Replace Atari Jaguar Cartridge Port

Notes from ZeroSquare:

* do NOT use a screwdriver to lift the plastic remains of the connector. I made this mistake on the first Jaguar, and it damaged several tracks on the motherboard (I had to repair them with wrapping wire).

* before plugging the new connector, check that each hole is completely clear. The pins bend and break really easily (one of them did; fortunately, it was a ground pin, and there are several of those).

– variations:
* instead of using a dremel tool, I broke the connector into several pieces using wire cutters. The plastic is quite hard, so you need strong ones. Don’t apply too much force either, because you could damage the motherboard.

* I removed the solder using solder wick alone (no drilling); it can be done without damaging tracks, but you have to be very careful. If you can’t remove all of the solder from a hole, don’t wait for too long or press hard on the soldering iron (you would damage pads or tracks): instead, add fresh solder, heat the joint for a few seconds, and try again.

* when removing pins, you can heat the solder joint from the top instead of the bottom. It works and it’s easier to see what you’re doing that way.

It was a lot of work, but my two Jaguars are now healthy

Over to OMF…

The jaguar I took to EJagfest in 2011 I managed to break by using a Skunkboard 1. This is because the Skunkboard 1 does not have an angled edge that plugs into the cartridge connector. This can easily catch a pin and push it to the bottom of the cartridge connector which is unfortunately what happened here.

This guide is meant as a guide only, this has already been done once to the Jaguar that I am doing this to and it is heavily modified so it won’t be exactly the same as an un modified jaguar.

Identifying the problem:
After close inspection of the cartridge port damage can be seen where there is no gold dot in the tiny hole and there is no pin or it is deformed.
If you are extremely lucky you may have this on a pin that is not connected and therefor you may not need to do anything, usually the first you know there is a problem is when you are getting constant red screens, in this case you either have a dirty cartridge or a dirty cartridge connector or in the most extreme case a required pin has been bent.
If you believe your issues may be related to dirt, first try cleaning the cartridge with Brasso, this is by far the best means of removing dirt. People say use alcohol. Well this may remove some dirt yet, it will not clean the metal to the extent that Brasso can and will do. I guarantee it!

Don’t forget to polish of the residue with a clean cloth afterwards.

Tools needed:
• Screwdriver capable of opening the jaguar case
• Dremel with cutting disc capable of cutting glass reinforced plastic
• Soldering iron (preferably temperature controlled
• Thin solder
• Flux paste
• De solder braid
• Strong long nose pliers

Step 1, open the jaguar case

As you can see I have done some modifications here. I have actually removed the shielding that is present in a stock jaguar to make room for my modifications previously.

I have previously installed a debug cable for connecting to an alpine dev board in this jaguar, so I will unplug the grey ribbon cable from the pins on the front right. Normal stock jaguars do not have pins for this cable, only the holes they should be soldered into.

Step 2, unscrew the main board and remove it. I cant actually remove the board with out extra work due to my modifications.

Note broken pin in small box

Step 3, Attach a suitable cutting disc to your dremel, this disc has to cut into the cartridge port (which is glass reinforced) to create a weakness so we can break it, that sounds rather harsh but bear with me!

I originally attempted to use a battery powered dremel however it was not powerful enough for that I needed so make sure you use a powered one


Step 4, cut all four sides of the cartridge port with your dremel with a depth of about 2mm, you don’t want to cut too deep because you will cut the cartridge port pins which doesn’t really make a lot of difference but it is better if you don’t for later.

All you are doing is making a weakness in the cartridge port so that you can break if off easier in the next step

Hold the dremel at a slight angle to keep the blade away from board components, see below.

See the red lines below as a guide as to where you want to cut. Don’t forget to do the small sides where the screws are.

Should look similar to this when finished, NOTE: I cut a little too far in and cut some pins, no matter we will deal with this later.

Step 5, break away the cartridge port with some strong long nose plires. To reveal the pins inside

Place some scrap card between the cartridge port and board to help prevent damage to the board if you slip in this next step

Use the plires to break away all of the cartridge port

Step 6, place the board on its edge and desolder each pin on the cartridge port by grabbing each pin individually with pliers and pulling (quite hard) and applying heat to the back of the pin on the back of the board with a soldering iron, the pin should come free from the board and come out the cartridge port where it was broken off

Repeat this process for all the pins in the cartridge port. If you have cut any pins when you cut the cartridge connector just skip these pins at this stage

When you have de soldered all or most of the pins the remains of the cartridge port should fall away or come away with minimal force

NOTE: DO NOT leaver under the cartridge port with a flat ended screwdriver. You will damage the main board. This is something you don’t want to do if at all possible. I tried this and caused some board damage, fortunately the circuitry was not damaged, if it had been it would have had to have been rewired with 30 awg kynar wire

If the cartridge port will not come off easily (DO NOT force it) you can break the internal framework of the cartridge connector by inserting a flat ended screwdriver into the gaps at the bottom, they are quite weak and can easily be broken. Take care when doing this, you don’t want to damage the main board underneath the

If you decide to do this, simply insert the screwdriver into the marked slots and twist the screwdriver and or bend to the side to break each slot. Remember try hard not to damage the board underneath, it will cause you a lot more work

Once all the slots have been broken out of the cartridge connector what remains should just slip off of any remaining cut pins.

