Dead batteries are easily one of the most common annoyances of retro gaming. Nothing sucks more than finally finding that copy of Pokemon (insert color here) that you use to own when you were a kid, putting hours into the game, getting close to completing your campaign, and poof, all your data has just disappeared because the battery finally crapped out. Well, fear not gamer, the solution is simple: replace that dead battery!
I’ve read so many walk-through where people tape, glue or just jury rigged the new battery in place. The original battery was soldered in place and the correct way of replacing the battery is soldering a new one in place. It may look like a daunting task but if you take the time and practice your soldering, this project is really very simple. Well, assuming you don’t skimp out on your gear.
I just want to emphasize this. Do not skimp out on your tools. Get a good soldering iron, preferably one with a grounded tip. Get the correct bits for your cart and take your time.
(*With that being said, this particular walk-through has me opening the cart with a small knife instead of using a “Y” bit because I wanted to get this done for a friend and just ran out of time waiting for my bit to arrive. IN THIS ONE CASE: do as I say and not as I do, people.)
With that being said:
Attempt at your own risk!
DO NOT ATTEMPT unless you have some technical skills and can follow instructions. This walk-through is as simplified as I can make it so if none of my instructions makes any sense then please DO NOT ATTEMPT.
This project will void your warranty and may potentially kill your cart.
[Pineconeattack.com will not take any responsibility if you kill your cart.]
Step 1: Gather up your tools. You are going to need:
- Soldering Iron
- Solder remover ie: Solder sucker or solder braid (I prefer the sucker)
- Gameboy Advance cart with dead battery
- Opening tool
- CR2016-TT1B with leads. This battery is thinner than the 2025 & 2032. CR2016 can also be used in all three Gameboy carts.
Step 2: Use your opening tool and remove the screw at the back of the GBA cart.
Step 3: Remove the screw and place it into a container where it won’t get lost.
Step 4: Slide the top half of the cart down towards the bottom to separate.
Step 5: Familiarize yourself with the PCB. Located the battery.
Step 6: Remove the PCB from the casing. Get your soldering iron and solder removal tool and begin heating the battery leads to remove the old battery.
Step 7: With the battery removed, add a small dab of fresh solder onto the battery terminal points, this will make the install easier. Remember that the positive terminal is on the bottom left and the negative terminal is in the upper right.
Step 8: Prep your new battery by adding a dab of solder onto each lead. This is called tinning. Also be aware that the original battery, CR-1616, are a little more difficult to come by so I went with the larger capacity, easily available, yet still very thin, CR-2016-TT1B.
(Please note: The stock CR-1616 polarity is flipped with the positive facing down. The CR-2016-TT1B has the positive polarity facing up.)
Step 9: Solder the battery in place. At this point, you should barely have to transfer the heat for the battery points to stay into place, assuming you prepped the PCB and battery leads.
Step 10: With the new battery installed, place the PCB into the GBA casing.
Step 11: Place the lid in place and slide the cover on.
Step 12: Secure the screw in place with your tool.
All you need to do now is to do a smoke test. Power up the cart and make sure you get to a save point. Save the game, reboot and if your save is still there, you are done. Now pat yourself on the back and enjoy your game!