Adventures in Console Repair: Intellivision

I like to think that I take decent care of my hardware, however there’s only so much you can do for old circuit boards and aging metals. Sometimes machines are beyond saving, but hope and a set of screwdrivers may help set things right.

My Intellivision is dead. Actually it was my father’s, but it was also the first video game system I’d ever come in contact with. I love the Intellivision; it’s one of the pillars of my collection; bridging the gap between Pong and the NES and it’s home to several favorite titles (including the Mattel-programmed BurgerTime which makes my personal top 10). I’m not letting this system go without a fight, and if all fails, at least I can perform a proper autopsy to diagnose what’s wrong.

After a few turns of a screwdriver to remove the outer shell, and a socket wrench to remove a plastic bracket (which doubled as an internal support structure and the surface where the controller cords rested – clever design), I opened the metal protective shields to find myself face to face with the logic board.

33 years post-inspection; the warranty has been voided

Unfortunately, any hope I had in resurrecting the machine was gone by the time I saw the heavy charring on the board itself, along with a rather bubbly… well, it’s either a capacitor or a piece of licorice.

There’s your problem!

Unfortunately little could be discerned from the Logic Board Assembly Parts Diagram from the official Service Manual so I seem to be dead in the water with this unit.


Considering my lengthy history with the device I don’t want to replace my Intellivision, however I am willing to honor it’s lineage with a proper successor. With that said, I caved and bought an Intellivision II. It’s a newer model that plays the same Intellivision games (well, except for Coleco games in a rather wacky case of villainous DRM sabotage), but the console’s innards were scaled down so the overall unit is lighter, cheaper and more compact.

Intellivision is dead; long live Intellivision II


Initial impressions are… hey it works! The console is definitely sturdier on all counts; about the only drawback is that the keypad buttons aren’t bubbled out like on the original unit, so button presses feel less satisfying. Still good stuff, and I’m glad I have a unit that can play these games again.

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2 Responses to Adventures in Console Repair: Intellivision

  1. John Lyons says:

    Noooo! Bad caps weren’t just a 90’s problem eh?

  2. Pingback: Adventures in Console Repair: Coleco Telstar Alpha | Staying Square in Massachusetts

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