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Replace the Battery in your Game Boy Cartridge! **56k warning**

Discussion in 'Other Video Game Discussion' started by Master Kirby, Feb 9, 2008.

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  1. Master Kirby

    Master Kirby Member

    Hi Everyone! A while back, I posted this topic over at the Pokemasters Forums, and it seemed to help a lot of people with reviving their Pokemon GSC games. There are more active people at Serebii.net, so I figured I could help out a lot more people by sharing my experiences with you to! Feel free to ask any questions you want, and I'll do my best to help you out.

    Can your Pokemon game still hold a save?

    If your Game Boy game is no longer able to hold a save, yet can still be played fine, that most likely means that the battery in the game cartridge has run out of energy.

    You can easily replace this battery, restoring the cartridge's ability to store save data. This replacement can be performed for much less than the cost of buying a new game. You just need to purchase a new battery.

    **Basic soldering skills required**
    Soldering iron
    New 3 Volt Coin Cell Battery - CR2025 (165mAh) or CR2032 (220mAh)
    Adhesive tape
    Fine tipped hemostat or needle-nosed pliers


    Flip over your cartridge.


    Locate Screw


    Using a hemostat, needle-nosed pliers, or anything else that you can grip it with, unscrew this little screw by turning counter-clockwise.


    Once the screw has been removed, turn cartridge over, slide the front cover downwards, and pull it off.


    Now you can see the circuit board, and the battery that allows one of the chips to retain the game save data.


    You can see that both Pokemon Red and Silver cartridges look very similar, except that the Silver circuit board has a crystal oscillator in the upper left-hand corner to control the passing of time in the game.

    Removal and Replacement of the Battery

    Now that you have the cartridge open before you, take a look at the battery.


    You can see that the type of battery used is printed on the board above the battery. For my Pokemon Red and Silver games, the CR2025 coin cell was used. I went to a Radio Shack store to buy my replacement battery. Instead of using a CR2025 battery, I chose to install a CR2032.

    The cartridge needs to use a 3 volt battery that fits in this position. The CR2025 has a storage capacity of 165 milliamps per hour (mAh). The CR2032 is also 3 volts, but is 220 mAh so it will last longer. It is 0.7 mm thicker than the CR2025, but since there is some extra room inside the cartridge it still fits.

    Take note of the polarities of the battery. The wider side, which is facing the board, is positive (as specified by the + on the board). The side that is less wide, which is facing you, is negative (as specified by the - on the board). Remember this, as you will need to make sure you connect the new battery the same way.

    Remove the Old Battery:

    **Warning: Use caution when working with a soldering iron! If you touch any metal that is connected to or touching the tip, you will be burned. Only hold the iron by its handle. Do not touch the battery's tabs right after you unsolder them, as they may still be hot. The battery itself may also be hot if it is in contact with the soldering iron for an extended period of time.**

    Basicaly, use common sense. If you aren't confident in your ability to handle a soldering iron, find someone else who is.

    To remove old battery, you will need to unsolder the contacts where the battery's tabs connect to the circuit board.

    **Warning: Do not allow solder to touch any parts of the circuit board other than the pad where the tab is connected. If you create a connection between any of the traces on the board, you may end up ruining your game.**

    Once the soldering iron has heated up, touch it to one of the mounds of solder where the battery's tabs are connected to the board. When the solder melts, use some pliers to pull the battery up so that the tab pulls away from, and is not in contact with the board. Then repeat the process with the other tab to fully remove the battery and its tabs from the board.

    Inserting the New Battery:

    If you can find a new battery that has tabs already attached, it will save you a lot of trouble in attaching your own. You can buy them online (part number P223-ND at digikey.com) if you want to pay a lot for shipping.

    You can also find battery holder clips that you can solder to the cartridge and then just put the battery in it. These clips are the kind of thing you may see holding the CMOS battery on a computer motherboard. You would just have to make sure it is thin enough to fit in the cartridge.

    If your new battery does not have tabs in the same positions as the original battery, you will need to attach your own tabs or attach the battery a different way. I will add another post later, explaining how to attach tabs to a battery.

    Take the tab connected to the battery's wider positive side, and solder it to the board's positive (+) contact in the position that the first battery was connected. The positive side of the battery should be lying face down to the board.

    If the tab that is connected to the negative contact does not have a bend in it, bend it into the shape that the original battery's tab was in, so that it can connect to the circuit board. Make sure that you do not allow it to make contact with the positive side of the battery. If your new battery does not have any insulation around the edges (as you can see in the Pokemon Red picture above), you can place some tape under the bend of the tab so you don't accidentally short it to the "+" side.

    Now solder the negative tab of the battery (negative side facing up) to the pad on the board so that it bends downward and enters the solder on the solder pad.

    Once you have soldered the new battery in place, you can place the cover back onto the cartridge. Slide the cover back up along the grooves in the sides, so it stays closed, and screw the screw back into the hole to hold everything together.

    If you followed these instructions correctly, and didn't solder on the wrong places, you should have a working game that can now store a save file again!
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  2. Blazios

    Blazios Well-Known Member

    Old. And in the wrong place. And in the right place, there is a sticky.
  3. fhqwhgads

    fhqwhgads _____________

    I prefer my method of taking the cartridge apart. Crowbarring it with a penny.
  4. wcgold

    wcgold Well-Known Member

    Who still uses 56k these days?

    And surprisingly, my Gold version's battery still has some life in it.
  5. ReallyOcean

    ReallyOcean Thunder Trainer

    Don't worry Master Kirby, I'm sure Rave779 wasn't trying to be extremely rude to you knowing you put some effort into helping the people who still enjoy playing G/S/C.

