Update: Macho Nacho Productions – the outfit behind the amazing 'Thicc Boi SP' mod we covered in August – have revealed that it has not only improved the design to include a better battery (4,500 mAh lithium polymer), but it's also going to sell it as an upgrade kit so that people can install it themselves (thanks, Gizmodo).
Once the current prototype is 100% perfect and complete, the plan will be to crowdfund in order to raise the capital needed to produce the injection moulds required to mass-produce the kit. The current prototype is 3D printed, but Macho Nacho Productions wants to create the final one from high-quality ABS plastic.
Original Story [Thu 26th Aug, 2021 12:30 BST]: The art of taking vintage gaming hardware and retrofitting it with modern creature comforts is something we wholeheartedly endorse here at Nintendo Life – whether it's adding USB-C charging to the original Game Boy or updating the blurry screen of the Game Gear, if such a venture can improve the system in a meaningful way, then we're all for it.
Now, two modders have worked their magic on the Game Boy Advance SP, which is, in the eyes of many, one of the best Nintendo portables ever made. Sure, it doesn't have a 3.5mm headphone socket, but that clamshell design makes it one of the most pocket-friendly gaming devices ever – and runs the full Game Boy library of titles, too.
The 'SP Expander MOD' is still very much a work-in-progress and will eventually fix one of the things we've just mentioned – the lack of a headphone jack (there's a space for the port in the case design but the modders are still looking for a suitable part) – but it already does some impressive stuff.
The console's original 600 mAh battery is swapped out for a beefier 1600 mAh iteration, while the USB-C port means you can charge the battery quickly without having to carry around that bulky GBA SP charger. While we're on that topic, the mod also features wireless charging support, so you can top up the juice without having to use a cable at all. As well as the 3.5mm jack, Bluetooth audio support is included so you can use wireless headphones, too.
All of these mods are totally reversible if you so wish, as none of the original parts inside the GBA SP are modified – instead, additional boards and components are wired directly onto the OG circuit board.
The catch is that all of this additional stuff requires a larger case design, so a new back shell has been created which makes the console thicker and reduces its pocket-friendliness (though no by that much, it has to be said).
If you want to see how they did it, check out the video below.
When your gba is more up to current standards than your switch.
Macho Nacho does some of the best gameboy mods on youtube, love his work. This looks great, I may try it myself on one of my IPS SP's.
Sounds intresting but the fixing a headphone socket is really what the GBA SP needs most. That headphone adapter is bulky and bearly works with modern headphones.
I really want a GBASP. Are the refurbished ones on ebay pretty legit? Or is there a better place to go to get one?
@BEEFHAMMA etsy has the goods
Edit - got mine in April and play to death. Lots of options there and seller communication is great from those I'd reached out to. Think you'll be pleased. Oh and reviews.
things slow, this video is from last year? Macho Nacho is great, he does good work and he showcases some great retro moding stuff, not sure I'm in love with the extra bulk he added to the system though on this one.
I spruced up a GBA SP recently with an IPS Screen and a new case and I love it!
i wonder how much this bulky beast costs in total for all these mods?
@thugpipe Not slow at all, we didn't see the video until Hackaday reported on it on the 24th of August: https://hackaday.com/2021/08/24/game-boy-advance-sp-case-mod-adds-battery-capacity-and-modern-interfaces/
Why would you waste time and money making your GBA SP fatter with features it already has?
@CammyUnofficial Didn't even think to look at Etsy. I will now, thank you!
Seems like a pretty neat mod, but I don't like how bulky it makes the SP.
@Damo well you should follow Tito (Macho Nacho), he does some cool stuff and you can get the jump on the other outlets.
Honestly the 1st model of the gameboy advanced is the only comfortable one to hold when you're in adult. I don't know why all these people make mods for those super uncomfortable versions of systems hell even the nintendo DS is uncomfortable. It's also one of the main reasons why I moved over to emulation/fpga because you can at least use a controller that doesn't hurt your hand. The Mods are so cool though I'll give them that.
@BEEFHAMMA I got the parts for mine from retrosix.co.uk but they have prebuilt ones while more expensive are pretty good.
@CammyUnofficial how much was the one you got mate? I am tempted.
@CammyUnofficial Please also share the seller if you can. That would provide some peace of mind! Thank you!
@huyi too much
@Stocksy ha yeah I'm no bargain hunter so I shelled out 2 crackers for it. If someone says you can go cheaper/ do it yourself then please by all means, I had the means n desire for it having since my gba experience way back when was lacklustre
@BEEFHAMMA Nidoum best of luck!
I put an IPS screen in an original form factor GBA. It’s the best way to play now. I like the form factor so much better than my GBASP.
Glad to see this thing make a come back, I loved my game boy, (still having fun with my blue sp model)
I'll wait for the ray tracing mod
@BEEFHAMMA I’ve used the refurbished ones from eBay, they work great.
I have been recently been using my SP again and I would defo buy one during the crowdfunding stage but I would like them to add different colour options for the different coloured SP that are out there.
@Gwynbleidd In the latest mod community with IPS kits. Your AGS101 is now worthless.
At this point I don’t know how much longer GBA SP unit component are going to be functional so I don’t know about dropping a lot of disposable income into upgrading external features. Does anyone have a rough estimate?
@NotSoCryptic Hardly worthless...just have a look on ebay! But if you have one and feel it's worthless I'd like to take it off your hands
@Gwynbleidd oh I have 101s alright. Gutting them for ips kits. 101 screens are pretty trash compared to modern tech. No one is asking for 101 anymore. Even on ebay its harder to get broken models to refurbish because everyone is doing ips mods. Mean while the 101s are coming down in price. So snag a 101 while you can, they won't be around in 5 years.
@BEEFHAMMA check ebay for all of the models. The price is leveling out and up across the board. The ips and TV kit mods are breathing new life into the gba. Prior to the mods the kits, were so coming down in price. Hell even broken gba have gone for way more than 50 dollars at one point with scalped shipping prices. I fix these things for fun and resell. Which had lead to people offering me cash for mods of clean kits.
Look I get it. The 101 was the best display available. However in 2021 mods have gotten so good that you can get pixel perfect duplication and brighter displays. I have a few 101s, my personal gba I have switched the displays out. My preferred model isn't even the sp. The new modded displays are that much better. I now have a wireless charging gba with a custom shell, Bluetooth audio, and a nicely lit color accurate ips display.
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