Once the cartridge port has been removed, desolder any remaining pins that remain that were cut earlier

Step 7: Remove the bumpy solder from the holes with desoldering braid
What you want to do is remove enough of the solder so that it is flush with the top of the board and to create a dip in the hole (this will be to locate the drill) don’t try to remove all the solder this will most likely result in the solder pads being lifted off the board.

When you are done you should have something similar to this

Step 8, Drill out the solder in the cartridge port holes and clean up

Insert a 0.8mm drill bit into your dremel

Place the board on something flat but raised so that nothing is damaged when you drill through the cartridge port pin holes.

Make sure when you drill that the dremel is as straight as possible, you don’t want to be drilling at an angle.

The dips in the solder will help you position the drill in the correct location.
Apply slight force but let the drill cut on its own. You don’t want to damage the board or start drilling at an angle.

When all the holes have been drilled, gently scrape away the solder strands that have been pulled out of the holes by the drill. To do this use something like a wooden clothes peg or something similar that will not damage the board. I didn’t have anything like this to hand so I very carefully used a small flat screw driver. I WOULD RECOMMEND NOT USING A SCREWDRIVER LIKE THIS. Using a screwdriver would make it very easy to cause damage to the board and traces between the pins.

It may be necessary to re drill some holes after this process to free any strands that have been pushed back into the holes

Don’t forget to scrape away any loose solder from the back of the board too. You don’t have to make it as good as the top however as you sill be soldering the back and it will in most cases ‘fix itself’
After you have removed all the unwanted solder strands from the cartridge port holes give it a good brush with a suitable stiff brush to remove any dust or remaining small particles

You should then have good clean holes when you are finished

Step 9, insert the new cartridge connector into the drilled out holes
The new cartridge connector pins are quite delicate, be very careful with it, you can easily bend the pins.

You should be able to line up the pins and push the cartridge connector down through the holes onto the board with MINIMAL effort, if it will not go don’t force it, you will break it! Instead look to see why it will not slot into the holes. It could be a bent cartridge port pin or a hole not drilled out.

Step 10, Solder the cartridge port into place
Holding the new cartridge port in, turn the board over onto the back so you can solder the pins into the drilled holes.

Make sure you have plenty of flux at this point, it allows the solder to flow easily around the cartridge port pins and make good contact with the minimal amount of heat.

Remember you want to do this with as least heat as possible so that the pads don’t peel off the main board.

First of all temporarily solder a couple of edge pins (just a blob will do for now) to hold the port in place so that you can work on the rest.
Just place a blob on the soldering iron with some flux and hold the new cartridge port in tight from the other side and touch the soldering iron on the pins marked below

Now the cartridge port is held in tight by a few pins you can now work on the other remaining pins. Touch the solder in the flux so that you pick some up and use it to solder a single pin. You want to apply a minimal amount of solder possible to the pin / hole, you don’t want to join any pins together, they are very close together so be careful.

You want to dab the solder into the flux every time you solder a new pin, you don’t need a great big blob just a small amount is best.

Repeat this process for all of the pins on the cartridge port connector. Make sure you take your time, a mistake now could make your jaguar useless.

Make sure you when you have soldered the rest of the pins you re solder the pins that were used to temporarily hold it in before, so that you do a good job.

When you think you are finished, carefully inspect your work to make sure that you are not shorting any of the cartridge port pins. If you are unsure, remove the solder with de soldering braid and solder it again, there will be no second chances is you apply power and power is going where it shouldn’t

NOTE, if you have a BJL rom you can solder these 2 pins together below so that you can use the jaguar without a cartridge inserted

One of my pins peeled off, fortunately it was a ground pin, it was easily fixed I used a fibreglass pen to rub off the solder mask from the ground line and used a cut off leg from a resistor as some wire. I then soldered it to the ground line and the pin. After cutting the remaining wire off it will be as good as new

Step 11, Test your handy work
When you are happy with your work turn the board back over, plug in power and video, insert a cartridge and turn on to test and see if you have done a good job

Step 12, Re assemble Jaguar
Follow Step 2 and Step 1 in reverse order to re assemble