Retro Modding Voltage Regulator V2 Installation Guide

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Retro Modding Voltage Regulator V2 Installation Guide

The Voltage Regulator V2 (VRV2) is an in-house combined voltage regulator and digital brightness controller for Game Boy Advance AGS-101 mods. This compact board provides the appropriate voltage and current to the AGS-101 to produce a clear backlit image while giving you control over the brightness of your display.

In this tutorial, we walk you through how install the VRV2 in your Game Boy Advance, including instructions for how to prepare your LCD.

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

Materials

  • Retro Modding's VRV2
  • AGS-101 LCD
  • Game Boy Advance
  • Tri-Wing & Philips head screwdrivers
  • Kapton tape
  • 30 AWG Kynar solid-core wire
  • 30 AWG silicone-coated stranded-core wire
  • Wire cutters and wire strippers 
  • X-Acto or hobby knife
  • Soldering iron and solder
  • Flux (optional but 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

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

30 AWG Solid Kynar

ST (TP2/Select)

Yellow

35 mm

DWN (TP7/Down)

Red

45 mm

UP (TP6/Up)

Blue

45 mm

 

30 AWG Silicone-Coated Stranded-Core

Vin (CP1)

Red

35 mm

GND

Black

30 mm

EN (C35)

Yellow

40 mm

BL+ (LCD+)

Red

40 mm

BL- (LCD-)

Black

40 mm

 

Preparing Kynar and Silicone wires for Retro Modding VRV2

Using wire strippers, remove around 1 mm of the silicone coating on both ends of all the wires. Now you're ready to get started!

Strip 1mm of silicone coating from wires before soldering to VRV2

Step 2: Solder Wires to VRV2 Board

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

Solder wires to VRV2 board

If using flux, make sure to carefully clean any excess flux from the board with a Q-tip dipped in isopropyl alcohol before moving on to the next step.

Clean excess flux from the Retro Modding VRV2 board with a q-tip

Step 3: Insulate VRV2 Board

Carefully cover the board with foam tape. Trim excess tape from the board.

Insulate Retro Modding VRV2 board with foam tape

Step 4: Place VRV2 Board on PCB

Once the board has been properly insulated, peel off the adhesive tape.

Peel off adhesive tape to connect VRV2 board to PCB

To assist with the installation, fold the yellow EN wire around to the top and the red Vin wire around the bottom.

Carefully fold wires beneath VRV2 PCB

 

Place the board on the right side of the downward-facing PCB right above the power switch (left side of the front-facing GBA). It’s designed to fit perfectly in this space.

Place Retro Modding VRV2 board on GBA PCB

Step 5: Solder EN and Vin to PCB

Solder the yellow EN wire to the top of capacitor C35. Solder the red Vin wire to the Bottom (+) side of capacitor CP1.

Solder EN and Vin to the PCB

Step 6: Solder Brightness Control Inputs

Solder the three remaining solid Kynar wires to the VRV2 with yellow going to ST, red to DWN, and blue to UP. 

Carefully bend the wires and feed them one by one through the small opening in the PCB beside the cart connector clip. They need to be fed in from bottom to top in the following order:

  • Yellow ST wire at the bottom
  • Red DWN wire in the middle
  • Blue UP wire on the top

Pass wires through GBA PCB


      Step 7: Solder Wires on PCB Front

      On the front of the PCB, solder the wires as follows:

      • Yellow to TP2 (Select)
      • Red to TP7 (Down)
      • Blue to TP6 (Up)
      • Black (Ground) to battery

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

        Solder Brightness Control Wires

        Step 8: Prepare AGS-101

        At the back of the AGS-101 LCD, there are two ribbons soldered to each other. The top ribbon powers the backlight. It’s important to isolate this ribbon to prevent permanent damage to your AGS-101.

        Carefully heat up both pads at the same time. While applying heat, separate the top ribbon from the one below.

        Prepare AGS-101 LCD by separating top ribbon from the one below

        Remove any excess solder from each of the four exposed pads. The need to be as clean and as flat as possible.

        Remove excess solder from solder pads

        With the two parts still separated, apply a small piece of Kapton tape over the bottom ribbon so that it’s completely covered.

        Apply a small piece of Kapton tape over the bottom ribbon

        Apply another piece of Kapton tape over the top ribbon and place it back over the bottom ribbon so that the entire area is covered and held in place.

        Add another piece of Kapton tape to hold everything in place

        Carefully carve a hole on the topmost tape to reveal the solder pads from the top ribbon.

        Carefully carve a hole on the topmost tape to reveal the solder pads from the top ribbon.

        Step 9: Connect Ribbon Cable Adapter and Insert LCD

        Connect the ribbon cable adapter to the ribbon on the LCD.

        Connect ribbon cable adapter to the ribbon on the LCD

        Carefully fold the ribbon in place and insert the LCD into your shell.

        Note: Performing an AGS-101 mod on your Game Boy Advance requires a trimmed shell. We offer a shell trimming service with the sale of any of our GBA shells.

        Carefully fold the ribbon in place following a zig-zag pattern.

        Once you set the PCB in place, your setup should look like this:

        GBA with PCB and AGS-101 inserted

        Step 10: Solder Brightness + and - to LCD

        Solder the two remaining wires (BL+ and BL-) to the two solder pads on the back of the LCD. BL+ should be to the left of BL- when the GBA is in the proper orientation.

        Solder VRV2 wires to LCD

        Cover the two solder pads and wires with Kapton tape to prevent shorts.

        Cover exposed wires with Kapton tape to prevent shorts

        Step 11: Connect LCD to PCB

        Insert the ribbon into the tab at the top of the GBA PCB. Depress the two tabs on either side of the slot to lock the ribbon in place.

        Connect LCD to PCB

        And You’re Done!

        The VRV2 is now installed, offering you greater brightness and improved control over your LCD’s backlight. Simply reassemble your unit and enjoy gaming no matter the light environment!

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

        GBA with Retro Modding VRV2 installed


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