Introduction: Make a Gameboy Advance SP USB Charger Cable: Charge Your GBA From a PC or Cellphone Charger

Why make this, you ask?
Well, with this USB cable, you no longer need to carry a separate charger for your Gameboy Advance SP. 
You can charge your GBA by plugging in to the USB port on your laptop/pc, or by plugging in to the USB port on a USB Charger, which is the type of charger that comes with many newer smart phones and MP3 players including iPod, Zune, Sansa, etc..
When I travel, I take my GBA for the plane.  I don't like packing more stuff than I need, so I can use this cable along with the charger for my android phone.

Why haven't you upgraded to the Nintendo DS or PSP, you ask?
Because I'm old and these new systems are too darn complicated.  I have a flash card for my GBA and I can put tons of game ROMs on it (games that I legally own of course), including an NES emulator, which gives me the opportunity to play all the best games from my childhood.  Gameplay was at it best back in the days of 8-bit computing.  The fancy new games with 10 buttons just aren't any fun.

What you will need:
  • GBA charger
  • USB cable (any kind will do, from an old MP3 player, camera, laptop cooler, etc.)
  • Heat shrink tubing or electrical tape
DISCLAIMER:
I take no responsibilities if you shock/hurt/kill yourself or others, nor do I make any guarantees that this won't fry your GBA, PC, or any other device.  This mod will break your GBA warranty, your PC warranty, your USB charger warranty, and may fail entirely. I make no guarantees that it will work.  I have only tested it on my personal GBA for 1 hour, so it may very well burn down your house and your neighbor's house too.  In fact, you should probably just stop reading now and move along to the next instructable on how to make a macaroni necklace.  Forget you ever saw this.  Move along, nothing to see here...

Step 1: Cut 'n Strip

Cut your USB cable and the cable from your GBA charger. 

You'll be using the USB end of the USB cable, and the end that plugs in to your GBA from the GBA charger, so figure out how long you want your cable to be and cut 'em both accordingly.  Use a knife, scissors, wire cutters, a sharpened bone, or a melted plastic cup sharpened to an edge against a concrete floor (for those of you reading this in prison).

Then, strip back the plastic to reveal the wires on each cable.

On the GBA charger, you will find a green wire and some bare wire.  The green wire is the positive, and the bare wire is the negative.  Strip back some of the green wire.

Depending on the USB cable you sacrifice, you may find up to 4 wires and some sheathing and insulation.  We're only interested in the black and red wires, so cut all the rest and strip back the black and red wires a bit.

Step 2: Join

Twist together the red and green wires and use small heat shrink tubing (I used the smallest tubing I could find) or electrical tape to bond them.

Then twist together the bare wires and the black wire and use a bigger diameter tubing to go over all the wires, including the ones you previous connected.  (I used 3/16" tubing and it was not quite large enough, so try 1/4"


Step 3: Charge!


Plug your finished cable into a PC or to a USB charger and start charging.

Save the GBA charger your sacrificed...you never know when you may need to use it for another project.

Comments

author
DisgustedA (author)2016-09-02

I need help, i followed all instructions, plugged it in and the
charging light wont light up, also the bottom left of the non backlit
gba gets pretty hot, but the backlit gba only gets slightly warm

also the non backlit gba will turn on and turn off half a second later

and the backlit one just wont turn on when plugged in

author
Kamen RiderT (author)DisgustedA2017-03-08

Also, this happens if you have connected a positive wire to a negative wire, and when that happen, it will not charger, neither turn on while charging, and would heat up your battery.

author
Kamen RiderT (author)DisgustedA2017-03-08

Try mine. Red from the GBA Charger to Black of the USB Charger, and Red from the USB Charger and Bare from the GBA Charger.

author
DisgustedA (author)DisgustedA2016-09-02

the usb and gba charging cords had only red and white

author
shepnstein (author)DisgustedA2016-09-02

I have no suggestions to troubleshoot other than to put everything back the way it was. Sorry!

author
Kamen RiderT (author)2017-02-20

My GBA Charger doesn't work when I did this. The cables are red and bare,and the USB has red, black, white, and green(But I know that the white and green are the data transfers). Could someone help me? Is it red to red and bare to black, or red to black and bare to red?

author
shepnstein (author)Kamen RiderT2017-02-20

I'd try red to red and bare to black.

author
Kamen RiderT (author)shepnstein2017-03-08

Mine works now. Appearantly, it was a red to black, and red to bare for me.

author
LeeB94 (author)2016-07-17

Hi here, is this safe tho . Thanks :)

author
WiFi Cable (author)2013-04-18

I lost my charger, could i make one with some jumper wires I have?

author
gugi (author)WiFi Cable2016-05-17

Try this https://www.instructables.com/id/Charging-a-gameboy-advance-sp-with-no-charger/

author
Xixfas (author)WiFi Cable2013-08-15

*facepalm* you have to have the actual connector to connect to your gameboy ya know....

author
SheldonA2 (author)2016-03-22

Thanks so much for this tutorial. I recently purchased a Gameboy Advance Micro but it came with a Euro plug. Instead of buying a new adapter, I used your awesome tutorial and my Gameboy Micro is charging as I type this!

author
TylerW17 made it! (author)2015-11-01

I used electrical tape instead, works nicely! Of course I used 2 fairly long cables to make it so I can jump rope while charging...

