In my last article, I covered how the Gameboys one let down was its low resolution screen. After 20+ years of service these screens are beginning to show their age as one by one, they begin to fail. If your Gameboy is one of them, the chances are it is afflicted with pesky lines running vertically up the screen. For many this means the end of their Gameboy. My own original Gameboy suffers with lines running horizontally across the screen, which is less common and not as easy to repair. Yes you heard me right, dodgy Gameboy screens can be repaired with a little know how and in some cases you don’t even need to use a soldering iron.
In To The Beast
Opening your Gameboy for the first time might seem daunting to some. Even to those of us that are used to repairing gadgets, the process is just as worrying. Luckily there is a wealth of information online, documenting the insides of the classic Gameboy. In fact a quick look on Youtube will bring up a dozen or more tutorials on how to repair the very screen issues being covered in this blog. It was through watching several of these, that I began to see where the old Gameboy was failing and how best to fix it.
I was intending to make a video showing how to fix the screen. But with the amount of videos already covering the subject, I decided it would be easier if I just include what I believe to be the creme de la creme for you to follow. All that hard work searching done for you, aren’t I nice!
This video is excellent at explaining the problems behind the screen and worth watching if you with to learn about the Gameboy’s LCD screen.
The following video guide requires you to own a soldering iron and apply it to components inside your Gameboy. Proceed at your own risk!
USE THE GREY MATTER!!! USE COMMON SENSE!
Now this is where things become a little sketchy and sadly disheartening. My classic Gameboy suffers not with the typical vertical lines, but horizontal ones. So how to fix them? It would seem the general consensus is not to bother even trying. The two ribbon cables connecting the LCD screen to the main PCB can not be disconnected. As such the aging solder begins to dry and crack. Unlike the bottom ribbon cable which deals with the vertical lines. The cable that deals with the horizontal is sandwiched behind the LCD and the PCB. Making any attempt with a soldering iron very hazardous. Your more likely to melt the cable then you are to mend the fault.
Even so, I still attempted a repair. Instead of using a soldering iron, i opted to use a hot air gun. The sort you would use for removing paint. I used this method of heating and softening solder on a PS3, to fix the “Yellow Light of Death”. So finding people where suggesting it online as a possible fix, did not come as a surprise.
With the Gameboy apart, and the screen laying on a non flammable surface. I set my heat gun to the lowest setting and hovered it above the screen until it turned black. Usual you can see the effect the heat is having on the solder as it begins to soften. Sadly it did not fix the issue of the horizontal lines. Which leads me the think my screen is properly dying.
Hopefully in the next few months I will be able to grab another. As I much prefer my classic Gameboy to the GB Colour or pocket.
Well I hope thats helped some of you, please drop me a post if you’d like me to cover anything in a future blog.
For now, keep geeking!