How to Fix the R Button on a GBA SP

By Doug Vintage

Updated September 22, 2017

Items you will need

  • Tri-wing screwdriver

  • Toothbrush

The GBA SP should be cleaned regularly to prevent damage to the various buttons.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

The Gameboy Advance SP, or GBA SP, is a portable video game console developed by Nintendo. The console features a back-lit LED screen, six face buttons, a digital control pad, and two shoulder buttons. Due to the compact construction of the GBA SP, the shoulder buttons can easily become damaged or obstructed by debris. Repairing sticky or non-functional "L" and "R" shoulder buttons is more affordable than having the system professionally serviced, but the process may require a special tool and the removal of the game case.

Turn off the GBA SP. Remove all games, batteries, and accessories from the console. Turn the unit face-down to expose the backside of the game case.

Use a clean, dry toothbrush to gentry scrub around the shoulder buttons. Allow the bristles of the brush to pass between the buttons and the housing to clear away any grime or debris that may be present.

Reinsert the batteries and a game for testing purposes. Turn on the GBA SP. Test the shoulder buttons for responsiveness. If the button is still unresponsive, continue to the next step after removing the game and batteries.

Turn the unit face-down and remove the six tri-wing screws from the game case.

Pull upwards on the back of the case to separate the two halves of the console and expose the circuit board.

Locate the shoulder buttons at the top of the circuit board. Depress the buttons to ensure that the coil spring and contact pad are functioning properly. If either of these components are broken, you will need to send the console to Nintendo for repairs.

Use a clean, dry toothbrush to clean the area around the button housing where the button meets the contact pad. Slide the button off of the plastic housing and clean underneath the coil spring. Slide the button back into position.

Bring the two halves of the console together, making sure to line up the screw holes on the back of the case with the holes around the circuit board. Replace the six tri-wing screws to complete the reassembly.

Insert the batteries and a game for testing purposes. Turn on the GBA SP and test the responsiveness of the defective button. If the button is still unresponsive, you will need to contact Nintendo Support for professional repairs.


Do not use any liquid cleaners on the GBA SP. Avoid blowing into the console, as this may present moisture to the circuit board and cause additional damage.