Fix Lines in Your Gameboy Screen




About: I like to work with wood, read about history and lift weights.

Can't afford the new Nintendo 3DS or the Playstation Vita? Got an old Nintendo Gameboy lying around, but it has lines on the screen? Worry not my fellow man for there is an easy fix to your not so uncommon conundrum.

Follow these easy steps and you will be on your way to a good as new Gameboy. 

Step 1: Tools of Your Trade

1.) Screwdriver with phillips, flathead and triwing bit. The triwing is the hardest to find, but lots of places carry them. I got mine in a screwdriver kit at Lowe's for $6.
2.) Soldering iron.
3.) Scissors
4.) Electrical tape
5.) Paper - unlikely to be needed, but to be safe you'll want some paper on hand to prevent an accidental short circuit of your Gameboy.

As with all Instructables work slow, be careful and be safe. In this one you'll be working with sharp blades and a very hot soldiering iron. Don't touch the tip of the iron. Most soldering iron kits come with a little metal rest stand. Use this when not using the soldering iron as it can cause damage to you and to your stuff.

Step 2: Identify the Issue

This is the easiest step. In the image you see an arrow or two which identifies all the vertical lines appearing on my Gameboy screen. These guys are going to go away.

Step 3: More Obvious Stuff

I told you this was easy right? 

Use the triwing screwdriver to unscrew the back of the Gameboy. Be careful not to whip it open once you've got the screws out. There are short wires that connect the front and back portions of the unit. Slowly, open it and set the side with the screen on top of the back. It won't be perfectly flat, but that's ok. 

The next super easy part is to use the phillips screwdriver to take the screws out of the circuit board that is in the front portion of the Gameboy. This is the side with the screen in it. 

You may need to use the flat head screwdriver to unpinch three prongs holding the circuit board down.

Once you've got the circuit board out slide the piece of paper in between the two sides of the Gameboy. This will act as insulation to prevent any electrical shocks.

Now, look for a thick black sticker running the length of the bottom of the screen. You're going to peel this off slowly. Very slowly. Underneath this are the little soldered joints connecting all that processing power to the screen. Some of these soldered joints have come loose. You need to be gentle so you don't break any more of them.

You may need to use the flat head screwdriver to scrape, gently, to get the black sticker off. 

Save the sticker.

Step 4: The Hard Part (and It's Not That Hard)

Where the sticker was you will now see a purplish band. Plug in your soldering iron to warm it up. Turn on your Gameboy. You'll need it to be on to ensure you've fixed the lines.

You can see the tip I used for my soldering iron. I don't know what it's called, but it worked great.

Once the soldering iron is up and running, gently drag it along the band just below the screen where you had lines showing.

Don't hold it on one spot. 

Move it along and pick it up quickly. Otherwise you can melt the stuff in there or damage the screen. I held it too long in one place and my screen turned purple and blue and all sorts of colors in a small section on the bottom left of the screen. It eventually went away, but you can do some damage here.

You may cause other places on the screen to show lines. This is ok. Just keep running the soldiering iron along the band and they will go away.

You may not be able to get the screen perfect, but you probably can. While I was working on mine I kept getting one stubborn section on the left. Hence, I ended up holding the soldering iron there too long. However, when I put everything back together the line was gone.

Step 5: Put It Back Together

Cut several pieces of electrical tape the length of the sticker you peeled off. Carefully, place the tape on the sticker and put it back to where it was. It must be completely flat. Sometimes the tape can pull up on a section of the sticker. Take the tape off and start over if this happens. If the sticker is not even or flat it can pull up on those resoldiered pins and you'll have to do this again.

The image is a side shot to show the tape job. It doesn't have to be pretty, but all those layers of tape will A.) hold the sticker in place and B.) increase the thickness so the outer case of the Gameboy holds the sticker in place.

Put all the screws back in.

Step 6: Completed

The first image shows what it looks like with the contrast all the way up at the beginning. The second image shows what the game looks like after all that easy work.

This is the first time I did this after watching a few videos and reading about it. 

Total time spent actually working on the Gameboy = 30 minutes. You could do it in 15 after doing it once. 

Step 7: (Optional)

Throw away the triwing screwdriver since you'll never use it again for anything.



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    16 Discussions


    8 months ago

    Worked like a charm, thx!

    Weaboo Salmon

    3 years ago

    Do you have an idea on how this would be done on a gameboy pocket?

    1 reply
    ultra magnusWeaboo Salmon

    Reply 3 years ago

    I've never seen the inside of one, but if the screen uses the same technology and the connections are loose I don't see why not.

    Give it a try and let us know.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    Worked perfectly!

    One thing I would recommend is after heating up an area, lightly blow on it to cool. This can also bring some lines back. Also, rather than using the point of the soldering iron, I used the side of the point to heat a larger area, which seemed to be more effective.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    No no no no no! This is the exact wrong thing to do. Never do this. This is electronics 101. Never ever attempt to accelerate the cooling of a solder joint. That's exactly how you cause a cold solder joint.


    3 years ago on Introduction

    think this works on a gba screen with the same problem?


    4 years ago on Step 4

    U R DA MAN!!! I have an old GB that I have very fond memories of. I know it is dated, but I still think it's great. My 9yr old son wanted to check it out, but the lines made it unplayable. This certainly was an EASY fix for an OLD friend. Thank you for the great instructable. (BTW, for anyone who has a tribit that will work, but does not fit in the hole, I was able to use a grinder on the back end, "shank", of the tribit (standard driver bit "shank") to get it down to size. It reached the screw just fine.)

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    Thanks! I have this same problem and I just figured I needed a new screen without taking anything apart to verify.

    1 reply

    If you are even remotely handy i bet you can figure this out. If you have horizontal lines be sure to look that up as they present some different challenges.


    5 years ago

    Sorry man but just correcting some spellings it's 'soldering' ,not,'soldiering'

    1 reply