Picture of How to add a frontlight to your Gameboy Color
If you grew up with playing Gameboy like I did, I'm sure you remember countless hours of pokemon battles, many of which were only possible by the saving grace of your wormlight. I know I owe many long nights of Gameboy to that wormlight.

Now that I'm older though, a wormlight doesn't really cut it. This tutorial will show you how to very simply add an internal frontlight to your Gameboy Color. A feature that blows your wormlight out of the water.
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Step 1: What you'll need.

1. Your favorite Gameboy Color
2. A Broken Gameboy Advance Sp. (Make sure the model is NOT an AGS-101, this version uses the wrong light)
3. Tri-Wing screwdriver
4. Soldering iron and basic soldering skills.
5. Some wire and solder.

Step 2: Disassemble and remove screen

Picture of Disassemble and remove screen
First you'll need to remove all the batteries from your Gameboy, followed by the 6 Tri-wing screws that hold everything together. Once you have the screws out, the back half of the Gameboy should come right off, leaving the Gameboy motherboard still attached to the front casing. To remove the Gameboy motherboard from the casing you will need to do 2 things, First remove the phillips screws that hold the motherboard to the casing. Second, unplug the screen ribbon cable. The pictures should help you understand.

Once the screen is unplugged, you can remove the motherboard, leaving you with the screen inside the front casing. The screen has some adhesive around the edges, so it might take a little pulling to get it out, but it shouldn't be to difficult.

Sorry if I'm rude, but, that's stupid. Why would you hack up a perfectly good GBAsp to use it's already established frontlight?

enovah1 month ago
So can I get opinions on how this mod actually turns out in the end? I've read a lot of forum posts and the overall vibe I get is that this mod isn't as great as it sounds because it causes glare issues and has wavy lines on the screen. Can I get some confirmation if that is true or not?
foxwater made it!2 months ago

Thanks for the instructable, worked like a charm.

Marshen Waha6 months ago

hi there I wish you would make an instructubles like this for Gameboy Advance that would be awesome.

I remember seeing somewhere else that you need a capacitor, did you just do it different or did look over a step?
dodo912 years ago
Think of how much easier it would be to move it to GBA. I like GBA better than GBA SP, because of the top loading cartridge and the horizontal orientation. The problem is is that is has no front light. I'm ganna do this, but add a switch somewhere on the device to turn it off when not in use, saving battery life. I'm glad, because my SP will no longer charge batteries, even when I replace the battery itself, and it just seems to be rotting and doing nothing useful.
Thanks for coming up with this. My broken SP has been sitting around for AGES. I'm glad I could finally do something constructive with it.

Something kinda weird, I didn't think it through very well but I did this on an Atomic Purple gameboy since the case is transparent and the backlight extends below the screen, you can see part of the backlight in the middle of the gameboy. I feel kinda stupid for not expecting that to happen.

It looks a little strange and it's kinda distracting but its not a big deal I guess. I just wasn't expecting it. I might actually trade this case with the case from my broken Yellow Pikachu gameboy in the future. Yay, more use of broken gameboys. :)

I guess I'm just posting this as a "warning" to anyone who wants to do this with an Atomic Purple gameboy, It'll look like this when you're done.
N00B5L4Y3R3 years ago
Say guys, i don't know if I should do this. my gameboy color is a limited edition pikachu version. I don't think I should mod it. Unfortunately, the screen is old and the lcd is pretty dark. So dark I can barely see what's on my screen in daylight. Help?
saulsanch3 years ago
Need some advice. My front-light isn't very bright and the screen twitches.. Anyone have any ideas to why?
i have a feeling that your contacts( to the power ) is not done well. maybe you soldered badly?
rbliss3 years ago
do you think it can work well with a game boy advance ?
it should work better. the gameboy advance is rather "hollow" and somemore, the screen is the same as the advance sp, therefore the light should fit better. alternatively, you can use an newer advance sp with a backlight and screen. i don't know if it works or fits(the backlight method) , but no harm in trying. after all, the advance is really easy to assemble or dissassemble.
Good Luck!
XO Liam XO3 years ago
i wouldn't trust this way of doing it, mostly because you aren't using a resistor which could either mean the light burns out or the whole gameboy dies.

i would suggest using a 47 Ohm resistor and soldering it in between the audio jack and the speaker on the 4 metal blobs (use the top one as it worked best for me)

mine works like a charm and i used this guys, tutorial mostly for the reason it had a resistor.
yo if any one has some extra front lights letme know im looking to mod a gameboy color with a front light and with lights in the case
defghui3 years ago
quick question, why cant you use the newer brighter sp version? whats the difference?
Zachariah Cruse (author)  defghui3 years ago
You can not use the newer version. The new ones have a light behind the screen that works completely different. You need the light from older ones because it's made to sit on top of the screen to light it up. I don't completely understand it, but for some reason, the way the GBC screen works, when you put a light behind it you can't see the image anymore, which is why you need a frontlight.
i see. thanks very much!
charker3 years ago
Very good tutorial! Very well written and plenty of good pictures. Think I'll give it a try,thanks.
Does anybody know how to do something like this to a GBA? really could use help
Satella3 years ago
Mmm... I think is ver good idea to do this, only you have a dead GBA-SP....but if don´t shuld prepare another with some external leds. Verywell. Nice project.
kirillre43 years ago
Awesome guide. I just finished building one myself, and here is some notes on problems I encountered during process

1) You don't really have to peel piece under the rectangular piece with solder pads (step 3). It will work without it fine, however, it will be more difficult to solder wires to it, But adding more flux to wire will solve this problem.

2) Light panel can easily fall out of it's metal holder (where is LED placed). If it did so, then things will get a little bit more difficult. Follow the guide, but don't put everything back into the housing, just solder everything and connect batteries. Turn it on. If you can't see anything on the screen through working light panel - then you plug it wrong way, flip it over or turn it 180 degrees around. Keep trying until you get visible image on the screen with working frontlight.

3) DON'T scratch the light panel, even slightest scratches will turn into highly visible dark areas when it will be powered on. I've got one myself (small, though) and it suck.

Few words about result. I am a bit disappoited about it, colors look washed out a little, the best angle to use GBC is like on the photos here - this way colors will lok pretty AND you will havw a backlight. Now I'm working on adding a switch for frontlight, because since I don't need it al the time, I'd prefer to save battery life
TeamDuck4 years ago
Thanks, I'll probably get round to doing this at the weekend. I have a dead SP lying around and needed something to do with it :)