Original Post

I’ve got a minor – but rather annoying – problem with my VB.

There appears to be some kind of line across the screen, but it’s not like the ones you get when the connector ribbons are coming loose – it’s one that ‘moves’ as you move you head, if you get my meaning.

It also only effects one of the displays, the left-hand one – if I shut my left eye the line vanishes.

What it looks like it a crack or something. Is it possible one of the mirrors inside the machine is cracked? Or perhaps the plastic of the lens is damaged? Has anyone else experienced this?

Not sure I’ve described it very well, sorry!

16 Replies

Not quite getting the “moves as you move your head” bit.

Does the line crawl? And how are you moving your head relative to the unit? Are you just standing back and moving around?

Also, is the line horizontal or vertical?

I think i know what you mean, i have a very very faint line across the middle, mine does as you say, move you head up or down and the line moves too. Mine is so very faint though, once i start playing its not noticable, I only spotted it after having my VB for several months. I had the thought that it was a mold witness on the red eye pieces. If it is that maybe polishing these would help, anyone else have an opinion on polishing the red eye parts? I have not tried recifying mine, it really don’t affect play for me.
Hope this helps, πŸ˜‰

Hedgetrimmer – sounds like we have exactly the same problem. As you say it’s not a massive issue but when there’s a lot of ‘red’ on the screen the lines show up quite clearly. I guess if I open up the unit I might be able to find out what is wrong, but I’d rather not! πŸ™‚

And sorry realsyt, I should have said – the lines are horizontal.

Yup… I think I know the problem you’re talking about… I’ve seen it on several VBs. I don’t think it’s the red plastic though, I think it’s something in the optics area inside the VB (I’ve never really tried tracking it down, but I assumed it was the clear plastic cover on the LED bar). Have you ever opened your VB to fix the display cables? Just curious whether it’s something you could have gotten on the display when you opened it.


I wonder if maybe a little spray with a compressed gas can into the optical bit would help. I imagine even a faint speck of dust on that thin red array would show as a line when the mirror’s finished stretching it out.

What color was the line? I had similar problems when there was some light getting into the VB from though the either the eye shade or when I re-assembled it badly after taking it apart. Does the problem go away when you’re in a very dark room?

The line is black, well its kind of a horizontal visable distorsion, very thin, almost un-noticable, you can just see a thin black line across any red on screen. I have not had my VB apart, not sure if whoever had it before me did, but judging by the mint condition i recieved it in I would say its not ever been opened.
I have a day off tomorrow, and plan on some ‘much missed and looked forward’ VB playing, I’ll see if i can figure anything more out about it. I am relucktant to dismantle my VB as it works great and the line don’t bother me, but i now would like to find out what causes it, anyone got a spare head unit i can have so i can operate on mine and see whats going on? πŸ˜‰


not sure about the darkened room making it go, i will try tomorrow.

I’m seeing something similar on my VB, several dark, indistinct, horizontal lines on the left display. They appear to be somewhere in front of the display, not on the display itself – if I move my head, the lines move relative to the display, but are in a fixed pattern relative to each other. Here’s a diagram of what I’m seeing:

|                                   |
|                                   |
|                                   |
|                                   |
|                                   |
|                ----               |
|          ----                ---- |
|    ----                           |

I’ve also taken a photo that shows two of the lines, which I’ve marked with asterisks. In real life the lines appear much darker than shown here.


I took a closer look at my Virtual Boy and it seems to have it near the very top of the screen πŸ™ . For some reason, only the left screen had them, which was surprising because I don’t think I’ve had any problems with it before and the right screen sometimes has problems. I couldn’t look long enough to see if it “moves when you move your head”. For those who are worried that they might have the lines, try the opening sequence of Mario Clash.

not sure about the darkened room making it go, i will try tomorrow.

What I meant about playing it in a dark room is so that you wouldn’t get any light in. Sorry that I gave you advice for the wrong problem.

One of my VB (the one i play with) has the same problem, but instead of 2-3 small marks, it has a medium size mark on the bottom in the right side of the screen (haven’t checked still wich lens). And in fact it also moves when i move my head, however it depends a lot on the game.. for example it is quite noticeable in Mario Clash, but in mi case it is not so anoying like a discalibrated image or clippering problem

Yup… that’s exactly the thing I was talking about. I initially thought it was the red lens as well, but if you remove the lens and look directly into the mirror, you’ll still see it. I thought maybe it was also something on the mirror, but the mirror always looks perfect. So I assume it must be something on the LED bar or the optics. For some reason I seem to remember it getting better or going away completely by cleaning the clear plastic cover on the LED bar… but it’s been a while since I’ve looked at it… so I dunno.


Hey Dasi, thats the fellas, having had several hours play on wario it appears i have several of these, one being medium size, mid screen (not tested left to right screen differances) and then 3 or 4 very small ones in no distinct pattern but they do seem to be in front of the screen. Could very small dust particles on the mirrors do this?

No worries on the darkened room test Garrison, i kind of forgot once i got into playing.

It don’t detract froom game play so think I’m getting my head back in there while i have some time. πŸ˜€

I have the same problem on one of my VB units. No solution as of yet?

I have the same issue on my main unit.

I had just finished directly soldering the displays in, and all the tests worked out great on all of my games. I closed it up, and thought I’d play some Mario Clash.

I noticed a lot of scratch like lines across the screen, opened it back up, cleaned the lenses, the mirrors, the glass screens, and even the displays.

No luck. I spent hours trying to figure out what it was, but to no avail.

I really only notice this in Mario Clash and Wario land. But thats about the extent of my knowledge.

I have an idea about what might be causing this.

Often, in thin items made of clear plastic (especially styrene-based plastics like these) you can get cracks in the form of tiny slits in the plastic. The interior facets created by these cracks act as mirrors that affect light passing through at an angle (which could explain the “moving” that has been observed).

You see it a lot in CD “jewel” cases, especially older and/or mistreated ones (and no, I’m not implying that you mistreat your VB :-P). Of course, the casing around the LED array itself is likely also susceptible to the same effect.

It may be possible to fill these cracks with something that has the same or a similar index of refraction as the plastic they’re made of. I’m guessing this is either polystyrene or ABS. Perhaps a resin could be forced into the cracks using a vacuum chamber, and the excess polished off. It may also be possible to get the cracks to close by heating the windows (I think they should be called windows to differentiate them from the actual glass lenses inside the VB) above the glass transition temperature, but that’s kind of risky, especially for optics (although many people remove scratches in CDs/DVDs that way).

At some point it may be necessary (or at least desirable) to have replacement windows mass-produced.

I believe it’s caused by something on the window on the display, or possibly a scratch. I’ve had it appear after fixing a display… then to fix it, I pull the display, clean the window really well, and when I put it back, it’s gone.

If it’s a scratch, you can probably remove the window altogether if it bothers you. Obviously you’d need to be careful when removing it, but inside the display like it is… there’s probably little chance of damage once reinstalled.



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