Original Post

Just wondering if it would be possible for anyone to change the LEDs inside the Virtual Boy, so that the screen displays in blue, yellow etc.? Only wondering because if anybody made painted VBs with changed LEDs to order I reckon that people would buy them, even without the trademark red screen and look. Can you imagine playing Waterworld on a blue VB or Galactic Pinball on a yellow VB? I doubt even if it could happen it ever would, but I can hope πŸ˜€ .

8 Replies

It is possible but not going to be easy at all! The LED array are all very tiny and sealed inside a plastic case. If you replace them, you would need very small surface mounted LED and pack them real small or get a custom made LED bar array in your desired color.

I wouldn’t try to custom build the LED array but rather look around and see if anyone makes an LED array bar that is 224 LED tall and measures about 1/2 inch total. Even the smallest single SMD LED couldn’t be packed into 1×224 array for less than half inch.


I wouldn’t try to custom build the LED array but rather look around and see if anyone makes an LED array bar that is 224 LED tall and measures about 1/2 inch total. Even the smallest single SMD LED couldn’t be packed into 1×224 array for less than half inch.

I don’t know about yellow, wouldn’t they be very bright compared to red? Blue maybe if you put in some resistor to cut down the current and its brightness.

Bottom line: if you got the time, money, and motivation, by all means knock yourself out! Do post pictures if you succeed! But IMO it’s not worth the trouble at this time.

Looks very, very complicated. Maybe not then. Still, it’d be nice to see if somebody else ever did do it.

Maybe in a couple of years. πŸ™‚

You also gotta remember that it’s not just an LED bar… it’s an LED bar with simple circuitry (clocked parallel loading shift register or mux at least), so unless you’re planning on soldering the LEDs directly to where the other ones are (HA!), then you’d need to also have the circuitry to take the data from the VB and output it to the raw LEDs.

I’ve thought about trying something weird by making a large LED display, but I haven’t given it a whole lot of thought and coming up with a way to scan like the original mirrors do would be pretty tough. The controller would be easy and building the display would just be time consuming, but you either gotta make a huge oscillating mirror (yeah right πŸ˜› ) or big oscillating LED bar (like those waving clock things: http://www.isd.mel.nist.gov/projects/rtlinux/rtutorial-2.0/doc/ex09_ledclock.htm ), but once again, if it’s too big then it becomes unrealistic. I could make it small and still 3D if I did some surface mount RGB LEDs ( http://www.ledtronics.com/product_news/tn_article_071305.htm ), but at 2.15 each, a 224 LED bar wouldn’t be very cost effective πŸ˜› .

The most interesting way IMO would be the 224 laser pointer display though πŸ˜‰ . Get 4 lots of these: http://cgi.ebay.com/Lot-of-60-Red-Laser-Pointer-Set-with-12-Head_W0QQitemZ170167828456QQihZ007QQcategoryZ45098QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem . I’ve never actually verified the angles, but I think it’d be the same as the mirrors if I put 224 of them on a stick and just turned the stick (or I could actually do 16 laser pointers and do 14 angles vertically to get 224 pixels). Of course you get no 3D that way (unless you use shutter glasses), but a massive Virtual Boy display on a wall would be sweet πŸ™‚ .


One idea I had is to use LEDs (however small or large) and a circuit to emulate the driver circuitry (like DogP mentioned) but have each LED point into the end of an optical fiber. The other ends of the fibers would be mounted in a row to simulate the bar.

You could use larger (through-hole) LEDs, which would be cheaper, but then it would not likely fit inside the stock shell. Someone’s always putting a large lot of T1 (3mm diameter) LEDs on eBay.

One good thing is that, since you can attach more than one fiber to an LED, and since the VB selects between the two identical arrays with a single wire, one set of 224 LEDs and driver chips could be shared between the two displays.

If you did fit it into the case, you’d have to paint everything but the ends of the fibers black, so there’s no light leakage. And whatever you did, you’d have to remove (replace?) the red lenses.

My other plan involves using 224 pixels from a monochrome LCD with the set of fibers. The backlight for the LCD would determine the color/brightness.

DogP: Giant laser pointer arrays would be the most efficient way of turning every VB gamers dream of melting peoples eyes out of their sockets into a reality πŸ˜€

No, but seriously, it would be really cool to display on a wall or something like that. I don’t know how you would get something that large to turn fast enough though… Sounds dangerous πŸ™‚

Sounds like you guys are all nuts… πŸ™‚ But go for it I mean after all a VBflash cart is released soon and they have been built before. If somebody would have told me that couple of years ago I would have guessed he’s nuts too. Personally I still like the red-blue TV output idea the most. If you really must burn your eyes out you can still hook it to a projector and point it right at your eyes πŸ™‚ No seriously that would be awesome to have your friends watching with 3d glasses.

Wow, lots of ideas. I didn’t think this post would get that many replies, but it sounds like you guys know a lot more than me about how you would go about this. Hope at one point somebody’ll do it :thumpup:.

Heh, yeah… TV output is definitely MUCH higher on the priority list than my LaserVB πŸ˜› . It’s just fun to think of projects that I’d do if I had infinite time on my hands. I think the laser one could be done w/ 224 lasers though… you get 5ms for one eye, then 5ms of nothing, then 5ms for the other eye, then 5ms of nothing. That should be plenty of time.

I do think it’d be pretty tough to do the laser that scans both vertically and horizontally though (the shift from all the way down to all the way up would be tough). The easiest solution to that would be 32 lasers that scan vertically opposite and meet in the middle (the top basically “hands off” the display to the bottom half)… then when it gets to the bottom, the upper one is already at the top, and when the top half gets to the middle, the bottom is at the middle ready to go to the bottom.



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