Boxy Pixel Aluminum Game Boy Color Assembly Guide
*******Note: This document is a bit dated, however it still has relevant information. If you are using a laminated Q5 screen, you will need to solder an additional wire to power this screen. Please see our GBC/POCKET instruction manual.********
This is a working document, describing the basic steps to transform a stock Nintendo Game Boy into a custom Game Boy Color with a backlit LCD.
- Boxy Pixel Game Boy Color Aluminum Housings
- Either an IPS Screen or Q5 backlit screen
- 3D-printed adapter, to locate LCD in the housing (McWill, Freckleshack)
- Rechargeable Lithium Battery
- Type-C power board
- Custom battery holder/USB locator piece
- Replacement screen cover lens (This will depend on which backlit screen you are using)
- Kapton or electrical tape
- 26 -28 AWG Stranded wire recommended
- Small Philips screwdriver
- Soldering iron
Prior to disassembly of donor Game Boy, insert batteries and a game cartridge. Turn volume wheel all the way up, turn on console. Listen for a chime at startup, then confirm that all buttons (including Start and Select) function well. Wiggle the power switch to check that the device remains powered on.
Disassemble 'Stock' Game Boy Color
Remove the six tri-wing screws from the back housing-- circled in yellow.
Once open, remove the four fasteners holding the sheet metal, circled in blue. Keep this sheet metal.
Remove the plastic power switch (circled in red). It can be removed by just pulling upward.
Remove the IR port plastic (circled in yellow), also by pulling up. Keep both of these parts.
Release the flex cable by carefully and simultaneously prying up the two small brown tabs (indicated with yellow arrows). They will raise by a few millimeters. Do not pull too hard. Gently pull flex cable up to release it.
Remove the three fasteners holding the PCB to the front housing (circled in red), using a small Phillips screwdriver. Remove the Nintendo PCB, being careful not to break any solder joints on the speaker wires.
Keep all parts shown in the green box.
Next, remove the two battery terminals (circled in red). Turn over PCB to heat the solder on the other side. This will allow you to carefully push or pull the terminals out using pliers.
Clean all gold-colored contacts with a alcohol (we used a swab dipped in alcohol to apply it). If the power switch needs to be cleaned, pour a few drops into the switch. Turn on and off a few dozen times and use compressed air to dry.
You may trim the sides of the Nintendo link port metal connector. There are two small metal wings that stick out of the sides. It is possible to assemble with these intact, but trimming may make later steps of assembly easier. Be careful not to distort the connector itself when cutting, and be sure to use safety goggles.
Cut two wires to 60mm in length. Strip insulation at either end of the wire.
Solder the red wire to the positive (+) location. Solder the black wire to the negative (-) location on the Nintendo PCB.
Prepare Front Shell
Verify the aluminum shell does not have blemishes. Check for bends or distortion on the area around the screen. Check for any objectionable machining burrs or sharp edges that may interfere with inserting and removing a game cartridge.
Verify that the plastic fixture does not have any debris on the soft surfaces.
Place the front aluminum housing face down.
Drop in the directional keypad and A/B buttons. The two buttons can only fit in one orientation, as shown.
Drop in the Start/Select silicone. Drop in the two other silicone pieces over buttons and D-pad.
Connect LCD to PCB
Connect the flex cable to the PCB.
If you have and LCD with a touch sensor, you can attach it to the plastic IR port. You may need to devise a way to make the touch sensor work. You can try using conductive tape and solder one end of the wire to the conductive tape. Then solder the other end of the wire to the proper location of your flex cable. You can also try drilling a hole in your IR plastic. Using a small pan head fastener, put the fastener through the hole and solder your touch wire to the fastener. This is the most reliable method if you use the touch sensor often.
If you have a Funnyplaying LCD, drop it in at this time.
Gently fold the orange flex cable up, then fold the PCB from left to right (as though closing a book).
Connect the Nintendo PCB to your screen.
Move the Nintendo PCB into place. When doing so, you will need to position the speaker first. The wires connected to the speaker should be visible. Speaker shapes vary, and may look slightly different.
When the board is fully down, you will see the fastener holes line up, and a circular post will be flush with the top of Nintendo PCB.
Hold the PCB in place, install the micro USB board and 3D printed holder. Secure using two M2x6mm screws, as shown below.
Solder the wires from the Micro USB or Type C.
- solder the black (-) out
- Solder the black battery (B-)
- Solder the red battery wire (B+)
- Solder the red out (+)
Turn on to test.
Set the battery in position, ensure that wires are tucked out of the way. Cut and place soft foam on the battery or, preferred, inside of the rear housing.
Insert the plastic power switch back into position. You may have to move it up and down as you carefully wiggle it into position.
Caution! Small white finger that is part of the power switch on the PCB is very fragile. Keep this in mind always, especially when installing the rear housing.
Secure Sheet Metal to Rear Housing
Install the sheet metal that was removed from the plastic housing. Note the orientation of the two legs. No tape is necessary. Fasten using the included 4mm long fasteners. (6mm may be used if they can go in without excessive force)
Carefully bring the rear housing into position. You may have to wiggle it a bit. Using the included fasteners, install two M2x6mm long fasteners at the top of two corners. Put these in halfway.
Install two M2x6mm into the deep holes as well. Make sure housings seem to be going together well, and fasten all four fasteners.
Caution! Ensure plastic power switch is lined up. Also ensure battery and wires are out of the way before bringing down the rear housing.
Turn over and confirm that everything functions, then test:
- all front fact buttons
- LED and screen are on
- Charge port is lined up
Flip Game Boy over, clean all surfaces, and install the front screen protector. Using a humid environment helps to minimize dust caught under the screen.
Enjoy your fully modified custom Game Boy Color!
For a printable version of this guide - click here