How to repair Gameboy common problems

How to repair Gameboy commom problems

How to fix Nintendo Gameboy common problems
How to fix Nintendo Gameboy common problems

Recently, I came across a Gameboy at Goodwill for $6.99. While inspecting it I noticed the battery contacts where very corroded but the Gameboy was complete albeit very dirty likely from years of use and the lack of the previous owner taking good care of it. I couldn’t test the Gameboy before I bought it but I thought I could use a low budget trick to clean up the battery contacts to look nearly new.

When I got home I tried to turn on the Gameboy with new, fresh batteries but it wouldn’t power on. I wasn’t very surprised though because the battery contacts where nasty. Here’s some before pictures.

Gameboy DMG Battery Corosion
Gameboy DMG Battery Corosion
Gameboy DMG Close Up of Battery Corosion
Gameboy DMG Close Up of Battery Corosion

What you need:

  • Small flat blade screw driver
  • Needle nose pliers
  • White distilled vinegar

How to remove the battery contacts

I used a small flat blade screw driver to get underneath the battery contacts and then used needle nose pliers to pull out the battery contacts.

Gameboy DMG Battery Contacts Removed
Gameboy DMG Battery Contacts Removed

Cleaning the battery contacts with vinegar

Gameboy DMG White Distilled Vinegar
Gameboy DMG White Distilled Vinegar

White Distilled Vinegar does a great job of eating through the corrosion on the battery contacts. All you need to do is soak the battery contacts in the vinegar for a few minutes. You can see the corrosion bubble right off. You can also use a flat blade screw driver to scrape off any corrosion that doesn’t bubble off on it’s own while it’s soaking.

Soaking the Gameboy DMG battery contacts in white distilled vinegar
Soaking the Gameboy DMG battery contacts in white distilled vinegar

After 5 minutes of soaking I removed the battery contacts and cleaned them up with water. Next I soaked them in some Rubbing Alcohol and then dried them using a paper towel before reinstalling them into the Gameboy.

Here’s a close up of the battery contacts installed:

Gameboy DMG Cleaned Battery Contacts
Gameboy DMG Cleaned Battery Contacts

Note: This picture was taken during testing and before the final cleaning of the Gameboy

Does it work now?

I reinstalled the batteries and tried to power on the Gameboy and to my delight it turned right on! This is proof of a cheap DIY fix for a non working Gameboy. There was a catch though…

I did notice that once the Gameboy turned on that some of the lines on the lcd were not being displayed. Luckily there’s a DIY fix for this too.

How to fix the lcd screen when lines are missing

Gameboy DMG LCD Missing Lines Pixels
Gameboy DMG LCD Missing Lines Pixels

A common problem with Gameboy LCD screens is missing lines in the screen. This is usually caused by a bad connection in the LCD cable. When you heat up the cable and apply pressure on it the lines will disappear.

Non official Nintendo Gameboy LCD Fix it tool =)
Non official Nintendo Gameboy LCD Fix it tool =)

All you need is a hair drier or a heat gun. You want to heat the cable where it’s missing lines. Take a look at the picture I added for a better description:

Heat Up Gameboy LCD and Press Down Cable
Heat Up Gameboy LCD and Press Down Cable

Final Result

Gameboy DMG LCD After LCD Fix
Gameboy DMG LCD After LCD Fix

After heating up the cable and applying pressure it looked perfect! Hopefully this information helps somebody with similar problems with their Gameboy.

30 Replies to “How to repair Gameboy common problems”

  1. I have no picture on the screen ,just a black line across the screen , any ideas . Thanks for any help

    1. When I have seen this happen before it was because the cartridge connector was dirty and not “reading” the game. Take a Q-Tip with alcohol and wipe it out. Also make sure your games are clean as well. You can use the Q-Tip with alcohol to clean them.

  2. It’s a nice guide for resurrecting a game boy. I too love those classic handhelds, I almost always buy when I see one in a flea market. I also enjoy tinkering with them to make them work again.

  3. What would be a good method to clean the motherboard? I got a used gameboy color and im gona open it up soon to replace the housing. Figured i may as well clean it up if its dirty. Some kind of spray i could use? Oh and one more question. I have a dead pixel on the screen do u think screen will get worse and need replacing?

  4. Connector cleanup worked like a charm, thank you! Dead OG Gameboy is back in business. I mangled the connectors a bit trying to get them out before I realized there was a hook in the middle of them that you have to push up and away from the plastic, but I got them out and it didn’t seem to hurt anything. Now, just need to go buy a triwing screwdriver to open it up and try part 2, fixing the lines in the screen.

  5. I have a gameboy pocket that is in amazing shape cosmetically and powers on with sound and contrast just fine. It reads game but none of the buttons work, I can never progress past the first title screen of any game.

    I assumed it was dirty contacts and did a quick clean of them and still no buttons work. Like I said everything looks great but I’m assuming there is a broken trace that my untrained eye can’t see.

    Anyone have any ideas what’s going on here?

    Thanks

  6. I have a game boy model dmg-01. It will not turn on. I put new batteries in it and 1 was a little corroded so I cleaned it with vinegar but it still will not turn on. Any idea what could be wrong? Over all it is clean

  7. I bought an old DMG. Sometimes it works but most of the time no sound through the speaker or headphone jack. The display will have nothing, not even the nintendo logo or a black box no matter how much you adjust the contrast, nothing shows but the LED comes on. Do you think it could be the capacitors because it will still work sometimes and run flawlessly.

    1. Yes, it does sound like a capacitor issue. Do you see any evidence of leaking capacitors or damage on the motherboard?

      1. None whatsoever which perplexes me. I got it to turn on last night and let it run over night. It’s still working which is odd that it has the issues starting.

  8. When you state to heat up the LCD cable, where on the cable? Do you mean near the screen underneath the black rubber thing? And should we remove the black rubber thing to heat it up? It sounds like heating it up re-solders it back on. I’m kind of surprised that much heat doesn’t damage the protective plastic part. I’m really curious for your answers, and thanks in advance! 😀

  9. Thank you so much! I just fixed my gameboy with vinegar! I didn’t expect that to work but it’s gone from totally dead to working perfectly!

  10. Thank you so much! My husband’s gameboy has spent the last 20ish years in his parent’s South Carolina attic. He just brought it in and was bummed it didn’t work. I found your site, did the vinegar trick, and am ecstatic to show him a functional gameboy! Or I guess I could hide it and keep Tetris to myself 😉

  11. I was able to fix my girlfriend’s old Gameboy thanks to your method. Thank you very much and a happy new year to you and your family.

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