Gameboy Advance Backlight Mod
While many people are happy with the options available to play Gameboy Advance games (WiiU virtual console, Gameboy Player for the Gamecube) most would agree that the games play and look a lot better with the original hardware.
The Gameboy Advance has a massive library with some really great games and I feel its a shame that there is not many ways to play the majority of the it, without emulation etc.
The Gameboy Advance had backwards compatibility with older Gameboy and Gameboy colour games however lacked one, rather important, feature: A backlit screen.
Nintendo did eventually rectify this some years later with the release of the GBA SP. It came with a backlit screen, rechargeable battery & a clam shell design. The problem was the screen was a little washed out but, in comparison to the original screen this was so much better. With the original you only really had two main options; Sunlight which would make your screen almost unusable at certain angles or a worm light which would sap power from your precious battery life and leave a horrible halo reflection on the screen.
The form factor was something a lot of people were not happy with the GBA SP. The L & R buttons were a little too small and a bit fiddly to use, especially over a longer period.
Nintendo decided to release the Gameboy Micro which fixed most of these issues and came with a full backlit screen which was very vibrant. The main problem was it was super small. Around the same time of the Micro’s release Nintendo, somewhat secretly, produced one final revision to the GBA which was the GBA SP model AGS 101. This used the same screen technology as the Gameboy Micro but, had the same size screen as the GBA SP. This makes the AGS 101 model highly sought after and like all things sought after; They have become extremely expensive.
While looking into an alternative it turns out I had some old GBAs laying around, 7 of them in fact!
I wanted the bright, vibrant screen of the AGS-101 in the original form factor of the original GBA. I searched the internet and almost right away I found this guide on Youtube by This Does Not Compute.
I followed his guide step by step and to my amazement I had a perfect, really bright GBA first attempt. No messing around with trimpots or anything & no screen interference.
As you can see my design was a little different. I went for a brand new replacement shell from Aliexpress, some clear buttons and I also replaced the plastic screen with a scratch resistant glass replacement.
Here is where I got my supplies from: –
Ribbon cable adaptor Aliexpress
Replacement Shell Aliexpress
AGS 101 Replacement Screen Ebay
Clear replacement buttons Ebay
Glass replacement screen Ebay
Old GBA Motherboard: Luckily I had numerous laying around! Could always try Ebay for a broken one
Soldering iron Amazon (Affiliate link)
Over all I am very happy with the finished project and would happily recommend it to anyone who wants to play their Gameboy Advance games the way they were intended!
You can also pick up a screen mod kit directly from Amazon: –