Original Post

A problem often encountered by Virtual Boy users are glitchy displays, leading to horizontal lines, reversed or generally distorted images, or even complete loss of display activity.

All those symptoms are usually caused by the ribbon cables connecting the LEDs to the motherboard becoming loose, or peeling away from the display PCB.

Fixing your Diplay: Oven method

DogP has come up with a way to fix the problem by opening the system up, removing the display, sticking it in the oven to re-melt the adhesive, and reassemble. It’s not a difficult procedure, except that the typical security bit can’t get to the deepest screws on the VB, so you either need a special screwdiver, a modified bit, or a modified screwdriver.

You can find a guide to fix your displays on DogP’s Project:VB.

Fixing your Diplay: Bypass method

Another way has been proposed by DanB. To permanently fix the problem, his idea was to replace the loosening ribbon cables with some better wires, which he soldered to the PCB. This solution requires much more skill, though, and should only be performed by solder experienced people with a steady hand and a huge portion of patience.

The complete guide can be found here.

Fixing your Diplay: New methods (RECOMMENDED)

Some more methods have recently been developed by DogP to permanently fix the cable problem (contrary to the probably non-permanent oven method): Thread.

  • This topic was modified 12 years, 2 months ago by KR155E.
335 Replies

The oven method works okay, but I’ve also had major failure while trying it. I had displays that only had a couple of lines black, but when I finished the process, the displays were completely messed up… I’ve repeated the process several times on the same displays, but without any luck… Just out of curiosity, does anybody know of a way to improve on it? I’ve heard that right after taking the displays out of the oven, you can clamp them between two boards and let them harden again, but I haven’t tried it yet. I’m beginning to think of swapping the displays out of my other working VB.

I used to have absolutely NO display in the left eye of my VB, but the oven trick was able to fix that, which I tried just the other day! I must thank DogP for his tutorial! Although the oven trick wasn’t perfect, I implemented my own little trick in addition to the oven trick that seemed to do the job…

See, after I tried the oven trick, the VB displays in each eye still flickered a little bit. Since I don’t have any soldering experience, I tried using tiny metal binder clips that you can buy at Staples or Office Depot and clipped the ends of the ribbon cables to the PCB and then closed up the VB with the clips still inside. The flickering is gone and my VB plays perfectly. I know it’s not an ideal solution, but as long as you don’t seriously bang the VB around, the clips should hold as those things are pretty strong. If they do happen to shake loose, I can just open up the VB and re-clip them as I replaced the VB game screws with standard ones.

You can find the clips here:
http://www.staples.com/office/supplies/p1_Staples-Black-Metal-Binder-Clips-Bulk-Pack_197593_Business_Supplies_10051_SEARCH

:-):-):-)W00T!:-):-):-)

After tinkering with them for several hours, I got both of my VBs working again! In the process, I discovered another (perhaps large) improvement on the oven method.

Before you put the displays in the oven, bend and cut a paperclip so that it can be clipped to the display, with one straight wire extending over the area where the ribbon cable attaches to the display board. Then bake them (or broil in my case :-D), and remove the paperclips when the displays have fully cooled. What this does is essentially “melt” the cable to the board in the spot where the paperclip was. When I removed the paperclips, there were actually visible indentations in the cable contact spot.

It sure is nice to be able to play Teleroboxer again. 😉

Cool… it’s good to hear that you guys are getting them working again, and making your own methods. The way that I’ve been doing mine lately is using a spring clamp (like: http://www.toolstation.com/images/library/stock/webbig/14106.jpg ), and a transistor heatsink (like: http://www.hamtronics.com/images/P1002092.jpg ). I take the rubber ends off the clamp, stick the heatsink against the display cable, then clamp it to the display with the clamp. Then I stick that in the oven.

The clamped heatsink gives equal pressure against the cable, along with heating evenly and absorbing more heat (because the air is hot and the device is cool, so it does the opposite of the cooling effect when the air is cool than the device is making the heat).

Another technique that may work, but I’ve never tried is using an iron. With that, you could heat and press on the cable by hand, which would give you a little bit more of a “feel” of what you’re doing.

DogP

I thought of using an iron, but I didn’t have one handy, and couldn’t borrow one because the only available one was owned by someone who was afraid I would get melted plastic all over it.

It does seem like the heating process works better when you have a metal object pressing on the PCB. Probably because, as you said DogP, the metal object absorbs heat and evenly distributes it over the cable; without anything pressing on the cable it just sits on top of the board and melts a little bit.

Actually, both of my displays aren’t totally fixed. My auxiliary VB still has some lines in the right display. Maybe I’ll “iron out” that glitch some day if I’m bored (pun intended 😛 )

Hi,

I got a VB for a few days now.. but it’s broken.
The problem with my VB is that there is no display at both sides, not even bad lines or anything.

Afther i opened up the VB and saw the displays they looked “normal” to me. Not like they have bad connection or anything…

When you turn it on the mirrors move.. so that’s working.
I was about to try the oven method when i was thinking… “Why don’t i hear any sound coming from it?”

When the displays are broken shouldn’t mean you don’t hear any sound at all right?

virtualn00b wrote:

[snip]

I was about to try the oven method when i was thinking… “Why don’t i hear any sound coming from it?”

When the displays are broken shouldn’t mean you don’t hear any sound at all right?

Welcome, v-n00b.

