gameboy screen transfer

Started by mjsbbs, March 25, 2005, 03:34:25 PM

Previous topic - Next topic


This site is excellent.

I have a project I've been wanting to do for awhile that maybe some of the experts here can help me with. The original gameboy is the only one that is comfortable for me to use. It also has the worst screen. With that in mind, I would like to transfer the screen, or entire gameboy contents from a later model into the original enclosure.

My first choice would be using the parts from a gameboy pocket, as I have an extra that can be crapped up. Awhile ago I opened up both gameboys and had a look inside. It appeared that it would be a complicated process...something I could never figure out on my own. The two screens appear to be connected in such a way that you can't just transfer one to the other, and the shape of the gameboy pocket insides don't fit very well in the original gameboy. So I ask the community here to consider the proposal and see if anyone has any ideas. Thanks :)

- Mike


What you want to do isn't unreasonably hard, but you should probably shoot for some economy of design. That is, don't create more complicated work than you have to.

If the goal is to have the original DMG form factor with the GBP screen, then I wouldn't just transplant the screen. Not only are the power requirements different, but the bus connector is smaller on the GBP and would require lots of custom wiring. What I would do in your place is move the whole screen and original motherboard from the Gameboy Pocket into the larger case, and then install PCB switches under the big Gameboy buttons and run wires to the smaller motherboard. That's eight switches, eight pairs of wires (or eight wires and one ground connection, if you're clever) and maybe some dremel work on the back of the case in order to clear the the battery case. Or, you could be even more clever and run wiring from the power input of the GBP board over to two of the original DMG battery slots. Better still, require the four-battery case to connect two pairs of batteries in parallel, doubling your battery capacity.

Great, now I want to go and do this myself. Anybody out there got a spare original Gameboy? :) Before I sign off, it's worth mentioning that the inside of the case will require modification in order to properly support the board and the screen. Again, in your place I would use itty bitty pieces of wood, as they're easy to shape and don't add much weight. Hope this has been helpful.

-KKC, who now has a GBA SP. I'm hiding in the house until this whole PSP thing blows over...


Thank you for the informative response. It sounds like putting the whole gameboy pocket guts in the original gameboy is the way to go. Could you tell me more about the PCB switches? I'm just a regular game player who doesn't know much about electronics, but can follow instructions. I am very proud that I recently installed the turbo grafx / pc engine switch on my turbo grafx, and I didn't break it.

I would be pretty excited if you actually went ahead and did this...and then of course posted details on how you did it so I'd have a good chance at making my own ;)  If you'll give it a shot, I'll buy a gameboy on ebay and have it mailed to you.

- Mike


As you're probably aware, the Gameboy has contact switches right there on the circuit board for controls, activated by pressure contact. These are normally open, single pole/single throw (NO/SPST) switches, and if I remember correctly the Gameboy connects these switches to ground, rather than to the 6 volt or 3 volt power side.

You have a couple of options as far as moving the functions to the larger (and lower) DMG buttons. What I would do is construct a new circuit board with little NO switches mounted on it, the clicky kind like you find in computer mice. You attach these to the underside of the control surfaces and run wires to the GBP board. You could either etch a custom circuit with that acid bath trick, or you could just get a perforated board and wire it to suit.

Another solution would be to scavenge pressure contact circuit board parts. This would involve some cutting or sawing, but you might be able to get those controller parts from an old NES controller, or even the original Gameboy board. The advantage of this is that the parts would fit better and would feel like the original Gameboy controls (instead of having a click or some other different feel when pressed.) Either way, remember that you have eight switches to consider: up, down, left, right, A, B, select, and start. Don't forget the select and start keys. Also, note that you'll probably have to require the power switch, the headphone jack and the power light as well.

We're reaching the end of my practical knowledge here. I would recommend that you take a look at Ben Heck's website for ideas on how to hack the controller mechanisms, and on how to mess with the interior of portable game units. You can find him at when you're ready to swallow red pill...

-KKC, who is this close to just sticking RF transmitters on the back of all his game consoles to avoid having to run any more damn wires...


I'm sure the whole page will interest you, but as long as it's on my mind check out this specific link on Ben's page:

He details the conversion of one of those all-in-one Sega Genesis units into a portable with custom controls and a cartridge slot. Related to what you want to do, he has a pretty descriptive photo of his custom controller mechanism. That picture is worth at least 963 words and pretty well sums up everything I say in the previous post without being as boring as I am. :)

-KKC, hiding in the house until the TPC leaves town.


if it were me, i'd try leave the controller part of the original gb board in its place, cutting it off the rest of the motherboard if necesary, that way the buttons will feel like nintendo buttons should. rather than that clicky crap..

now i think of it.. why gbp? why not put a gameboy color in it? or even a gba? ok, gba might be hard on account of the l and r buttons, and the cart slot would be hard if you werent using an sp.. but a gameboy color wouldnt be so hard.. and really, the black and white gameboys suck in comparison..


Hey! Neo Geo fans are legion and if we had our way, all controllers would be clicky. Even analog sticks would click to let you know how far you've tilted them on their axes. :)

-KKC, who really believes that everybody can have whatever controller they want. Except for the Sony Dualshock series, those are only good for propping up table legs...


That site is impressive, and very engrossing. I couldn't stop reading through his news entry. Thanks for the tips, and link.

Using a gbc is a good idea, though it's likely my first attempt will destroy both units. I can safely crap up an original gameboy, and pocket. If I can get that working, then using the gbc parts would be the next step.

- Mike


Hi, just a few quesitons how exactly would u fit pcb switches to the original button slots? simply just solder? surely its not as simple as that? since reading this thread i really want to use a gba snes emulater maybee as a fixed instalment save having to dremel it to much. im also considering moving the shoulder butons on to the front face and amybee use snes controler buttons would this be posibble? i know im asking alot but i cant really afford to make mistakes and would like to be well informed before i procceed. are there any sites that have simple instruction on this kind of conection with diagrams? i tried goodle but got a lot of text documents and retail sites thnx for taking the time to read.


hey just wondering if anyone has atempted a gameboy sp to an original game boy case conversion and if so how did it go?

and anyone on here got any snes items that the feel they no longer need? if so let me know