Game Boy Color USB-C charging kit

After finishing my year of study and getting my graduation in New Zealand I had about 3 months with too much free time on weekdays. Then, I started to see videos on YouTube and I finally saw some videos about the Game Boy Color and how to modify the video console to improve it. One of these modification is change the original screen for a IPS screen with backgraund illumination, I will show that in another article. The another typical modification is modifies the way to provider energy to the GBC, that is this article is about.

These videos cover some methods of replacing the AA batteries for using something to allow to charge the GBC. The most popular option is using the TP4056 chip which can charge a battery by USB. The way to implement this chip can be using a module from AliExpress or with a personalized circuit.

It’s this second option that most caught my attention, but I discarded it because it use a MiniUSB connector. Then, I decided to make my own board from scratch.

I was clear about some things from the beginning: I wanted the connector for charging was a USB-C. The PCB could be soldered over the original one to avoid to solder any cable. I also wanted the case needed to be cut the less possible. Then, I designed something like this:

The idea wasn’t bad, but everything was too cramped, and the measurements weren’t 100% correct because I couldn’t get the exactly size of the GBC circuit. I also wanted to put the status LEDs on the original red LED pads.

After arriving to Spain and being bored again, I retook the circuit design. The essence is the same but this time I could take the measurements and make my pcb fit perfect on the original pcb. I also checked all conectors (USB, battery, power pads) are in the correct place.

Thanks to the GBC data sheet, I could remove all unnecessary components on the GBC circuit as resistor, capacitors, etc. That helped me to get more free space and distribute better the components for charging the battery.

Finally, I ordered the manufacturing of the boards. I used this time the JLCPCB company because the cheap stencil service, I wanted to try it!

It was the first time I did a order to this manufacturer of PCBs, and to be honest I don’t have anything to complain. The price is so cheap, the shipping time is so fast, only two weeks! After ordening my boards they contacted me because I did something wrong, so I could fix and sent to them the fixed files.

On the following pictures you can see the PCB with solder paste that I applied with the stencil (the paste was too warm, so it was a bit liquid). With some components on the board. When I was soldering it. And finally when i was trying the board.

Before soldering the new board, I had to remove the unnecessary components, clean the excess of tin and clean the board:

That is how the new board looks like on the original board. It is solder using 6 points: 4 from the original power connector (only for holding strong the new board) and 2 more for GND and VCC. The battery connector is on the top of the board, this allows to connect and disconnect the battery without needing to open the case.

Finally a short video of how it looks like:

 

GitHub: You can access to the whole documentation here:

Game Boy Color USB-C charging kit (Github)

USB-C Charging Kit – Quick Guide (PDF)

 

Changelog:


 

Edit: 2021/01/16

There have been many people interested in the boards.
However, I have ordered the PCBs and components for making 20 units more.


 

Edit: 2021/01/17

This is the version 1.2, I did some not important changes. The new boards are going to be in white color. I may have it ready in February.

 


 

Edit: 2021/01/30

I have received the new boards today, they look like this:


 

Edit: 2021/02/10

All boards from this second pack are already reserved. But, I want to make more as soon as Chinese new years will finish.

Something like this will be the next design. But I would like to change the battery connector to vertical orientation, I haven’t received it yet for creating the footprint, so these pictures show the current one, not the new one.

 

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