Changing the Game Gear LED Resistor
I had recently changed the LED on a Sega Game Gear from the stock red to blue. When I attached the power board back to the logic board and turned it on I had a lovely surprise. The blue power LED was blindingly bright and distracting. Sadly, I had to place my thumb over the LED just to see what was going on with the game. This led me to start searching for an answer to my question: where is the Game Gear LED resistor? Locating that resistor and changing it out would let me reduce the intensity of the light.
Google Searches & Lack of Information
Searching around Google, not many people had done what I did. Since many people left the power LED alone, there was no documentation for reducing the LED. What I did find, though, was a YouTube video and a service manual.
The YouTube video was a fellow that changes his LED to green. Once he turned on the power, he had the same complaint: intense, blindingly light from the LED. Unfortunately, the YouTuber never gave a solution to fixing the LED problem. Even down in the comments, nobody had a suggestion or fix for this. Others were asking for a solution as well but with no luck.
The service manual I found was a good help. The manual broke the entire Game Gear down into all it’s working parts: chip pin information, component information, and even how to tear the device down properly. Searching through the service manual I found the suspected resistor and value.
Locating the Game Gear LED Resistor
Since I was unable to locate answers to my question I decided to follow the traces. Working with LEDs a bit more frequently, I knew the lower section of the LED is the positive lead. From there, I followed the traces in both directions. The first part of the positive trace led directly to a chip. So I knew that power wasn’t coming from there. I then followed the other portion of the trace to a through-hole. Flipping the board over, I followed the trace to a very tiny component labeled 471 on slot R9.
R9 is labeled so for the 9th resistor on this portion of the board. Referring back to the service manual, I located the correct spot and found it to be a 470 Ohm resistor. I then put that board to the side and grabbed a “for parts” board to test on.
Testing the Game Gear LED Resistor Location
This “for parts” board was a good way to test my theory: if this was the correct resistor or not. I turned the Game Gear on just to make sure I would get power to the LED for testing. The red LED turned on and I then got to work testing the location. Heating up my soldering iron, I located the correct position, heated up the resistor, and removed it. Thankfully, it was a quick component to remove.
Recently, I had bought a bundle of 100 – 3.3k Ohm resistors to be used with my custom GameBoy DMG mods. I took one of those resistors, bent it into position and attached it to the board. Reconnecting the power board, I turned the machine on and to my happy surprise, the power LED dropped in intensity.
With the LED resistor confirmed, I closed up the parts board and got to work on my current machine. With the resistor properly attached to the board, I hooked it up quickly and was happy to see that the intensely bright blue had finally been dulled down to a reasonable level.
If you are also looking the resistor to change out with your Game Gear mod, this is the part you want to change out.
Location: The main board, R9 next to the blue power lines, see the above image for the correct location.
Resistor Value: 3-4k Ohm resistor.
Please Note: This resistor is for the VA-1 model Game Gear and may not work for other versions.