The Radiation Boy (Gameboy Classic Afterlife)




I recently came up with a broken gameboy classic, so i wanted to use the case for something useful. My first idea was to put in a tiny television (aka  LG's HB 620 T) But due to the bad software used in it, i decided to cancel this. Another try with a slightly bigger portable television didn't leave me happy, as i would have had to change the display window of the gameboy too much, which would have led to losing it's original face.

So I left the case in the closet for some weeks until I stumbled upon an old russian geiger counter I bought some 15 years ago on a flea market.

At that time I totally messed up the original case and never was happy with it (obviously!)

my costs for this project were:
 40 $ for the geigercounter (long ago, so somehow not addable )
 15 $ for the half bricked gameboy
 4 $ for the rechargeable batteries
 5 $ for both relays
 4 rainy weekends sitting in my workshop :)

Step 1:

First I took apart the geiger counter and measured its PCB if it would fit in any way into the new case.

Step 2:

Surprisingly it fitted like a charm after cutting out the bottom of the battery compartment with my electric scrollsaw.

Step 3:

The next step was to make sure, i could use the original power switch. So i just cut it of the gameboy's main PCB (including the power jack).

Step 4:

I tried to use the original gameboy speaker, but it wasn't loud enough, so I went for the geiger counter's piezo - that indeed did have nearly the same diameter.

Step 5:

I had to cut off a bit of the front PCB for the piezo speaker to smoothly fit in.

Step 6:

Next was to cut a window for the old 4-digit-LCD into the front PCB. To be honest, I just marked an estimate of what i had to get rid off. I later had to enlarge the hole a bit more.

Step 7:

On this image you can see the PCB on which i rewired the original buttons (start, A, B) to control tiny relays. one bistable relay (for changing audio or blink) and one standard for resetting the counter. also the added dual color LED is soldered in its place.

Step 8:

This was the most annoying part: remove the LCD and put it onto a extra PCB so it could be placed right behind the original gameboy screen. Thirtyfour connections. I used an old IDE-cable for this. Before soldering the old display to it, I checked every single connection cable.

And what was hard to believe: i actually didn't forget a single element of the LCD. Well, except for the decimal dot. Cursing and swearing I started over and checked again until I had the missing link.

Step 9:

So this step here called for the artist in me - I needed something to cover the disturbing surface of the PCBs. I finally ended up with the startscreen of "Super Mario Land 2" . I opened up Photoshop and removed the inside of the 8 bit sign and added some radioactivity-symbols to it. To check whether it would fit, I printed one on plainpaper and cut out the necessary part. For the final version I printed three colored versions on laser transparencies. and on nice green square on thick paper. As i overlayed them I was able to choose the most pleasant combination.

Atop of the transparency (which is lying on the green paper) i put the cleared gameboy LCD. I used a lot of alcohol to remove the remnants of the polarized foils, that were attached to it. After this step I had to take a break for getting sober again :)

Step 10:

Okay, on for the power supply.

This was maybe the simplest part - I (gently) ripped open a rechargeable 9 volt battery and discovered these tiny green batteries. Sweet. And much sweeter, that they nicely fitted into the gameboycase.

Step 11:

The final step before closing it - soldering the batteries together, securing them with a very small amount of hot melt glue. After connecting them to gameyboy-powerswitch and geigercounter PCB, I was nearly done. I just had to fiddle around with all the cables. Endless time having passed, I  finally managed it. ~:-S

Besides: the original power jack can be used to charge it, so i hopefully will never have to open it up again.

Step 12:



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    15 Discussions

    I very much appreciate all your nice comments so far! :)

    if you like, you can also vote for this instructable in the "fix and improve contest"
    - you can use the "VOTE" button on the top right of this page...

    thanks a lot,

    chriss d:)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    wow that is a new way to recycle two old things to make one cool new thing good job


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I was going to say that this reminded me of Alex Rider's geiger counter hidden inside a Gameboy Advanced SP from Skeleton Key, but then I found that you hadn't heard of Alex Rider when you made this.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Remove the lead shielding that surrounds the geiger tube, it will become more sensitive ( the lead stop beta particles )


    no, never heard of it until now - but some googling revealed some interesting details about alex rider... might be some of my next books ;)

    the idea originated from the need of finding something that somehow fitted in the gameboy case - and was low budget :)


    ok well in book 2 or 3 he has the same principal and both a geiger counter and a bug detector for when he is staying as a "guest" in cuba


    6 years ago on Step 12

    After Fukushima, I think everyone should have one of these "Radboys".

    How much?

    1 reply

    thanks - at some point i was thinking the same :)

    the guys at safecast developed some devices that might really be useful - though not so much fun ;)

    you can check them out here

    I added a list of my costs to the instructable...

    ....highly impressive. this is the first time i've ever seen anything like this. i'll have to locate a geiger counter and see about making one of these for myself. if nothing else then to say i made it lol.

    oh btw? you were using a scroll saw, not a jigsaw. i was wondering how you could cut a pcb with a jigsaw w/o shattering it, then i noticed what it really was when you showed it in the pic. you must have used a very fine blade on that.

    1 reply

    maybe the diygeigercounter would then be something for you -
    reasonable price and some nice display...

    thanks for the hint - of course - never trust a online dictionary ;)
    i changed it in the text... there are a lot of alternatives for the german word "laubsäge" ;)