GREEN IN THE LIGHT
1) To open the Gamecube, you'll need the 4.5mm gamebit and a screwdriver which you can put the bit on. I got my gamebit from eBay for $5 and a 77 piece screwdriver set from Canadian Tire for $13. OR you can try making one using a spare bic pen and a lighter.
2) A 3mm, 3~4V LED of your choice. I bought 20 x GREEN LEDs of 3000 MCD from eBay as well, for $0.01. They seem just as bright, if not, SLIGHTLY brighter than the original orange LED that comes with the Gamecube. You may buy even brighter LEDs if you wish, just make sure you don't blind yourself..
3) A soldering iron. You can easily find one at Radio Shack or Canadian Tire, or simply just borrow a friend's, which is what I did.
4) A small pair of pliers. You'll need it to extract and insert the LED. Or, if you're confident, you can try using your fingers, at least to extract the orange LED.
5) Most importantly, some confidence. If you don't feel comfortable messing with your Gamecube, don't. I can't be held responsible if your Gamecube stops working after you mod it, or if you accidentally burn or shock yourself, or if your Gamecube dies or decides to run away to escape your devious plans...
You should be able to do this mod without a desoldering tool and without solder. I did. One more thing to note before you start is the warranty from Nintendo on the Gamecube. I believe it's 60 days after you purchase it. So if you do any kind of modding on your Gamecube during this 60 day period, Nintendo's not going to hate you.. No, they'll just void your warranty!! If you're passed the 60 days, then the warranty is over, so no need to worry about it.
Step 1) Turn over the Gamecube so it's upside down. Take your gamebit screwdriver and unscrew the four screws out from the bottom of the Gamecube. Once the four screws are out, carefully flip the Gamecube right side up again and lift up the top casing. Unlike what's pictured below, you should ALWAYS have a clean uncluttered workspace.
Step 2) You should see the orange LED now. For a better view, you can unclip the panel so it folds down. Note the diode direction (the triangle shaped symbol which, in this situation, is saying: electricity flows from right (positive) to left (negative)). Take your replacement LED and and bend the legs 90 degrees so you get the same shape as the oranged LED. MAKE SURE that the negative lead (shorter leg/flat side on LED) is it's left leg.
Step 3) The trick is 'not' to use a small tip (since we're working with a 3mm LED on such a small circuit board), which is what I originally thought, but a standard sized soldering iron tip is big enough to melt the two solder points at once, which is what we want. Plug in your soldering iron and let it warm up. Unclip the controller panel so you have acess to the solder points. With one hand, grab the orange LED with your pliers (or fingers). With your other hand, take your soldering iron and place it in between the two solder points so it melts them both simultaneously. After a few seconds, u should be able to feel the looseness of the LED so just pull and slide it out. Remove the soldering iron and make sure that two solder points didn't join. If they did, you're going to have to melt the solder again and separate them. If you don't separate the points and you turn on your Gamecube, you'll short circuit the board and probably fry it....
Step 4) Now that the original orange LED is out, you can insert your replacement LED. Most pliers have a wire cutter on them. Use it to shorten the bended LED leads to match the length of the orange LED leads, now that you've extracted it. Make note of which lead is positive and negative again since you'll be cutting the leads to be equal length now. You don't want to integrate a diode into a circuit the wrong way. Again, with one hand, hold the replacement LED with a pair of pliers and push the leads against the solder points from under the board. With your other hand, melt the solder points simultaneously using the soldering iron. Your push of the LED legs should penetrate the melted solder. Don't push too hard or you'll go too far. Ensure that the LED is in the proper position and that it is inserted as straight as possible. Once again, check that the solder points didn't join.
Step 5) Clip the front panel up again and check that the LED is not crooked. The flat side of the LED should be on the left side when you look straight at it. Put the cover back on and YOU'RE DONE!
Plug in your Gamecube and prepared to be awed. Turn it on and you'll be staring at it for a few minutes. At least I did. Here are some before and after shots.
Of course, I gave so much detail because this tutorial is aimed towards those who have little or no experience with circuitry and soldering. When you become more experienced, all this becomes second nature, and you can sum this tutorial up into 3 words: "replace the LED". I am no where near that level of experience. The last time I soldered something was more than 2 years ago, in high school... Yes, our 'team' built an OOPIC robot, which eventually ran into the wall too hard one time and killed itself.... RIP.
In the future, when I have time, maybe I'll do the controller port LED mod, where light beams out of the controller ports. Currently, the XBOX is the most moddable console in terms of 'looks' modding and 'mod chip' modding. Hopefully I can make enough money in the summer for an XBOX, but I still love my Gamecube.