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Game Boy modding/restoring (first GBA mod completed, check a look)

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I’ve been working from home since March 18 due to quarantine. After several weeks of mostly putzing around, I wanted to make better use of all this additional free time. YouTube started recommending furniture restoration videos because why not? This was of particular interest to me except I have few tools and no woodworking skills/experience.

I decided to mod/restore old consoles instead. I figured I’d start with Game Boy because once you remove the back, you pretty much have access to the motherboard. I looked into modding the GameCube to, for example, add an HDMI port. Turns out, the kit is hella expensive ($165) and almost never in stock. The actual mod is pretty invasive since you have to remove the digital AV out and file down the shell to make room for the port. F that noise. The EON GCHD MK-II is $150 and does not require modding. GameCube also has a ton of screws and tightly integrated parts so I don't feel especially comfortable modding it. I plan on cleaning out my old consoles at some point so that's as far as I'd go. For modding, I'm probably sticking exclusively with handhelds.

I had none of the tools or supplies, but they’re still cheaper than what I'd need for furniture restoration. I did an egregious amount of research so I added links below if anyone is interested in getting into this as a hobby. Here's what I've purchased so far:

* Insulated repair mat (~$7)
* Tech toolkit (~$70, probably would have been fine with the ~$35 one)
* Micro cutter (~$9)
* Precision knife set (~$20, can apparently also be used for pumpkin carving)
* Safety goggles (~$7)
* Soldering iron station ($60)
* Rosen flux pens (~$15, helps with soldering)
* Rosin core solder (~$9)
* Wire cutters (~$7)
* Electrical wire (~$21)
* Solder wick (~$7, for removing solder)
* Kapton tape (~$11, for electrostatic insulation)
* 99% isopropyl alcohol (~$20, apparently good for cleaning PCB, not to be used as an anti-septic, even 91% burns terribly)
* Cleaning swabs (~$13)
* Multimeter (~$30, for measuring voltage, current, and resistance)
* Solder sucker (yes, that's what it's called) (~$25, for easily removing solder)
* Air duster (~$50)
* Solder fume extractor (~$35, don't breathe in the lead fumes)
* File set (~$35, a lot of mods require shell modifications, this smooths out the plastic)
* Finger cots (~$6, gloves for fingers only, allows for better range of motion for hands, they look like mini-condoms)
* Magnetic work surface ($20, for keeping track of screws)2021 Update: With the additional items I added, I've spent about $475. I'm still considering a third hand/PCB holder to help with soldering (~$30) and a rotary tool to help with cutting the plastic shell where needed (ranges from $40 to $90) which would bring the total to around $facepalm.

Here's my current tally of handhelds:

* OG Game Boy: 0
* Game Boy Pocket: 2
* Game Boy Color: 5
* Game Boy Advance: 7
* Game Boy Advance SP: 1I still plan on buying the Analogue Pocket and dock, but for now, I wanted to learn a new skill (soldering) and start a new hobby (game system restoration). I also wanted to replace the batteries in all of my old cartridges. This is the first time I actually added everything up and while I let out an audible "Yikes" when I saw the totals, I'm okay with it. The pricier tools are high upfront costs and once you have them, they'll last a while (for me, likely a decade or more). Has anyone here ever modded game consoles before? I'd love to hear stories and any advice.

I removed the collection/recommendation part and created a new thread: Game Boy: Finally time to Play It Loud!®

Outside of the 3DS c-stick PSP madness I pulled, My console modding experience is very limited. Most of my disassembly experience comes from cell phones I've owned over the years.

1. What was wrong with your 3DS c-stick? Were you able to fix it? Was the PSP madness part of it? I have so many questions.

2. Why did you disassemble your phones?

The 3DS c-stick nub sucks for some a lot of games, so you can pull out the eraser head and the exposed part will allow for you to pop a PSP3000 stick cap right on there. Works great for Monster Hunter and other games that heavily use it, but I find that it will occasionally drift and I need to restart the game to get it back to a proper neutral rest.

On console modding I just received a Japanese Gamecube w/ a Gameboy player because I found a great condition platinum system that was priced better including shipping from Japan than a complete US Gameboy player on their own. I plan to mod it with a switch for toggling between regions so I can use it to replace my black US Gamecube that cannot read discs at all (plan to fix that one since it is an OG system with the DVI port in the back, and I still have a dream of running a 16-player lan game of Double Dash someday).

I think the only thing I've done is  replace the Wii U Gamepad's battery with a bigger one, and that's about it.  I tried to replace my joy-con control sticks (because of the drift), but that failed at the step where you open the damn things.  I thing I stripped the screws, but Nintendo didn't mind when I finally sent them in (after if became free).

Weirdly enough, YouTube recommended a video to me that talked about modding a GBA with the IPS screens and the new speaker with an amp.  It looked really cool!

With modded consoles, I've always been intrigued by doing one, but never really went for it.  I have been interested in buying some parts for someone to mod for me, but I've never gone for that either.


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