Original Post

Get your Virtual Boy Repaired here!


I’ve been fixing Virtual Boys for years,
Now I’m going public with it πŸ˜›

Let me know what you need ^-^

21 Replies

Been fixing them for years… where have you been? πŸ˜› There’s always people asking me where to get them fixed and I just tell them to fix ’em themselves. So, as everyone here probably is (and should be) skeptical of a newbie claiming to be an expert VB repair person with no references and no prices listed… do you have references of people who you’ve fixed VBs for in the past, and what are your prices?

And you say you don’t use an oven, and don’t solder… care to share any details on how you do the repair (if I was paying someone to fix my system, I’d like to know what kind of service I’m paying for)? And where are you located (2 way shipping can easily kill a deal)?


hmmm… sounds great. Unfortunately, I am highly skeptical that this isn’t one of the methods I have already tried, or one of the methods already discussed here. Everybody knows what the problem part is now, so if you have a simple solution, please share. Good luck with your repair service, but most people here would prbly prefer to do it their self (I have a pile of them that need repair).


pocket, I like the Virtual Fishing, Space Squash, and Insmouse framed boxes, neat idea πŸ™‚

And yeah, I can’t think of any ideas either that would work besides either a clamping thing he would add that would apply pressure to the back of the FFC, or if he had the same type of adhesive that Nintendo used. But in either case, I think soldering is faster and better.

Oh, and Virtual Phantom, you may want to check your website in a non-apple enviornment. The website just seems awkward to me. It is due to whatever scripting language you used. It’s hard to explain, but for example, the page loads, then the window freezes for a few seconds (won’t let me scroll, or click on anything), then all the sudden it starts working again. I’m using IE8 in Windows 7. Oh, and I usually like to hilight text while reading, makes it easier for me to not get lost. But that can’t be done on your site.

I can totally understand being skeptical to a new repair place πŸ˜›

I would feel the same,
I’m still working out the kinks in pricing,
But I figure around $30 labor of repair per unit, plus parts as needed.

I didn’t like the oven idea cause it warms up the LEDs on the board, and the Solder idea works great but very time consuming.

I’ve had great luck using heat guns, just as warm as a oven, faster, and doesn’t warm what is not necessary.

I’ve been fixing My own, a few of my friends, and for years I’ve been buying used ones, refurbing them, and reselling them on eBay and criagslist.

The only Thing I would ask customers, would be to provide 2 shipping labels, 1 to me and 1 to return their systems back to them.

I have a lot of units that I could use for parts as well to replace boards, housing, and other units in the systems.

If I can’t repair a system, I could offer a customer a replacement unit, and offer to give them trade in credit for their dead unit towards the replacement.

How do you think this would sound to the pubic?


Just haven’t done this at such a bigger scale (Like I said, new to this, mostly done my own, buddies, and eBay ones)

(also I’m Located in Rhode Island)

I’ll look into the site on non-apple machines πŸ˜›

I also threw a few blogs on my site as well


1 for just site news and 1 for customers to even track their repair progress.

Neat πŸ˜›

I’d love to have my VB repaired by you, but I’d like to hear some actual feedback from someone else. Also, does “90-day warranty” mean the system should work for at least 90 days before breaking again? If so, how long does the fix last? I wouldn’t like to send it off to repair every three months, but rather just get a screwdriver and do it myself.


The 90 Days is just incase if the problem does happen to return, I’ll repair it again no charge (other than shipping) I fixed my system a year ago and still have not seen any problems since.

It’s a comfort blanket, knowing that your repair is guarantied for 3 months. Rather than having a place repair it with no warranty, worrying that when you get it back, if the problem comes back a week do you have to pay again or not. I like letting people know that I’ll take care of it. No Worries.

What is wrong with your system?

(so far no feed back yet, you would be the first repair thus far since I launched the site/service, but since this is the case, maybe I’ll work out a deal on a reduced labor charge for publicity to get some reviews)

What is wrong with your system?

Both displays are glitchy (don’t work, or display garbage, or a mirrored image, independendly of each other) and one of the speakers (I forgot which one) sometimes doesn’t work.

