BennVenn 3″ LCD Installation Guide

If you’re here you’ve either bought a BennVenn 3″ LCD already or you’d like to in the future so head on over to his site to buy one when they are in stock BennVenns Store

So this guide is to help you to install the BV3″ LCD with my glass and also the installation bracket. This should hopefully make the install nice and easy and give you a nicely finished console at the end

You’re going to need:

Step 1:

You need to take the shell of your choice, either an aftermarket or original shell. The front half is what will need all of your attention so put the back half to one side.

Take the JBC BV3″ Jig and put it where the lens should live, this will give you a template to show you the perfect amount to cut away for the LCD to be visible but clearance for the glass so you don’t end up seeing plastic.

Use your marker pen, to mark the inside so you know where to cut.

 

 

Remove the jig to unveil your beautiful cut line. What could possibly go wrong?

 

Flip the front shell over, on the image below you will see the high areas that need to be removed flush and smooth with the shell as the LCD will live there, so they need removing. Do this with some flush cutters, craft knife or a Dremel.

Take your time with this stage, and Dremel users don’t go too crazy with it. Them things can get carried away sometimes. Also, try not to slip!

You should end up with something like this:

***JellyBelly’s Top Tip***

Use a marker pen to black the inside edge that you just cut. This helps make things look nice and neat, and the edges less visible when things are all done. You can thank me later!

Step 2:

Disclaimer… You do this at your own risk, take your time and done rush it. A little at a time and don’t cut it all at once.

This is the hardest part of the install really, you need to trim the mounting tabs off the plastic LCD housing. These are not needed and get in the way of the install in a central position.

Take your time doing this, do it a little at a time with your chosen method either side cutters or a dermal, but BE CAREFUL!

Do it in little bits, don’t go in for the kill and cut the whole tab off in one go, Nibble away at it slowly. If you damage your LCD don’t blame me. You’re in charge of your tools and hands so it’s your own fault.

Doing this will mean it fits centrally and also inside the LCD bracket to hold things in

Step 3:

Once done drop you LCD bracket into place like so:

You should then be able to install the LCD inside this bracket, it might be a little bit of a squeeze but will hold it nicely. There is a little vertical movement to adjust the height of the LCD if the fitment is not quite right, this varies on shells, manufacturers and where you bought it from. So a little input from you is needed

Step 4:

Get your buttons and nice clean membranes, and fit them into the shell.

Make sure the tiny wires on the LCD are going toward the center of the shell, like in the image this will help get them out of the way of the membranes and also through the hole they need to be going through in the motherboard.

Put the motherboard over and feed the ribbon and power wires through the hole. The motherboard is a snug fit over the screw post so might need a bit of help over them. This was a China repro shell so it was tight.

Now put all 6 Screws into place, these go through the holes that are circled in white.

Now fire up the soldering iron and solder the power cables as it shows below,

Nice and neat please, a bit of flux and some decent leaded solder. Give it a clean afterward as well, please

Don’t forget the speaker (because I did the first time), this will either need to be off the original doner board or a new one HERE.

***JellyBelly’s Top Tip***

Use a bit of kapton tape as shown below this will help the ribbon fold in the right place when closing up the shell… You can thank me later!

Step 5: The home straight!

Turn the console over and test the LCD, plug this into your rear board and either use batteries or power supply. Hopefully, fingers crossed it should be working. If not….. erm….. its nothing to do with me.

You should see the start-up screen. A little like this.

Next up before we completely assemble the Game Boy, make sure the buttons are working nicely, and that they register buttons presses. Pop a game in and test things just to make sure.

Next, take you Glass lens and remove the center only part of the adhesive, you can lay it on for a test fit to make sure the LCD and glass are positioned correctly. Hopefully!

You should be seeing a nice cental image with an even gap around the edges

If you’re happy with everything its time to reassemble the Game Boy with the rear board and all the screws to hold it together.

Then once assembled make sure everything is nice, clean and dust free. Peel the adhesive off the rear of the glass and apply it to the console. No dust or fingerprints, please!

You are now finished……

Step 6:

Admire and play your handy work

The 3″ Bennvenn LCD really is a nice thing for certain games, Tetris is a blast with it. Some games suffer from a motion blurring effect which is a shame but you can’t have everything.

Hope you found this useful

Thanks

Midwest Embedded GBC LCD Tests

MW Embedded backlit GBC LCD

Another backlit Game Boy Color LCD on the market, mainly in the USA and at the time of checking they don’t ship internationally which is a shame. However, I got my hands on one through a friend of a friend in the states.

Overall it’s similar to the McWill and also the BennVenn, it does require some trimming and some soldering to install it into the shell. Also, it would suit a custom glass screen lens but the LCD metal board has been coloured black from the factory so it doesn’t stand out too much. A good thing about it is that with the soldering you can get brightness adjustment so the test was done at max brightness.

One thing that instantly jumps out at me about this mod is that the PCB seems to include its own power circuit from the chips and LCD. That is a good thing in as it won’t be demanding the power from the GBC just from the batteries. So the GBC can happily work as it is intended to..Hopefully

So I put it under the same tests as the other but only under the powered on tests as we know now that the games just add more strain onto things so we can predict that from the previous tests.

