Game Boy

Model Name DMG

Later nicknamed “DMG” after its product code “Dot Matrix Game”. The original “grey brick” was released in 1989. In 1995 the “Play It Loud” series released. The PI” series only added new shell colours and was not full a hardware revision. PIL consoles use “chip on board” package components and thus the PCBs are covered in epoxy blobs.

Table of Contents:

Last Content Revision: 2020-12-16

Original Game Boy Problems

Don’t forget that the common problems section also has more info, such as failure to power on or speaker issues.

  • Dead Vertical Lines on DMG

  • Screen Rot

    • What is it? With the classic Game Boy, screen rot can occur just about anywhere on the LCD. Sometimes it’s just a few small specs of black right in the middle of the LCD, sometimes it’s a whole corner of the LCD filled with black splotches. It is NOT mold or water damage, despite what some people will tell you.
    • How do I fix it? Unfortunately, there’s no known repair for this other than to just replace the entire LCD board. Unless you have legendary soldering skills, removing the LCD from the board will be quite difficult.
  • Vertical lines in the LCD

    • What are they? This is a VERY common problem with DMGs. These show up as missing vertical lines on the LCD. Sometimes if you press on the rubber strip below the LCD, you can get the lines to disappear for a short period of time.
    • How do I fix it? Fortunately, this problem is generally pretty easy to fix. See here or here. One thing worth noting is that you should continue with the iron until you can briefly run the iron across the entire bottom of the LCD and the lines don’t show up anymore. You can get the lines to disappear but until you make sure they stop showing up with heat applied, it won’t be a long-lasting repair. 500° F / 260° C is an adequate amount of heat to use.
  • Horizontal lines in the LCD

    • What are they? Not nearly as common a problem as vertical lines, but they do still show up every now and then. The problem is similar to vertical lines, but instead the lines show up horizontally across the screen.
    • How do I fix it? You will have to lift the LCD from its plastic bezel to gain access to the horizontal ribbon cable. This is a much more difficult fix than the vertical lines fix, but it can be done.

      • Remove the 2 screws holding down the vertical ribbon cable.
      • Carefully pry the LCD free from the plastic bezel using a plastic implement of some sort.
      • Prop up the LCD so you can access the horizontal ribbon cable with a soldering iron. The area of interest looks much like the area on the vertical cable underneath the rubber strip.
      • Gently run the iron back and forth across this area until the lines disappear. 500° F / 260° C is an adequate amount of heat to use.
  • Splotchy circles in LCD (after backlight/bivert install)

    • What are they? Circles under the LCD that looks like trapped liquid. See this image for an example. This phenomenon is called “Newtonian Rings” and is common in these circumstances.
    • How do I fix it? The fix will involve either completely separating the glass LCD from the plastic polarizer layer (air gap) or completely joining them together (adhesive polarizer). See this video from /u/esotericsean for a method of air gapping the polarizer. If you want to join the polarizer to the LCD OEM style, you’ll need a polarizer with pre-applied adhesive. Air gapping is the preferred method. This also applied to Game Boy Pocket.

Original Game Boy Mods

Looking for a backlight mod? Why not check out this guide from /u/Admiral_Butter_Crust on all the different backlight kits for DMG.