Hmm… how have your repairs lasted in the long term? What I’ve found (and others have also reported) is that just reheating the adhesive doesn’t work well in the long term. It seems to kinda depend on the system though, as a couple of the systems I repaired w/ the oven method several years ago are still working, but many have failed (and I’ve subsequently fixed w/ the solder method). I assume if they failed once, they’ll likely fail again, since the adhesive is no better, and likely much worse than when it was first applied.

Also, about the heat gun method itself… I don’t know that it’s really any safer than the oven method… the display board is pretty small and has very little mass, so the whole board heats up quickly, and since the heat gun isn’t temperature controlled (unlike the oven), it’s easy to overheat the board or melt the cable (since the typical hardware store heat gun outputs at ~500-1000F). Of course like any method, with some practice you can get good at it and not make mistakes (and the first thing everyone learns when using a heat gun is to always keep moving).

You don’t have to worry about overheating the board at a couple hundred degrees F though (like in the oven, or from the heat gun when properly used)… they go through much higher temps in manufacturing. I had a really stubborn display though, and did kill it with a heat gun once, but I was intentionally pushing it to the limit. The lines kept coming back, and this was before I started soldering them, so I had some fun w/ the heat gun. I heated it up lightly, tried it, no good… tried a little more, still nothing… kept going, until finally I said screw it… I went back and forth over the cable at close range for a couple seconds, and then when I tried it, the display was solid red… doh!



So Far I’ve been having great luck with the heat gun, Mine has a temp adjust that goes from low (about 100 degrees to high around 600 degrees) as well as a tip/nozzle that helps it focus on a smaller area. So far I’ve had great luck, but you gotta keep it moving πŸ˜›

So far the ones I fixed in the last year (varying from 3-12 months) are still working great. I have seen a few problematic ones that needed solder.

Curious, what did you used to charge for repairs? just curious.


I’m gonna revamp my site pretty soon and add a Price guide and more info later tonight, shoot me a email tonight and I’ll get back to you on the repair. I’ll set up a record and add your repair to the status blog πŸ˜›

Typically I would charge $30 for the labor to fix the glitchy eyes, but since you’d be my first customer, I’ll discount it to $20 and see if you can determine what speaker, I can replace it with a good one for $15?

So you’re looking at about $35 (and 2 shipping labels both ways) as long as no other parts are needed than the 1 Speaker. You can use any shipping method you like, I recommend tracking and insurance, and I’ll repackage the system exactly the same way you ship it to me and slap on the shipping label and ship it back when done.

Thanks Everyone!

For the few that I repaired for others, I charged $25 each, plus return shipping. I dunno if more systems are just dying now, VB system prices have gone up, or if that’s just more than people are willing to spend (especially w/ shipping), but I only had 2 or 3 people actually send me VBs. I’ve definitely had many more people email me in the last year than before, but I don’t have time to do them anymore :/ .

Good luck though… I hate seeing all these VBs dying πŸ™ .


Just fixed The first (and hopefully, of many :P) Virtual Boys!

Check it out on my site!


Coming Soon Features to the site!
– A Phone Number
– Pictures
– My Collection
– General Updates
– Suggestions?
– Possible iPhone Repair Tracker App?

Thanks Everyone!


Hey All,
After a few repairs I think I’d rather just do the Solder method for ALL repairs, only because it’s a more stable/secure solution.

I’ve been having trouble removing the laminate from the cable.
I’ve Tried Drano crystals that contained Sodium Hydroxide, but , doesn’t seem strong enough to melt it. I’ve used a sharp knife in the past but take a lot of time and makes me a lil nervous (not so much as cutting myself as it is to ruin the cable)

Just looking for recommendations, sadly no store near me (unless I’ve missed it) carries Roebic brand Drain Opener. (May just special Order it online)

any other Suggestions you would like to see for your unit’s repair process?

suggestions on brand/type of solder iron?

What I intend to do to make repairs EVEN FASTER! Like Same day done

Is fix a batch of the eye LED transmitters with the solder method, test them, and when a unit comes in just swap them out. Then units shipped back same day.

This all sound good to you guys?
I’ll make each eye repair job only $20! (plus shipping both ways)
Won’t matter if just 1 eye is bad I’ll replace both for the one cost


Thats a good idea, that way you will be able to send people working virtual boys, fixed – guaranteed.

