Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Mameboy Advance Arcade Build

So I know its been a long time since my last blog post or youtube video. This fall I've started working as a research assistant in addition to graduate school so needless to say I have had to put my personal projects on hold. But now I am home for winter break and want to get some of those projects I've been putting off done ... or at least closer to done.

This brings me to one particular project that I've dreamt of for quite awhile. My first game console was my Gameboy Advance SP and I love the system to death. I always thought it would be cool to be able to hook up the system to a TV to play. Many years passed and I learned of a product that could be purchased off Ebay that would do just that with a little modification of the Gameboy Advance. Out of box it is compatible with both the 32 and 40 pin Advances even though the description says you need to buy another adapter for 32 pin compatability but it will not natively work with the SP. It is called the Gameboy TV Converter shown below courtesy of Ebay.
 So I sprung for one. After I received it I installed it into an old GBA I had lying around and was dismally dissapointed. The flat flex cable that was used to intercept LCD data for the converter was just press fitted on and this meant a lackluster connection that would cause the image to be unstable or not work at all sometimes. I knew that I had to solder the wires to make a reliable connection. So I found this really helpful site with pinouts and instructions on just how to do exactly that: I carefully soldered up an .1" edge connector to IDE wire and then made the connections to the test pads around the ZIF connector on the GBA.
I plugged everything in and this is the result of my half hour hack:
Success!!! Now to load up one of my favorite games:
So my next move is to wire the TV converter to a spare GBA SP I have with a busted screen. Then I plan to build a table top arcade cabinet with a 5" LCD and stuff all of this into it. It will be called the Mameboy Advance Arcade. You just pop your cart into the coin slot area and play your favorite games on a bigger screen with arcade controls. This will take quite a bit of work so this project probably wont get done over winter break but will be a work in progress.