09 February 2011

Project "Gameboy Advance Cartridge Battery Replacment"

this is a weird but potentially helpful post for people all over the world (if you manage to find this blog in the first place) about how to replace a battery inside a gameboy game cartridge.





i bought this GBA cartridge from a flea market recently and went home to try it. after playing for 5 minutes i saved the game and shut off the player just to see whether the save system works, and it didn't. i assumed that the cartridge was corrupted due to disuse or something like that and intended to throw it away, but i did a quick search online before i tossed it into the bin and i found out something that i didn't know before:

that there is a battery inside the cartridge that actually powers the RAM/EEPROM (or whatever the chip is) inside the cartridge. if that battery ever goes flat, you will be unable to save the game. a friend of mine did mention this to me before but i didn't think it was true because that would mean that one day when the battery does go out the cartridge would be useless, but he was right! i wonder how many people have thrown away perfectly good cartridges when a simple battery change would've done the trick...

i read online that apparently only pirated game cartridges have batteries, but this cartridge came in an original box and the screw that holds the cartridge together is the three pronged kind that comes with original nintendo gameboys, so i'm guessing some original cartridges did use batteries to save games.

anyway, after doing a few minutes research online i found out that the cartridge is powered by a 3 volt battery which is similar (if not exactly the same) as a watch battery. i bought a battery from a hardware store for $2SGD (which is the same price i bought the cartridge for!!) and went about dismantling the cartridge.





the yellow circle you see on the circuit board is the battery and it can be removed by simply removing the solders (with a soldering iron) on the metal contacts like so:





i saw online that they sell new batteries that come with the metal contacts for $10USD++ which is insane. i reused the contacts by ripping them off the old battery, but take note that it requires quite a bit of force as they're stuck to the battery pretty well.

the only problem i faced was that since i reused the metal contacts i had to attach them to the battery somehow. one of the ways i read online was to solder the contact directly onto the battery but i didn't like the idea of exposing a battery to a 200 degree heat source so i jury rigged it by using blu-tack! it was probably the most shoddy work i have ever done so far but hey...it will stick forever unless you throw the cartridge against a wall in which i think a disconnected battery will be the least of your concerns.







i realized that i bought the wrong battery size but it didn't matter in the end because it still fit back into the cartridge. the original battery is CR1620 whereas i bought a CR2025 which is bigger but it's all good...now the battery will last even longer than before.






i powered up the unit with the cartridge slotted in and saved the game before shutting it off. when i turned it on i saw that my savegame was still there so there you go, a simple and easy way of fixing your 'corrupted' cartridge.


20 comments:

  1. Hey.... I like that game ! I played it in army !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
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      Delete
  2. That copy of the game is a pirate, the label is wrong and there's no "Nintendo" stamped on the circuit board. The label should have a blue background instead of black and the part number for this game should be below the Nintendo seal of quality, not in the top right corner. I have a legit copy of this game so I know what a real one should look like.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Regardless of it being a pirate, all Gameboy cartridges have these batteries.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. False! only GB and GBC cartridges have battery for save, GBA cartridges have battery only for in-game time (as clock in ruby-sapphire-emerald)

      Delete
    2. wrong dude the very first gba original used battery , open wario land 4 original , it use battery as many more

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  4. thanks surprised they are soldered in, need to refresh my golden sun cart also

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  5. Doesn't necessarily mean that its pirated. Since he got from a flea market chances are the shop owner just reprinted a label if the old on was ripped. Not uncommon to do.

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  6. i don't actually think it is pirated, it was just very old and left in a cart under the sun for what could have been many weeks or even months thus it wasn't in very good cosmetic condition to begin with.. anyway from what i've seen online, most cartridges have batteries like this inside whether they are original or not and this post is only to show how to replace the battery.

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  7. I have over 60 original Gba games Europe version( + final fantasy VI USA ver. ) every game has white label Nintendo and there is no batteries, only pokemon sapphire& ruby has battery to power up internal clock but save is hold in Eprom

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dude there some original cartridges with battery the very first game as , wario land 4 original used battery

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    2. check this an original cartridge with battery http://i.imgur.com/wf0CY.jpg

      Delete
  8. That cart is a fake. Look at the chips, there is crap all over them. The boardwork should be spotless. Also, no GBA carts EVER use a solder dot. No white lettering above the pins either. I am surprised the author didn't notice that the cart wasn't flush with his SP. The only games that use a 3v battery like that are the Pokémon R/S/E games. GB color and before needed a 3v to keep the volatile RAM going all the time, but legit Nintendo GBA carts switched over because they can afford the higher quality.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The purpose of the guide is to replace a battery in the cartridge IF you find you can't save your game to it. This post is 3 years old and has thousands of views so it has to be helping some people out there and am not really bothered whether it is fake or not. If your cartridge isn't saving and has a battery, THIS is how to replace it. If yours is 'original' and doesn't have a battery then you shouldn't have any saving issues in the first place so don't read this guide because it isn't of any help to you.

      Delete
    2. http://i.imgur.com/wf0CY.jpg

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  9. That's 100% bootlegged. No doubt about that

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  10. But it still helped to change batteries thanks for that :)

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  11. But it still helped to change batteries thanks for that :)

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  12. That's 100% bootlegged. No doubt about that

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  13. This is a perfect tutorial. I really appreciate your work and that you share it, you rock!. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete