Introduction: GameBoy CD Player

Picture of GameBoy CD Player

Build a CD player with an old GameBoy, an ATAPI drive and some electronics. The CD player it's a kind of game cartridge to play CD. This is the final version, plug it to a GameBoy and listen to music!

Wanna see how it works? ->down
the new web page is

Do you like it? Give me feedback please!

Step 1: Get a GameBoy!

Picture of Get a GameBoy!

First of all we will need some things:

-A GameBoy to show track information and control the playing.

-A GameBoy cartridge: we will need it to interface the GameBoy to a board.

-An ATAPI drive to play the CD.

-A 12v-5v power supply.

-An interface board: we can find it at . Go to Hardware section and build the schematics. We will talk about later.

Step 2: Let's Make a Cartridge!

Picture of Let's Make a Cartridge!

We need to wire the GameBoy pins to a board. We can open it, but we prefer to preserve the GameBoy to play our favourite games. So let's make an adaptor cartridge. Get a boring game and open it with a screwdriver, be careful not to broke the board inside.Well Prince of Persia was not boring but I had no one else.

Step 3: Cutting the Inside Chips.

We see some chips, the game program and some interface chips. We need to remove it, so let's use a cutter to cut it. We could use a soldering iron but that would wear away the board.

Step 4: Wiring the Cartridge

Picture of Wiring the Cartridge

Get a ribbon cable and solder it to the board following a logical order, I mean, the pin 1 of the cartridge to the pin 1 of the ribbon cable. I used an IDE cable as a ribbon cable.Follow the pins paths to get a termination solder point,it's easier and better(then you can close the cartrigde).Check for shortcircuits when you finish. If it's all ok, fix the cable to the board with glue.

Step 5: Cutting the Plastic Case.

Picture of Cutting the Plastic Case.

In order to put the cartridge inside we need to cut the plastic box. Use a cutter or a tool you consider better.

Step 6: Building the Board

Picture of Building the Board

I will not cover the board construction process, but i will put the schematics and some comments. I've made modular schematics, you must interconnect them to have the complete board.Axx , Dxx and /RD,/WR,RESET signals come from the GameBoy cartridge.GND and +5V are common to the power supply,chips and GameBoy.You must burn the in the EPROM. Sorry it's in spanish I will translate it some day.

The schematics also are at

Step 7: Putting It All Together

Picture of Putting It All Together

This is the last step. We must put it all in a box to make it useful. You can use a wood box,plastic box or even a cardboard box!! With imagination all it's possible.You can see how it works at videos section of


engquiky (author)2011-09-05

It looks like the ship put into the Delorean in Back to the Future Part III !

dude22072 (author)2011-04-26

English site???

survivorwolf (author)2010-11-25

can you use a hard drive?

cdmaster (author)2010-07-04

how about adding a schematic of the ide port on the cd drive?

mariomurder (author)2008-07-20

did anyone else notice the serial number on the POP game???the first 3 letters are OMG. Fitting i think considering its fate. lololol

Kasm279 (author)mariomurder2010-06-17

err, actually thats DMG, and its the model number. All the original US Game Boy games have DMG-xx-USA (where xx is the game, like Qix has QX) , just like the DS games say NTR-xxxx-USA, where something like Mario Kart says NTR-AMCE-USA or Metroid NTR-AMHE-USA

mariomurder (author)Kasm2792010-06-17

opps lol looked like a O to me

Kasm279 (author)mariomurder2010-06-17

Yeah, that bit of dust/plastic shavings does make it look like an O. Had I not had a few of these carts i would have thought it was an O too :)

Colonel88 (author)2009-10-29

Can someone make an 'ible on how to make the GBA SP into a video player? It's got good battery life, and a pretty good LCD as well!

Kasm279 (author)Colonel882010-06-17

Theres a thing called the Game Boy Movie Player just for that. Its found more use as a storage device for DS homebrew, though >.>

dude22072 (author)2010-01-06

Can you modify it so you could but a link cable on it and have sound coming from the GB?

sc4rzz (author)2009-12-18

very nice, doable project.
What did you use to flash the chip?

I'm thinking about recreating this, only with an atapi to SD adapter, and flash to chip to play the roms from the SD... that would be epic. Now for the code.. anyone that can help me with that?

dfc849 (author)2006-06-11

PPL on e word four letters IPOD much smaller, lighter, easier, and holds 750 times as much as a CD (60B) or 375 times as many (30GB) Nano: 50 times as much (4GB) 25 times (2GB) and thats a 20 song cd ( not common)

Colonel88 (author)dfc8492009-10-29

PPL the ipod costs freakin 150$ for only a 4gb nano. That's freakin too much! I bought a sandisk for only like 100$, and no im not advertising

ARVash (author)dfc8492007-03-10

One word.. Stupid.. Dfc, do you understand that this is Instructables, not Advertise apple overpriced products? Honestly .. try to use some grammar as well, this isn't aim. You know how much it costs for a 2 gb ipod? .. way too much.. XD.

nature223 (author)ARVash2008-05-10

ahem...he's correct though,a nano 2 gb is way more portable and carries so much more dataload as to be a "why bother,but as an intellectual excersize". I have "only" 90 songs in my doesnt even register as IN there..tell me what CD/player contains 90 songs in a player I can stick with earbuds in a altoids tin,and charge off ANY USB port,including my Playstation2??

