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Backlighting a Game Boy Pocket V1

Sun. April 15, 2012
Categories: Game Boy

This is the cheap man’s way of backlighting the game boy pocket. The contrast isn’t quite as good, but it’s a bit brighter, and cheaper in some situations than buying the kit.

Before I explain how to actually do the mod, I’ll summarize it in a general sense so the actual steps make more sense. Basically, we’ll be doing three things: Making the LCD screen transparent (instead of reflective), finding and assembling a backlight assembly, and putting it all together and sealing it up.


1) Pick your Game Boy Pocket. I personally like the clear one the best, but I only had a red one at the time, so I used that. (I later got a clear one in unused condition (literally) so I transferred the guts into it, so the clear one in the pictures I got later.)

2) Take the back shell off. There are 6 triwing screws on the back of the GB Pocket: two on the top, two in the centre sides, and two under the battery cover.

3) Now you are seeing the bare back of the motherboard.

4) Towards the top, there is an orange cable going down below, and on the sides of the ribbon are two white tabs. Push them away from you, towards the top of the game boy, and gently pull the ribbon out of the socket.

5) Now, unscrew the 3 screws on the motherboard (Phillips screws), and store them. Lift up the motherboard, and you will see the front half of the GB Pocket.

6) Look at the screen module, and gently stick a credit card or something in the little slot underneath the ribbon, above the LCD. Pry up gently until the LCD comes free.

7) With the LCD free, gently peel off the four orange foam blocks, and stick them onto the motherboard in a place so they will cushion the LCD.

8) Here is the obnoxious part. There are a lot of ways to do this, but I’ll describe what worked for me once. Take a piece of paper towel the size of the LCD, and dampen (but not soak!) it, and place it onto the white backing of the LCD. Let it sit under mild pressure for 10 minutes or so.

9) After it’s soaked, CAREFULLY peel off the white layer. If any adhesive remains after you are done, use an old credit card and some 3M Adhesive Remover (or saliva, both work) to remove it with light rubbing motions. AVOID DAMAGING THE CABLES. Now, put the LCD back.


1) Instead of spending time making a backlight, we’re just going to steal one from some old broken Nintendo DS or DS Lite (or second edition GBASP)

2) Take the broken LCD of your handheld of choice, and remove it. By bending the little tabs, remove the LCD from the backlight assembly.

3) You will be left with two leads coming out of a square of metal that is made of several layers. Remove the outermost hard metal layer, and a very shiny milar layer will be visible. DO NOT DENT THIS!

4) Cut down the assembly into a ~2×2″ square without breaking the orange LED strip.

5) Carefully place the assembly shiny-side up into the LCD you prepped earlier, and tape it in place gently. You will need to snip away the top of the LCD holder inside the GB Pocket shell to fit it, so do that. Solder wires in place for the LEDs, too (I labeled mine in the picture)

Also, solder the wires as shown here:

NOTE: You will need a 5.2KO resistor (green red red gold) for massive brightness. Otherwise, the LCD will grow dim.

6) Route the wires through your GB Pocket (if you have a clear one, try to route them with as little tape as possible, and around the sides to make it look nicer.)

This is how I routed it for the clear one:


1) With your wires soldered and insulated, replace everything back to where it was and close ‘er up!

2) Turn it on, and play Donkey Kong all night long.

15 Responses to “Backlighting a Game Boy Pocket V1”

  1. Chris Says:

    Would this method also work with a Game Boy Color? I have an old DS that no longer works, but the screens are both in perfect condition. Just wanted to add a backlight to the two GBCs I have. Also, I have two resistors; 4.7KO and a 5.6KO. I’d much rather not have to go and buy a whole ‘nother pack of resistors just for one, so would I be okay with using one of these? If so, which one would be best?

  2. mikejmoffitt Says:

    Unfortunately the method can not apply to a GBC; that is its own process I detailed in another guide. The GBC has to be front-lit, not back-lit.

  3. John Says:

    This method of removing the film on the back of the LCD wouldn’t work with a kit right? In the kit you have to of course remove both layers. I’m trying to find an easier way to remove the film on the back without stressing the ribbons because I’ve already broken two of them. Is it possible you could offer me tips on removing both layers? I’ve tried forums and people on YouTube but I hardly ever get a response besides “Very carefully”.

  4. Joyce Goose Says:

    I am also wondering the same thing. I’ve messed up 3 screens trying this method!! There has to be an easier way? I’ve used alcohol to take off the sticky residue- fail. Tried googone- fail. Also tried gasoline- …. FAIL!! I’m getting desperate to successfully have a working functional screen.

  5. Terry Says:


    awsome guide and web site :)

    Sadly the resistor is proving difficult to find, i can get 5.1k resisors will these work?

    or do you have a link where i can get some of the 5.2k ones?

    i am in the uk

    kindest regards


  6. mikejmoffitt Says:

    Any close value should work. It’s not very specific.

  7. Matt Says:

    Hi Mike,

    Would this process work on an Origional gameboy?


  8. mikejmoffitt Says:

    Yes, though it’s even easier for that Game Boy. That’s what the kits featured in the V2 tutorial were originally created for – I’m simply retrofitting them into the Game Boy Pocket. Now the V3 modules available from nonfinite are pre-cut to fit a DMG or MGB.

  9. Highlander Says:

    Hi, I connected mine the same as this tutorial. I’m using the V3 ultra version. The backlight comes on fine, but no sound or picture comes on at all. If I disconnect the wires the sound and video come back. What am I doing wrong :( ?

  10. Duane Cabasal Says:

    can u make a mod in gameboy pocket backlighting by LED’s like in here http://www.instructables.com/id/GameBoy-Pocket-Backlight/?ALLSTEPS

  11. Alex jones Says:

    Would you be intrested in doing this for me for some
    Sort of pay I have a gameboy pocket and a cracked gameboy sp an I’d like to make my gbp have a
    Light email me alexpwnsgames@gmail.com

  12. David Says:


    as mikejmoffitt said, you can use any similar value resistor.

    For future reference, you can manipulate resistance by connecting resistors in series (e.g. 5.1k + 100 = 5.2k) where a resistance value is absolutely critical.

    Happy modding,

  13. mikejmoffitt Says:

    GBA SP parts are good for a GBC, not pocket. For the GB Pocket you want to buy the $15 kit from nonfinite or some similar.

  14. Richard Says:

    Aѕ an majoг gаming fan, Ι just wanteԁ tо post уou a quіck word or three to sаy thanκѕ foг
    putting this up.

  15. Impy Says:

    I don’t get it. Which parts of the DS-Screen to use? I used the LED-strip and the thicker plastic layer. I peeled of the white back of the LCD and put all together. Now I got light, but the LCD isn’t working. Turning the GBP of, sometimes results in the typical one-pixel-line over the screen like in unmodded versions, but besides of that there is nothing to the on the displays. Any advices`?