Solar-powered GameBoy Color Never Runs Out Of Juice


Instructables user [Andrew] was given a free, but damaged GameBoy color by a friend. The friend’s dog had done quite a number on the outside of the handheld, but it was definitely usable.  After replacing some of the outer shell, [Andrew] decided that he would try tweaking the GameBoy to utilize a solar cell in order to keep the batteries topped off.

He bought a solar garden light for $5 and disassembled it, being careful not to damage the heavily-glued solar panel in the process. The GameBoy was pulled apart next, and the solar panel was soldered to the handheld’s battery leads. Once the wires were properly routed through the case, he reassembled the handheld and picked up a pair of rechargeable AA batteries to test things out.

[Andrew] tells us that the solar panel works nicely, and that simply setting it out face-down keeps his batteries charged and ready to go.

Stick around for a quick video demo of his solar-powered GameBoy.

5 thoughts on “Solar-powered GameBoy Color Never Runs Out Of Juice

  1. Probably not a big deal, but without a charge controller there is a possibility of damaging the batteries if it gets left out in the sun too long. Probably not since a lot of solar lights seem to charge nimh batteries without any circuit to control it. Either way, kudos for making it work again. That’s one less piece of electronics in the landfill.

  2. He ‘lucked out’ by managing to get a small solar panel made of amorphous cells as those have a voltage of 0.8v/cell, meaning with the blocking diode his particular one can trickle charge the 2x AAA cells ok.

    However most of the solar garden lights I’ve seen/opened use small panels made of 4x monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells that produce around 0.55v/cell, giving about 1.6v with a blocking diode, which is fine for charging one rechargable cell in a garden light that has a jole thief circuit to run a white LED, but it means you’d need two of those mini panels in series with a blocking diode to charge batteries in a GameBoy.

  3. @Haku, a simple workaround for this is to obtain an ICL7660 or MAX660, set up in low voltage mode according to the datasheet and feed the output from that into the batteries.
    I did this a while ago to make mini LED “bulbs” which worked from 1.5V

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