Vulnerable MSX hardware
This page was last modified 10:47, 7 November 2020 by Mars2000you. Based on work by Wild Penguin and Msxholder and others.

This page describes MSX hardware which has an above-average risk of failure on certain components. Owners of these should inspect them and ideally replace components as a precaution to avoid damage.

Batteries

All MSX2 and up computers have a battery to power the RTC (real-time clock). Sometimes removable in a separate compartment, sometimes soldered to the board directly with either a plastic casing which provides some protection or bare. Some cartridges with SRAM for save functionality (e.g. FM-PAC) also have a battery inside.

Once fully drained these can start to leak corrosive fluids, especially alkaline batteries. To avoid damage empty batteries should be replaced or removed. If the MSX has removable batteries, always take them out before putting the MSX in storage, even when they’re not empty yet.

Lithium batteries are a good alternative for alkaline, in Europe e.g. Energizer and Varta sell Lithium AA batteries. These are marketed as “pro batteries” and more expensive, but since they are internally solid they do not leak and also last longer. (Note, Lithium batteries are not to be confused with rechargeable Li-Ion ones.)

Capacitors

Electrolytic capacitors have corrosive fluids inside which can leak. When leaked these corrosive fluids will eat through the board and damage it. Some manufacturers have used bad capacitor batches which are more susceptible to leaking than others.

Pay attention to these models:

When you see leakage underneath capacitors, or they are “bulging”, they must be replaced. Capacitors also should have “vents” etched into the top which can break to release pressure, capacitors without vent are best replaced as well.

Casing

The front plastic has become very brittle and breaks easily, so these should be packaged with extra care and protection when shipping.