If there's one thing we really like about modern portable hardware, it's the fact that we no longer have to dig out AA or AAA batteries to run them. While the Game Boy had more modest power demands than many of its rivals, it still required a steady stock of batteries if you were a serious gamer; sure, rechargeable AAs have come down in price over the decades, you can't help but pine for a more 'modern' solution – and that's where RetroSix comes in.
We've covered this UK-based firm in the past – they do an amazing line in modded consoles, including pimped-out Game Boy Advance and Sega Game Gear systems – but we recently took stock of another of their products, the CleanJuice battery mod for the good old DMG-001.
Available in two capacities, the CleanJuice mod for Game Boy comprises of the CleanJuice board – which does all of the clever stuff – and the battery itself. Installing the mod does require you to open up the Game Boy and unclip some of the contact springs inside the battery compartment (the official guide recommends you remove three, but we got away with just taking out the bottom two), but it's less scary than you might imagine and took us a few minutes to fit. The XL edition is a little more complicated as you have to cut away some of the plastic inside the battery compartment to get it installed – it's sporting a thicker battery, as you might expect.
Once installed, the CleanJuice is capable of powering a stock Game Boy for over 24 hours of use (almost 30 if you opt for the XL version), and charges using a USB-C connector on the back. You can even use the CleanJuice battery to charge your smartphone, or other USB-C devices, which is neat. Another plus is that you can play and charge at the same time, something which isn't possible when using rechargeable AA batteries – and the entire console feels lighter, too.
Compared to the very latest AA rechargeables – some of which offer 2500mAh capacity – the CleanJuice's stamina isn't all that impressive, but for most people, it's going to be a lot more convenient. It means no more hunting around for AAs, and, if you've previously used rechargeable AAs, you can finally ditch the bulky and slow wall charger (these often take several hours to charge AA batteries, unless you buy a fancy expensive one).
RetroSix creates CleanJuice units for the GBA too, and is even working on a wireless means of charging these batteries – the fact that we will soon be able to top-up our beloved beige brick using a wireless charger fills us with all kinds of joy, we're not going to lie.
Thanks to RetroSix for supplying the CleanJuice and CleanJuice XL batteries used in this piece.
God no, wireless charging is too inefficient.
It's convenient perhaps, but I fail to see how a bespoke rechargeable unit is "cleaner" than rechargeable AAs.
They also have this if you want an even cleaner energy.
all this effort and money to play on an obsolete console
I have these for 2 gbas that I rebuilt/upgraded. Super easy to install, literally pops right in and charges through usb c. It’s really nice to not have to worry about batteries for those consoles anymore. Also, anyone in the US who wants one can get it at handheldlegend.com, who are partnered with retrosix. Check them out, they have a good amount of replacement parts and upgrades for the older handheld collectors out there
Would only be "Clean Juice" if it connected to a solar panel on the top
@SmartNickname some people like collecting and modding/DIY on these “obsolete” consoles. If you wanna play these games the best way to do it is on original hardware so there’s no emulation. Mods like this just make it more convenient
I think the whole “clean juice” thing is referencing the fact that you’re not using up disposable batteries that you toss when you’re done and end up in a landfill.
The four old AA batteries already could last you 40 hours worth of gameplay, why would you want a battery that would reduce that lifespan to half? It's not like AA batteries are going anywhere any time soon.
Wonder if this would work on the retroflag gpi case I have rechargeable batteries but they only last around 5 hours
I'm fine with rechargeables, except I can no longer bear having to play near a window or under a bright light. I just use my GBA for GameBoy games.
My gameboy stopped working because a AA battery leaked inside. My fault for leaving batteries in it for 5-10 years. I discovered that somewhere around 2012-2014
I love Gameboy mods and this one looks pretty nice.
@Zach1122 if you have a cartridge there are better ways to play GB games, like a GBA SP, at least you have a frontlit console
Retro six should not be supported.
They steal other peoples work. There’s a big thread over on /gameboy about them.
@Zach1122 Anyone still not using rechargeable AAs by 2021 is surely not bothered where their portable power comes from.
@SmartNickname It's quite simple to backlight a GB as well. Though, there is something to be said for experience games on the original hardware as it was originally designed. I personally enjoy old games, even some that are "bad" or ran on "bad" hardware, if for nothing more than experiencing a history that interests me.
Just bought the CleanJuice battery for GBA. Definitely kept the thing alive during long intimate sessions with Tingle in my Wind Waker playthrough. And no, I'm not rephrasing that.
@SmartNickname I know the article was referencing the gameboy dmg model but I was talking about the gba, my mistake. They’re available for gba as well and the clean juice paired with a newer backlit ips screen makes those games look better than ever. I don’t know, I never had any gameboy model as a kid and I like tinkering with electronics I find this stuff really awesome
@gcunit I mean, I don’t have any rechargeable double A’s cause the only thing I can think of that takes them is my tv remote and those things last years...I definitely do see your point though. This battery mod allows you to play and charge simultaneously so I think that’s the main appeal for it
If there's one thing I really DON'T like about modern portable hardware is that they've gone from something standardised and/or easily replaceable to something proprietary and not easily replaceable, if at all replaceable. This just takes it one step further by modding something to be as bad as everything that already comes that way.