denniSinned (author)nature2232009-07-10

...IT PLUGS IN A PS2!?!?!

ultrauber (author)denniSinned2009-09-26

yeah ps2 has usb ports. at least the fat does. but after the old ipods they have blockers so it will only chg with itunes or apple approved chargers

ReCreate (author)ARVash2009-02-09

YEAH APPLE SUCKS sorry i just had to

drummonkey92 (author)ARVash2008-05-12

he wasn't realy blatantly advertising apple products, he was just suggesting an improvement. that's pretty much what the comments are for. that said, it did seem a bit over the top to say the full range on ipods and how much more data they hold than a cd

dfc849 (author)ARVash2008-05-10

Okay, I apologize for my unpleasant remark. Instructables is a creative community of smart, fun projects, not entirely of permanent solutions for everyday routine use, though some projects do serve as such a permanent solution or project. I realize the "GameBoy CD Player" is a project to have fun and play around with. My previous comment was, in face, quite stupid and inconsiderate.

dfc849 (author)dfc8492008-05-10

Typographical error: "face" is meant to be "fact"

arcarter369 (author)ARVash2007-11-06

yea the 2 gb nano used to be about $150 USD but I bought an iPod classic for $250 USD and it is 80 GB and you would pay way more than that for even half the cds that it holds and you don't have to buy a new cd player every year because the old one broke and a new good one is about $100 USD so I wouldn't bad mouth a great product that saves millions of people tons of money and space! AC

Irregular Shed (author)dfc8492006-07-11

Have you never tried doing something just for the sake of it? I think this is great. And an iPod doesn't give you cause to learn something new, whereas Jordi's learnt about ATAPI, has built an interface for it that gets powered by a neat Z80 program on an interesting embedded platform, and has documented that journey. People like Jordi make the world a richer place.

ultimatesx9 (author)2007-12-16

can you use a GBA SP aswell? ive got one (somewhere) and id find it eaiser that getting a pocket

... Or you could hook it up to the Game Boy Player for GameCube and then your TV could display the track info. Say, there's idea.

or just play the CD in a playstation 2 and not have to do all those complicated things. theres an idea too.

ultimatesx9 (author)2007-12-16

A. Please can you give me a step by step or something & B how do i burn the GB file to the chip?

I never thought to use chip sockets as a jumper system. Thanks for the idea, dude. :-)

guy12 (author)2009-03-16

this is cool but a little confusing

jj32x (author)2008-07-05

Do you think it would be possible to hook it up to a hard drive and boot linux/windows/other operating system on the gameboy?

jordi87 (author)jj32x2008-07-22

No, I don't think GameBoy is a supported arquitecture for linux and windows. I don't know if there are operating systems especially for GameBoy.

ReCreate (author)jordi872009-02-09

there may be an emulator...though it would run...ha quite quite slow!

ultimatesx9 (author)jordi872008-09-15

i cant anyway, its only 8-bit, OS's need at least 16-bits or more, color might help to

PCvsMac (author)2007-04-17

You people... you ALWAYS give me such brilliant ideas! I got one for ya, would it be possible to run, such as a SNES (Super Nintendo Entertainment System) game through like a gameboy? If you can, could you find out and write back please?

pokefreak501 (author)PCvsMac2007-09-08

if it was a gba it maybe if its a ds likely

PCvsMac (author)pokefreak5012009-02-05

Aha! you *CAN* run SNES games through a DS. I'm running it now =D

geekdude (author)PCvsMac2007-09-15

you can emulate snes on a gba

and the super gameboy played gameboy games on a snes

ac1D (author)PCvsMac2007-06-23

you are asking if it would be possible to run a 8bit color game trough a black and white 2d little gameboy?

anthonywin (author)2007-11-12

What's the point

HammyHavoc (author)anthonywin2008-09-28

Because we can. And it's hardcore, duh [:

ultimatesx9 (author)2008-09-15

this reminds me of the mega\sega CD for the mega drive

HardCoreHacker (author)2008-01-03

Will it work on a micro?

craig3 (author)HardCoreHacker2008-05-10

seeing as how you cant play gameboy colour games on a micro, it might not work

ultimatesx9 (author)craig32008-09-15

like the DS, the micro has two peices of plastic where the GBA compatibility switch is

cvxdes (author)HardCoreHacker2008-05-10

If a micro is like the newer version of the gameboy, I'd assume so as long as it's backwards compatible with previous games.

cotton (author)2008-05-18

cant you wire a cart up then take tha other end and plug it into the cd drive and add power to both and still have the same effects

jordi87 (author)cotton2008-07-22

No, it requires aditional logic and of course a program to control it!

livesteamfan (author)2008-05-16

I have an old gameboy pocket and computer parts. Maybe I'll give it a try.

Stanislaw (author)2008-05-15

Cool idea - I like that you left the gameboy playable...but bad bad bad - poor Prince of Persia ;-) Nice instructable - I've always wanted to do something like this - but I've never had the courage to do so, good job!

About This Instructable




More by jordi87:Watch tv,read,play games (and don't worry) while you're in MSNGameBoy CD Player
Add instructable to: