How to Add a Frontlight to Your Gameboy Color

248,285

121

34

If you grew up with playing Gameboy like I did, I'm sure you remember countless hours of pokemon battles, many of which were only possible by the saving grace of your wormlight. I know I owe many long nights of Gameboy to that wormlight.

Now that I'm older though, a wormlight doesn't really cut it. This tutorial will show you how to very simply add an internal frontlight to your Gameboy Color. A feature that blows your wormlight out of the water.

Step 1: What You'll Need.

1. Your favorite Gameboy Color
2. A Broken Gameboy Advance Sp. (Make sure the model is NOT an AGS-101, this version uses the wrong light)
3. Tri-Wing screwdriver
4. Soldering iron and basic soldering skills.
5. Some wire and solder.

Step 2: Disassemble and Remove Screen

First you'll need to remove all the batteries from your Gameboy, followed by the 6 Tri-wing screws that hold everything together. Once you have the screws out, the back half of the Gameboy should come right off, leaving the Gameboy motherboard still attached to the front casing. To remove the Gameboy motherboard from the casing you will need to do 2 things, First remove the phillips screws that hold the motherboard to the casing. Second, unplug the screen ribbon cable. The pictures should help you understand.

Once the screen is unplugged, you can remove the motherboard, leaving you with the screen inside the front casing. The screen has some adhesive around the edges, so it might take a little pulling to get it out, but it shouldn't be to difficult.


Step 3: Remove Frontlight From Your GBA SP

To remove the light from the Gameboy Advance SP, you don't have to take apart the whole thing, just the screws around the screen. Once you remove those screws, you should be able to pull the plastic casing apart, leaving the screen attached by only a ribbon cable. Go ahead and cut this cable with some scissors to free the screen.

Once you've got your screen loose, the first thing you need to do is remove the screen bezel. (The clear plastic that says "Gameboy Advance SP" on it)The screen bezel is attached with a rubber like adhesive all the way around the edge. VERY carefully pull the screen bezel off from the edges. Try not to touch the screen underneath this, it's actually the light panel that rests ON TOP of the actual screen, and it's very hard to remove finger prints if you touch it too much.

Once the rubber adhesive stuff is removed, you should be able to pull the light panel and light up out of the screen assembly. You'll need to cut the plastic around the screen that the ribbon cable was fed through. On the backside of the screen assembly you will need to peel up the ribbon cable that attaches to the light. There is a small rectangle on the end of the ribbon cable for the frontlight, this rectangular section has two solder pads on it. BE SURE to peel up this rectangular piece AND the piece under it. If you only peel the top layer you will render the solder pads useless, and ruin your light.

The left solder pad is positive and the right pad is negative.

Step 4: Installing Your Frontlight.

Before you can install the light into your gameboy casing, you will need to modify it a bit. It's not too hard though, all you need to do is rip off the plastic "wall" below the screen. I just grabbed it with pliers and folded it over and ripped it out. It shouldn't take more than a few mins. Once that plastic is removed, you can simply lay the frontlight into the casing and then place the Gameboy screen on top of it. Be careful of finger prints! You don't want everything smudged up!

Once you've got the light installed and the screen laying on top of it, Go ahead and lay your Gameboy motherboard back in. The orange rectangle with your " + " and " - " solder pads on it should stick up around the side. (see pictures)

Go ahead and wire leads to each of these pads. The left (positive, blue wire) pad needs to be wired to the third pin down on the power switch.

The right (negative, yellow wire) pad needs to be soldered to ground. I soldered it to the negative side of one of the caps behind the battery connectors.

Once you have everything soldered up, go and and screw the motherboard back into the casing with your philips screws, plug your screen ribbon cable back in, and finish it off by screwing your back casing back on. The Tri-wing screws might be a little harder to screw down now that you have everything installed, but don't worry, it should go back together just fine.

Step 5: Finished!

That wasn't too hard! You've now given new life to your Gameboy color, and made good use of a broken Gameboy advance SP. I personally prefer the way a Gameboy color plays over an SP, so I use my frontlit gameboy's instead of my working SP.

3 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Baking Challenge

    Baking Challenge
  • PCB Contest

    PCB Contest
  • Make it Glow Contest 2018

    Make it Glow Contest 2018

34 Discussions

0
None
KimM305

1 year ago

So I tried it myself and I am proud that at least I didnt break the light but the problem I have is I barely see it when the lights are closed and it really is annoying please help

21462906_1664897046855930_190569839058847818_n.jpg21462412_1664897070189261_7959543583414616895_n.jpg
1 reply
0
None
b.anticoKimM305

Reply 12 days ago

It looks like you missed the diffuser to me and used just the LEDs. That or you broke the LED/diffuser alignment somehow and light is not running trhu the diffuser now, therefore not reaching the whole screen.

0
None
ChuckP36

1 year ago

Where can I buy a broken AGS101? I can't seem to find one online.

1 reply
0
None
b.anticodereckd2

Reply 12 days ago

001. You want a frontlight, not a backlight. I know I'm a year late, but... Anyway, this is in the post. If you use a 101 it's a completely different process and you need an USD50 ribbon cable, replacing the whole screen and so on. Plus the 101 cannot be broken since you need the complete screen to work and a GBA motherboard breaking is a rare thing to find.

"2. A Broken Gameboy Advance Sp. (Make sure the model is NOT an AGS-101, this version uses the wrong light)"

0
None
SoulD2

2 years ago

You can actually buy these now without ruining a perfectly good AGS001. go to handheldlegend.com they have really good ones for a great price

1 reply
0
None
EvanH36SoulD2

Reply 2 years ago

Those look absolutely terrible, I did one last week and you couldn't even see the screen it was so bad. They charge $12 plus shipping for those.

Broken AGS-101s go for just about the same amount or less (and he even mentions specificially to buy a broken one).

0
None
SoulD2

2 years ago

You can actually buy these now without ruining a perfectly good AGS001. go to handheldlegend.com they have really good ones for a great price

0
None
josephchrzempiec

2 years ago

Hello i always wonder what size of screen is the Gameboy color?

0
None
nancyjohns

3 years ago on Introduction

Sorry if I'm rude, but, that's stupid. Why would you hack up a perfectly good GBAsp to use it's already established frontlight?

2 replies
0
None
N00B5L4Y3R

7 years ago on Introduction

Say guys, i don't know if I should do this. my gameboy color is a limited edition pikachu version. I don't think I should mod it. Unfortunately, the screen is old and the lcd is pretty dark. So dark I can barely see what's on my screen in daylight. Help?

1 reply
0
None
imrexman213N00B5L4Y3R

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

Buy a new case from aliexpress.com and just mess around with that.(aliexpress is great because the cases are brand new.)

0
None
enovah

3 years ago

So can I get opinions on how this mod actually turns out in the end? I've read a lot of forum posts and the overall vibe I get is that this mod isn't as great as it sounds because it causes glare issues and has wavy lines on the screen. Can I get some confirmation if that is true or not?

0
None
Marshen Waha

4 years ago on Step 3

hi there I wish you would make an instructubles like this for Gameboy Advance that would be awesome.

I remember seeing somewhere else that you need a capacitor, did you just do it different or did look over a step?

0
None
dodo91

6 years ago on Step 5

Think of how much easier it would be to move it to GBA. I like GBA better than GBA SP, because of the top loading cartridge and the horizontal orientation. The problem is is that is has no front light. I'm ganna do this, but add a switch somewhere on the device to turn it off when not in use, saving battery life. I'm glad, because my SP will no longer charge batteries, even when I replace the battery itself, and it just seems to be rotting and doing nothing useful.

Thanks for coming up with this. My broken SP has been sitting around for AGES. I'm glad I could finally do something constructive with it.

Something kinda weird, I didn't think it through very well but I did this on an Atomic Purple gameboy since the case is transparent and the backlight extends below the screen, you can see part of the backlight in the middle of the gameboy. I feel kinda stupid for not expecting that to happen.

It looks a little strange and it's kinda distracting but its not a big deal I guess. I just wasn't expecting it. I might actually trade this case with the case from my broken Yellow Pikachu gameboy in the future. Yay, more use of broken gameboys. :)

I guess I'm just posting this as a "warning" to anyone who wants to do this with an Atomic Purple gameboy, It'll look like this when you're done.

121006_0006.jpg