Bought a few GBA SP’s in a lot a few weeks back, I had this issue with 2 of them. The orange charge-light would come on briefly for about 1 second then turn off.
Over the last few years I’ve heard everything from “bridge/replace the F1 fuse” to “replace the charging port”, but I think I can safely safe 9 times out of 10 it’s just the battery that’s dead. I just finished fixing these 2 GBA’s and both of them work fine now that I put in good replacement batteries. The charge light stays on while charging.
- Check the charge port contacts to make sure they’re clean and there’s no bent pins. If the power adapter charge-plug can’t touch the charge-port contacts of the GBA SP itself, it’s needs to be replaced. Sometimes if the connection is also loose you might need to “bend” the charging-cable while it’s plugged in to make full contact with the GBA SP’s charging port. If it still works then great, but you’ll probably need to replace it sooner or later if that’s the case. Give it a wiggle, see if that helps. That’ll tell you if it’s the charge port or something else on the board.
- Try a different charging cable.
- Check the connections of the GBA SP charge-port itself to the motherboard. Open it up and look. If it looks like the solder-points have cracked and they’re not making contact, use a soldering iron to lightly ‘touch-up’ the charge port contacts to the motherboard and re-melt the solder that’s available or add some solder, as well as touch up the 4 tiny legs of EM8 just below/near the charge-port itself. EM8 is a main power-regulator for the GBA SP boards from what I’ve figured out, sometimes if that has a bad contact it can disrupt the charging process too.
- Try putting in a new battery, or try with someone else’s battery first to see if their battery will work in your GBA SP. Then you’ll know for-sure that you just need a cheap battery replacement bought online.
New batteries are about 5-20$ depending where you buy them, I generally buy most of my little spare parts from Aliexpress. The shipping can be rough to wait for since most of the products are coming out of China, but the parts I get are generally good and work right. Out of 20 GBA SP batteries I bought in bulk for $1.38 (CAD) each, I had 2 that were a duds. It just happens when you buy something cheap in bulk, once in a while it ain’t gonna work right.
I’m not an expert, these are just nuggets of experience I’ve had in my years of fixing Gameboys, Gameboy colors, Gameboy Advance SP’s, and the odd DS/3DS. I do this as a hobby, so if anyone can provide a more clear response then please feel free to add more. Hope this helps!
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