Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nintendo Color TV Game 15 - Service Manual (カラー テレビゲーム 15 サービス マニュアル)

In my experience, the consoles in the Nintendo Color TV-Game series (カラー テレビゲーム シリーズ) are pretty much unbreakable. Even though they are well over thirty years old by now, I have never had a problem with any of them.

But as they were produced and sold in the hundreds of thousands, of course every now and then one would break down. And this is were the Service Manual (サービス マニュアル) of the Color TV-Game 15 (カラー テレビゲーム 15) comes in.

This manual covers all you (don't) want to know about Color TV-Game 15; it shows what makes it tick. The model covered is the more common second generation (CTG-15V). Differences with the first generation (CTG-15S) are minor, though.

Nintendo TV-Game 15 Service Manual

It was used by service centers to diagnose and solve problems with faulty game machines.

Instructions are provided to dismantle the game and expose the circuit board.

Overview of all exterior TV-Game 15 parts

An overview provides the names for the various parts (各部の名称), most of which could be ordered separately if broken (see parts list below).

Diagram of the TV-Game 15 circuit board

The circuitry is quite simple, with most magic happening in the dedicated integrated circuit called 'IC-1'. This custom chip contains the hard-coded game-play. The other components deal with input and output signals.

The main difference between the electronics used in the two TV-Game 15 variants (CTG-15S and CTG-15V) is the game-play chip, in which some small improvements were made for the second generation. This Mitsubishi manufactured integrated circuit is called M58815P for CTG-15S and M58816P for CTG-15V.

Schematic of the TV-Game 15 circuitry

An overview of measure points and diagnostic signals is provided, which can be used to troubleshoot issues.

Service centers could order loose parts needed to repair the TV-Game 15. The Service Manual contains a list of all parts (パーツリスト), with their prices.

For each available component, the table shows the symbol (記号), part name (部品名), quantity (個数), standard price to be charged by the repair center (標準価格) and their purchase price (販売店価格). Unit prices (単位) are, obviously, in yen (円).

A broken main IC would set the customer back ¥7,000, excluding cost of repair. A complete assembled, tested (検査済) circuit board (基板組立) cost no less than ¥12,000. That is only ¥3,000 shy of a complete new TV-Game 15, which initially cost ¥15,000.

TV-Game 15 parts list

As was quite common in those days, the simpler game with less game-play variants (TV-Game 6) contained almost the same circuitry and the identical custom game-play chip as TV-Game 15 (M58815P for CTG-6S and M58816P for CTG-6V).

Designing and manufacturing an integrated circuit was quite expensive. So it was much cheaper to develop a single version, and install this fifteen game variant in both TV-Game 6 and TV-Game 15, while limiting the options accessible to the customers of TV-Game 6 to only six.

Oh, and by the way, if you ever think one of your TV-Game 15 (or TV-Game 6) paddle controllers is broken because you do not see the 'racket' appear on screen, you may simply want to turn the paddle. It most likely is only hiding outside the screen area, as Famicomblog's Sean found out the hard way.

1 comment:

  1. LOL, thank you for posting this, it will be an invaluable resource for people like me;) Actually I`m quite surprised at how much the replacement boards cost, I guess most people probably just bought a new console instead!