    Good work on the guide. Well written, and the pictures do help a lot.
  6. Xylitol

    Xylitol swimmin'

    Nice use of Copy+Paste. I remember reading the same exact text elsewhere.

    My Pokemon Crystal cartridge is dead, but I don't really plan on changing the battery. :/
  7. Mario-Sonic

    Mario-Sonic Former NSider

    I gave up on my Gold version once I got the Emerald version.
  8. XTheConX

    XTheConX Banned

    Same here. After i had the save file in my gold (A record of) 593:11.

  9. Master Kirby

    Master Kirby Member

    Making an Arc Welder to Attach Tabs to a Battery

    Blazios - What sticky are you referring to? I read the Rules sticky, and don't see any problems. I put this topic in the "Nintendo Discussion" board since Game Boy cartridges are made by "Nintendo".

    Rave779 - Yes, I understand that lots of what I posted my be obvious, but that is the point. Lots of people have no idea what is inside a Game Boy cartridge. This guide apparently isn't for you. Its for those people who enjoyed the old GSC days and can't play their games because they don't know they can be fixed.

    Xilitol - Yes, I used Copy & Paste, but not from other people. I was the one who wrote the original post in the Pokemasters forum.

    I know there are newer games now, but I still enjoy the classics. This guide is for those who don't know much about electronics. If you can read, you can learn how to replace a game cartridge battery.

    If you guys want something less obvious, I'll post how I made an arc welder to attach tabs to a new battery.


    Making an Arc Welder to Attach Tabs to a Battery

    If you don't want to spend a load of extra money buying batteries with tabs, you can build an spot welding device. This will work much better in attaching tabs to your new battery than trying to solder it.

    You can reuse the tabs from the old battery by gently prying them off. I have heard that using a knife blade works well since it can slide between the battery and tab without bending it out of shape.


    If you have a disposable camera (or any kind with a flash that you won't mind taking apart), you can open it up and make your own welder.

    • Find the capacitor inside that stores the charge to power the flash.
    • Attach a wire to each lead of the capacitor.
    • Use an insulated tool such as pliers to hold the tab in place. If it isn't held down, the spark may make it fly off the battery.
    • Once the capacitor is charged up, place one wire touching the edge where the tab meets the top of the battery.
    • Touch the second wire to another point where the tab touches the battery.
    • Remove both wires.
    When the second wire makes contact, a spark jumps between both wires, melting the spots where each wire touched the metal. This allows you to fuse the tab to the battery. If you practice this, you can get it to work. Sometimes you get a stronger hold than others, so make sure you fuse multiple areas where the tab touches the battery.


    I covered the tabs with epoxy to add extra strength.

    Now your battery should be ready to solder back onto the circuit board.

    Here is a short video clip I took to show the spark I was making to weld the tabs onto the battery.

    Here I have finished soldering the battery, with its finished tabs, back onto the circuit board. I have tested that it successfully supplies 3 volts, and I have played it for a while to verify that the saves are sustained.

    The most important thing to remember when replacing your battery:
    Make sure that there is a firm connection between the battery and the board at all times.

    My first replacement battery was ruined by trying to solder tabs onto it. I have heard other people say that they were able to solder tabs onto a battery, so it probably depends on what material it is made of. If your battery does not have tabs already connected, find a strong method of connection such as welding the tabs on or using a battery clip made to hold the CR2025 or CR2032.

    Good luck to anyone else who tries to replace their battery. If something doesn't work, keep trying. You will eventually find a solution.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2008
  10. Sora-Chan

    Sora-Chan New Member

    I'm sorry to bump this thread, but I thought I would like to add in something for people who don't know anyone who can solder and they don't know how to solder themselves.

    You can replace the battery without any Soldering required. To do this you gently and carefully take a razor blade and thin nosed pliers and gently pry the battery and the tabs away from each other. Note the tabs that are soldered onto the battery are still connected to the board.

    After you separate the tabs and the battery, take the replacement battery, a CR 2025 or a previously mentioned CR 2032, and a strip of electric tape. What you want to do is cut the electric tape down the center so you'll have two long and thin pieces of electric tape. Take the tape and wrap it around the side of the replacement battery so its similar like the original battery.

    Once thats done, put the side of the battery with the labeling and put it against the tab that was on the bottom of the original battery, then take the remaking electric tape, or a new small piece of electric tape, and tape the tab to the exposed side of the battery. Repeat for the non-text side of the battery with the tab that was on the top of the original battery. In the end you should end up with what kinda looks like a black button on the inside of your case.

    Seal it up and it should be ready once again to be played. I was able to do this recently with my Pokemon Crystal cartridge. And so far it looks like it works perfectly fine.

    Later I'm gonna look into doing something similar to what the Robopon gameboy carts did where you could easily change out the batteries without any hassle. Which might make it so you could replace the battery while the game is still running so you don't loose information... I'll have to check it out for sure.

    Also on a side note, when replacing the battery, you might want to also replace the screw that keeps the cart closed up with a small Philip's screw instead of having to resort to pliers to get it open.

    Also, if this annoys anyone, I'm sorry, but I felt that this was relevant information for people who want to replace their gameboy cart batteries without having to resort to soldering.
  11. Pancakes

    Pancakes Member

    You seem to know what you're doing, Sora-chan. Would it be possible to send you my defective Crystal cartridge and you fix it up for me, since I'd have no idea what I was doing? I'd obviously cover all costs.

    If anybody is interested in doing that for me, let me know.
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2008
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