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Gameboy mods...

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I started this mostly because of the backlight I just added to my gameboy, but figured I'd leave the topic more general.


So, history..

Pulled out my old gameboy. Noticed the vertical lines that needed repair. I had seen stuff on the fix, and now I own a solder station (digital temp control and hot air), so figured I'd try the repair.


That worked great, but as I played it,I was reminded how tough it was to use the screen in certain (most?) lighting..I have a Nuby magnifier / light, but the light doesn't work. That unit appears to be glued together, so I wasn't sure i could repair it and get it back together...


Then I remembered I saw something on youtube about a backlight when I was looking for info on fixing my screen.

So I went back out and looked.. Yep, several videos..

In fact, apparently mostly because of the "chip tune" guys, there is a thriving market for gameboy repairs/mods.


I checked on e-bay and a backlight is under $10 shipped (or around there..). Figured, what the heck.

Got it a few days ago, and just did the mod..


So, results?


It worked! :-)


I'm not bothering with vids or even screenshots as there are LOTS of those out there already..

(Also, you can't get a good feel for the results of the mod based on video/pics anyway..)


Basically, it went as planned..

1 surprise, the backlight raises up the screen a bit (at least the model I have) and as a result, I popped my screen cover loose a bit tightening it up.. Partially my fault, as the instructions did say:

27. Reinsert the 10 small Phillips head screws and secure the PCB to the front shell.

a. DO NOT put too much pressure on the PCB and or the backlight.

But I was thinking at the time, that was just a general safety thing. Not because it's actually thicker! :-)

Not bothered tho, because my screen is a bit scratched up, and for $4-$5, I was going to get another one on e-bay anyway... But something to be aware of..


Also, watch the orientation of the polarizing screen. One way, the image looks reversed. Flip it 90 degrees, image looks normal. (Again, at least with the one I got.)


The backlight I ordered was "white," which I took as just white LEDs.. Installing it and testing it, that was the case..

But, fully installed, there's a blue-ish (maybe blue-green; not just greenish tho) tint to the screen now. Not sure if that's the polarizing screen or ?

Not bad.. I don't mind the look at all. Just something to be aware of...


And the quality.. Well, pretty good..

Originally, say in Final Fantasy Adventure, it was really tricky to see the grass...

Now, it's still a bit tricky to see the grass... ;-)

Originally, it was tricky to see the gameboy screen in certain light and impossible in dark areas.

Now, it's pretty good in dark areas, and OK in certain light..

It is still a Gameboy LCD screen after all.. ;-)


Weird install issue. They included a resistor for:

You may install the included 100 ohm 1/4 watt resistor to improve contrast and reduce brightness. This reccommended to improve the backlight life and contrast sensitivity!

Well, without the resistor, the backlight would come on, but the Gameboy wouldn't work. So, it was required for my install...


They mention that you can install an on/off switch on the backlight, which I didn't do. Would probably be mostly useful for battery life. No idea what this thing will do to the battery life.. I'm sure it will still be good, as the Gameboy battery life is epic.. But I'm guessing with the backlight, it's no longer epic, but probably still not bad..


I have a Nintendo battery pack (DMG-03). I was going to buy replacement batteries on e-bay, but surprisingly it's still working really well. After being in storage for years and years, I would have thought it was corroded and wouldn't hold a charge. But the first time i charged it, I plugged the Gameboy in and it worked. I left the Gameboy on for hours and hours (at least 8). Now, that wasn't solid playing with sound up, etc.. But still.. I still might get some new batteries for it, because they "HAVE" to be old and tired by now.. But they are still working fine.. Hey, that's a lot like me.. ;-)


Anyway, I need to order that replacement screen, but generally I'm happy. Probably not going to bother with the other mods (overclocking/underclocking/variable over/under clocking, sound mods, case/button colors, etc).


On a related note: I had to replace the battery on my FFA cart. Again, got a bunch (5) on e-bay pretty cheap. Checked my games and 2 others (Donkey Kong Land 2 and F1 Race) have them, although they are still working. Again, WOW.. We're talking 20 years?


I never followed the Gameboy really, so not sure how the rest of the family is built, but the original is a tank.

We'll see how the backlight feels over time, but so far I'm happy with it...



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Very nice read! I have actually been planning on giving this mod a try for a while now. I have 2 original game boys I picked up at thrift stores for a couple bucks. I had to do the same repair as you regarding the missing lines on both. I also have the same lighted magnifier with working light! I actually did just use it on a recent run through Metroid 2. That lighted magnifier makes it just barely playable in the dark and worthless for any other light. I may pull the trigger on this mod pretty soon.

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Actually, I'm going to continue modding this guy after all..


In reading, I came across talk of a bivert chip.

I was initially thinking it was mostly for chip tune display funkyness, but the more I read about it, the more I think it will help the contrast.

Possibly bringing out things like the grass in FFA better...


It is more involved, in that I have to actually cut 2 traces on one of the boards.

But the things I've been reading and looking at make it look like it will help the display.

There's a youtube video that shows it with a Gameboy pocket that has the similar white light/blueish backlight, but the contrast looks much nicer than mine..


So I think I'll try it...

I already ordered a few of the chips (it was like $3 for 5 of them shipped).

That gives me a few weeks while they make their way across the ocean for me to change my mind. :-)



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