These guides are going to be fairly biased, and cover how I personally like to do my mods. I would like for this to serve as a useful guide for beginners to read through to avoid making mistakes with their mods.
If you struggle with anything in these guides, please do not PM or email me directly. Just post in this thread so others can help you as well. I'll try to update this once a week or so.
› CHAPTER I: Disassembling Your Console - WIP
‹ CHAPTER I: Disassembling Your Console - WIP
Need to take the photos for this, and then I will update this.
› CHAPTER II: Cleaning Your Console - Covers usage of solvents and other cleaning materials
‹ CHAPTER II: Cleaning Your Console - Covers usage of solvents and other cleaning materials
DOs and DON'Ts
Water - Water and soap work great for cleaning shells
Toothbrushes - A toothbrush is a great little utensil for scrubbing the dust traps (i.e. speaker grill) on a DMG's shell. In fact, in an issue of Nintendo Power, they encourage people to clean Nintendo 64 controllers with a combination of water and a toothbrush.
Acetone- Acetone should be avoided in most cases, and isn't strictly necessary for cleaning a DMG. If you choose to use Acetone to clean anything, do not allow it to touch plastic, ribbon cables, or any sort of the sort. Remember that acetone is a solvent and it will dissolve most plastics.
Dishwashers - Dishwashers can be used to clean shells, but be cautious- The hot water can be enough to warp plastic.
Magic erasers - These can work wonders for cleaning, but absolutely not for DMG shells. They are abrasive and will remove the texture of the shell. You may get away with it on clear shells, because they do not have the same finish as other shells, but I do not recommend using them at all.
A very common problem with DMGs is battery contact corrosion. This can cause a DMG to either not power on, or to crash/restart from movement.
You can buy cleaning solutions specifically for corrosion, but the simplest and a very effective way of removing it is to soak the battery contacts in vinegar.
Rubbing alcohol and a cue tip should remove small amounts of adhesive and even large amounts of adhesive. But this can be time consuming. When removing adhesive, be careful not to stress the LCD's ribbon cable to much, as consistent movement can cause it to rip. If there is a lot of adhesive, you can attempt using Acetone. Making sure it does not touch the front of the LCD (this is polarized film, NOT bare glass!) or the ribbon cables on the side and the back.
Firstly, try rubbing alcohol and a cloth or cue tip. If that doesn't work, try goo gone. In my experience, sharpie marks do not stand a chance against these solvents.
Screen Cover Adhesive Residue:
After 20 some-odd years, the glue for screen covers is mostly all dried up, and the screen covers and/or adhesive needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, the previously mentioned solvents are fairly ineffective against removing it.
In my experience, a magic eraser can be of somewhat effective. As mentioned previously, they are abrasive, but the plastic under the screen cover is not textured and shouldn't be affected by using one.
Another method of removal is to carefully scrape away the glue with a razor blade. This will likely leave scratch marks, but they will be covered up by the screen cover anyway.
Acetone will take the adhesive off quite simply, but will most certainly leave "burns" in the plastic.
› CHAPTER III Troubleshooting - Nonfunctioning / Partially Functioning DMGs
‹ CHAPTER III Troubleshooting - Nonfunctioning / Partially Functioning DMGs
Nothing turns on
Assuming you've tried new batteries, it may be a battery contact problem. Look for corrosion on the metal contacts inside of the battery compartment as that cause a bad connection. If the unit works with an AC adapter, it's likely that
Gameboy crashes upon movement
Power LED turns on, but nothing else
The power LED is connected essentially directly to the batteries with a couple extra components (zener diode and a 1k ohm resistor). It is an indication that the ribbon cable is connected and the batteries have power in them.
This isn't too common with a unmodified DMGs but it happens. In the cases I've seen, it's been from battery acid leaking into the DMG and destroying traces and such. Depending on the severity, it's usually not worth fixing.
(Some) buttons don't work
Hopefully this is just a simple problem of unclean contact pads. In which case you can disassemble the DMG and clean them with rubbing alcohol. Clean the contacts on the PCB as well.
In one case, I noticed that corrosion actually chewed away a bit of a trace on the front board for one of the buttons, and I was able to fix it simply by just adding a small jumper wire. You can test for this problem using a continuity tester by following the traces of the buttons to the ribbon cable.
Screen has dead lines of pixels
If your screen has vertical lines, you can fix this by following these steps:
Remove the black rubber strip over top of the brown ribbon cable directly under the LCD
Remove as much adhesive as possible. This is usually pretty easy.
Turn the unit on, and crank the contrast so that the pixels all turn black
With a soldering iron add a bit of solder to the tip and gently apply heat under the areas with dead lines. Pressure is not necessary.
If your screen has horizontal lines, you're probably out of luck. There's no known fix, as the ribbon cable for horizontal lines isn't quite as "heat-friendly" as the one for vertical lines.
If the unit has been disassembled, the wires for the speaker may have broken. They are very prone to this.
It seems to be more common gameboy colors, but the speaker could be blown. In which case you can take one from a broken unit or try to find an 8 ohm speaker that's the same approximate size
The wiper in the volume pot could be broken, or just dirty. If you find you can get sound by positioning the volume pot at a certain point, this is likely the problem. This can be fixed by replacing the pot, or either trying to internally clean it by putting a dab of rubbing alcohol inside of the pot and turning it up and down.
There's a switch inside of the headphone jack meant to mute the speaker when the headphones are plugged in. If this is some how being pressed, the speaker will not work.
Screen has distortion
This generally happens during backlighting, but can happen from disassembling the DMG if you're not careful. Especially on play it loud DMGs, because the adhesive to attach the LCD to the case is stronger.
Generally, this is from ripping the solder connections underneath the LCD from lifting it too high. It's fixable sometimes by carefully re-soldering it.
› CHAPTER IV: Wiring guide - WIP
‹ CHAPTER IV: Wiring guide - WIP
One extremely important, although commonly overlooked part of having a solid modification is wire placement. There's a lot of "keep out" zones in the DMG, but also an absurd amount of extra space.
I've had the privilege of repairing dozens of failed DMG modifications, mostly from eBay. And speaking of which, don't buy from eBay sellers, unless they're reputable. There's a false sense of comfort in buying when you know you can leave feedback and have buyer protection, but just because your modded DMG works one week, doesn't mean it will be working the next.
Here's a prime(ate) example. This is a DMG I received (along with two others) for repair from a fellow simian.
The DMG worked when he received it, then inevitably failed because the wire is destroyed.
Back PCB - "Keep out zones"
Note: This is just for approximate reference. There are still some areas you should stay clear of, like the potentiometer, and the diodes from the front board.
Last edited by Apeshit (July 9, 2012 3:42 am)