DS original (phat) replacement case review (56K no)

Discussion in 'NDS - Console and Game Discussions' started by FAST6191, Apr 12, 2014.

  1. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    As mentioned in the original thread it seems the Nintendium supplies of yesteryear ran out and dropping my DS one too many times finally finished off the hinges for good. I sought a replacement case despite it probably not being worth it (a second hand DS is not much and the battery in this thing is not great), or a sin against gaming kind depending upon your dislike of the original DS screen.
    To that end this is a review of sorts, however cases will be hard to find in the future and this feels like reviewing yet another R4 clone so I will leave it as a basic forum review rather than work it up fully.
    It is not a perfect replacement but it works well, given the choice I would cannibalise another dead DS rather than have this but it will more than do. It is quite nice to have fully working hinges for the first time in a couple of years as well.

    Original thread

    Ozito found a case replacement in the UK at http://www.blitzinmedia.co.uk/nintendo-ds-original-23-c.asp so after a false start (out of stock of the black by the time I came to it, refunded my initial order and sent me a nice manual email) I ordered a blue replacement case.
    £10.19 at time of writing, free UK first class postage from the site. Paypal for those that want it (no site account necessary for this), they also run an Amazon account though the cases were not on it.
    Ordered about lunch time on Thursday, was in my front porch when I awoke on Saturday morning in a nice padded envelope.
    Other than their Amazon account (which was positive) I could not find much on them other than the listing their SEO person put on every other directory out there. One order does not a pattern make but based on this I would order again.

    I have since done the replacement so my impressions of the process and stuff in question. In general DS replacement shells of all stripes have a reputation of being cheap and nasty. Though I could bust out the forensics and demonstrate things I am fairly certain this was either original moulds/mould designs, ghost shift or failed batch made good, leaning more towards the former owing to the plastics finish though it might be a mixture of things. The original moulds would have claimed ABS plastic, I lack the gear to test for it right now and I doubt it is the original grade/treated but it is certainly not a LDPE bodge job. The feel test for the front panels does feel different but that is only when quite literally moving my thumb from one to the other, how much of that is the shell it is replacing being exceptionally well worn (we are talking possibly thousands of hours of use). Back panel is matt to the original's gloss though.
    The biggest "mistake" other than the sprues was the lack of a lower position holder in the left speaker (right side on the photos). Between the screw and the existing holder it still has two points of securing though, likewise it still had the fence to align it with.

    Contents of the package

    Full shell replacements (all four main sections). Including battery cover already assembled.
    Replacement top screen cover. Seemingly a bit scratch prone so I may go back and salvage the old one.
    A full set of buttons. Alternate style of dpad (raised ridges vs smooth), this was horrible so I reused the original.
    Rubber underlays for the buttons, springs, stickers (another ghost shift I guess), even the little sticky standoffs though these might need a bit of extra trimming.
    A knock off stylus (if I had to guess either bad injection mould/copy cast or removed too soon on the ghost shift). No black nib on it, however I have used far worse third party styluses that were sold as a standalone stylus and not even as part of a "pack".
    Seemingly complete screw set. All were Phillips/cross head which is absolutely fine by me (the fewer security screws in my life the better).

    No tools but that just means I have one less nasty spudger and nasty screwdriver to go in the increasing overstuffed pot.
    No instructions. No real problem with that though as such things are typically not that great and there is nothing hidden on the DS.
    The only thing it really lacked was the spacer for the top screen (the yellowy strip you can see in the replacement top shell). You probably would not have lost this and if push came to shove then you could make it with your knife and any bit of thin enough plastic.

    Most of it did seem to be injection moulded, many sprues were removed hastily/badly though this is nothing a scalpel/craft knife will not take of and realistically anybody that did not make models as a kid probably should not be trying this. