wolfgang ziegler

„make stuff and blog about it“

Fixing a Game Boy Display

June 24, 2022

This week I wanted to give my original Game Boy a spin, only to discover that its display had gone bad.

The "striped display problem" is a common issue with the Game Boy that's caused by a partly detached display ribbon cable. This ribbon cable is glued to the connector and over time this glue becomes weak, the cable detaches resulting in those vertical stripes.

Game Boy with display stripes

The problem is most apparent when the display contrast is set to maximum.

Game Boy with display stripes on black background

Fortunately, there's an easy fix for this problem.

Open up the Game Boy

Annoyingly, the Game Boy case is held together by special, triangular screws. However, my iFixit kit had a matching bit for that.

iFixit screwdriver

Carefully, pull out the display ribbon cable.

The Game Boy opened up

Unscrew the display board fro the case. This time, normal Phillips screws were used.

The open Game Boy (display part)

Turn it back on

Connect the ribbon cable again and turn the Game Boy on. The stripes appear again.

The opened Game Boy turned on

Repair the broken connections

Take a soldering iron and apply light pressure to the area below the display. You should immediately see an effect of the vertical pixel rows turning off and on. The heat melts the glue and when it cools off and becomes solid again the broken connections should get fixed again.

This part takes some patience and you need to go over the ribbon cable with the soldering iron quite a few times.

Fix the display with a soldering iron

Close the Game Boy up again.

Fixed it!

All done, now I can enjoy my game.

GameBoy with the fixed display