Remember that time when your beloved Nintendo DS stopped working on you? Did it break a hinge, crack a screen? Remember how devastated you were when you realized that this was the end of the line for your console—unless you wanted to spend hundreds of dollars getting it repaired by Nintendo? We’ve all been there; it’s okay.
What most of us gamers fail to realize, however, is that the Nintendo DS has got to be one of the easiest consoles to repair yourself. If you have the right tools—tri-wing screwdriver ($0.99, eBay), Philips screwdriver (your garage), and the knowledge provided by this article (free)—you can easily and quickly fix most of the common DS problems that may disturb your gaming experience.
What many gamers fail to realize is that we, as a whole, are a really smart group. Once we set our minds on something, we will figure out how to get it done. How can you set your mind to an idea you’ve never thought?
That’s what happened to me. I had quite a few Nintendo Ds Lites in my life, all of which ended up damaged in one way or another. I had looked up ways to get the problem fixed, but the only repair deals were from Nintendo, and as a 12-year-old, I didn’t really have the $100+ they wanted to fix the broken hinge.
It took me a few years after that to realize that it couldn’t be that difficult to open the DS and repair whatever problem was affecting it. During my time working with the DS consoles, I’ve found that many of the most common issues with the DS are actually really easy, and inexpensive, to fix!
- Broken Hinge
This is a more common problem with younger kids and people who aren’t particularly gentle with their devices, though it could happen to anyone.
To repair this, you have to open your DS through the bottom to get to the motherboard, where you will either find that your hinge has slipped out of place, or has cracked. The first can be easily fixed by simply putting them back in place. The second, though, will need a replacement case. You can easily buy replacement housing for the DS on eBay or similar websites—in many different colors—for under $15.
- Cracked Top Screen
A cracked top screen can happen to anyone and at any time, no matter how careful you are. To fix this, you will have to order a new top LCD screen (preferably with speakers included since the screen attaches to the speakers, which can be difficult for new users to solder) for the DS model you own. These can go for about $6 – $20, depending on where you look.
Once you receive your new screen, you will have to open your DS completely. That means you’ll have to open it from the bottom, where the battery is. Once you reach the motherboard, you then have to open the top part of the casing. When it opens, you’ll notice that there is a yellow ribbon connecting the top screen to the motherboard on the bottom half of the DS. There is a connector holding the ribbon. CAREFULLY lift up the black flap so that you can pull out the ribbon.
You’ll then see that the ribbon, along with two wires, is threaded through a hole near the hinge, joining the top half to the bottom. Be careful with the wires when you remove the broken top screen; those will stay. First, detach the wires from their places on the motherboard, and pull them through the hole. You can then do this the easy way and cut the ribbon to remove the top screen, or you can thread it back through the hole. Remove the broken screen and trash it. You can now pull the ribbon of the new screen through the hole and put the new part in its place. Slide the wires back through the hole and re-attach them to their spots. Close up the DS and you’re done!
- Cracked Bottom Screen
The bottom screen is much easier to replace. This time, you have to open only the bottom half of the casing. You’ll see the motherboard, and below it is the bottom screen. Once you purchase and receive your new bottom screen, take off the motherboard. There are two ribbons attaching the broken screen to the motherboard: one is on the top on the side facing you, the other is on the flip side of the motherboard. Detach them both by carefully flipping up the black flap.
Take off the touchscreen (the clear screen on top of the LCD) and put it on the new screen. Now what you do is repeat the process backwards to put in the new screen.
- No WiFi
This issue probably means you have a faulty or broken WiFi board. First, order a new one. Then open your DS to the motherboard. The WiFi board is the green square-shaped thing on the left of the top game reader. Simply detach the black wire attached to it, pull the board off, and replace it with the new one. Then, re-attach the wire and close the DS.
- Dead Battery
If your DS won’t turn on, or won’t hold a charge, don’t worry; this is the easiest problem to fix. There is a door on the bottom of the DS with a screw. Unscrew it and open it. You’ll see the battery is in there. When you have a new battery, pry the old one out and put the new one in. Screw the door back on and turn on your DS.