The Game Boy Advance is still my favourite handheld, even though the Switch is a good contender. The best way, in my opinion, to play GBA games is on the GBA SP. The SP was the last Game Boy capable of playing GBA, GB & GBC games. I’ve got a GBA SP modded with an AGS-101 screen and it has been my go-to for some time.
Luckily for me, Funny Playing sent me one of their new IPS screens to install and test out.
So, why should you install an IPS screen into your Game Boy Advance SP? The GBA SP IPS Screen is far superior to even the AGS-101. The IPS screen is brighter, has better viewing angles and better contrast between colours. The IPS screen is a 4 times pixel integer compared to the original screen, This means for every pixel the original screen had, the IPS has four which results in a much cleaner image.
FunnyPlaying ship their screens in a rather fancy box, this is great as it affords a great deal of protection to the contents.
Inside we find: –
1 x GBA SP IPS Screen
1 x Ribbon Cable
1 x Foam Insert
1 x Wire
Note: I have a more in-depth article on how to reshell your GBA SP in which I go into more detail on how to disassemble and re-assemble the GBA SP which you and find here.
If you get stuck during the reassembly process, please refer to that article but I will try to be as thorough as possible!
Installing Your GBA SP IPS Screen
We will next be removing the Philips head screw that holds the battery compartment together. Remove the battery and put to the side. With the battery is removed, we will remove the 6 tri-wing screws. Use your tri-wing screwdriver to remove the screws and do not forget the screw inside the battery compartment.
*Make a note of these screws are some are slightly different sizes!*
You will now be able to pry apart the two halves of the GBA SP’s Shell. Separate the top from bottom and move the bottom halve to one side. We going to be focusing on the motherboard next and will need to change over to a small Phillips head screwdriver. We want to remove the three screws that hold the motherboard in place.
With the screws out, gently lift up the motherboard to find the ribbon cable that is attached to the board. The ribbon cable is held in by two clasps you need to push up on each side of the connector.
You should now be able to remove the ribbon cable. You will now be able to remove the motherboard from the shell. The rubber membranes and buttons will likely fall out at this point, but that is perfectly OK. If you are reusing your current shell keep these safe, if you are replacing the housing like I am, you usually get a whole set of spares which I will be using.
Lift out any remaining buttons and the speaker (It just lifts out!). Next, lift up the ribbon cable and find the ‘secret’ Phillips head screw.
Remove the tiny screw and the hinge cover will come off, set this aside if you are reusing your current shell.
Open the shell of the SP & remove the rubber pads from around the screen bezel. if you are reusing yours you have to be careful as they are quite fragile. I used a pair of ESD tweezers and they came off just fine!
Underneath these pads is an additional 5 tri-wing screws. We need to remove these to get at the screen.
The top of the shell will now be able to be lifted off. giving us access to the screen.