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Gameboy Advance Drop In, No Cut Backlit GBA IPS Screen Replacement Review!


hey everybody it’s lon seidman and one project i’ve been meaning to do for quite a while now is a screen swap on my game boy advance here i actually have two of these one is up on the shelf behind me there and this one i found at my dad’s house i think this was my brother’s when he was a kid and what we’re going to be doing today is taking out the screen that is built into this game boy and replacing it with a backlit ips screen now up until recently you had to like cut parts of the case and i didn’t really want to get into all of that i wanted something simple that was a drop in replacement and now there are drop-in replacements this one came from a place called retro game repair shop they’re out of rhode island not far from me and i paid for this with my own funds and this is a drop-in screen replacement we’re not going to have to cut anything we have to just take the old screen out connect up some cables here and hopefully we will have a kind of a brand new experience with this classic game console now i’m going to be live streaming this entire process and this video is a cut down edited version so if you want to watch the entire thing you can click the link in the video description and find the full stream but this video will be relatively short kind of detailing all the different steps involved in getting this display replaced so we’re going to get into this in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i did pay for that screen with my own funds all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own no one is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see if i can get this screen replaced without any problems hopefully let’s take a look alright so here is the game boy advance i’ve got right now the original screen inside of it i haven’t taken it apart yet and it looks okay but you can see the screen is definitely dim because it’s not backlit it is just relying on

whatever light comes down on top of it and for the time it was fine right this was what it came out with and that’s what you dealt with there was a lot of third-party accessories that like lights that would beam down on top of it and everything but we can do better than that so here is the kit that i got and this again is a drop-in replacement and let’s just go through the components here so this bag has the screen itself and there is a connector to the motherboard that gets installed with it so this is the screen there’s a film on it that we’re going to pull off this is the motherboard that goes on the back of the screen and the gba will be connecting to this motherboard with one of the included ribbon cables now apparently there were two let’s turn this off real quick here there were two revisions of this hardware or maybe multiple revisions that use two different types of ribbon cables so they include the two cables that you will likely encounter in setting this up and we’ll figure out which one we need when we get to the taking apart part but you’ll notice there’s like a little thing hanging off the side and that is a touch sensor so this gets placed inside the game boy and i’ll show you where it goes and then while you’re playing with the game boy you can adjust the brightness level by just tapping on the top of the console so we’ll look and find the best placement for that and which one of these things we need and there’s also a gasket here this is what attaches the display to the

front of the gameboy’s lens here and i’m going to try to use the original lens and i want to give a shout out to macho nacho productions he’s a retro game modder he’s got a great channel and what he did is he kept the original gasket on his game boy because he might want to do more work on it later and the original is going to be a little less sticky and what i want to do with this one eventually is replace the front lens with one of the glass lenses that i think are available this one’s in really good shape but there is a scratch that you really can’t see on camera that i would like to get fixed on this one so i’m going to try to preserve the original gasket and then maybe in a later video change out that front lens to something a little nicer than what we’ve got already so let’s get to it let’s take this thing apart and see what’s inside all right so we’re going to begin with the unscrewing part and i bought this screwdriver kit a while ago it’s an uriah that i got on a prime day deal and give you the other angle of it here and this has been a really helpful kit it’s not the highest quality thing in the world but it’s not that expensive and i have found that every type of screw i encounter with these electronics is compatible with what with what you get there so we’re just going to just unscrew everything here and this will take a few minutes so we’ll speed up the recorded version all right the screws are out and we’re now going to lift off the back of the game boys case here and that comes off real clean doesn’t it there is nothing to it so there’s nothing on there except a little shield and now we’ve got the motherboard and there are a couple of screws here on the motherboard that we have to detach i believe one on each side so i’m going to look for where those screws are there’s one here and one there and we’re going to unscrew those and hopefully that’ll get us the ability to detach the motherboard and then what i’m also going to do is detach all of the plastic pieces here on the side as well so we can more easily work with everything so let’s get that out there and i’ll put

