Original Post

As most other Virtual Boys are (or will be), my baby was suffering from the glitchy display disease, with red lines, miscoloring and other static crap distorting the screens, making it hard to make out any
graphics, let alone play any games. πŸ™

I tried the “oven trick”, heating up the ribbon cables to make a better connection to the displays, but to no avail. The displays only got worse. By stroking on the ribbon cables while the VB was on, I saw how it affected the image and could then confirm that the ribbon cable’s connection was indeed what was causing the problems.

While I do realize that baking the displays in the oven again and again until you get it right can fix this, I also realize that this can only be a temporary fix, and that over time the problems are almost guaranteed to reappear.

I wanted a permanent solution, and the only one I could see was to get rid of those crappy ribbon cables altogether and replace them with some real, soldered wires that will never come loose.

Said and done. I ripped off the cables from the display boards and my first plan was to stick wires into the vias of the display board, so I wouldn’t have to solder to the narrow pads of the edge connector. After a few wires though, I realized I couldn’t get enough solder down into the vias to get a strong reliable connection, and the wires would come loose when pulled ever so gently… 😐

So I started soldering them to the edge connector anyways, right where the ribbon cable used to be:

I managed to lift a few traces off of the board due to the heat of my crappy iron >:( , and I suspected there would be too many bridges
when I was done (soldering to those thin narrow pads is really hard), so after coming about half way through, I decided to undo it all
and start over with the vias method again.

This time I started with scraping off the green insulation film around the vias to get a larger copper surface to solder to, and this worked a lot better: :thumpup:

After soldering all the wires I secured the joints at the board with some hot glue to relieve any stress on them when adjusting the IPD knob:

Board re-fit into the VB:

Soldering the other ends to the mainboard was more difficult since there are no (easily accessible) vias to stick them in.
I decided to keep the ribbon cable connectors on the mainboard, so I’d at least have some structure to solder to:

I put some blobs of glue here as well to secure the wires:

End result: Success!! πŸ˜€

I can now enjoy a VB without any display problems, and the best part is that I never have to worry about getting any problems in the future either, since the source of the evil is removed! 😎
These soldered wires should last as long as any other part of the system now!

Some notes:
This is a pretty difficult soldering job that requires a steady hand and a huge portion of patience. (I have the latter πŸ˜› )
I would not want to do it again myself, and although the end results are wonderful, I would still recommend the oven trick to most people.

14 Replies

Congratulations man I would have ripped the skin off my face trying to do what you did! Great Job!

I want to buy your Virtual Boy!!! πŸ˜€ Congrats!!!

Nice soldering work there, I think that I would have gone crazy trying to match all those traces.

Yes, very good job :thumpup:

Did you use Kynar wire ?

Thanks everyone πŸ™‚

Yes, it’s 30 gauge kynar wire. it’s nice to use because of the high melting point of the kynar.
If it weren’t for that, some standard old floppy ribbon cables would have been much easier to handle πŸ˜›

Wow great job!
Maybe it would be a bit easier using a Verowire pen here instead of a cable? ItΒ΄s just an idea…

Nice work, someday I will do this to my VB when it fails.

Holy Ship, That must’ve taken forever to figure out where all those wires go. You should’ve called this: “How to make a migraine”. Anyhow glad to see you solved your problem.

Great job!
What kind of soldering pen did you use? I only have a 40w and i’m not accurate enough to do the job πŸ™

Can you advise me?

Absolutely incredible soldering job, hats off to you man! The cherry on the cake is that your VB works now!

Sad thing is I will have to do this for my own Virtual Boy. I have kynar wire, but I’m also thinking of doing it with IDE wire, mostly because IDE comes in a nice ribbon cable-like arrangement, unless you peel wires off. That and I hate stripping kynar wires, the insulation never wants to let go. The downside though is IDE can break rather easily, kynar is pretty tough.

Any suggestions for soldering to the FFC connector on the main board? Did you just angle the board so you’re solder right onto the back panel of the connector? How often did the other parts nearby get in the way?

Dayum, a lot of VB’s seem to be getting the horizontal line issue lately. I wonder if this is the end of the road for many Vb’s at this point in time? At least the end of the road till we all get them resoldered.

I imagine the bad ribbon cables thing will make the Virtual Boy rarer as people inevitably throw away their units.

i have 2 VB Unit, i already did the Oven Method, it just work for a Unit, now i will try the Bypass surgery with the other unit.

I bought a VIRTUAL BOY that came with the Mario Tennis, when i turn on the VB his right screen is apparently normal, but when i into the game it appears the initial screen of the game already appears a few bugs on the screen, like broken sprites and all, and when I put to play a game, the sprite of my character is all destroyed in the right display, and other things appear on the screen also broken.

I also noticed that depending on the time I turn on the virtual, sprites are less broken or more broken, do not know if I’m Reseating the cartridge.(I do not have another cartridge to test)

I never had a Virtual Boy before so do not know what problems happen to him.

If anyone can help me I would be very happy, because this Virtual cost a lot of money (I’m from Brazil, here these things are extremely expensive)

Right screen image (with bugs): http://i.imgur.com/RvZIKYT.jpg?1

Left screen image (normal screen): http://i.imgur.com/qdQDuFx.jpg

Thanks πŸ˜€


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