Replacing Gameboy Save/Clock batteries - As a service

Would you want this as a service?

  • Yeah!

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • No way...

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • It needs to be cheaper

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I have additional questions

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
Sep 2, 2014
Hello all!
I think it's been a couple of years since I've posted here, oops. You know how life is...

I found some of my old gameboy games again, and thought it'd be grand to play them, but lo and behold, the save files aren't what they used to be...
For me, it's fairly trivial to replace the battery in these cartridges. I have the tools since I do fine soldering and removing of evil proprietary screws as part of my job anyway.

But, I thought I'd post a thread here and see if there's any interest in offering this as a service to other people in the gaming community who might not have the time, patience, or tools to do such things. How much would people pay for such a service?

Technical details:
Most games that use a battery use a CR1616 lithium cell, and I was hoping I could replace this with a holder for a CR1220 battery, which it looks like I can. I replaced the battery in "The Great Battle Pocket" with this holder, however that was a CR2025 battery originally and I had to do some modding there. However this resulted in a slight bulge in the cartridge as the new battery holder wasn't quite short enough. So I'm thinking I might only do this for Gameboy Color games since they have the part of the cartridge that sticks out rather than in. Such a modification wouldn't even be a consideration for a Gamboy Advance cartridge.
So I would replace the original battery with a modern battery of the same kind: a CR1616 or CR2025 battery with welded tabs that are soldered to the PCB. And hey, another 15+ years out of your game.

What if your game has save files that you want to keep? Won't replacing the battery wipe the saves?
Yes. I haven't received it yet but I bought a unit that will let me back up save files (and send you a file that can be used in an emulator) and write them back to the cartridge afterwards.

How much would this cost?
I was thinking $10? That'd cover parts, labor and return shipping. But, part of the purpose of this thread is asking what's a fair price to charge for something like this?

Wait wait, how would this work?
You send me your game, pay me $10, I send you back your repaired game (and a save file if you want)

Well hold on, I have [super rare game], won't that ruin the value?
I don't know.

But but how can I trust you?
The way I think of it, even if you send me [insert some absurdly valuable game] the most I can sell that for is, what, $50? Maybe? If 8 people send me one game to fix, I've made more than that, and the moment I'm not legitimate I loose potential friends/customers/trusts. So there's less incentive for me to steal a game than there is to be a legitimate honest person.

So let me know, is this something people would want as a service?
I don't know. I kind of like changing the batteries myself! It might sound stupid, but I feel like it brings me and my games closer. It's like if a car you've had your whole life gets in a crash. Would you rather pay some mechanic you hardly know to do who knows what to it or take the time and fix every piece yourself? You might not want to do it then, but after the work is done you will feel so much better and closer to your car. Its the same thing with the games, only with a soldering iron and a battery instead of a welder and (hopefully for most people) about a gallon of hand soap.
And I could certainly see that!
I know enough about cars to know that I don't know a lot about cars. I replaced that blower fan control module that burned up but typically beyond checking fluids and popping out the air filter I'd rather make sure the job is done right by paying someone who knows what they're doing. I don't really care to be in a situation where I suddenly need a special tool and I don't have a drivable car to take to the auto parts store to pick up that tool.

The tools in the case of cartridges are a nice soldering iron, the special screwdrivers (which aren't expensive but kinda annoying) and possibly the tools that pull save files off of the cartridge if there's still one to be saved (these reader things are constantly out of stock, I had to find the maker of them and ask nicely).
A service like this would be for the people who can't be bothered, can't buy the tools, or would rather just pay someone to take care of it than risk breaking their game.
I think it's called, rather fittingly, "Gamebit". The tri-wing is a bit more common, and that's what holds the actual gameboy together

I mean you could if you tried I guess. I've used needlenose pliers before I got a really nice screwdriver set for Christmas that had the Gamebit tip in it.

Gameboy advance carts use tri-wing screws tho!
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