Introduction: Solar Gameboy Advance

Picture of Solar Gameboy Advance

Give your Gameboy Advance a little solar power.

Step 1: Get Supplies

You will need:
1 Gameboy Advance (the original one not the SP or Micro)
1 Solar Panel (from garden lights)
1 Switch (optional yet recomended)
1 Diode (definatly NOT optional)
1 Voltage Regulator (only optional if your solar panel can't give out more than 6 volts)
A little bit of spare wire

Step 2: Put the Small Parts Together

Picture of Put the Small Parts Together

Attach them in a series going:
Switch -> Diode (make sure electricty flows from the switch to the regulator) -> Voltage Regulator

Step 3: Attach the New Series to Positive Terminals

Picture of Attach the New Series to Positive Terminals

Connect the end with the switch to the solar panel.
Next, connect the end with the voltage regulator to the Gameboy.
Make sure both are on positive terminals

Solder works best!

Step 4: Connect Grounds

Picture of Connect Grounds

Connect both the negitive terminal and the top of the voltage regulator to any ground on the device. You can use the negative terminal on the Gameboy for the best ground

Step 5: Insert Batteries

Get Ni-Cd (Nickle-Cadium) batteries. These are the only ones that will work in this circuit. You can just put them in the old Gameboy battery compartment.

Step 6: Let Your Gameboy Charge in the Sun

Picture of Let Your Gameboy Charge in the Sun

Flip the switch and set it in the window to let it charge. Most solar lights won't give you enough power to let the Gameboy work without batteries so it's best to let the solar panel just charge the batteries.

Congrats, your all done (and I just finished my first instructable). Go and celebrate.


Frank Lampard 13 (author)2012-03-04

if only the pictures were clearer

ShadowAssassin (author)2011-02-21

Could you do this with a gameboy advanced sp?

toogers (author)2010-11-28

very nice, my solar panel was a little overpowered so i mae it also power some LEDS to make a backlight.

andrew93 (author)2007-09-20

where did you buy that solar panel? i'm looking for a big one but all i found is a small one!!

coolz (author)andrew932008-04-28

it HAS to be small, dude

ReCreate (author)coolz2009-07-02

A small one will provide almost no electricity...

toogers (author)ReCreate2010-11-28

but you don't want to carry a whole power plant with you, am i right?

bmlbytes (author)andrew932007-09-21

1. This is a very small solar panel
2. I didn't buy it. It came out of solar garden lights
3. Try ebay

fwjs28 (author)bmlbytes2008-04-22

or a 3v calculator solar power

AntMan232 (author)2010-02-03

 Isn't a more complicated circuit needed to charge the batteries properly though? I don't know, but surely there should be more than that. 

Madrias357 (author)2010-01-11

You don't just have to use NiCD batteries: I've charged NiMH batteries with this type of setup.

Bad Donut (author)2006-11-01

Cool, but, who plays gameboy advanced anymore? Maybe you should have used this on an Ipod or something.

Jais1993 (author)Bad Donut2009-09-07

I just whipped out my old GBC.

Sypran (author)Bad Donut2009-08-11

i love my advance! it plays gbc games, sure the sp has a back lit, but it was to small for my hands

masterochicken (author)Bad Donut2009-07-09

I do. Now STFU.

bmlbytes (author)Bad Donut2006-11-01

I actually made this a while ago. I recently found and desided to post it.

n0ukf (author)bmlbytes2009-05-10

Where is the photo of the completed project? Everything's still open.

Also, there is no schematic (wiring diagram) in this project and you don't identify the type of regulator (what voltage and polarity).

bmlbytes (author)n0ukf2009-05-13

It is the complete project. I cut the back of the case off for a case mod project I never got around to. If you notice the outside edge is there. Also you need a 5v voltage regulator. And the wiring and polarity should be explained on its package.

n0ukf (author)bmlbytes2009-06-10

Please edit your parts list to specify the regulator for those that don't know the difference between one and another. the way you list it (unspecified), it doesn't appear to matter what voltage or polarity the regulator is. LM7805 is +5v and LM7905 is -5v regulator. Other variants are the LM78L05 low power regulator. And you're still missing a wiring diagram (schematic). The photos aren't totally clear on the connections for those who don't already know.

zitz (author)Bad Donut2009-05-27

I play my gameboy games on my gameboy advance because it's more portable than my snes

ReCreate (author)2009-07-02

Lol, The 5V regulator is Realy unnecessary, the cell voltage never goes higher than 3V, and the solar cell does not provide any more than 40 MA, going through the regulator, The gameboy is probably getting .5-2 volts at -5Ma...

fang113 (author)2009-05-04

do you have to solder? and if not, what else could i do?

bmlbytes (author)fang1132009-05-05

You could just tape it in place, but that would be unreliable at best

fang113 (author)bmlbytes2009-05-05

thank you for the info, i dont have a soldering iron

n0ukf (author)2008-03-03

One thing you neglected to mention in supplies is the 3-wing phillips security screwdriver to open the GBA. I found mine on ebay, along with the bits for the other Nintendos and cartriges.

jillg (author)n0ukf2009-04-18

if you're using the gbc instead of the advance you just need a regular phillips.

bmlbytes (author)jillg2009-05-05

Or you could drill them out like I did originally.

