Updated: Feb 22, 2021
If you love retro gaming on your classic handheld but wish you could play without batteries or that massive AC adapter, have I got a great piece of gear for you. This simple drop-in board takes your old power adapter circuit with the barrel connector and converts it seamlessly into a modern USB-C input for you to game wherever you have access to USB-C. What's super cool, is you can even power your Gamegear off a USB power bank if you want to take it out with you and ran out of AA's.
This kit is a very straightforward install, but I did run into a pretty big issue with my Gamegear 2110G model unit and I haven't seen many guides or much documentation to begin with, let alone any that cover troubleshooting, which is why I'm writing this article.
First, here's the part: https://handheldlegend.com/products/sega-game-gear-cleanpower-usb-c-power-regulator
Now when you've got it in hand, here are the steps:
1. Remove the 6 philips screws from your Gamegear. Two of them are under the battery covers.
2. Remove the star-shaped screw that sits at the center of top of the cartridge slot. I actually just used a 4mm socket adapter (1/4" to 4mm) that's usually meant to hold screwdriver bits, as it fits perfectly around the screw.
3. Disconnect the two cables internally that run between the motherboard and boards on the front of the unit. Only disconnect the sides that run to the front boards, leave the cables attached at the motherboard side.
4. When the two halves of your Gamegear are separated, find the power board (it has the power switch and AC barrel connector on it). Remove the two screws holding it in place.
5. Pry out the black plastic shield right below the power board- it's held in with adhesive so just slowly work your way around the edges until it un-sticks itself.
6. Remove the power board.
7. Drop in your new USB-C board in the same place and screw it down with the 2 screws you removed from the old board.
NOTE: When reconnecting the cable from the motherboard to the new board, you may notice the plastic boot's clearances seem to be... wrong. The keying of the cable itself just doesn't fit, or you need to fit it in reverse orientation of the original board. HOWEVER, this is just a weird factory build issue- the pinout is the same orientation as the original board. The cable itself will have one missing pin between right after the first pin. This is your marker- install the cable in with the missing pin in the exact same place the original board connected to it.
What I ended up doing is taking some flush cutters (here) and trimmed down the whole boot on the USB-C power board so the cable could attach without anything stopping it.
When that's connected, reconnect the other board's cable and button up the Gamegear by simply reversing the steps you just went through above.