Feedback Hardware Broken DS Headphone Port

ScaryHobbit

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So the headphone port on my clamshell-model Nintendo DS (NTR-001) started malfunctioning last night.
I had it powered on with my headphones plugged in and was watching the opening intro to Final Fantasy 4, and right at the end of the video I heard terrible popping coming from both the headphone and the speakers. While the speakers still work fine on their own, since then - sound is now stuck coming from both the headphones and the speakers.

This is what little I could note of the situation so far:
- The headphones I used still work fine on other devices, and other headphones I tested are all getting the same issue, so I can probably rule out the headphone as the culprit.
- The speakers otherwise work correctly when a headphone isn't plugged in.
- The inside of the port doesn't look damaged. I lightly tapped the connectors with a coated thin twisty wire, and they don't feel loose or dislodged.
- Maybe the connectors are dirty? I don't know how to fit a Q-tip coated with alcohol into the port without damaging the connectors.
- Other sources (mainly for 3DS) suggest that the soldering on the port unit often comes loose. I'm willing to buy a soldering iron and learn how to re-solder the headphone port in case that is causing the issue. (I need to learn how to solder anyway to fix my PS2's disk drive.)
- I am also looking to buy a GBA SP Headphone Adapter as a workaround, since the NTR-001 DS uses the exact same charging system as the GBA SP and is also compatible with the Headphone Adapter. That will really tell me if indeed the regular port is broken, or the sound chip itself is going bad.
- If I have to replace the whole port, I could not find individual replacement parts for that specific DS model. I would need to buy a spare DS motherboard and remove one from there.


And then I might as well share some background for why I'm caring so much about this right now:

Technically I have 3 DS's, pretty much. But for one reason or another, there are some pet-peeves that I have about particular DS models that keep me from falling in love with any particular one.
- The Clamshell DS (the one with the broken audio port) is probably my favorite for playing original DS games, despite it's worse screen. The D-pad is just right for playing 3D games (compared to the other old DS models) - particularly 3D platformers and First Person Shooters (Metroid Prime Hunters, Call of Duty), and I have nostalgia for the old clamshell design.
- A DS Lite - Has a better screen and is lighter, but the D-pad is much worse. Good for Zelda and Mario Kart, simple touch games, RPG's, and 2D games. Bad for complex 3D games like those listed above. On top of that the touch sensor on mine is dying, so that's another thing I have to repair myself.
- My New 3DS XL - This one isn't too bad tbh. The Circle Pad is really nice. But I just don't like how the original DS image gets blown up across the much bigger 3DS screen.
Also it's a little heavy, which is not good for shooters (Hello, Kid Icarus Uprising!).

I'm not in the mood right now to buy another DS or two just to find something that's the ideal fit, so I'd much rather fix what I have now to prolong their lifespan and so that I have multiple options to play my games from.
Any advice is appreciated!
 

FAST6191

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The usual suspect for such things is a bad connector, and while one hanging on by a thread might feel a bit loose when poked with a toothpick or something it is not always the case. Given the DS socket is also somewhat non standard (works fine with my headphones that have a screw on large plug adapter but most normal ones struggle) that is the more likely candidate.

When you say coming out of both you do mean plugging headphones in no longer silences the speakers? That would further speak to the headphones connected detector not working and usual fault in general 3.5mm sockets (see it often enough in phones, particularly ones people use aux cables in).

I had thought the SP headphone used a different socket but looking at http://www.problemkaputt.de/gbatek.htm#auxsoundheadphonesocketandbatterypowersupply apparently it is the same. Never tried it myself and not sure where mine is right now, though would be an interesting test.

Re buying a motherboard. I would not necessarily go for a good one. See if there is a spares and repairs one, or someone selling components if they have one. Desoldering such things is tricky as well. I don't know how well adapting something would go either but looking at one you do have a bit of space and one part is a microphone adapter anyway which was never really used for anything.
 
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JuanMena

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I have couple LITE and FAT boards lying around, and to be honest I haven't poked around the Audio Jack.

But recently been fixing old Gameboy Color and DMG consoles.

Those's audio jack has this neat feature that, when you connect a pair of headphones, it creates a short inside the audio jack that tells the console to shut off the speakers. It does so with a tiny metal spring that makes contact when it gets pushed by headphones jack. It springs back to place when removing headphones, cancelling the short and enabling speakers.

Assuming all Audio Jacks works this way, it's very possible that this spring inside your DS might've just gave up. So if you could insert something to reposition this spring, it should be an easy repair.

If nothing happens or you can't see anything out of the usual, then it means you need to replace the entire piece.
 

ScaryHobbit

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I have couple LITE and FAT boards lying around, and to be honest I haven't poked around the Audio Jack.

But recently been fixing old Gameboy Color and DMG consoles.

Those's audio jack has this neat feature that, when you connect a pair of headphones, it creates a short inside the audio jack that tells the console to shut off the speakers. It does so with a tiny metal spring that makes contact when it gets pushed by headphones jack. It springs back to place when removing headphones, cancelling the short and enabling speakers.

Assuming all Audio Jacks works this way, it's very possible that this spring inside your DS might've just gave up. So if you could insert something to reposition this spring, it should be an easy repair.

If nothing happens or you can't see anything out of the usual, then it means you need to replace the entire piece.
Thanks for the tip!
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the DS has that kind of feature in it's audio jack. Either that, or it was heavily redesigned so that it uses some other mechanism to do that.
 

Ozito

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Thanks for the tip!
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the DS has that kind of feature in it's audio jack. Either that, or it was heavily redesigned so that it uses some other mechanism to do that.

Hey :)
What kind of checking did you do to rule that out?
 

ScaryHobbit

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Hey :)
What kind of checking did you do to rule that out?
I just took a flashlight and looked inside the audio ports.

Though it does appear that the very back of the port is copper - and according to FAST6191's document this appears to be the contact for the left audio.
This picture below shows that contact is just right on the back of the port casing, soldered to the mobo. I still hear left-side sound from my headphone (and yes, plugging in headphones no longer silences the speakers), but if it's loose in the back maybe that's causing the malfunction.

I won't know for sure until I troubleshoot further.

picture source: https://www.bibelotandco.fr/en/nintendo-ds-fat-cntr-cpu-01-motherboard-works-55669

carte-mere-nintendo-ds-fat-cntr-cpu-01-fonctionne_imgx500_5114.jpg
 
Last edited by ScaryHobbit,
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Ozito

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Check those two tabs with a multimeter.
They should be shorted when the port is empty and disconnected when the headphone jack is in.

The spring that @JuanBaNaNa was talking about is located to the left if you peek inside the hole.

That spring gets activated with the headphone jack and in turn disconnects the short and probably signals the CPU to shut off the speakers.

Tab 3 is left channel
Tab 2 is right channel

NDS_Board_ScanCrop.jpg
 
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