Thursday, July 10, 2014

Innovation Super 8 Compatibility Fix Mod

After owning the Innovation Super 8 for over a year, I have to say that I haven't used it very much. The truth is that it's a bit of a problem child, and getting this thing to work properly at a moment's notice is next to impossible. The connecting board is noticeably thinner than any actual SNES or Super Famicom game, making it hard for the console to actually make proper contact with the already imbalanced add-on.

The second issue is that the AV contacts aren't too tight either. Often times I'll be fiddling with the console to get it to work, only to have it work with poor video or no audio. This is quickly remedied by pushing the AV connector back into the Super 8, but sometimes even that slight movement can throw the system off balance and cause it to glitch out, causing me to restart the whole Super 8 balancing dance again.

There is another issue that was a blatant flaw left within the Super 8, perhaps by Innovation or the company that manufactured the units for them. At first I didn't really see this as an issue, as it didn't directly affect me. I simply liked having an add-on Famiclone for my SNES that allowed me to play Famicom, NES and play my SNES region free without having to cut out the little tabs in the cartridge slot.

Shortly after I got my Super 8 I did some research as to how compatible it was, since it is a NOAC. One of the main issues that popped up wasn't caused by the NOAC, but rather that it wasn't compatible with the Super Gameboy or SNES games that utilized the Super FX chip. I'm not sure who or why they made this decision, but there was an intentional gap in one of the traces leading to the connecting contacts.

The trace on the far right shows an unmistakable gap.
For the longest time I just let this flaw go, as I don't currently own any games that would be affected. I did, however, check my Super Gameboy, which yielded less than savory results. The Super Gameboy loaded and worked, except it was too slow to be of any real use. This didn't really bother me, as I just preferred to pop the Super Gameboy directly into my SNES and play it that way.

As time went on I felt that it would be a simple and easy mod, so why not just give it a try? I don't really use the Super 8, but it would still be useful to make sure it was compatible with Super FX chip games and the Super Gameboy, even if I don't currently need it to be.

The intentional gap with clean areas to be soldered.
I started by taking the unit apart, to reveal the area I needed to work. Then I carefully scraped away a small portion on both sides of the gap, to allow me to bridge the gap with solder. My original idea was to solder a small bit of wire, but since the gap wasn't very big I figured I could just bridge the gap with solder.
Not the prettiest, but it does the job!
I am by no means a world class soldering master, but I managed to bridge the gap. Sure it doesn't look very good, and it took longer than I expected to get the two sides to actually join up, but the connection is solid and works perfectly. After fiddling with the system for a while I managed to get it to balance with my Super Gameboy in it and it ran correctly. I still can't be 100% sure that it works with Super FX chip games, but I'm going to boldly assume that since it's just a pass through for SNES games it should work just fine.

If you own or are thinking about purchasing a Super 8, this is an extremely easy and worthwhile mod. As the picture shows, I won't be winning any rewards for my soldering skills, but it got the job done, besides this is hidden within the unit and can't be seen unless the unit it taken apart. But sadly, this mod really doesn't benefit me, because I'll just be sick of trying to get the Super 8 to work and pack it away again.

1 comment:

  1. Zdravím, před několika lety jsem tuto konzoli také vlastnil, bohužel se mi rozbila, ale stále vlastním 4 kazety s hromadou her.
    Pokud by jste o ně měl zájem ozvěte se na mail: