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Thread: GBA SP light flickering from red to green?

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RP2A03 View Post
    Except that the battery is integral to the power circuit and if not functioning properly may cause problems; even if connected to the mains. Of course you could also have a suboptimal connection at the battery contacts or within the battery. The power switch could still be faulty, although this is unlikely at this point. This can be eliminated with all certainty by jumping the switch.
    To be clear, I have observed the problem with two completely different batteries at this point.

    Also, I have just verified that the unit did not reset on its own or otherwise stop working after being left alone on battery power for two hours.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    I definitely get the impression that the flickering has something to do with the way I hold and squeeze the unit, but it could just be my imagination or some other sort of spurious correlation.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    It seems to be a little more prone to failure if I take the battery cover off and start pressing on the battery, but there's nothing definitive that suggests it will reset only if I press it in a particular spot. The battery contacts themselves look perfectly fine.
    Then I would say this is your best lead. It could be that the battery is unable to maintain good contact when the unit is flexed and bending the pins upward slightly might fix the problem. Failing that I would resolder the power pins.
    Mario says "... if you do drugs, you go to hell before you die."

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    Just to add something potentially useful for someone trying to diagnose an issue, I believe my backlit SP used the same battery as the original DS model did. If my recollections are accurate, it would be a useful way to test the condition of a battery if you also have an original DS around the house that you know is operable.

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    Hi, I registered an account just for this thread. I've had a gameboy SP do the same thing you are describing and it was the battery terminal connector was loose from the pcb. I had to open it up and reflow the solder and no more resets. Maybe that's what happened to your's too Jorpho.

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    Well, thank you for checking in, sir. May I ask if you read anything in particular to guide you down this path, or did you just crack it open and take a good look at it? And did you use a soldering iron, or stick it in a toaster oven?

    That certainly would be a point that would be subject to some mechanical stress. But strangely, Google does not suggest this is a popular fix.
    Last edited by Jorpho; 10-21-2014 at 10:55 PM.
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    Welp, I didn't want to be a DenverCoder9, so I thought I should report back here with my findings.

    I finally got around to attacking my GBA SP with a soldering iron. These really do come apart quite easily as long as you've got a tri-wing screwdriver and I should have tried that ages ago. It's worth noting that the power switch is a giant, solid piece of plastic; trying to inject isopropyl alcohol or anything else in there without opening up the unit isn't likely to do anything.

    I wish I'd come back here first and noted that Mr. darknezz19 referred only to "reflowing", as I wound up accidentally putting a big ol' round (but isolated) blob of solder on one of the battery terminals. It looked quite promising as a source of the problem: the solder pads looked slightly discolored, and the battery terminals looked like they were floating daintily on top of them. But alas, my efforts came to naught: the battery light still flickers when the unit is in use, and occasionally it resets completely; the problems seem to be correlated with putting pressure on the bottom half of the system, but there's no particular sequence of motions that can reliably trigger the problem. (It's worth noting that this behavior appears even when there's no cartridge in the slot.)

    I guess the only thing left to do is to slowly check all of the solder joints and see if I can find one that's problematic. (And I'll probably have to wick off that big solder blob.) There's one video which suggests a problematic charge port can be fixed by reflowing (see also https://gbatemp.net/threads/best-way...gs-001.393428/ ). Maybe it's time to buy one of those neato USB microscopes I've heard about.
    Last edited by Jorpho; 01-11-2016 at 11:53 PM.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    The problem is the power switch. This is a common problem on units that have been stored in humid conditions or were used by people with sweaty or dirty hands. Rapidly fliping the switch a few dozen times usually fixes it rubbing the switch will often cause the light to blink. This is very common with the old gba units because the switch is less protected. It us less common on gba sp units but still is a routine problem.

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    I've never heard that before but it does make a lot of sense, good call. I'm trying to nail down another GBA at the moment, not a fan of being stuck using just the micro I have for general use and having to use non-lit GBC for older stuff.

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    Look for a Gameboy Player for the Gamecube. This will be the best way to play these games after the rechargeable batteries all die in the handhelds.

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    Or do as I had done, throw a 101 screen into a GBA, it uses 2 AAs. It was the perfect melding of form and screen along with no crappy OEM batteries to worry about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gameguy View Post
    Look for a Gameboy Player for the Gamecube. This will be the best way to play these games after the rechargeable batteries all die in the handhelds.
    While an amazing accessory, the problem is even with three Game Boy Players, I still like to enjoy them on a handheld while laying back in bed sometimes.

    So I'm sad that my power button is a problem with my backlit SP, which was bought new during the system's last Christmas as a mainstream product before the hardware supply dried up. Darn thing only ever saw perhaps 100 hours of use in total and is no doubt one of the youngest GBA's in the world.

    Besides the fact that they don't even play GB/GBC titles, my DS and DS Lite aren't even very satisfactory for GBA games. Poor button mapping kills the enjoyment on a number of games like platformers while the screen of the DS is dimmer than a backlit SP and cartridges annoyingly stick out of a DS Lite.

    It's one nice thing with the Wii U's touch screen. I've actually rebought much of my GBA collection off the Virtual Console and can lay back once again thanks to off-screen play and enjoy quite a few of those games and many more from the NES/SNES/N64 days whenever I feel lazy.
    Last edited by Leo_A; 01-17-2016 at 04:28 PM.

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    Problem with the game boy players is those damn discs and resellers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Niku-Sama View Post
    Problem with the game boy players is those damn discs and resellers
    The problem is people are paying the resellers when there is a superior alternative that only costs the price of a modchip installation: http://www.gc-forever.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2782

    This is a more recent development but why anyone would choose the GBP over this at this time is likely down to lack of information. GameCube mod chips are also very easy to install and at $12 per chip a significantly lower priced investment than a pressed GBP disc.
    Whaddya mean invalid parameters?!

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    I mentioned in another thread that the GBA Player disc can be launched from the SD Media Launcher, so it seems that chipping isn't necessary (though I didn't try it with a copy of the GBA Player disc).

    I hadn't heard of Home Bros., but considering that requires being able to write to a Gamecube memory card, maybe it's not that useful.

    My big beef with the GBA Player is that the D-pad on the Gamecube controller is just so crummy, and the analog stick isn't so good either. Is there a reliable third-party accessory whose D-pad is recommended?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tokimemofan View Post
    The problem is the power switch. This is a common problem on units that have been stored in humid conditions or were used by people with sweaty or dirty hands. Rapidly fliping the switch a few dozen times usually fixes it rubbing the switch will often cause the light to blink.
    That was mentioned on the previous page, yes. It seems to me the switch is pretty well sealed, but then testing just now does suggest that rubbing the switch does indeed serve as a semi-reliable means of triggering a freeze/reset/flickering.

    A bit more Googling turns up this switch replacement guide which links to a thread that explicitly discusses exactly how to deep-clean a power switch though it still requires a teensy bit of soldering. This looks really promising! (Of course, it's all technically GBC, but as discussed in the switch replacement guide, it's pretty much the same thing.)
    Last edited by Jorpho; 02-23-2016 at 11:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    I mentioned in another thread that the GBA Player disc can be launched from the SD Media Launcher, so it seems that chipping isn't necessary (though I didn't try it with a copy of the GBA Player disc).

    I hadn't heard of Home Bros., but considering that requires being able to write to a Gamecube memory card, maybe it's not that useful.

    My big beef with the GBA Player is that the D-pad on the Gamecube controller is just so crummy, and the analog stick isn't so good either. Is there a reliable third-party accessory whose D-pad is recommended?

    That was mentioned on the previous page, yes. It seems to me the switch is pretty well sealed, but then testing just now does suggest that rubbing the switch does indeed serve as a semi-reliable means of triggering a freeze/reset/flickering.

    A bit more Googling turns up this switch replacement guide which links to a thread that explicitly discusses exactly how to deep-clean a power switch though it still requires a teensy bit of soldering. This looks really promising! (Of course, it's all technically GBC, but as discussed in the switch replacement guide, it's pretty much the same thing.)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yep.

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    The Hori Digital Pad, eh? Seems to be hella expensive, unfortunately.
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    Hadn't priced it out in awhile... didn't realize it was getting costly. I had the same complaint, and when that Hori pad came out, I grabbed one right away. That, and that Saturn PS2 pad. The Hori GC controller feels like a Super Nintendo controller other than the silly Gamecube button layout, so it was pretty great for the Metroids and Castlevanias.

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    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hori-Game-Cu...item4d3ff95e9d

    I cant imagine that controller is going to go up a whole lot considering it didn't show up when I was searching hori and gamecube.
    but you never know
    you have to space out "game cube" like so and not many people seem to do that

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    Nicely done but yes, with three days to go, there is much that may yet happen.

    I take it that it's completely useless for games that require the analog stick?
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    Yes, it's useless for analog games. For GBA, though, it's tremendous.

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    You just know there's dozens of these things collecting dust at one Goodwill or another, and no one has the slightest idea what they're worth. Seems there's a "Pelican GC Retro Pad" that's fairly similar.

    Did no one release any kind of adapter that would let you plug in a PSX pad or SNES pad, or pretty much anything else? Aside from the GC-to-GBA cable, of course.
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    My, my. Has it only been two years since I was last poking in this thread?

    I finally decided to do something about my GBA SP. It seems there's some questonable information about this problem out there. I found this video which advocates sticking sandpaper between the switch cover and the main body of the switch but the cover is nonconductive and the lever beneath it is just plastic, so all that's going to do is put extra pressure on the lever. It's practically impossible to jam sandpaper (or even ordinary paper) into that space anyway.

    It seems the only way to fix this thing properly is to desolder the switch cover and get in there with some isopropyl alcohol. Fortunately, there's a video for that now too.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G946mQCkIQc

    This guy did it a lot more gracefully than I did; I was fumbling around for a while with a desoldering pump. It doesn't help that the pads holding down the GBA SP switch cover are a whole lot smaller than the ones for the original GBA, as seen in the video.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    But here we see the contact pads in the switch of my unit, before and after a little rubbing with a cotton swab and 99% isopropyl alcohol. It's amazing those pads got so dirty; this seems like a big engineering oversight on the part of Nintendo.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    This picture illustrates what you should NOT do: I bent open the cover, but was unable to bend it back sufficiently afterwards, so it didn't fit quite as tightly as it did originally. It is probably best to desolder both sides of the cover instead.

    Once I replaced the switch cover and reassembled everything, I was still getting a flickering power light, so I opened the GBA SP up again and managed to slide a small piece of sandpaper under the considerably looser switch cover. This, I presume, exerts the necessary pressure on the switch lever to ensure a good contact with the cleaned pads beneath. Everything seems to be fine now the power light is a solid green, and no amount of squeezing or tapping can make it flick to red. As it should be!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Another useful piece of advice: you might be tempted to swab the underside of the switch lever, but the contacts there are VERY fragile and I managed to bend them completely out of place with my cotton swab. Don't do that. Fortunately it was just as easy to bend them back into place afterwards.

    ...By the way, are there any bold new initiatives for connecting something like the SNES Mini controller (or any other controller) to the Gamecube? Hori digital pads haven't come down in price at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    But here we see the contact pads in the switch of my unit, before and after a little rubbing with a cotton swab and 99% isopropyl alcohol. It's amazing those pads got so dirty; this seems like a big engineering oversight on the part of Nintendo.
    Nintendo does have some engineering problems from time to time with their portables. I dislike how the ribbon cables on their original Gameboys are just glued in place instead of being soldered as that's what always seems to fail with them now.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    Everything seems to be fine now the power light is a solid green, and no amount of squeezing or tapping can make it flick to red. As it should be!
    Let's see what happens when the battery gets low, if it now stays green permanently and just goes dead.

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    This was an interesting topic to read through. I'll have to keep it in mind for possible use down the road. I got my backlit SP brand-new when they were still sold in stores, and I've used the heck out of the thing since. The battery still works well and holds a fairly lengthy charge, plus it'll retain a charge even after months of sitting unused. But sometime within the last few years, my power switch has gotten finicky. Sometimes it'll switch to red and then back to green, even when it was just fully charged. Other times, I'll turn it on, and it'll be red immediately, even though it's fully charged. And then sometimes I'll flip the switch, and it won't turn on at all. I'll just have to move it back down and try again. I once in a great while will get random resets/shut downs, but those generally come within seconds of powering the system on. If I can get to the point where I've already loaded up my file or what have you, then I'm good to go and can play for hours. So all things considered, it's been pretty easy for me to just ignore this issue thus far, but it does bother me that it's not working 100% anymore and I worry about this issue growing more problematic.

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