For one thing, most games don’t make any sound until you get past the warning and alignment screens, and then it’s usually the beeps made by picking and/or confirming whether you want the auto-pause feature on, which only happen when you press buttons, so you may have to push “Start” or “A” quite a lot to hear sounds.

You didn’t mention which game(s) you tried. If you have more than one, be sure to try them all. You may also want to try inserting and removing each cartridge a few times to clean the connectors. It may be that the cartridge is not making good contact due to age.

Also, the obvious thing: is the volume wheel set high enough to hear? If it’s cranked all the way up, you should hear a loud popping noise when you switch the system on. That’s the effect of cost-reduction in the amplifier and/or power supply circuitry.

Be sure and report if this helps and it really is just faulty display cables and not a totally dead (except the mirrors) VB or bad cart(s).

Also, if you’re running on batteries, replace them… or running from an AC adapter is of course better. But yeah, you should get sound after hitting start enough times to get into the game, and if you don’t, I’d worry about that before the displays (the lines are a much more common problem than a completely dead display, and both displays being dead of course would be even less likely… but possible).

DogP

Hi thx for your reply..

I have three games for my VB

Galactic pinball
Mario Tennis
Wario land

I tried all the games and adjusted the volume to maximum but no sound at all. Not even a little bleep when i turn the power on.

Also tried to connect headphones to it but this gave the same result.. I disconnected the displays and they really look fine.. the glue on it looks like it was put on yesterday. (really different from the oven method tutorial pictures i saw earlier) I tried to put some pressure on the cables while the virtual boy was on, but there was no difference here. Not even a little blink from one of the displays.

The motherboard looks fine to me, the led on it lites up when i turn the power on.

What worries me more is the cartridge input… i cleaned it with special so called contactspray (for electronic devices) which should make sure that all contacts are clean. But 2 pins are more bended then the other ones. I gently pushed them back in their original position but when i insert a game cartridge i see they get pushed back out of line again.

I am sure the batteries are okay, but i can’t test the VB yet with a power adapter. I have one but because i come from the Netherlands where i should use a converter for the adapter which i do not own one yet.

I have read somewhere that cables are becoming loose because of IDP adjustment.

But what is the good position (just for display connection !) for the IDP button : center or on one side ?

(Sorry if my english sounds strange ! 😕 )

Is there any chance that some VB NEVER encounter the problem ?

The best position for the IPD during storage is to turn it so the displays are as far apart as possible. That will put less strain on the cables.

Yes i understand that, but which is the IDP button position corresponding (left ? right ? enter ?) ?!! I do not know how it moves cables…

That would be all the way to the left.

Would it be button to the left whatever screen side fails ?

This problem is very annoying for those, like me, without any technical skill (worst : “with two left hands” 😛 ), but taking good care of their old devices…

Yes, button to the left pushes both screens to their most outward positions, which is what you’d want. This is no guarantee that the cables wont go bad anyways though.

What’s up with DogP’s website? I’m trying to do the oven trick, but can’t get to the site. 🙁

EDIT:
My bad. Found it through his sig here:
http://home.comcast.net/~virtual.boy/projectvb/

EDIT #2: Just did the oven fix and my VB is working flawlessly again! Thanks DogP! You are the patron saint of VB. :thumpup:

  • This reply was modified 11 years, 11 months ago by Csprunger.
  • This reply was modified 11 years, 11 months ago by Csprunger.

i recently just got a virtual boy and its been about 5 days and ive just noticed very slightly that an image on the screen will flicker near the top right for a second then disapear it happend to me on teleroboxer a slight image of the boxer popping up the top right, very slightly just a flicker and it was gone

the next day marios tennis it did it again but twice and a bit then that was it..

im worrying that this virtual boy is stuffing up

but…..

is it because the batteries in the virtual boy are going flat? – a flashing battery icon with half of the inside coloured red, flashing i noticed, it has only happend when this was flashing..

does that icon also mean the batteries are going flat?

i havnt tested yet with new batteries wether they were just going flat or its doing a bit of glitchyness, if it continues is it recomended to do one of the methods you have listed before it gets worse?

That battery icon does mean the batteries are low, but low batteries aren’t the cause of the display problem… although I guess it’s possible that with weak batteries the problem could be worse. There’s no need to rush into fixing the problem since I’ve never seen it actually damage anything, but of course it’s pretty annoying, so you’ll probably want to fix it if the problem continues.

DogP

thanks for the tips..

yeah ive got it coming worse now as sometimes it wont be glitchy and sometimes it will be all like mirrored in the right eye like in teleroboxer the boxer would be punching and it would be showing it again with the glitchyness so yeh..

its anoying though as the guy said it hasnt experienced any glitchy display problems… first the stand breaks now this.. oh how will i tell my dad..

guess il wait till it becomes such a pain and just tell my dad that it is fixable and its normal right? its not like i have to buy a new replacement head yes?

what do u think is probably the best method.. my dad has a soldering iron hes pretty good at it

also.. the stand they normaly break dont they – because part of it is made of metal then a plastic oval shape thing with nintendo on it holding the 2 legs just snaps but glued it back to brilliance

all these problems caused cuz of the way the thing was poorly made?

and when did nintendo stop fixing VB and do u know why, do u ring the number on the VB to get it fixed or something, or used 2?

So is this how I would go about fixing my VB where screen two is too high up

 

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