I used a very fine sandpaper to slowly sand the ribbon cable that way i got to solder it. Just an idea

hope it helps

I considered doing VB repair. One idea I had was to as you suggest have displays fixed on hand. In order to save on shipping, my idea was to sell a “kit” that would include 2 fixed screens, and the tool bit in order to open the Virtual Boy. The kit would be something like $25 or whatever, but shipping would be much cheaper. Then, you would offer money back if they returned their broken displays along with the tool. I hate to ship the VB if not necessary, so that was my workaround.

To remove the FFC backing I bet you could use this stuff rather than the drain cleaner…


All it contains is de-ionized water and sodium hydroxide. I have some on hand, if you want I could test to see if it would work. I don’t know if it comes in a smaller quantity, as that would be a lifetime supply for just jive old VB displays!

But anyway, my experience is you don’t even need to remove the backing to solder it. I’ll try to get a video up soon showing how I do it.

I couldn’t support you if you were doing the oven method (being your heat gun method is the same thing), but if you are going to do the soldering route, then I would be happy to give you any help I can in order to save the VB population.


@Johnny: did you heat the NaOH solution? It has to be hot to dissolve the coating.


I don’t have experience with the NaOH method, but, from DogP’s description, 4-10% solution doesn’t sound strong enough. I also agree that soldering is pretty easy without removing the coating first.

Your “repair kits” idea sounds like a good solution.

Thanks for all the comments.

I did heat the solution itself, and placed it into a hot/warm toaster oven that was off, no dice.

I tried Drano Kitchen Crystals and Roto 100% LYE crystals from Ace Hardware no luck.
Will try the sandpaper idea on my test eye. If that doesn’t work I will then just order the Roebic stuff from online.

I had no problems with the heat gun/oven method in the past so far no problems came back (knock on wood) but if I wanna start repairing these systems for good ol’ paying customers, I cant skimp on the repair with a method that may or may not possibly fail. So Solder method is the only option I feel right in doing for customers.

I also can’t wait till Wednesday/Thursday-ish I have a lot of cool Virtual Boy stuff coming in for my own collection. ^-^

I’d also rather do the repairs myself than to do a kit for now. If I were to offer kits I would need a lot more repaired eye units than I do now.
In the future this may not be a bad idea, but for now I’ll keep it the way it is now. Where it is a mail in, plus I have a lot more spare parts for the system so I can also replace things like plastics, eye lenses, and speakers. That I can offer the customer if they like when I test the unit and see a failing or part in need of replacement.

almost like a total refurb place all at once πŸ˜›
But I don’t replace anything with out the customers permission of course.

Only problem is there’s no way to get brandy new parts for the systems πŸ™ so the parts do come from used machines and scratches are not uncommon.

But may be good in a situation to replace a cracked plastic part.

I’ll continue to build upon my site and services for the good of the Virtual Boys ^-^

(Also the iPhone/iPod Touch App is in the works, I’m no programmer soo can’t promise a time of release or if it will happen but I’ll do my best)



The Roebic stuff came from Home Depot… I haven’t tried to buy any recently, but I assume they still have it. If you got some 100% lye from Ace, it’s likely the same stuff. But yes… it needs to be super concentrated and hot or it won’t work. By that, I mean, fill the bottom of a dish with the pellets, then drop a few drops of water on them, then heat them (I use my hot air tool to heat them, so a heat gun should work).

From the amount in this pic: http://www.projectvb.com/tech/displayfix/crystals.jpg , just add a couple drops of water from an eye dropper. It usually solidifies when it cools.

One other thing I’ve been thinking of is maybe peeling up the back of the display cable with a razor, then soldering. This way the solder flows under the cable and hopefully sticks to the exposed copper on both sides. Oddly enough, I don’t have any VBs laying around opened on my desk to try it on… but that may work.

I didn’t like just soldering directly to the cable without removing the coating because it didn’t flow under the cable, and really only stuck to the copper tips of the cable, which isn’t much copper. By removing the coating, you’re exposing copper for the solder to stick to, and bridge to the exposed copper on the PCB.


You’ve fixed mine and it works great. Thanks. I have also recommended you to everyone I know. also, my first post here.

Woo! My First review (The post right above me)

and here!



(In case people are following along, still waiting for my mega Virtual boy package to arrive… Lousy USPS)



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