Game Boy Repair

May 3, 2010

I usually play Game Boy and Game Boy Color on my Game Boy Advance.  But this weekend I had my original Nintendo Game Boy out, and discovered that there were some AA batteries inside that had a 1998 expiration date on them.  Needless to say, there was some corrosive penetration of the outer steel shell by some potassium hydroxide, forming feathery crystalline structure that grew and spread out from the batteries, leading to oxidation of copper traces and other components.  In other words, the old batteries leaked inside the Game Boy.

I tried cleaning off the battery terminals with some baking soda, which got the bulk of it, but the terminals were just covered with a layer of black crud (using more scientific terms) and when I put it all back together again, it still didn’t work.  Took  it all apart again and physically removed the battery terminals (after unscrewing some of the circuit boards).  Scrapped and scrapped at them with some blades and steel wool until they shined, put it all together again and… the plastic cover over the screen fell right off.  It looked like the old glue just failed.  Cleaned that up, glued it back on, put some fresh batteries inside, and presto!  Working Game Boy!  Not what I was expecting to do last night, but I’m glad it’s working good as new.

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  1. Nice work!
    I remember briefly owning one of these in my childhood. I always played on a friend’s before. The one I owned I actually got after I had picked up a GBC, which was the first system I bought for myself.

    (goes to check GBC)
    Yep, it still works, although it could use a good dusting / de-gumming under the buttons. Ah, memories of playing Megaman X-Treme and Zelda Link’s Awakening DX.

    I loved the reflective screen of the GBC and early GBAs. They worked wonderfully in direct sunlight, whereas the backlit models performed better in the dark.

  2. The reflective screen on the GB never bothered me. I skipped the GBC generation and went straight to the 1st gen GBA, though, and the screen on that always annoyed me, usually because I was trying to play in semi-dark areas. The GBA SP came along and I really fell in love with it because of the backlit screen and awesome flip up form factor.

  3. Way to go! Nice to know that people still care about the original gameboy 😀

  4. […] my leaking battery incident last weekend, I decided it’d be best to check my other handheld games to make sure there were […]

  5. thanks for the post! i still have my gameboy which had a leakage..i will definitely do what you did.. hope it works!

  6. Good luck!

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