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Backlighting a Game Boy Pocket with a kit

Written 4/4/2009

Here's how to backlight a Game Boy Pocket using the V1 or V2 SMT backlight kit available from nonelectronics.com for 15 US Dollars.

Things you'll need:

      -A Game Boy Pocket (try to find one without a power LED)

      -Batteries / Power Source

      -Triwing screwdriver

      -Phillips screwdriver

      -Soldering iron

      -Some extra hook-up wire (old hard drive PATA cable strands are fine)

      -Nonfinite backlight kit from nonelectronics.com

      -Thin flathead screwdriver, long nails, or a razor of some sort

      -Rubbing alcohol (not strictly necessary)

I'm assuming:

-You know how to do very basic soldering
-You have a steady hand
-You have patience.

First, get your Game Boy Pocket.

Flip it over, and, using your tri-wing screwdriver, remove the six screws around the edges.

Quickly take a look at your backlight kit - for this guide, I'm using a white one, but any color will do.

Back to the pocket. Remove the back shell, and this is what you should see.

Go up to the top, and look at the little orange cable. This connects to the LCD Display on the front. Carefully press forwards on the white tabs, and gently remove the cable.

Now, go down below the big black cartridge slot, and remove the three phillips screws.

Remove the MGB PCB, and you should see this.

If I were you, I'd remove these buttons and rubber pads to prevent them from getting lost and put them in a bag:

Now, go to the screen you just revealed. Using some sort of spudger (like a credit card or flathead screwdriver) pry up the LCD from where it rests in the case.

Now, flip it over.

Using a razor, or whatever sharp object you have, carefully remove the reflective / polarizer layer from the back of the LCD. If a fairly thick, tough sheet comes off, you have the right layer. If a very thin, light reflector peels off, then you don't have it yet. Be careful not to damage the cables!

If there are any smudges of adhesive, use a thin cloth and some alcohol to remove it.

Return to the plastic shell. You'll need to make cuts on the right where I did (ignore the cuts on the left), and also remove the small circle where the power LED was (if you had one). Do *not* destroy the screwposts.

Take the large white panel with two wires on it out of your backlight kit bag. This is the backlight itself; take care not to scratch it up. Using wire cutters or any good cutting tool, round the corners off like so:

Put the now-transparent LCD back in the shell.

Underneath the orange cables in the LCD, slide in the backlight as shown here:

If your MGB has a red power light, we'll need to take it out. Apply heat with your soldering iron to the two points in the picture next to the letters "C9". When they are both fluid, the LED should just pop out.

Result. You may wish to use wire cutters to reduce the height of the six pins next to the link port to reduce pressure points:

Using your extra hook-up wire and soldering iron, extend the red and black cables until they reach the bottom of the shell. Then, put the buttons back in the shell, and replace the PCB we took out earlier. Don't forget the 3 phillips screws too. Now, using the two extended wires, solder your *anode* (red wire) to the pin on the right shown, and your *cathode* (black wire) to the pin on the left shown.

Bonus points: Put in the included 100ohm resistor from the kit between the red wire and the pin to get rid of any flicker if you experience any.

Put the back shell back on, and enjoy your improved Game Boy Pocket!

Oh, and a picture of mine with a new green backlight installed:

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