This guide shows how to take out the Game Boy SP Model AGS-001 Front Light and put it into the Neo Geo Pocket Color. If you do this mod, make sure you get the correct Game Boy model. I would also recommend getting a broken one (like I did) so that you're not ripping apart a working console. This mod is not intended for the B&W version of the NGP as that has a different screen that can be back-lit.
Tools and parts you will need
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Flat head Screwdriver
- Tri-wing Screwdriver
- Scalpel/Exacto Knife
- Needle nose pliers
- Soldering Iron and solder
- Wire Cutters
- Game Boy SP Model AGS-001 Front Light
- 3mm LED (optional)
- 47 Ohm 1/4W (1/2W is fine too) resistor
- 10" of 30 awg modding/Kynar wire
Opening the Game Boy SP
This step requires a tri-wing screwdriver. There are 5 rubber plugs covering the screws on the front of the SP screen enclosure. The plugs are made out of rubber and can be pried out with a scalpel or screwdriver.
Desoldering the front lightThis step may seem tricky at first but it really isn't. With a soldering iron heat up the two pads and use a scalpel to pull up the ribbon cable from the bottom. Be careful not to rip it. The ribbon will come up once the solder joints are free.
Removing the front lightNext the LCD needs to be removed from the front light housing. This can be done by using a flat screwdriver to pop out the LCD. There are small tabs (2 per side) holding it in. Once the LCD is out the front light assembly is the piece we are after. From this point be very careful with the front light, it is made out of glass and is very fragile. Be sure not to touch it except on the edges as it will be extremely difficult to clean from any oils you have left on it from your fingers.
Opening the Neo Geo Pocket ColorThere are 5 Phillips type (red circle) screws and 1 tri-wing (orange circle) screw holding the NGPC together. Then there are a further 3 Phillips screws inside holding the board down.
Disconnecting the screenThe screen is connected by a single ribbon cable. There is a ZIF socket that holds it in place. To disconnect the cable first the tabs on either side of the socket need to be slid up (see photo for orientation). Once the tabs are free the ribbon should come out quite easily.
Making room inside the caseTo make the Game Boy front light fit, extra room needs to be made inside the NGPC. The orange foam pads need to be removed, these have adhesive holding them in place and can be removed easily. Then the four tabs that are 'holding' the cartridge slot in place need to be sheared off. They are not necessary to hold the cart because it's being held in by all of the soldered in pins.
Replacing the LEDThis is an optional step and in hindsight I do not recommend it (a bright LED is too distracting when playing games). However if you want to change the LED from the standard red to a bright blue or any other colour all you need is a 3mm LED. Simply desolder the old LED and solder in the new one.
Removing the NGPC LCDThe LCD needs to be popped out of its housing. Using a flat screwdriver from the top left side is the easiest way. Do this gently and once the top left corner has lifted off, go around the rest of the edges and separate the LCD from the case. There's adhesive holding it in place in some places. Be very gentle here so not to crack the LCD.
Installing the front lightUnlike in the original guide, I removed all of the internal plastic that held the original LCD in place. I did this because without doing that I couldn't get the front light in the correct place and it was covering a portion of the LCD when installed. Removing the 3 tabs is simple. Using a scalpel cut the corners between each of the tabs first. Then score the bottom of each and finally use the needle nose pliers to bend them down and then up again. They should snap off at their bases and come out.
Re-installing the NGPC LCDSince all of the original tabs that held the LCD in place are gone, it has to be aligned manually. This isn't hard to do just look straight down and align it to where the old tabs were - it's visible through the front light glass. Use some electrical tape to hold the LCD in place. Solder two wires to the front light. The rightmost pad is the negative/ground an the leftmost is positive.
Wiring in the front lightNow the LCD ribbon cable can be reconnected. The tabs on the ZIF socket have to be slid back down after the ribbon is in place. The main board can be put back and attached with its three screws. Make sure that the buttons are back in their correct positions first, if they happened to have fallen out. Be careful to pull the wires out prior to screwing the board down.
The negative wire from the front light can be attached to any GND point, I used the one on the right below the cartridge slot. The positive wire must first be connected to the 47 Ohm resistor, and then to the left side of the C20 capacitor. Speaker wires can now be re-soldered too.
Finishing upThe rest of the case can be re-assembled now. Don't over-tightent the screws. The result should be a screen that lights up and can be seen in the dark.