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May 15 2012

Boydo Repairs His Nintendo DS – Final Outcome

Last night, I dropped a quick note to say that I was repairing my Nintendo DS after the hinge broke. Tonight, I thought I’d share my repair experience with you.

Nintendo DS with broken hinge

Nintendo DS with broken hinge

Unfortunately, when the hinge breaks on a Nintendo DS you pretty much have to disassemble the whole thing. I thought I’d get a a new shell off eBay and change the colour at the same time. The warranty had expired a while back so I figured that I had nothing much to lose.

In a nutshell, it’s darn fiddly transplanting the electronic innards of the Nintendo DS into a replacement shell particularly if it is a cheap Chinese knock off. The moulds and frames have to be precise otherwise you’ll have a hard time fitting things in. For me, the hinge itself proved to be toughest to reinstall given the tight area. I also had to use a file a few times to reduce friction or reduce the dimensions of an aspect of the shell to fit in the electronics.

The other downer was that the supplied buttons (A, B, X, Y) and digital pad were not tall enough to provide adequate clearance above the shell and provide a satisfying click. I had to use the buttons from the old shell and file down a couple of the internal notches on them to make them fit.

After all of that, the hinge is a bit loose for my liking but at least it works without the top screen dangling by half a hinge.

So how does it look now?

Nintendo DS after successful transplant

Nintendo DS after successful transplant

It looks pretty good even if I do say so myself.

One major issue that I ran into was after reassembling the unit (which spanned two days) I found that the top screen would light up but no image would be displayed. if this happens to you simply unlatch and unplug each ribbon connector and then replug and relatch them securely. It probably won’t be the ribbon connected to the main circuit board as if that is disconnected the Nintendo DS won’t boot at all so it will probably be the top connector found on the circuit board behind the right speaker.

Would I recommend that you try this yourself? For people who have problems with jigsaw puzzles, definitely not. Take it to a repair place and pay them to do it. Even if you can build your own computer I’d still be hesitant recommending this task given all of the tiny screws and the care, precision and concentration in doing it. It can be done and my undertaking is evidence of it but it can seem like there is a point of no return once you have bits and pieces of a Nintendo DS all over the place.

To put it simply, if you’re going to do it yourself then don’t lose heart and keep going!

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