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Whew, it’s been a while since I was here…

Anyways, I’m older, wiser, stupider, and have broken a few electronics while trying to repair them.

My Nintendo Virtual Boy is no exception, unfortunately. I tried to preemptively affix the connection with the traditional solder fix, but I underestimated how fragile it actually is. (It was genuinely a near-success, but like I said, they really did not adhere the contacts properly.)

Also, one thing that I discovered upon receiving my console back in 2011 was that the displayed area was far smaller than I expected.

Thus, I have an idea.

LEDs have gotten to the point where small LEDs (as in, about as small as a ballpoint pen mark) can be purchased and used by the consumer. The size of these LEDs are .125mm on-average. Yes, they’re larger than the original, but I think 224 of them could fit within the confines of the display. There’s a bit more space between the display cover and the supporting frame, plus space on the back for anything extra.

I’m experienced in art, which has extended to designing PCBs. (No, I’m not manufacturing it. That’s too much and takes a lot of work, even for simple boards.)

What if I were able to design a display that was not only larger in perception but could use modern parts, and was just as modular as the original? I mean, how complex are the two chip-die strips flanking the LEDs on the display?

Plus, I don’t see too many bond wires attaching to those strips, so there’s got to be a way to make the logic for the LEDs from modern parts.

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By the way, here was my attempt at soldering the cable to the display:

I’d say that looks pretty good! It might need a few coats of solder and some time to rest (a few I did took up to three coats to have a good connection because of the glue) So I’d try a few more before giving up on it. As for the LED, the virtual boy is in desperate need of a replacement LED option. Once an LED goes bad on one, or gets lost/damaged, there’s no way to fix it unless you buy an entirely new console. As the LED’s are the most common part by far to go bad, creating a new one is a welcome idea, but would take machine-processed boards to assemble, and I guess the payoff and demand isn’t high enough to create something like this.
I’m not sure about the larger LED’s, they’re designed as the size they are to just fit on the mirrors, so multiple parts would have to be replaced to get larger LED to function properly, unless it did fit like you said might work. If one was made in the same size as the original however, there would definitely be an interest for them. (I’d buy some if they were available in a heartbeat)

I know this was posted a while ago, but unfortunately, this is why I’m working on the idea. I didn’t have the proper skills to save my displays.

So I’m considering making a new version of the displays, because there are TINY (as in, 4 times smaller than a grain of rice) LEDs on the market! https://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/sunled/XZMDR155W/1497-1296-1-ND/5848473

I have a good plan laid out, partly thanks to Furrtek:


The only thing I need to know in making these displays is what kind of logic ICs it can use, and how to implement it. At the moment, I only have an individual LED activator circuit all planned out, thanks to Furrtek. (which is what all those boxes are on the full schematic.) It’s quite nice and more simple than I realized. All it does is complete the light circuit with a transistor [Think of it as an electrically-controlled door with three legs. Two side legs are the in/out, the middle is the door that opens and closes, letting electricity through depending on whether electricity is applied.]

I won’t be making these myself by hand. That’s too hard and too risky, with the size of the small components, even though they’re bigger than the originals.

The rest, which has to do with focusing optics, I will need major help with, because I have no experience in that.


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