RetroGlow for GBC | Install Guide
It has been brought to our attention that the controls for this kit may conflict with some IPS kits on the market. We recommend soldering to alternate buttons for the 'Select' button on IPS kits. This will be resolved with kits in the next revision. Noted July 26th, 2022 by Mitch
Gathering Tools and Supplies
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- Solder (Leaded is recommended)
- Fully charged or new AA batteries
- Isopropyl Alcohol (70% or higher) for cleaning flux residue - Dispensing Pump
Fully disassemble your Gameboy Color
See this guide on iFixit for full details.
Remove the power LED
Heat the two legs from the rear side of the board with a soldering iron. Lifting the board up at an angle while heating the LED should result in the LED dropping out. Use solder wick or a solder sucker to help if needed.
Solder the 5V connection
Align the PCB to the best of your ability. The goal is to ensure all of the gold holes are lined up with the test pads on the main board. Use Kapton tape to hold alignment during soldering. Soldering the 5V connection point will act as an anchor and allow you to fine-tune your PCB positioning by reheating that one area. Use generous flux as needed to get a great connection.
Recommended soldering iron temperature: 365c
Solder button vias
You will solder each of the points circled in red. Be sure to check your alignment and take your time before soldering. Kapton tape can help to hold the board in place before soldering.
Optional - Solder IPS control wires
Use the pads along the top portion of the flex pcb (labelled for your convenience) to wire up the controls for your IPS GBC IPS display. This kit will not interfere with those controls and will provide a very clean end result without any wires showing. Use flux as needed. Be sure to cover all exposed solder connections in this area with Kapton tape. Cover both the IPS control connection points and the cartridge pins for the best protection against short circuits/damage. Trimming the cart cart pins is always recommended to prevent damage to IPS kits.
Test before reassembly
Place the main board into the rear shell. Insert the AA batteries and power on the console. Upon first power up, you should see all LEDs light up with Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple from right to left. If you see any issues here, see the troubleshooting at the bottom of this guide.
If your console is particularly noisy, consider replacing capacitor C32 with a larger rating tantalum capacitor. We recommend a 680uF 10v cap based on information from our friends at Console5. At the time of writing this note they are out of stock but you can find the part through Mouser: Mouser Link
Final reassembly and second test
At this point, follow the disassembly in reverse to ensure your Game Boy Color is put back together properly. If installing an IPS, refer to the product guide for your kit of choice to ensure it is installed correctly. Install your choice of transparent buttons and membranes.
Power on your Game Boy Color and ensure all LEDs are illuminating properly. Button functionality may vary depending on where you have sourced your buttons and/or membranes. If you are using an aftermarket Game Boy Color housing, you may need to slightly loosen the J0 screws behind the main board to relieve some button pressure.
Quick functionality test: Hold Select and press Right on the D-Pad. You should see the lights flash Green twice. At this point, you can press D-Pad left or right to lower or increase the LED brightness. If you do not get this result, see the troubleshooting guide at the bottom of this article.
For the full user guide to customize your LED setup, click here!
Installation problems and solutions
LEDs are flickering
Double check all solder points. Use flux and go over each of the connection points once more.
Some or none of the LEDs are not illuminating
Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org along with a photo of your issue.
All LEDs are illuminating, but the controls will not work (Can't get the double green flash when testing)
Clean your button membranes using a q tip. Ensure that all button contacts (gold pads) are clear of flux residue. Scrubbing with IPA is highly recommended to ensure you have a clean and conductive surface. Use a standard #2 pencil to rub some graphite on to the button membranes to increase conductivity and button responsiveness.
Select Button / Strange LED behavior
If you have soldered a wire from an IPS kit Select Point to the RetroGlow Select Point, please solder the wire to a different point on the RetroGlow such as Start.