pop out and it feelt like I was playing games on a modern console, not something that was more than 20 years old! For that nostalgic feel there was an option to enable scan line emulation, but I preferred to see all of the crisp pixels. This mod was covered here: Part 5 - McWill LCD screen mod installation.


That was it for that Lynx II and I've not modified it any further apart from purchasing the Lynx Multi SD Cart so I could play all of the games from my collection without having to physically swap them out every time...and yes I have all of the games that were released officially by Atari!

Recently, I've been playing around with some other mods with another Lynx I have. I've done a 24Mhz CPU overclock mod which increased the Lynx speed to 150% its usual, and meant that some games (like Viking Child) could actually be enjoyed! I'm planning to turn this into a switchable overclock mod so I can switch back to the standard 16Mhz CPU speed.

For the future, I've been looking at doing a LED backlight mod on the same Lynx that I've overclocked. This seems like a very cheap and effective mod, but I won't know until I do it. I'm also considering adding rapid fire to one of the sets of buttons in the console, which would make games like Gates of Zendocon even easier to play, but won't leave me with a sore thumb!

Once I get around to doing these other mods I'll update this article, so keep an eye out. Happy Lynxing!

-AG
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