Fixing Ripped Off START/SELECT Board Ribbon Cable on GameBoy Micro

Introduction: Fixing Ripped Off START/SELECT Board Ribbon Cable on GameBoy Micro

GB Micro, released in 2005, is amazing example of miniaturisation with it's paper-thin (literally, it's about 0.4 mm thick) multi-layered PCBs and flex cables going in between those layers, without any connectors, to save space. It's something to look at in awe. Or horror, If you broke something inside.

As you can see, I broke ribbon cable, connecting START/SELECT board to motherboard - it's pretty easy to do when you are taking off metal shielding or pulling out motherboard not gently enough. Not willing to throw out $50 into dumpster, I decided to snoop around the motherboard to find if there any way to fix this mess.

Materials required:

1) Magnifying glass (you won't get anywhere without it)

2) Soldering iron with fine tip

3) Thinnest wire you could get (I'm using 0.5 sq.mm), preferably in teflon isolation, about 30 cm

4) Scalpel or cardboard knife

5) (Optional) Some heat shrink tube (6-7 mm diameter, I think)

Step 1: Solder Wires to START/SELECT Board

Use scalpel or knife to remove green solder mask from soldering pads - be very careful not to remove pads themselves, apply very little pressure. Cut wires into 5-6 cm pieces and solder them to the points as shown in picture. Don't worry abou them being to long - there is anough space between screen and motherboard to fit them. After that, flip the board (make sure that wider notch in the middle of the board is facing towards you and wires are away from you) and carefully bend all wires at the top of the board, so they go under it (check pictures on the next page).

Step 2: Solder to Motherboard

Prepare soldering pads, like in previous step and solder wires according to instruction on the first picture.

After that you can fasten wires to motherboard using small piece of heat-shrink tube.

As I said, you won't get far without magnifying glass - that part of PCB where all solder pads are located ia about 7 mm wide. Also on the third pic you can see how I messed up wiring for START and SELECT.

...I actually got it right only on the third try. So check how it works before assembling unit. You might also need to slightly modify your housing to fit START/SELECT board with wires.

Now to the part on how I found out where to solder to. On the slide number 4 you can see tool I used - it's two needles with resistor inbetween. I had a hunch that flex cable connection will have some vias on PCB, so I probed all suspicious connections with this tool on powered on console, looking at it's reaction. It's also is surefire way to burn your console, even with resistor in there to prevent short-circuits, so please don't do it this way unless you either know what you are doing or you're doing it on something already considered broken. And never do it with something powered by mains - that way in addition to burning console you might also set your house on fire or kill yourself.

Step 3: Look at Him Go

Well, now you have working GB Micro. And probably, oath to yourself to NEVER EVER open it again.

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    2 Comments

    0
    Shadowcaster0
    Shadowcaster0

    Tip 10 months ago

    A decent guide on how to bypass that broken ribbon. all the pics are spot on.

    Wishing I had these pics, which show how and where to modify the black case to accommodate, as you MUST, the new wires. everyone will have a different experience with this process, so please use my pics as inspiration. where your wires lye and where your soder points are will determine what you need to clip with cutters.

    I used some. 05 mm jumper wires, which I recommend using at the longest length. I color coded them with markers to keep track of where each wire goes.

    Of course, you should partially assemble and test as you go. and get a decent amount of soder on the main board or the wire tips; they fall off the boards way too easy. oh and use Kapton tape on the start/select board on the back side, if you got it.

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