Introduction: Weekly Project: Go Green GBA--A Solar-Powered Game Boy Advance

Picture of Weekly Project: Go Green GBA--A Solar-Powered Game Boy Advance

How many AA batteries does your Game Boy Advance eat during an average week of game play? Two, four, eight; well, then you're going to appreciate this environmentally-friendly way of squeezing "free" game play out of the sun.

While it's no secret that surplus solar-powered, rechargeable, portable Solar PAK (#GEGBASP) power packs are readily available from discount electronics parts stores, it is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of them are DOA. Sure the solar panel functions as advertised, but more cases than not, the rechargeable battery pack is toast.

Revitalize that dead Solar PAK with a set of fresh, new NiMH batteries. In just a couple of months of average game play, your "green" GBA will have paid for itself.

Go Green GBA.

Step 1: Salvage the Solar PAK GBA

Picture of Salvage the Solar PAK GBA

Time: 1 hour
Cost: $19.67
Difficulty: Easy

Parts List

  • solder
  • electrical tape
  • double-sided foam tape

NOTE: Make sure that your batteries' dimensions do not exceed 2.25- tall x 1.875- wide x .375-inches thick. For example, GP Batteries GP5M60.

Step 2: Open Sesame--Maybe

Picture of Open Sesame--Maybe

Your most difficult challenge won't be locating a trio of suitable batteries, rather it will be getting inside the Solar PAK. There are four Triwing "tamperproof" screws fastening the battery compartment together. Don't be fooled into thinking that you can simply push a straight-blade screwdriver into these screws and force 'em out. Instead purchase a Triwing screwdriver. Sears, Roebuck and Co. sells the Craftsman 32 pc. Security Screwdriver and Bit Set (Sears item #00947486000 Mfr. model #47486) for less than $25 which features four Triwing bits.

Step 3: Out With the Old (Batteries)

Picture of Out With the Old (Batteries)

Remove the dead battery pack by desoldering the black and red power wires from the negative and positive terminals (respectively). Don't just throw these dead batteries in your household trash. Locate an eco-friendly disposal site for dumping these dead cells. Local RadioShack stores and Lowe's Home Centers occasionally reclaim dead batteries.

Step 4: Roll Your Own

Picture of Roll Your Own

Lay the three NiMH batteries on a flat surface with the polarity of the terminals flipped (i.e., positive up, negative up, positive up). These flipped poles must now be connected together. Either a shorting clip or a piece of scrap wire can be used for soldering the alternating terminals together.

First, identify a positive and a negative terminal--these poles should be singularly labeled on each of the end battery pack. In other words, the positive terminal could be the left battery whereas the negative terminal would then be the right battery. Solder the red and black power leads from the Solar PAK to the respective terminals.

Complete the replacement battery pack by taping all three batteries together with a length of electrical tape. Secure the pack inside the Solar PAK with a piece of double-sided foam tape and reinsert the Triwing fasteners.

Step 5: Playing Around in the Sun

Picture of Playing Around in the Sun

When placed in direct (or, indirect) sunlight the amber "charging" CHG LED should flash. A full charge will take approximately three hours. There is a slight chance that your completed Solar PAK replacement battery pack won't work. If this is the case, press the Reset button (located on the rear of the solar panel) until the CHG LED begins to flash. Don't forget to turn on both the GBA power and the Solar PAK power switch for proper operation.

Now go have some fun in the sun.


Irene7999 (author)2010-12-02

Solar powered charger is not the first time be utiliaed.Many electronic products such as cell phone,laptop,camera ect can be charged by a small portable solar charger

ladiesman247 (author)2008-05-16

who actually plays with these nowadyas! there is such a tyhing as a ps 2/3 xbox WII everything gameboys are liek so old!

Ds HaKa (author)ladiesman2472010-08-17

Ya I have a Wii that i haven't played in months but i play my gameboy color and gameboy pocket every day... Modern gaming has nothing on the 90's

toogers (author)ladiesman2472010-06-22

i still play with my beige gameboy. im 12 and prefer the NES mario to the new one.

Don't Bash the classics . you can play Metroid Fusion, Packman, Doom, and Tetris ect. and the closest reference would be PSP or DS.

spasysheep (author)ladiesman2472008-06-18

And your point is? there are still some great games for them - OK so you could buy a DS for £80-100 but a GBA for £5-15 is much better for those on a small budget who don't feel the need for touch screens, microphones etc.

yeah i agree. Also I think that most older games are better than newer games, I still play my SNES and I find it much more fun than GTA 4.

me too! i still play my sega megadrive!! Much more fun than alot of new games i've gotten lately. u want pic of it?

Kention3 (author)cormac30502008-08-05

and also, all of those systems are non-portable

mman1506 (author)Kention32009-02-16

i have a classic gb and i just purchased the game boy camera and later th gb printr

dombeef (author)mman15062010-04-07

 How good are they?
Are they worth buying? 

my brother has a ds and a ps2... but all be plays is his GBA and his N64!!! go retro!

  dude! I still play on gameboy color and gameboy Advance there classics!

classics, man.. you can't play pokemon silver on and xbox, can you?

Uhh yes . but its not as fun ! 

its been along while since ive player pokemon

In Pokemon Silver, you go to johto AND... kanto, i think? anyways, you go to 2  places. So DOUBLE game. for SINGLE PRICE! so call this toll free number...

AzraelUK (author)ladiesman2472009-08-27

You're a bad person.

welder guy (author)ladiesman2472009-03-07

dude game boys rock! I love tetris and super marioand all that! heck I even sold my GTA trilogy for games for it

inventordude14 (author)2010-01-23

  good idea! does this also work for gameboy color?

Maurice (author)2007-04-29

Not sure why this would be neccesary? you could always get a Free Loader!
Powers pretty much any hand held device. I use mine for the ipod and my mobile as well as my PSP.

Got mine from

cheating-master (author)Maurice2008-12-10

you can get the same thing here

Aeshir (author)2007-04-25

Lol. All the nubs that use non-recharable cells...I seriously don't get the point of them. Why would you ever buy non-rechargables?

smeeves (author)Aeshir2008-05-18

i kno! i was so happy when i got a bit battery charger (does every type of batttery) and a buncha recharagable cells. it was great

Aeshir (author)smeeves2008-05-19

i <3 rechargeable

Derin (author)Aeshir2008-07-11

says what aeshir says

Aeshir (author)Derin2008-07-11


Derin (author)Aeshir2008-07-11

I am thinking exactly like you on the rechargeable thing

Aeshir (author)Derin2008-07-11

Oh lol.

liamdoydoy (author)2008-06-24

go to! i still play my old games!

denass (author)2008-04-19

I like it! It help's me with any other idea's. Thank's

MysticX (author)2007-04-25

Very nice, it is good to know that a few more alkaline batteries won't end up leaking in the dump. I can't wait until they get those 3 layer solar panels to a reasonable cost.

About This Instructable




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