So what’s going on, well it’s almost identical to the Mcwill in its consumption other than the fact the console will stay on longer all the way down to 1.9v which is good, but something is not quite right with it though.

Towards the lower end of the voltage range strange things occur, the mod circuitry demands a huge spike in current, the LCD goes off but the console actually stays on. Why is this?

Hang and buckle in this might get a bit deep.

Behavior like this happens when the power circuitry inductors become over-saturated with current, meaning that it can’t deal with anymore so the current just spikes hard, fast and high. Luckily modern-day IC chips just cut out when this happens and it’s also good that this power spike is only coming from the batteries, not the console itself so will not damage the console. That is why the console remains powered on but the LCD mod loses power.

Overall it’s a nicely done thing and will run for around 4 hours-ish and is on par with the Mcwill 5 hrs ish but BennVenns consumptions are still leaps above the rest.

Again this is still a great mod and nicely done and I’m sure it’s not the last we have seen for the GBC backlight world so when I find more I will stack them all up against each other.

 

Freckle Shack VS Mcwill

Consumption Test

It would now seem that we are in a new age for the Game Boy Color modifications scene, with various new LCD’s out there that are far simpler to install than the AGS101 mod before it. No machining, little to no soldering either which makes it appeal to lots of people

However things are not always as good as they seem. The standard GBC was a work horse ran off 2 AA batteries and lasted for what seems an eternity 20+ hours. The issue with modifying a console is you’re taking something that is designed as intended and asking it to run more than it possibly should.

The classic example of this is the Game Boy Pocket you really need to install a 5v buck boost to power the backlight as the console simply cannot do it on its own reliably. The GBC is no different.

So what am I getting at…..?

Well with these new LCD mods out there people have been quoting (or failing to quote) battery life estimates. With one product description quoting 3hours and other quoting 20hours how do we know?

So I wanted to find out the consumptions of the 2 LCD’s I could get my hands on inside a console, the Freckle Shack and Mcwill

So to start:

2 AA batteries working range is around 3.2v to 1.8v so we will use this for the tests

The test will be carried out using the same motherboard revision a V5

The test will also be carried out with full volume

There will be 4 different conditions used:

  1. Powered on with a genuine Tetris cart in game play
  2. Powered on with a Everdrive X7 playing Tetris rom
  3. Powered on with a ElCheapoSD playing Tetris rom
  4. Powered on (boot up screen) no cartridge

So first up the Standard GBC console

 

As you can see the standard console is an efficient thing drawing 60ma when powered and worst case using an ElCheapo at 170ma. Also uses the full range of the GBC from 3.2v to 1.8v.

Next up the Mcwill LCD modded console:

As you might see in this lot the Mcwill LCD at best this thing draws 190ma and at worst around 380ma but also because of the high current draw the console shuts off early at between 2.2v – 2.4v

Lastly the BennVenn FreckleShack

What can we make of this then, well the FS seems better overall and is comparable to the standard console. At best it draws 80ma and at worst 270ma using a ElCheapoSD and uses the full range of 3.2v to 1.8v.

The next thing is to compare the charts of all 3 of the console to see how the results look next to each other in certain conditions:

Powered on tests

Genuine Tetris

 

Everdrive X7 tests playing Tetris

ElcheapoSD tests playing Tetris

If you’ve stuck around this long then we’re almost done

In summary what I see from the tests is that the FS is similar to the standard console just a higher in consumptions due to the backlit LCD which is understandable, It seems to stay powered on for the full working range of the voltage tests and also doesn’t have huge spikes in milliamps over the range. With a minimum consumption of 80ma and a max of 270ma using the ElCheapoSD.

So what does this all mean, well you will use up every bit of power in the batteries you put in and get the maximum playtime. If we take an average of all the FS consumption data we get 160ma usage which will mean roughly around 12hrs of playtime on 2000mah batteries

The Mcwill is a lot higher with consumption of 190ma at best and 380ma at worst on an Elcheapo. From the data, we get and an average consumption of 286ma which will give around 4.5hrs of playtime partly cause by only being able to use around 70% of the power from the batteries

So what’s best…!

It’s whatever you want from the mod, if you want a VGA output then your only choice is a Mcwill, if you don’t want to remortgage your house for batteries then a Freckle Shack is what you need.

I am very OCD (as you can tell) about things working as efficiently as possible so for me and until someone can show me a good reason I’ll be sticking to the Freckle Shack for my modded consoles as well as the AGS101 mod. To me, the Mcwill high amp level and early console cut out means that the GBC really cant be too happy having to provide the power that the LCD mod is asking for and I don’t like it. I also have zero interest in installing a VGA output, in all the GameGear LCD’s I’ve done over the years I’ve only once installed the VGA option once, so see it as a pointless thing to include. It’s a handheld console so keep it that way.

However, the Freckle Shack does have its downsides.

Early reports from customers are that there are issues with a few games like pokemon pinball, BennVenn goes into more detail over on his facebook page but a new firmware is being worked on that will rectify this. His LCD is also not quite as bright but is this related to the better consumption I would assume so.

Both of these engineers have done an awesome job in bringing these to the market and both have their pros and cons so it’s up to you to decide what you’d like to install. This is not written to discourage you to buy either product both are good in their own way, so use this information with a pinch of salt and make your own decision.