GameCube Dual Colour LED for Region Mod

If you’ve fitted a Region Switch to your NTSC Game Cube then you may want to replace the ordinary orange LED with a dual colour LED.  During the region switch install #i used a DPDT (Double Pole, Double Throw) switch, so the spare row of connectors can be used for this mod.

Proper dual colour LED’s can be quite limiting on the colour combinations available, but if you can find the one you want, go for that instead of following this guide!   I wanted a blue and white LED and already had some 3mm blue LED’s as well as a bag of 3mm white LED’s, but couldn’t find anywhere selling suitable dual colour LED’s for a sensible price.  You do not have to use these colours of course, just make sure the 2 LED’s are the same specification (I used 3.3v 3mm LED’s).

The theory is quite simple, we need to flatten 2 3mm LED’s and glue them together, I used some fine Wet + Dry sand paper to sand each LED down so it was flat (if you have a very fine needle file you could use this instead, ideally you need a smooth finish to help the glue stick).

3mm LED before sanding

Flattened 3mm LED after sanding

Make sure you don’t flatten it too much, be careful not to sand down to the metal inside the LED, flatten both and if possible connect up to a suitable power source to check that the LED still works.  Now, super glue them together, making sure that you have the correct legs lined up together (the cathode legs of each LED should both line up, and then of course the anode legs will also line up) .  Test the fit of the LED in the case of the console, if it doesn’t fit then carefully sand it down a bit more, it should just fit into the small dimple.

Glued together

Test fitting

Of course, I couldn’t resist testing them to see what they looked like lit up again!

White LED

Blue LED

Now remove the existing LED, making note of its orientation (the cathode/negative leg is on the left as you’re looking at the front of the console).  Obviously it’s a lot easier to remove the old LED using a de-soldering pump or braid.

The original orange LED

LED removed

First thing to do is to check the new LED for the Cathode (negative) leg (you can look inside the LED and see it’s the larger piece of metal), carefully look at the first photo below and cut the first negative leg, bend and solder it to the other negative leg.

Cut one of the negative legs

Then bend and solder it to the other negative leg

Now bend the single remaining negative leg, comparing it to the original LED to make sure you have the bend in the correct place.  Look carefully at the photos below and bend one of the positive legs as close to the plastic of the LED as you can, then trim all the legs (don’t trim them too short, you’ll cut them to length after soldering into place).

Bend the remaining negative leg

Bend and trim the positive legs

When this new LED is fitted to the console, only the single negative leg will actually go through the circuit board and be soldered into the same place as the old LED.  The two positive legs should fit with one coming straight down the front of the circuit board, and the other bent so it is sticking out the back of the circuit board.  Test fit the LED, making sure that you have the positive and negative around the correct way, I found the following a nice fit.

Test fit

Test fit

Now you’ll need some wire to link up the LED to the switch at the rear of the console.  You’ll need three pieces of wire, one to carry the power to the switch, and another two for each positive leg, I used some IDE cable, strip the ends of the wires and tin them by melting a small amount of solder to them.  Leave one of the wires longer to reach the positive leg coming straight down the front of the circuit panel.

IDE cable prepared for soldering to LED

Solder one wire (the middle wire if you’ve used the IDE cable) to where the original LED got it’s power from, then insulate it to stop the new positive legs shorting out on it later on.  Make sure the insulation tape for the power lead doesn’t cover the hole for the negative leg.

Power wire soldered into place

Power wire insulated

Now solder the LED into place, solder the negative leg into where the original LED’s negative leg was and carefully trim the excess off, then solder the remaining leads to the positive legs of the LED, again – carefully trim the legs if needed.  I would probably try soldering the wires before putting the LED in place next time, the front positive LEG was awkward!

Rear positive leg soldered

Front positive leg soldered

Now route the wires around to the region select switch, solder the power lead to the middle contact of the spare row of contacts on the switch, then solder the remaining leads to top and bottom contacts of the same row.

Switch completed!

That’s it, finished, put your cube back together, making sure you don’t trap the wires.

I found it difficult to get a blue LED to show up blue on a digital camera, below are attempts to show the different colours of the LED (white for JPN mode, blue for USA mode).

White LED for JPN mode

Blue LED for USA mode

JPN mode white LED again!

USA mode blue LED again!