those screws there and i think you can see now the motherboard is coming clean so we’re going to pull all these buttons out pull off these little side things here and i think the whole thing yep should just lift right out now what i need to do here at the top is disconnect this ribbon cable now there’s a little 40 here on the right hand side and that means i’ve got the 40 pin connector so i’m going to use this longer 40 pin connector for my screen once i am ready to attach everything so let me go and get that ribbon cable detached i think i just have to release some things on the side here so i’m going to look at that more closely get that detached and i’ll be back when i’m ready to separate the old screen from the motherboard all right so we were able to release that ribbon cable just by pushing these two little plastic gray things up and i did that with my tweezers you just want to be careful not to scratch the mother the motherboard when you do that and i’m just going to lift up the board here and we’ll see if we can get i’m trying to keep the overhead view clear for you watching at home so now we’ve got the motherboard detached here and the speaker is actually built into the motherboard here so everything kind of comes out in one piece it’s really nice now i’m going to set that aside the other thing i’m going to do here is just pull out the control surfaces and macho nacho in his video recommends that if things are dirty this is a great time to clean everything right so everything on this one is super clean my brother kept his uh game boy in really good shape this is the power switch here that just came out all

right so now this is oops what was that um something just popped out on me here this here is the display and what he said in the video um was to kind of treat it like an ice tray just kind of like detach it that way see how it just kind of popped up after i did that so you just want to keep doing that until without cracking the case obviously until you can lift the old display away and because we’re not actually modifying the case at all i could easily revert back to the original if i wanted to here and what i’m going to be careful about is trying to see if i can keep that original gasket inside of this yeah it looks like it’s staying put pretty well so i’m going to let that kind of fall back into place there we go because i want to try to preserve as much of that original gasket as possible so it did move a little bit here so i’ll just readjust everything so let me get that readjusted and then we will continue on with our project here all right the next step is to put in something i didn’t cover during the unboxing which are these little clear plastic spacers and these go on the direct bottom of your gba shell here and these will provide some stability for the screen when we install everything and of course these things are clear so you definitely don’t want to drop them and lose them so keep an eye on where they are located we will get them attached here all right so now we are ready to get the screen going this is where you want to be careful because you could get fingerprints on the screen here hopefully i don’t do that you do want to pull off this piece of plastic and what the um what macho nacho did was put this aside because this he said is a good

insulator for the back of the motherboard when we get a little further along here now those spacers we put in earlier are the vertical alignment for the screen so basically what you want to do is get the screen all the way over to the right of the case and make sure that the bottom of the screen is touching the top of those spacers and that will ensure that the screen is positioned properly i made a mistake earlier on by having the screen up a little too high so again make sure the bottom of that screen is aligned with the top of those spacers and you should be in good shape all right so now we’re going to attach the ribbon cable to the motherboard and i am following along the instruction printout sheet that the seller had for this now on the instructions the sensor is pointing in the opposite direction as it is here although i think i have a newer revision of it so we’re going to go off of that assumption and we’re going to get this seated now you want to make sure that this gets seated properly and is in there firmly so that it doesn’t slip out on you later so we’re just going to get that in there kind of slides in and we’re going to push that down and it looks like it’s in there pretty good okay so now we’ve got that ribbon cable attached and the next step is to get this placed on top of the screen that we just installed okay so now it is time to bring back in our game boy shell here with the display sort

of installed and we’re going to take out the motherboard and we’re going to slide this underneath and get this ribbon cable attached now one thing i don’t have is tape to secure it in place so we’ll have to just be careful about that and we’ll get that cable inserted make sure it’s in all the way there and we’ll slide down that and i think we’re in good shape it feels like it’s attached all right so the next thing we’re going to do is take that film that was on the display and put it down on top here and the reason we want to do that is just to insulate all the components here so nothing gets shorted out when the motherboard gets placed down on top of it and that leads us to our next step i’m just going to snip off the little blue part here so it’s a little bit more even but after that we’re going to be ready to get the motherboard reattached and get all the controller pieces put back in so we’re almost done hopefully this will work all right i think we are ready to put things back together again now what i’ve got in place here are all the buttons at least the main buttons here the amb along with the d-pad the select and start and you also want to make sure that your power light which popped out on me earlier is put back into place you can attach the shoulder buttons and the power switch after you lower the motherboard on the other thing i’m going to do right now is move that little sensor into this portion of plastic adjacent to where your game boy connector will go because this needs to be in there for that sensor component to work all right so now we’re going to lower the motherboard back down here and the nice thing is the speaker helps you kind of align everything a little bit and we’re going to just place that down and we’ll get the power switch reconnected in a second but what i want to do is get the ribbon cable now attached to the motherboard of the game boy so we’re attaching this new hardware to this old hardware we’re going to slide that in like so and hold it there and then

we’re going to just push down those two connectors we lifted up earlier to lock it into place and that looks like it’s in there pretty good you just want to make sure that cable is going all the way in so that looks like we are in good shape now what i’m going to do is attach the power button and i can flick that back and forth there’s no batteries in it so it’s not going to turn on so we’re good there and i think what i’m going to do now is secure the motherboard down with the screws and then we’ll put in the remaining buttons and the side pieces and with any luck this will boot up and give us a nice beautiful display let’s hope that happens all right here’s the moment of truth we’ve got the batteries in we have the game boy ready to go i’m going to switch the on switch on here look at that it works how about that oh it’s beautiful isn’t that nice all right let’s put in the game here that we were looking at earlier to see how it looks now and i was playing a few games off camera also just to get a feel for how everything looks and in addition to the backlight what’s noticeable is just the quality of the images with the ips display really makes a big difference here it almost feels like a new console but it’s running of course on the original hardware one thing that i’m noticing with the screen i’m just going to go into a free skate mode here is that it’s not terribly bright it’s certainly much brighter than what we had before but it’s not as bright as some of the modern handhelds and

smartphones might be and we are under studio lights so i will shoot some b-roll in darker conditions so you can get a better feel for it but it isn’t going to be like super super bright but it is a heck of a lot better than what you were dealing with before and it is a lot brighter than the original gameboy sp that i also own so this will work i think well in a normally lit room um but it’s just not like super super bright now my concern when i was putting this thing back together was the sensor that they have for the brightness adjustment and where mine ended up getting placed if i tap the top of the screen here you can see that it will lighten or darken the screen so it’s got a couple of stops here and so that’s the brightest setting there so not incredibly bright but definitely viewable and again the quality of the display i think is just spectacular now i actually own two of these consoles and what i thought i would show you is a head-to-head that i shot a little earlier of my unmodded version versus the modded one and as you can see it is night and day again not only do you get a backlight but just a much higher quality image out of the replacement screen here i’m really really pleased with it so let’s take a look at a little montage that i shot of a bunch of games running on this display in better light so you can get a feel for how this display will look in more ideal conditions let’s roll that clip now i’m going to upload this footage to my extras channel in addition to it being here because this video is only at 30 frames per second and i shot it at 4k at 60 frames per second now this was in a dark room and as you can see the

display is kind of lighting up the game boy case a bit because i do have a translucent version and one thing i noticed is that there is some backlight bleed on this display what i’m not certain about is whether or not it’s backlight bleed or if the backlight is reflecting off the case but i suspect even it’s an ips display there’s probably some degree of backlight bleeding here you don’t typically see it when you’ve got a game running but if you have a menu up or something you might notice a lot of backlight bleed especially on the top and left hand side there but the sharpness is great on this and it really doesn’t come out in this footage so when you first boot it up you’re going to be shocked by how good these games look and the best part is they’re actually running on original hardware with that image quality which makes it a lot of fun i’m not detecting any real button lag or anything everything just looks great even though you do have a little bit of backlight bleed when you are in a darker screen now i also booted up some original game boy games and those of course look really nice on the display uh this is super mario land and this was a game when i was originally playing it on the original game boy you would see a ton of motion blur and ghosting we’ve got none of that here it is super crisp and it really really looks great on this display i also booted up a game boy color game shantae is what we’re playing here and as you can see the colors are super crisp and clean and again no motion blur here at all it just really looks nice with the exception of that backlight bleed we noted earlier so all together i’m very pleased with the outcome here the mod was not all that difficult to install

although i do wish they included some better instructions versus what i had to work with on their website but it really comes together nicely the display looks spectacular compared to what we had before and i always preferred this form factor of the game boy to the game boy sp that came out a little bit later this one has a front lit screen it doesn’t look all that great but it’s a bit of an improvement over the original and that you can play it in the dark but it’s so tiny it was very uncomfortable to hold and i really preferred the form factor of the original it was a much more comfortable console to play so it’s really nice to have this one feeling a little more modern now and definitely a lot better than even the sp that i bought that i got primarily so i could play some of these games in the dark so all together i am very pleased with this not that expensive not that hard to do and i think it’s something that if you’ve got an old game boy advance laying around you might want to consider to breathe some new life into your console that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon seidman thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lawn dot tv supporters including gold level supporters chris allegretta tom albrecht jim callagher hot sauce and video games and brian parker if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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