How to Replace a Game Boy Advance SP Shell

Updated April 17, 2017

The Nintendo Game Boy Advance SP comes in a multitude of colours that allow users to display their personalities. On top of the standard factory colours, you an purchase customised shells for these game systems. Whether you have a different shell you want to install or your original shell is broken, you can switch the housing on your Game Boy Advance SP.

Remove the screw in the battery cover, the cover and the battery from the back of the Game Boy Advance SP. Locate the six screws that hold the case together and remove them with a tri-wing screwdriver. Four of the screws are located inside indentations on the outside of the battery cover: one is inside the cover and the last screw is inside the hinge area. Detach the bottom housing from the Game Boy Advance SP.

Locate and remove the three screws that attach the motherboard to the gaming system with a Phillips head screwdriver. Lift the motherboard gently and locate the ribbon cable along the top edge that attaches the screen to the device. Use a small non-marring flat edge or your fingers to push down the latch and release the ribbon cable.

Remove the buttons and large round black speaker. Locate the screen's five screws, which are covered by small rubber pads. Remove the rubber pieces, then remove the screws with a screwdriver. This will require a Phillips or tri-wing screwdriver, depending on how old your Game Boy Advance SP is. Turn over the Game Boy Advance SP and locate the Phillips head screw in the hinge cover that is also attached to the screen. Remove this screw, then lift and remove the screen from the game system.

Release the two hinge clips that connect the rest of the shell to the game system. These small white circular clips are located in the hinge of the Game Boy Advance, one on each end. Use the small non-marring flat edge or a flat-edged screwdriver to apply pressure to the clip where the shell connects. Move slowly to avoid breaking the clip.

Connect and attach the new housing to the two clips from which the old shell was released. Reinsert each round clip from the outside into the hinge, then push the clip through the hinge until you feel it click to secure the shell.

Replace the screen, then secure the screw in the hinge cover and the five screws for the screen as well. Cover them with the rubber pads.

Replace the buttons and speaker. Slide the ribbon cable back into its slot. Reinstall the motherboard and reinsert the three screws that secure the motherboard. Line up all the buttons, ensuring the buttons fit into the grooves in the opposite side of the case.

Attach the rest of the shell, then reinsert the six screws that connect the outer part of the Game Boy Advance SP. Replace the battery and cover to complete the repair.


Work slowly and carefully, organising all the small parts as you go. Use a pill box or another organiser with small compartments to keep the screws and clips in order.

Things You'll Need

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Tri-wing screwdriver (available online)
  • Flat edged screwdriver
  • Small non-marring flat edged tool
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About the Author

Joetta Charnell became a freelance writer in 2009. Now contributing to various websites, her previous work garnered several awards in writing competitions. Charnell earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in African-American studies and biology, both from the University of Virginia.