Where to get Game Boy Pocket Capacitors

The Gameboy pocket has four large, easily replaced surface mount capacitors.

And they are located the reverse of the main board here, just by the battery terminals:

Note that the board itself handily labels them as C29 through C32. But what are they?

  • C29: 33uF 25v – 7.9mm diameter, 6.3mm height
  • C30: 330uF 6v – 6.5mm diameter, 5.4mm height
  • C31: 100uF 6v – 6.5mm diameter, 5.4mm height
  • C32: 100uF 6v – 6.5mm diameter, 5.4mm height

Where will I find replacements?

You can buy a capacitor replacement kit on the internet – eBay or a place like Console5. These of course have a bit of a markup because of the time + energy that goes into compiling them, but as the Game Boy Pocket only has four capacitors it’s quite simple to buy them yourself from a component supplier. You can then also choose particularly high quality capacitors (long engineered life) as well as name brand suppliers (e.g. Panasonic).

In Australia, you would want to try a place like RS Components. Here are the ‘near enough’ matches I’ve found in their catalogue:

Note that the voltage rating for each capacitor is just the maximum – you could use a 100uF 25v capacitor and it wouldn’t do any harm.

Also note that diameter is the important dimension. You’ll find it particularly difficult to solder a too small or too large capacitor onto the existing solder pads. With height should err on the side of a bit smaller if necessary, just so it fits into the casing.

Also remember that these aren’t the only capacitors on the board – There are lots of very small ones scattered around! These are just the ones that are commonly replaced – most people don’t have the patience for the small ones.

But WHY?

Capacitors don’t have a terribly long service life – about 20 years is the figure you’ll see quoted most often. A Gameboy Pocket is definitely 20 years old, and the original capacitors will be coming up to the end of their life. A bad capacitor is also commonly cited as a potential cause of the device not powering on, poor audio or poor video. How much of this is true and how much is just perpetually repeated speculation I couldn’t say – but it sounds like it would be fun to investigate.

Super interesting paper: Capacitors Age and Capacitors Have an End of Life by Emerson

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