WP_20151101_15_50_34_Pro.jpgWP_20151101_15_50_49_Pro.jpg
author
LoganThomsen (author)2015-06-14

This is hilarious and instructive, great job!

author
drewsiko (author)2015-04-18

Worked after the second try I think the 2 wires from the gameboy might have crossed the first time. This is a cool little mod great for extending , fixing or saving space but if you have no issues with the standard gba charger think twice before doing this just in case

author
drewsiko (author)2015-04-18

author
gustavo.roberto.54584 made it! (author)2015-03-30

Works ! Thanks for the guide!

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author
link491 made it! (author)2015-03-10

Great little guide. Unfortunately the wires from my charger (being a chinese ripoff) were different colors. So if anybody needs to know, the White cable was power and the red was ground. Either way, after figuring that out it worked rather nicely, which is good for when I'm on long train rides and need to charge out of a laptop.

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author
jarrodcook (author)2012-01-19

i built one but i didn't have a gba sp charger so i used a gbasp link cable it recognizes it but does not charge can anyone help me

author

Link cables don't charge things.

author
k4d4m (author)2014-04-23

It is working! Thanks a lot!

author
gestabrook (author)2014-03-01

Just followed the instructions as I could only find my car charger. Took a few minutes and works perfectly. Double bonus as I have a 1st gen DS as well and they share the same charging port :D

author
yatto (author)2014-02-25

This resurects my poor GBA SP because the charger was broken. Now I can charge it with any USB cable or electric adapter to USB ! Thanks a lot !

author
Yurgi (author)2013-06-16

Awesome. Works perfect. Using Mophie juice pack. No resistors and no heat!
Used a USB cable that was for power only - so it had only two wires inside. Core wire to core wire and outside loose wire to outside loose wire. Great Instructions!!!

author
mvasquez l (author)2013-06-15

Please Answer This: instead of a wall charger im using a car charger and it only has two cables a Red one and a White one and the usb cable has yellow brown red and white.
which cables should i join??
Please its really important!:3

author
shepnstein (author)mvasquez l2013-06-16

Red to red and white to white. Ignore the rest

author
jgarzon aparicio (author)2012-12-27

It works!
Thanks a lot

author
wfreeland (author)2011-05-30

My GBA is recognized by my computer but it is not charging help?

author
Harrykid (author)wfreeland2012-07-25

You used the wrong wires from your usb cable. Its supposed to be black and red you probably used red and white. Try a different usb cable

author
chilll2009 (author)2010-08-30

this is a good idea, but you may want t check the voltage the GBA SP uses. You may want to put some resistors between the wires so you don't fry your gameboy.

author
shepnstein (author)chilll20092010-09-01

Thanks. I forgot to mention that the GPA SP adapter output is 5.2v. USB is 5v, so we're safe. :)

author
unicron85 (author)shepnstein2012-05-28

are we absolutely sure about the voltage parameters?

author
shepnstein (author)unicron852012-05-31

it is written right there on my adapter, 5.2v

author
unicron85 (author)shepnstein2012-06-01

oh yeah, derp! noticed it after did it anyways and thanks i now have a charging cable that's just a little over three meters long, woohoo!

author
unicron85 (author)shepnstein2012-06-01

oh yeah, derp! noticed it after did it anyways and thanks i now have a charging cable that's just a little over three meters long, woohoo!

author
CraigyWaigy101 (author)2012-04-07

Thanks it worked, but I didn't use tubing I twisted copper wires together then wrapped with electric tape. Works great with GBA and DS

author
Brahmdut (author)2012-01-18

For those of you who did not get it to work, here is a video of the same thing the only difference is that it is a phone they are charging instead of a GBA sp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjEuwrPx-gQ&feature=player_embedded

author
noobZ (author)2011-12-19

Update: I picked up an official GBA charger at goodwill today and it worked right away, no issues. There must be something different with after market cables inside the actually plug itself.

author
shepnstein (author)2011-10-19

sorry it didn't work for you guys. You did the same things I did, I don't know why it isn't charging :(

author
noobZ (author)2011-10-10

Is there any reason this wouldn't work with an after-market cable? All I had was a car charger and when I stripped the wires down there was red wire and a black wire. I then connected them to the red and black wire of multiple USB cables but none of them worked. I even found a wall charger that puts out 5.2V but when I connect the SP cable to it nothing happens. Any ideas? Thanks

author
SirSinclair (author)2010-10-12

Hello Shepnstein,
i'm discovering this kind of tutorials for making Usb charger, i found exactly same for the Nintendo Ds and i tried but it doesn't work...i just got 3 fast orange lights and nothing more.
I must precise my Dslite charger has a red cable and not green...maybe a problem ? but i don't think.
By any chance do you have an idea to help me ?
Thank you. Cheers.

author
SirSinclair (author)SirSinclair2010-10-12

Update ! I finaly made it and all is working fine now :)
Thanks from France !

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