GameBoy Pocket Backlight




Now that it's been about thirteen years since the GameBoy Pocket has been out, I've decided to install a backlight in the unit. Yes, there's a GameBoy Light, and there's always a GameBoy SP, but we all know the self-gratification we get from the DIY life-style.

In this, I will be explaining on how to dismantle, install, & benefit.

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Step 1: Parts You'll Need:

1 GameBoy Pocket
2 Thin gauge wire
1 Wire stripper
1 Soldering iron
1 Roll of solder
1 Really tiny LED (any color you want, but I prefer white) found in cell-phones or crappy MP3 players
1 Tri-wing screwdriver (found very cheap on e-bay)
1 Jeweler's phillips head screwdriver
1 X-acto knife
3 Alcohol wipes
1 Shot glass filled with Green Soap
1 Shot glass filled with a few Q-Tips
1 Thin reflective layer
1 Frosted layer
1 CD case
1 Roll of clear packaging tape

Total Cost: $15 (GameBoy & Twi-Wing)
Total Time: About 3 hours

Step 2: Dismantle

Take apart your GB!

Separate all of the PCB's.

Get the Main PCB, and it should Look like the picture.

The two red highlighted areas are what we're going to be working with.

Step 3: Wiring:

Make sure your soldering iron is heated up, and get your solder ready!

Take the two wires, and solder it to each side of the LED. This is a tiny LED, so be really careful.

Test the polarity of it and mark the wire.

Add a power source to your GB and test the polarity of the two marked areas & mark them.

Now, insert the wires (luckily, they're open and waiting for a wire) & solder them in on the flip-side of the PCB.

Power on the GB, and test it out. It should light up if you did everything correctly.

Step 4: The LCD

This part is kind of time-consuming.

You have to be extremely careful with the LCD, or you'll end up with a row, or column of dead-pixels.

Remove the sticky backing from the LCD, and scrape the silver away with your trusty X-Acto knife.

When it's all scraped, dip the one end of the Q-Tip in the Green Soap, and scrub the back until all of the flakes are gone.

Dry it off, and then wipe both sides down with the alcohol wipe.

Take your reflective layer, frosted layer, and CD case, and make sure they're cut to the exact size of the GB's LCD.

Take the CD case, and make a notch at the very top for the LED, and tape it all back together.

I can't stress enough to be careful with the ribbons on the LCD. I have a couple rows of dead pixels. :(

Step 5: FInal Step

Put everything back together. It'll be a tight fit, but it'll work.

If you did everything correctly, it should do what the one on the bottom is doing. Making you happy in the dark.

Now, if you want, customize the heck out of it by painting, or adding more LED's.

Be critical, but not harsh. This is my first Instructable.

Thanks for reading, and happy modding!

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    22 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    There is a PDF instruction manual for back lights at They also sell back lights as opposed to the front lights you see here. A small site and new. Nice instructable GIbson.

    2013-11-18 14.25.19.jpg

    9 years ago on Step 4

    what do you mean by frosted layer


    9 years ago on Step 1

    find broken lcd tv or similar dismantle find white reflective layer, wedge shaped layer of clear plastic with frosty dots, a rainbow double vision wierd layer.a layer that spreads light on one side and appears mirror like on the other. and lastly a frosty layer. have also tries different thicknesses of cassette cd vellman cases,and also a reargarde light bending easy park lense


    9 years ago on Step 5

    FIRST INSTRUCTABLE, well done mate,there has been a lot of avoidance of the critical stages of gameboy backlighting,its good to see that someones started,and on gameboy pocket !iv been working on the old bricks for a little while now and just attempting first pocket version, the screen layers are a bit more forgiving but the screen wireing is a right pain.


    9 years ago on Step 5

    iv made a backlight unit,and theres a guy on ebay bleeps8bit who sells ready made backlights his was much better than mine,even after my 6 attempts with different plastic and eventually cutting a laptop up,making backlights is educational fun but if you want it to look the part buy the part,thanks for the wireing info


    9 years ago on Step 4

    when removing foil layer scrape with a finger nail then remove sticky with genuine turps (art stuff,not as harsh as decorating stuff,its what iv got,and it works),the first one i did i used metal thing and scratched hell out of polarising layer which messed up picture so i ended up replacing layer


    9 years ago on Step 4

    yeah, as kolibri said, what order did you but the layers in? i would tink it would be lcd, frosted, cd case, then reflective, but i dont know. also. how many layers do i remove from the lcd? i got the reflective layer off, but there is another layer under the reflective layer, almost like a tinted clear sticker, do i remove this too? thanks for the instructable! oh, and i also noticed that you can get rid of dead pixel rows just by wiggling the ribbon cable a bit! maybe you can get your pixel rows back!

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 4

    I noticed the same thing about the ribbon. I thought I busted my screen somehow, but was happy to find out I hadn't.

    Please do update on the order of the layers! A picture would be greatly appreciated too. And what might you suggest using for the reflective and frosted layers? I would think aluminum foil would make a good reflective layer, right? Could wax paper be good for the frosted?


    9 years ago on Step 2

    What do you mean by "Separate all of the PCB's", there is only the one shown in the picture for this step.  What other PCB's do you have inside your gameboy?


    9 years ago on Step 4

     Could you please add some more details in which order I have to put the layers. Maybe some drawing or other perspectives?! Thanks :)


    10 years ago on Step 1

    i beleive he ment the two layers behind the screen but im not sure. maybe you shold try getting some thick plastic sheets cut into the right sized slice and use some sandpaper to ruff one up to be "frosted"


    10 years ago on Introduction

    There are more holes in this tutorial than swiss cheese shot up with bird shot.
    You need to add MUCH* more detail than this, it's unusable.


    10 years ago on Step 1

    Wow I was just wondering the EXACT thing?


    10 years ago on Step 1

    Hi i was just wondering what you meant by "Thin Reflective Layer and Frosted Layer"?


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 5

    Yes and no. The method that I'm using is for the Gameboy Pocket, or the DMG (brick) model. For the Gameboy Color, you would have to look for the front lighting kit for the Gameboy Advance, since the LCD screen has a very dark tint making back lighting extremely hard to do. I believe you have to look for something called the Afterburner. It works for the GBC too. I hope this helps!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    It's much easier to do that to the DMG (original gameboy). There's some very good tutorials, and I recently saw a really good one, but you'll have to Google it. Happy modding!