4 ways to give your game console an extra life

Here are a few pointers to make sure your game console lets you keep zapping the bad guys.

4 ways to give your game console an extra life

1. Take the heat off your game console

  • Overheating probably causes more problems — including lockups, drive errors, and lack of sound or video — than anything else when it comes to game consoles.
  • Good ventilation is necessary for these devices to function properly, because they generate considerable warmth.
  • Keep game consoles freestanding, if possible.
  • If you need to place them in a cabinet, make sure there's adequate room behind and above the console and that there's nothing blocking the vents.
  • Bear in mind that lockups can also be caused by dirty or damaged discs and by problems with the DVD drives.

2. Dealing with “disc error” messages

  • They're the bane of gamers, and appear all too often when the game console is kept in a dusty environment or in cramped quarters.
  • If you've already established that the problem isn't caused by overheating or a damaged disc, the next most likely cause is dust inside the DVD drive.
  • Although it may be tempting, do not try to clean out the dust using a can of compressed air; that will only worsen the problem by driving the dust to the inside of the drive, making it more difficult to clean.
  • Instead, try using a laser-lens cleaner.
  • It looks like an ordinary CD, but has several small brushes on the surface. This will only clean the lens, not the mirror, but often that's all that's needed.

3. Problems with power

  • If your game is called off due to a power outage in your game console, it could be a faulty power cord.
  • First, make sure the unit is plugged into the wall and that the cord is connected properly to the rear terminal on the console, then try to turn the power on again.
  • If the console still won't power up, you may need to replace the cord.
  • You'll also want to check the manufacturer's website for possible recalls. Still no power? The unit may need to be professionally serviced.

4. Splice a damaged game controller cord

  • Did Rover just chew through the cord of your controller? Before you rush out to buy a new one, try cutting the cable and evenly stripping about six millimetres (1/4 of an inch) of insulation off each wire.
  • Solder each like-coloured wire together, and then cover each repair with a small piece of electrical tape.
  • Use a larger piece of electrical tape to wrap the entire splice tightly. You...that is, your kids, should be back in the game in no time.
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