Game Boy Color Upgrades

11 months ago | 14 December, 2021 | X minute read.

Introduction

I recently upgraded my childhood Game Boy Pocket with a new shell and a backlit IPS screen upgrade which inspired me to do another to allow me to play multiplayer with my family using a Link Cable.

Rather than upgrade another Pocket, I bought and upgraded a Game Boy Color. Here is a before and after photo:

Before and after

Here is how I did it.

Perform any modifications at your own risk! I take no responsibility for any damage caused.

Parts

  • Game Boy Color (GBC) - I got mine on eBay.
  • Funny Playing GBC Laminated Retro Pixel 2.0 Q5 IPS LCD Kit - black
  • Funny Playing GBC Shell/Case for Laminated Retro Pixel 2.0 Q5 IPS LCD - black
  • Funny Playing Clear GBC / GBP Speaker
  • Nintendo GBC Conductive Pads - original colors
  • Funny Playing GBC Button Set - grey
  • Pocket Pirates Torx Screw Set for GBC

Game Boy and upgrade parts

Steps

First I disassembled the Game Boy. This entails using removing 6 tri-wing screws which hold the shell together and 3 philips screws which hold the main PCB to the shell.
The screen ribbon cable also needs to be removed by releasing the black clips on each side of connector (slide them out).

I kept the old shell and parts as I can revert it to original if I ever want to.
Maybe to sell it in that condition... Who knows?

Old shell and parts removed for storage

Next I cleaned the PCB and inpected for any obvious issues. I was lucky and found no big issues.

I quickly swapped out the original speaker for a new replacement.

Replacement speaker soldered in

Before fitting the new IPS LCD screen it needs to be tested. This is in case there are issues that need to be dealt with under Funny Playing's warranty.

IPS screen Ribbon fitted and power wire soldered for test

IPS screen works!

Before the screen is fitted to the shell, check that the Start and Select buttons fit it properly.
I needed to do some minor filing of the holes to allow them to move freely and I've seen others needing to online.

Next the screen can be fitted to the new shell which is made to support this type of screen.
If the original shell is used, a lot of plastic needs to be trimmed to create enough space for the LCD panel.

The screen comes with a black insulating sticker for the back of panel and a small one for the bottom of the front. These stop any shorts any exposed metal on the panel.

Sticker fitted to back of screen

The adhesive liner is removed and the sreen is slid in from the front of the shell so that its protector fits in place.

The fitted LCD panel from inside the shell

After fitting the screen, I placed the screen protector back on until I've finished working on the Game Boy.

The fitted LCD panel from the front

The remaining wiring was completed next. The ribbon cable needs two wires added to be able to utilise the select and start buttons.

Start and select buttons wired in to the ribbon cable

The driver is mounted to the back of the screen as shown. I used Kapton tape to fix it and cover it to avoid shorts (in an abundance of caution - it shouldn't be needed).

Mounted screen driver

At this point the PCB can be fixed into the shell. I used a Torx screw set which includes the internal and external screws in Torx format.

I went back after taking these photos and added the additional touch ribbon included with the kit which seems to be more sensitive than the built in touch pad.
I wasn't able to use the touch functions properly without it.

PCB mounted

Front and back with stickers added

And it's finished and working.

It works!

More information

  • I found the guide on Retro Game Store (Australia) useful. It includes where to solder the Start/Select wires and details on controlling the Logo color etc.

BACKLIGHT, CGB-001, COLOR, FUNNY PLAYING, GAME BOY, IPS, LAMINATED, MOD, Q5, RETRO PIXEL, SHELL, UPGRADE