Backlighting a DMG.

Well well well, it’s been a long time since I’ve opened up an old gameboy and shoved lights into it. I don’t remember why I was even on ebay that day but searching for one thing lead to searching for an OG Nintendo DS console. Those were crazy expensive for what they are, I didn’t trust any of them to not have hinge problems, and from there I stumbled into the world of other used gameboy systems. Gameboy colors looked promising, as did the infinate world of Gameboy Pocket consoles from Japan (a post with one of those will occur at some point). I threw bids on a few and waited. I won two. A black pocket and the DMG you see here. $20 for a gameboy with no screen, and it works? I can handle that no problem.

Here are all the parts I used and where I got them because that’s important. I was going for the interior colors of a 90’s Taco Bell dining room when I picked out new buttons and a screen. Most places don’t carry custom colored START/SELECT buttons but this place called RetroModding did. I also grabbed a backlighting kit and a new screen cover from them as well. There is no printing on these covers but they are dirt cheap and it doesn’t really matter. (Glass screens are much nicer but we’re going for Taco Bell dining room here.)

The disassembly took all of five minutes, the DMG is pretty easy to get into because this was a time before glue and microscopic ribbon cables. What took me the longest was pulling the polarizing film thing off the back of the screen, mostly because I was terrified of tearing the screen cables apart. There are several tutorials you can easily google to see what that looks like and I wasn’t about to try to take pics of that process. Finally I scrubbed and cleaned the housing which had thirty years of finger dirt and what I think was cat hair embedded into it.

Soldering the LED panel in place was crazy easy and I had the whole thing back together quickly. Unfortunately, the first time I fired it up I realized I had the polarizing film turned wrong and it was all backwards so I had to open it up again to get in there and turn it around. Once that was handled everything worked like a charm. Here you can see it playing Tetris in the dark! If only I had all this stuff in 1994 during those long car trips during summer vacations. Fully working DMG’s on ebay run 80-100 dollars. An old one with no screen cover ran $20 and the mods cost $26 after shipping. A total steal.

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