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:
- One 33uF 25v – 7.9mm diameter, 6.3mm height:
- One 330uF 6v – 6.5mm diameter, 5.4mm height:
- Two 100uF 6v – 6.5mm diameter, 5.4mm height:
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.
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