The RIPS LCD for the Gameboy DMG is an incredible invention. It takes your old STN (Super-twisted nematic) display panel, and replaces it with a vibrant 8-palette RGB display. No more grayscale! Not to mention it quadruples the pixel count from the original display. Keep reading this Gameboy DMG RIPS LCD installation and see what makes it so great!
This was the first improvement I decided to complete on one of my original Gameboy DMG’s. Along with this modification, I also completed a shell swap, and added new buttons at the same time. Follow along below to see exactly what is required for this install. I think you will be extremely happy to find out how simple it can be!
First things first, let’s go over some tools you’ll need for this:
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I always have my iFixit toolkit handy. It has everything I need for all my repair jobs. That Dremel is a great tool, but you can easily replace that with a simple pair of side-cutters for this job as it is a very small part of the work.
I won’t bore you with a duplicate post of disassembling the Gameboy. If you are unsure of how to take apart an original Gameboy, make sure you review my previous post where I do a teardown and analysis of an original Gameboy DMG. When following that disassembly, you only need to worry about the front half of the Gameboy. This screen replacement does not alter any parts on the rear motherboard half.
Once disassembled, this is what you should be left with.
If you are not reusing your original shell you can set that aside now and grab the one you plan to use. The first step is to cut a small portion of the shell so the new LCD panel can fit. Place your LCD inside the shell and you will see the areas that need to be trimmed. The top right corner needs the leftmost post removed, and two screw posts need to be removed. You will also need to trim down the ridge on the shell where the contrast wheel is. This will give the new LCD board space to fit the new wheel. When all the cutting is done, you will want to clean all shavings out of the shell.
With your newly cut shell cleaned and ready, you can place your LCD panel facedown in the shell. The aligning bracket will go over the panel to ensure it is perfectly centered with the screen opening. The smaller of the two motherboards can sit on the back of the LCD panel, and connected with the displays ribbon cable.
Now is the time to install your buttons and the button membranes. Make sure these are installed properly. Once we move to the next step, you will have to completely remove the LCD board to fix any issues with the buttons. For this build, I decided to use new buttons and membranes. The buttons I have are custom made, and I will feature them in a future article! The following step is to connect the thin ribbon cable to the smaller motherboard. Then lay the larger motherboard on top, and connect it with the other end of the ribbon cable. Now is the time to reinstall the phillips screws holding the large motherboard in place. Note that the reinstall will use two less screws than what you removed. Do not tighten the screws down too much. Just finger tight is good enough. If they are too tight, the buttons or contrast wheel could bind and cause issues with usability.
The final step is to reconnect the rear assembly of the Gameboy with the front assembly. This is done using the larger provided ribbon cable the reverse way of how you took it apart.
Wasn’t that simple? You will now be able to power up your Gameboy and relive all those nostalgic moments playing your favorite games. Only this time, it will be on a crystal clear IPS display. Using the contrast wheel, you can adjust the brightness, and if you click the wheel in, it will change the color palettes.
You may have noticed that in this install we did not reinstall a speaker! Don’t worry, I didn’t forget. For this build, I will be using a sound amplifier to give the best sound quality and the loudest possible volumes. You can follow along with that install right here. If you want to avoid the hassle of installing an amplifier, simply just de-solder the old speaker from the LCD board, and solder it onto the new board (don’t stress about the polarity, it can be installed either direction). I would even suggest purchasing a new speaker as your old one is probably dirty, and who knows how long it will last.