The Game Boy Advance SP hit the market in 2003, and with its compact design and affordable price, became another hit for Nintendo. In fact, out of the many iterations of the Game Boy Advance system, the SP accounts for over 50% of all hardware sales. Despite the success of the SP, the original Game Boy Advance is far more popular in the modding community. However, I recently checked out a nifty Game Boy Advance SP consolizer mod that adds both functionality and flavor to this classic handheld.
Cracking into my first Game Boy SP-specific mod, I was happy to have a chance to check out the new GBHD Advance SP from brilliant minds at GameBox Systems. This consolizer mod transforms any old Game Boy SP into a sleek and compact console that’s perfect for modern televisions and display units. Be sure to check out my GBHD Advance SP consolizer mod breakdown video on YouTube to see the mod in action!
"Additionally, it's great to see a consolizer kit that uses the SP motherboard rather than the original GBA motherboard."
This Game Boy SP Consolizer Mod Turns Your System into a Cube
To get started with this mod you’ll need to buy the GBHD Advance SP consolizer kit and also have a spare/donor Game Boy Advance SP to use for parts. Installing the kit will require soldering and some potential modification of the plastic shell, so be sure you have the proper tools before attempting.
The consolizer kit contains everything else you’ll need, ranging from the shell to the custom boards. In total, the kit includes a custom cube-shaped shell and accompanying assembly screws, a SNES controller port, a 34-pin ribbon cable and a custom quick-solder flex ribbon, as well as the core PCB that powers the mod.
GBHD SP Basic Installation Guide
For starters, this installation requires some precise soldering and assembly, so I highly recommend you use my step-by-step installation tutorial video if you plan on performing the mod yourself. Before you can start soldering and assembling, you’ll need to disassemble a Game Boy Advance SP system and remove the motherboard. Set aside the power switch cover before setting the rest of the SP console aside, as you’ll need it later.
Before digging into the tough stuff, prepare the custom PCB by soldering on the SNES port. Over on the SP motherboard, bend the flanges around both the link and charge ports, but use a gentle touch to avoid connection errors. At this point, it’s time to solder in the quick-solder ribbon by tinning the points before making solid connections. The pattern on the quick-solder ribbon makes it easy to see the required connection points, but be sure to pre-tin all the points on the motherboard to make the process easier. Before you’re done, flip over the motherboard and solder the two oblong pads on the ribbon cable to the exposed points on the battery connector.
With the soldering done, you can connect the PCB and the SP motherboard with the included 34-pin ribbon cable. Then, connect the quick-solder ribbon cable to PCB with the correct alignment, resulting in two stacked boards. From here, you’re free to test the boards before you drop them into the bottom shell. To be blunt, I found this cumbersome and difficult, eventually using my tools to create some extra room by the SNES port housing. Along the way, be sure to secure the PCB and motherboard with the included screws, before putting the power switch cover in the top shell and combining it with the bottom shell. Once they snap into place, you’re finished!
The Pros and Cons of the GBHD SP Consolizer Mod
First of all, the GBHD Advance SP comes with some nifty features, including a full-sized HDMI port and the ability to attach all official SP Link Cable accessories. On the software end, the mod’s on-screen display menu offers many display and picture settings. You can choose between three resolutions (480p, 720p, and 1080i), as well as three different aspect ratios to fit your preference. You can also apply several screen filters, which replicate scan lines, add a pixel grid, and more.
Overall, the GBHD Advance SP consolizer is a solid kit that has great features, occupies a satisfyingly small footprint, and is entirely reversible provided you solder the ribbon cable to the battery connector properly. Additionally, it’s great to see a consolizer kit that uses the SP motherboard rather than the original GBA motherboard. However, the kit is not without flaws, as the shell can be cumbersome to assemble.
Given the resounding pros that outweigh the minor cons, I can wholeheartedly recommend the GBHD Advance SP consolizer kit if you’re looking to spice up your existing SP. The small footprint, cube-like design, and array of features make it a high-quality mod that benefits the community in more ways than one.