I've put together a tutorial for LED modding the Game Gear. I've kept it as simple as I could, but you will need to know how to solder. I am not responsible for any injury or property damage you may incur while doing this, do it at your own risk. Now that I'm safe from getting sued, let's get started.
In addition to a functional Game Gear, you will need the following:
Screw driver (philips, game bit)
Hot Glue Gun
2- 3.3V 3mm white LEDs
1- 33 ohm resistor
First, remove all the screws from the back of the console. The six red dots just need a regular philips screwdriver, but the green dot needs a game but. It can also be removed by the "Bic Pen Method"
, or there is enough space to get a pair of pliers in there and grab it.
Open the Game Gear up. There are three sets of wires connecting the two halves. Gently pull them apart and set the back half aside. You won’t need it until you’re done.
Unscrew the motherboard from the front half of the case. There are ten small screws, and two larger ones holding the cartridge slot down. Use the red dots to find them all. The screen will flop forward, so be careful lifting it out. Take the silver colored reflector shield off and set it aside.
With the board face-down, look at the left side of it, near the top. These are the components we will be removing. The easiest way is to melt the solder, and pry them off with pliers or a screwdriver. Note that the colored bit in the black square may be a different color than mine. It may also be on a different part of the board, but no matter where it is, it needs to be removed.
Here are the solder points on the front of the board. Heat these, and gently pull the parts away.
Once these have been removed, turn to the right side of the board. These components will be removed.
Again, here are the solder points on the front of the board. Heat, and pry the parts away.
Here’s all the components you’ve taken off. Take the black rubber holders off the fluorescent tube and discard the rest. It’s not worth saving.
Note the two solder points in the red circle. This connection will have to be bridged for the mod to work.
I used a small piece of bare wire soldered right to the contacts, like so:
Here’s what you will need to finish the mod. Two white LEDs. I used 3.3V 5mm LEDs, because that’s what I happen to have. The brightness rating doesn’t matter, because the brightness dial of the Game Gear will still function, so it can be adjusted. You will also need the rubber holders that held the original tube in place. I used red and grey wires for the positive and negative terminals. You will also need one 33 ohm resistor. The colored bands must be orange, orange, and black. If there is a fourth band after the black one, it can be silver or gold. It doesn’t matter.
I like to sand the LEDs to a frosty kind of finish. I personally think it diffuses the light better. Any kind of sand paper or sanding block can be used. If you’re really desperate, you can rub them against concrete or brick a bit. Once you’ve done that, solder wires to each leg of the LED and feed them through the rubber tube holder. Apply some hot glue to the bare legs of the LED and the solder joints to make sure they don’t touch.
Repeat with the second LED and tube holder. Place both tube holders back in the silver reflector, and connect all the red wires and the black wires together. Tape them along one of the slanted sides of the reflector. You may want to solder a bit of wire to the joint so that you can easily reach where you need to solder to on the Game Gear. The finished assembly should look like this:
Next, take the resistor and feed one end through this hole, and solder it in place. If the transformer was somewhere else on the Game Gear, find where it was, and install the resistor in the middle hole of the row of 5. Also take note of the single hole on the side of the white square outline. This is where your black wire, or negative terminal will go.
Solder the red wire onto the resistor, and your negative wire to the hole mentioned above. Trim any extra lengths of unused wire, and make sure no bare wire is touching anything else. Electrical tape or hot glue can be used to prevent this. You may need to use a bit of electrical tape to hold the wires down out of the way of the screw holes.
Reassemble the Game Gear. The screen will lay flat in the bottom of the front of the case, and the motherboard will lay on top of it. Be sure to line up the holes that the screws go into, then screw the reflector back down, and then screw the motherboard back down. Connect the back half of the case with the wires, then carefully snap it closed. Replace the case screws, add some batteries, and enjoy!
My testing with two identical sets of fully charged batteries gave the following results:
Unmodified GG: 2 hours, 40 minutes
LED-modded GG: 8 hours, 45 minutes