Sypran (author)2008-10-05

does this remind anyone of boktai? ooo i just got an idea! devote one of my gameboys (my D pad damaged one peferably to solar colecting wile being solar powered

qwerty29 (author)Sypran2009-02-10


TheWelfareWarrior (author)2008-06-23

ha ha! that is EXACTLY the same solar panel that I have! But mine isn't in use at the moment... How many Watts does the GBA draw? I was just thinking about doing this to one of my old gameboys and was wondering what a ball park estimate would be.

andrew93 (author)2008-04-29

yeah i know but i don't want it for the game boy, i want it for other stuff!!

fwjs28 (author)2008-04-22

or u could just connect them to the battery terminal and use the calulator solar panel i suggest(see below) which is 3v....and then u could play like that....

CapnTac (author)2008-04-15

Could this work for a GB Color? Not that I own one, but I'd rather go out and buy an 8 dollar color than a 20 dollar advance just to try this project, because I already have a DS.

bmlbytes (author)CapnTac2008-04-15

Yup! You will just need to find where the positive and negative connect in your color.

PCvsMac (author)2007-10-24

Nice... But surely it must be easier to wire it upto the + and - Terminals by alligator clips? Also, Great project, nice to see that people do care about the world (No offence to anyone who reads this)

Zlwilly (author)2007-05-24

that makes sense, good to know. I'm buying a few packages of solar cells for a new project, set up with a nice little voltage regulator it should make a pretty good first instructable once it's finished. Thanks for the info, nice project.

Zlwilly (author)2007-05-24

well solar cells have a constant voltage, (correct me if im wrong, im new to this,) so it seems like all that really matters is the current the cells can kick out. A solar cell's output is measured in Amps or Watts, so as long as you know how much energy you need, you can kick it through the right voltage reg and your all set!

bmlbytes (author)Zlwilly2007-05-24

Solar cells do not have a constant voltage. They have a maximum voltage but not a constant one. If their is less power then the voltage and the amps will both go down. The way that people power something with a solar cell and a constant voltage is by adding a rechargable battery in-line. By doing that then the battery will give the voltage needed when there is not enough light to power what you need. It will also "absorb" the energy that it doesn't need that much light and will store it for later use. Hope this helps you, Brandon

Sinner3k (author)2006-11-02

Anybody have the cajones to crack open an SP to see where the connections are on that? This would be great for my boy who leaves his SP laying around for days on end and never remembers to attach it to the charger. The trickle charge would keep it ready to play pretty much whenever he gets the itch to.

bmlbytes (author)Sinner3k2006-11-02

The connectors will be where the batteries connect to the main board. The grounds should be little pads of copper like the one in the upper left hand corner of the first picture. I'm sorry but the only SP in the house is my sisters, and she won't let me touch it

Silas (author)2006-10-31

I like the idea. Crash2108: You wouldn't..

bmlbytes (author)Silas2006-10-31

Thank you. Crash2108: Make a better one if you don't like it. Then prove your better than me.

Crash2108 (author)Silas2006-10-31


Joe93 (author)2006-10-31

This is darn cool. But how long will the solar panal power the gameboy?

bmlbytes (author)Joe932006-10-31

It won't by itself, or at least not with a garden light. It will however keep the batteries charged longer and charge them when not in use. To make it completly power the gameboy, you will need a solar panel that can give out more than 6 volts.

Crash2108 (author)bmlbytes2006-10-31

Why the hell would you need 6 volts for a 3 volt gameboy?

bmlbytes (author)Crash21082006-10-31

Solar panels hardly ever keep a constant strength of energy. The voltage regulator keeps it from going over 5 volts (which is the Gameboys max voltage it can handle). By getting a 6v solar panel (which are sometimes quite common), you will always get over 3 volts in the light, but you won't get your voltage regulator very hot. So pretty much: -6v panel will let you play a game using only a solar panel -3v panel will let you maintain a battery charge for a very long time while playing -2.5v or 1.5v panel should only be used for charging the batteries because they won't give you enough energy to help. Most garden lights are 1.5 to 2.5 volts

zachninme (author)Crash21082006-10-31

6v is its MAX output, which it would barely get to...

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Bio: This account was compromised 4/21/2016 and has since been edited 08 of 2017.
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