Instructables

Step 1: Gather Materials

For this project, you will need:

Resistors that match your LEDs
Small Switch
Any transparent, colored Gameboy Advance
Small Wire
Tri-Wing Screwdriver OR small flathead screwdriver
Solder
Soldering Iron
Fine Sandpaper (400 - 500 grit)
Two LEDs (any color) (preferably low voltage)
Dremel/Rotary tool
Hot glue gun
Hot glue
Heat shrink tubing

Optional materials:

Helping hands
Xacto knife

Step 2: Remove Gameboy case

Picture of Remove Gameboy case
First, you will need to remove the Gameboy's case. To do this, you will have to remove the seven tri-wing screws with your tri-wing or flathead screwdriver. There are four screws toward the top, and three towards the bottom. The screws locations are marked in the photo for better clarification. After the screws are removed, lift the front half of the case off, and set it aside for later. For the next step, you will need the back half of the case.
thevadj4 years ago
 lol so i thought i burned out my GBA doing this.  I originally tried doing this but soldering the LEDs to the GBA power switch.  I killed the switch.  

Later, I tried shorting across the switch.  GBA still works.  Just have to take one of the batteries out.  Not like that's a huge hassle, the battery doors ALWAYS break, right?  

So I wired up 6 green LEDs.  Wired up one backwards, but its not like that REALLY matters much lol its WAAAAY bright.  Now I can't really see the screen so well.  I didn't bother diffusing them either... I can always do that later.

I have 4 across the bottom (actually 3+1 that's soldered in backwards) then one to the right of the speaker, and one under the start+select text.  Its freaking bright.

4317694489_0b80c157f9_b.jpg
plane phanatic (author)  thevadj4 years ago
 That looks great! Thanks for posting the picture!
covelmo2 years ago
Can I go without removing the extra plastic? What about the switch?
JesusGeek covelmo3 months ago

You could do that, but fitting the LED's would be hard. Try using 3mm LED's here:

http://www.taydaelectronics.com/leds/round-leds/3mm-leds.html

Hope this helped!

Sam.

ninjaaa3 years ago
Awesome!
is this just to make the case look cool or does it crate a back light as well?
PS1186 years ago
Good idea, and well-written. One thing, though. Since you've had the thing apart, would it be possible to use the LED's (and maybe a piece of acrylic) as a backlight?
plane phanatic (author)  PS1186 years ago
Thanks for the comment.

Yes, it would be possible to use some LEDs and a piece of acrylic as a backlight, but it would be a very tight fit. If you are planning on making a backlight, I would recommend using some low voltage LEDs, as the Gameboy uses a considerable amount of power for use. You should also look for thin acrylic, and place it in front of the LCD screen. Here is a link to an Instructable that shows you how to backlight an LCD.
I am currently in the process of backlighting my GBA. I just need to source some materials. The hardest part is pulling the metal back off of the LCD without breaking it. The way I am doing it, I won't need the metal bit, so i bent up a corner and used a guitar pick to break the mounting tape. Then i bent it up a little further and continued the process.

http://www.pocketheaven.com/ph/boards/viewtopic.php?t=6813
This link shows you detailed pictures of where you can find a 5V power source on the PCB.

Good luck.
Thanks kryp. I'll check that out!
Well, I gave it a try. It didn't work so well.
http://forums.benheck.com/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=41129&p=437777#p437777
there are some pictures of the final product.
I have pictures of the inside too, I didn't take enough to go step-by step, but if you want to see some, I will upload them.
helloworld15 years ago
yeah i like it but whats the point of it? is it to illuminate the screen in the dark (cos from the pics it dosnt do it) or just as a decoration? if it is decoration then its really cool! also is there a way to frontlight the gba internally with led's without buying an expensive kit?
plane phanatic (author)  helloworld15 years ago
Yes, this was meant to be more of a decorative item, rather than to light up the screen. I do remember seeing a forum, where people were talking about how to illuminate the GBA's screen. If I remember the link, I'll post it.
Basically they took a frontlight thats similar to the one in the first generation of the GBA SP. People also do it to GBCs, ive been thinking of it myself.
Kokkan6 years ago
I will try this later! :]
plane phanatic (author)  Kokkan6 years ago
Nice. If you have time, post pictures of it when you're finished. Good Luck!
Sure I will! :D
1up6 years ago
Cool! My Instructable inspired someone to make their own! :D
Another idea. Use bi-color LEDs and wire them to the power indicator. That way, when the battery goes low, the whole game boy could turn red, much like the XBox 360 in panic mode.
plane phanatic (author)  team_nes_19866 years ago
Thanks for the idea. I plan on making an Instructable in the near future on how to do that. (I will also give you credit for the idea.)