@SmartNickname It's so obsolete I adapted Life is Strange's first episode to it earlier this year and several hundred people have been enjoying it ever since.
Amazing how often the people who (correctly) cite emulation as essential to gaming preservation are the same people tearing up perfectly good hardware for the latest modding trend.
This really isn't that novel; I had a plug-in battery pack for my Game Boy 30 years ago. A bit bulkier than this one probably is, but it didn't need any console modding, just popped right in, so on the whole, this thing is notably worse than decades-old tech.
anyone can put together battery + charging board on the gameboy. Extremely easy and cheap mod, and you got to choose battery brand and capacity. I don't understand why this is advantage to anyone.
@WoomyNNYes Even then, that's an easy fix as all you need to do is replace the battery contacts and scrub off any dried up alkaline with an old toothbrush and rubbing alcohol.
Places like Deadpan robot is really good for getting new battery contacts.
Sure... Because no one plays the GameBoy anymore...
Looks at his near 150 DMG GB game collection, modded systems, different colour variants and accessories that he's had since 1991
I've had 2700mAh rechargebale AA batteries for probably 12 years now and you can get 3000 ones too. We'll be able to power Game Boys from AAs for the forseeable future. But once these boards break or lose capacity you'll be stuck with ugly permanent damage on your unit.
And in the meantime you'll have to do with half the battery capacity and hence run out of battery twice as often, having to be tied to an outlet if you wish to continue playing. I always have charged AAs ready to swap. I don't even see the advantage in convenience.
I would love to get this mod, thing is I'm not a huge fan of where that USB-C port is, you'd have to have your Gameboy facing down to charge.
I would mod, this mod, to put the USB-C port next to the headphone socket.
@chardir I guess more energy so less reason to charge. 🤷♂️
I would actually get something like this but unfortunately my Gameboy won’t start. 😬
@Ghost_of_Hasashi Standard AA batteries give you about 15 hours, not 40.
@Siskan As stated in the piece, this mod is totally reversible.
@Jaguar_Wong There's no "tearing up" here - the mod is totally reversible
@Damo "The XL edition is a little more complicated as you have to cut away some of the plastic inside the battery compartment to get it installed"
But I take your point on the smaller version
@Jaguar_Wong Regardless of the size you also need to cut a hole in the battery cover or get a third party one (at additional cost) while making sure the original isn't separated from the Game Boy.
@Jaguar_Wong Even with the bits removed due to the XL install, you can still use AA batteries.
@noobish_hat As stated in the piece, being able to charge using your phone charger is more convenient than having to carry around a bulky (and slow) AA battery charger. The unit is also lighter with this mod, and can even reserve-charge USB-C devices.
Hmm well, more Options are welcome, but the stock Gameboy can be used with an AC-Adapter and there are not as many Games you'll face where you can't save, have a password or are as long as you can't stop after a few Minutes to swap out the Batteries.
I am using mine with rechargebles and when i have to recharge them, i put the other rechargebles in that i have here.
Now that it is Summer i'll use the Gameboy more on the Balcony, it is the only Console you can play in bright Daylight.
@SepticLemon Thanks for that. I thought I scraped out the dried gunk well enough, but I'll give it another look with that info. I hadn't considered alcohol.
@WoomyNNYes Yeah, I used isopropyl and a brillo pad to remove the dried alkaline off the plastic. Cleaning the metal contacts is a pain though, and you might as well just get them replaced.
Always prefer AA batteries. Never need to buy proprietary stupid ass batteries for 20 different devices. Just one type of battery, which is not only available as rechargable, but at any and every physical store imagine able.
@SepticLemon You make it sound like 90's gameboy parts are designed to be replaced, and are not difficult to source. I have no idea. I have no soldering/modding/electronics repair skills.
@WoomyNNYes As mentioned, Deadpanrobot.co.uk have official and third party game Boy parts. As for the battery contacts themselves, the ones that get corroded are the ones at the bottom, which are not soldered to the board, those are the contacts at the two upper corners. There are 3 battery contacts that you can remove with a pair of tweezers by opening up the case and exposing the back. It's one of the more easier repairs you can do on a DMG-01.
@WoomyNNYes Here's a Youtube video showing you how to do it. Though he does go into more detail when it comes to the battery contacts that are on the board, the likelihood of you needing to do that is pretty slim unless there's corrosion on the upper two corners. But yeah, spares are obtainable on the internet, and the most you'd need in tools would be needle nose tweezers and a tri-head screw driver.
Thank you very much, @SepticLemon!
Just going to leave this here for those considering purchasing:
TLDR: RetroSix has a long history of stealing hardware designs and art from various people in the modding scene, making false claims about their products and just engaging in generally toxic behavior. Support original (and honest) creators!
@SmartNickname just because it's old doesn't mean it doesn't still have great games
the easier it is to play those games, the better
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