Game Boy Advance Audio Amplifier Installation Guide

AGB, Audio, Gameboy Advance -

Game Boy Advance Audio Amplifier Installation Guide

The Retro Modding Audio Amplifier is a Hi-Fi grade, class-D amplifier module designed to give your Game Boy Advance a robust, powerful sound. 

In this tutorial, we walk you through how to install the audio amplifier with our premium speaker. If you purchase our amplifier kit, you'll receive the board, the four pre-cut wires, heat shrink tubing, double-sided foam tape, double-sided mounting tape, and the premium speaker we use in this tutorial.

This tutorial requires basic soldering skills and knowledge of how clean surfaces before and after soldering.

Our audio amplifier is intended for use in the Game Boy Advance, but it can also be installed in the Game Boy Color. Despite what's written on the board, you can safely supply 5 V. Most of the instructions are the same for the GBC install, but please refer to the Game Boy Color section at the bottom of this tutorial for information about where to solder each wire.

Materials

  • Retro Modding's Audio Amplifier
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Premium Game Boy Advance replacement speaker
  • 30 AWG silicone-coated stranded-core wire
  • Wire cutters and wire strippers 
  • Double-sided foam tape
  • Double-sided mounting tape (3M recommended)
  • Tri-Wing & Philips head screwdrivers
  • X-Acto or hobby knife
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Flux (optional but highly recommended)
  • Q-tip
  • Isopropyl alcohol

     

    Note: Make sure you have a clean and safe environment to work in. Avoid soldering in areas with poor ventilation without the proper equipment.

    Step 1: Prepare Your Wires

    Cut your wires to the appropriate lengths. We've listed near-exact wire lengths, but beginner modders might want to cut their wires a bit longer. Using wire strippers, remove around 1 mm of the silicone coating on both ends of each wire.

    While not necessary to use the same colors we did, doing so might make following this tutorial easier. 

    Power

    Red

    15 mm

    Ground

    Black

    15 mm

    DT

    Yellow

    30 mm

    SP-In

    Blue

    15 mm

     

    Trim the red and black wires on the speaker. We usually only keep around 35 mm. Using wire strippers, remove around 1 mm of the silicone coating on the trimmed end.

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 1: Preparing Your Wires

    Step 2: Solder Your Wires to the Amplifier

    Start by soldering the four silicon wires to the appropriate solder pads on the VRV2 board. See the chart in the previous step for the location of each wire on the board.

    Solder the red wire from the speaker to SP-Out+ and the black wire from the speaker to SP-Out- on the board.

    Clean any excess flux from the board with a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol before moving on to the next step.

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 2: Solder Wires to Board

    Step 3: Apply Heat Shrink Tubing to Board

    Cut heat shrink tubing to the size of the amp board. It's a tight fit in the unit, so don't leave more than 1 mm on each side when you cut it. Ensure that the bottom is fully covered to prevent any shorts in the amplifier's circuitry.

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 3: Apply Heat Shrink Tubing to Board

    Heat both sides of the tubing evenly so that it melts uniformly around the board.

    Heat both sides of the tubing evenly to ensure uniformity

    Step 4: Add Double-Sided Tape to Amp and Foam Buffer to Speaker

    Add a small piece of double-sided tape to the bottom of the board, but don't peel off the backing yet. This will later be used to keep the board in place on the GBA PCB.

    Cut a piece of double-sided foam tape for the bottom of the speaker. This helps prevent against shorts while also keeping the speaker in place. 

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 4: Add Double Sided tape and foam to amp and speaker

    Step 5: Desolder Original Speaker

    Using your soldering iron, carefully remove the original speaker from the board. We'll be replacing it with our premium speaker.

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 5: Carefully Touch the Soldering Iron to the Board to Desolder the Speaker

    Step 6: Solder the Wires to the GBA PCB

    Beginning with the 3.3V power line, start soldering the wires to the board. 

    Step 6: Solder the Wires to the GBA PCB

     

    Solder the red 3.3V wire to the top of the bridged capacitors C50 and C51. Be careful not to overheat them with your soldering iron as doing so can cause them to be removed from the board.

    Solder the red 3.3V wire to the bridged capacitors C51 and C50.

    Solder the black ground wire to the ground of CP4.

    Solder the black ground wire to the ground of CP4

    Solder the blue SP-In wire to the top solder point of SP1 on the GBA PCB.

    Solder the blue SP-In wire to the top solder point of SP1

    Solder the final yellow wire to pin 5 of the headphone jack (P3). This step requires pre-tinning and the use of flux is highly recommended. Because the headphone jack is encased in plastic, you can't hold the soldering iron there too long before the plastic begins to melt. 

    Clean any excess flux from the board with a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol before moving on to the next step.

    Solder the yellow DT wire to Pin 5 of the headphone jack

    Step 7: Stick the Amplifier to the GBA PCB

    Peel the plastic coating off the double sided tape on the amplifier to reveal the adhesive.

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 7: Using tweezers, peel the backing off the adhesive on the amp.

    Refer to the picture below to see how to place the board.

    The speaker should be placed with the indentation above the original amp.

    The board is slightly indented on one side to accommodate the original amp. 

    Our amplifier is slightly indented to accommodate the original amp

    Step 8: Stick the Speaker to the GBA PCB

    Peel off the protective layer from the double-sided foam tape to reveal the adhesive below. Carefully place the speaker on the PCB and press down gently to stick it in place. Use the top shell for reference.

    RM Amplifier Installation Guide Step 8: Stick the speaker in place on the GBA

    And You’re Done!

    The audio amplifier and speaker are now installed, giving your Game Boy Advance a much more powerful sound. You can continue modding your GBA or reassemble your unit and start gaming.

    If you need support with this product, please reach out to us on Facebook or by email. Happy modding!

     

    Installing the Amp in the Game Boy Color

    To install the amplifier in the Game Boy Color, follow the guidelines included in this tutorial but solder the wires as follows: 

    Power

    Red

    Pin 7 (label is on the other side of the board)

    Ground

    Black

    Pin 4 (label is on the other side of the board)

    DT

    Yellow

    Pin 5 of the headphone jack

    SP-In

    Blue

    Speaker in on the PCB


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