How to repair Gameboy commom 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.
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.
Cleaning the battery contacts with 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.
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:
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
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.
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:
After heating up the cable and applying pressure it looked perfect! Hopefully this information helps somebody with similar problems with their Gameboy.
38 thoughts on “How to repair Gameboy common problems”
I have no picture on the screen ,just a black line across the screen , any ideas . Thanks for any help
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.
Thank you for the article. The Gameboy I’ve owned since I was a kid has broken down recently. There were issues with the display. Never thought, I could repair it myself. But now that I’ve read your guide, I’ll maybe open it up and try your hair drier method. Wish me luck 😉
it work for me thank you 🙂
Glad to hear I was able to help you!
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.
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?
When I clean the motherboards I use compressed air and rubbing alcohol for the really dirty spots.
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.
Happy to hear you got it working! 🙂
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 a lot! Cleaning the battery contacts worked for my GameBoy!
You’re welcome! Have fun with the GameBoy
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
Have you inspected the motherboard for damage?
Thanks so much! This worked first time. You hero.
I’m really happy to hear that! 🙂
hi ; have three game boys upstairs not working so gonna give theese tips a go :;;:/ cheers
Good luck with your Gameboys!
Thanks so much, your tutorial save my dead gameboy.
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.
Yes, it does sound like a capacitor issue. Do you see any evidence of leaking capacitors or damage on the motherboard?
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.
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! 😀
I heat up the cable itself. While heating it gently press down on it. That’s really all there is to it.
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!
No problem, I’m happy to hear it’s working again! 🙂
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 😉
That’s awesome! I’m happy to hear you were able to get it working 🙂
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.
I love hearing news like this! You’re very welcome and happy new year to yourself and your family as well! 🙂
Hi Steve, my husbands mum gave him his old nintendo game boy but we couldn’t get it working. both of these problems fixed it! incredible, my husband can’t believe I fixed it. Thanks for giving me woman power haha!!! 🙂
I’m happy to hear that I could help 🙂
thank you – worked for me. I have owned for 25 years and now my 7 year old son is using. thanks so much
I’m happy to hear your son can enjoy it now! 🙂
I have a gameboy Nintendo Gameboy Advance AGB-001 . The screen isn’t very bright and is hard to see and it also will just shut down on its own in the middle of playing. Any thoughts on how I can fix this?
How do the battery connectors look?