80s and 90s hardware is pretty resilient. Particularly with Game Boys, there are only so many things that can go wrong, and in the majority of cases, we can repair these faults fairly easily (Except for broken LCDs).
For the consoles that I sell on eBay, this is the process I go through for each item on sale.
Clean the exterior
First up, i’ll give the exterior plastic a good wipe using anti-bacterial wipes. Who knows who’s been holding onto this thing for years :). This includes working the wipe through the different edges where dirt can build up over time.
After that, I’ll use Melamine Squares to get rid of any stubborn marks, such as those from permanent markers. I purchase mine from Daiso, but you can pick these up online if need be. Just dip the square into a bit of water and it will take off any stubborn marks off the plastic. Finally, i’ll wipe the thing down again with a damp cloth.
Remove dust from interior
After dismantling the unit, i’ll give the interior a light spray with compressed air to clear out any dust particles quickly. Remember to remove the dust from the rubber button pads, and buttons themselves as this can have an effect on your buttons working consistently / at all.
Repair by cleaning gold plated connectors
Used by A, B, START and SELECT buttons. Refer to this blog post for more details, but long story short, the gold connectors need a bit of a clean to ensure that the buttons register with the circuit board each time you push the buttons.
Clean battery connectors
The battery connectors are generally the most painful and messy to clean. Batteries that aren’t removed from Game Boys after a very long period of time (years) will often corrode and lead, causing the battery acid to leak all over the battery connectors. If you are really out of luck, the acid will leak onto the circuit board, which creates more problems. The best way i’ve found to clean this is to use a very small flat head screwdriver or scalpel / pick to carefully scrape the corroded bits off the battery connector. Using a toothbrush while doing this helps to gradually remove off all the excess bits that fall off.
Test a game cartridge.
I’ve been using Super Mario Bros 1 as my test cartridge for all of the Game Boys that I repair. I’m a bit over playing Level 1, but its the best way for me to adequately test the unit.
OPTIONAL STEP – Replace the Nintendo Sticker on the Back
I try not to do this, but if the sticker on the back is really messed up, then i’ll replace it with a reproduction sticker. It does make it look really sharp and new, although there are some spelling mistakes on the reproduction stickers that may take away from it a bit for some. Worthy trade off to me personally.
And thats really it! After those steps the Game Boy is good as new! If you want to purchase a Game Boy, please visit my online store on eBay @ http://www.ebay.com.au/sch/reuseit08
Some completed ones!