Game Repair: Prepare Before You Repair

What you need to know before you make any fixes to your Game Boy

Nintendo Cleaning Kit
Image copyright Nintendo Game Boy

When you sit down to fix your damaged Game Boy, there is nothing more dangerous than using the wrong tools, or guessing how to make the repair. It’s not like you can just run down to the corner electronics store to get replacement parts, and there is little information available on the net. Here is a breakdown of some of the more common things you should know and what tools you may need.

Warranty

If your Game Boy is still under warranty, do not attempt to make any repairs yourself; otherwise you will most likely void it out. Please follow the instructions on Nintendo’s official website to see what is covered by the warranty and how to exercise it.

Professional Repairs

Do not attempt any repairs you don’t know how to make, or you’ll run the risk of permanently damaging your Game Boy. In these cases, you can have Nintendo professionally repair your system by filling out this form on their website and following the steps for sending it to a repair center. Unfortunately, this option is only available for Game Boy Advance, Game Boy Advance SP and Game Boy Micro models, and unless you are covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, it will cost more than half the price of the most expensive of these models.

Compressed Air

The first thing you need to do before you go to the trouble of taking your Game Boy apart is to make sure it doesn’t just need to be cleaned. When doing this, you’ll find your best friend is a can of compressed air. You can get these at more office and electronic supply stores. Just spray away any excess dust or dirt in your cartridges or ports.

Game Boy Cleaning Kit

If the compressed air doesn’t work, try a Game Boy Cleaning Kit, which is available at several online retailers. These kits are designed with the right tools to get into the narrow cartridge port.

Clean Your Game Cartridges

It might not be your Game Boy that’s broken. You might just need to clean out the game cartridge. If so, follow these step-by-step instructions.

The Nintendo Cleaning Wand

The instructions for cleaning a game cartridge recommend that you use a cotton swab, but Nintendo’s Cleaning Wand will work just as well—plus it’s reusable. The Cleaning Wand is a flat tool that will fit into the small opening of the cartridge. The end is made of cloth, so it won’t fall apart during cleaning, and it can be used repeatedly.

Glass Cleaner and Dry Cloth

Most scratches that cover your screen are visible because dust and dirt get stuck within the grooves. Most of the time all you need to do is spray the screen clean with a small amount of glass cleaner and a dry cloth, wiping scratches away with small circular motions.

Replacement Screen Covers

Believe it or not, when you have a scratch on the monitor of your Game Boy it’s probably not the screen itself that’s damaged. The Game Boy screen is made up of liquid crystals, so if the actual screen were damaged, then your unit is beyond repair. The Game Boy’s body actually has a clear plastic outer screen referred to as a “screen cover.” This is not the protective cover you can buy separately but the plastic outer casing covering the sensitive screen.

You can purchase a replacement screen covers that come with a specially designed tool to remove the old cover and install the new one. These covers are available for the Game Boy Classic, Pocket, Color and Advance. The Game Boy Advance SP requires special equipment that is not available, so you have to go directly through Nintendo’s repair service. Luckily, this model is collapsible, so your screen is mostly protected. The Game Boy Micro’s screen cover is part of the removable faceplate, so if it is scratched or damaged, you simply need to get a new faceplate.

Jewelers screwdriver

To replace the rechargeable batteries in the Game Boy Advance SP and the Game Boy Micro, you will need a small jewelers’ Philips head screwdriver to remove the battery cover.

Game Boy Screwdriver Tool

To open the main body of any of the Game Boy models you need a special screwdriver that used to be available from Nintendo’s website but has recently been discontinued. The screw on the back of the Game Boy unit is similar to the Philips head jewelers’ screwdriver, but actually is a specially designed shape that only works with the Nintendo-made tool.

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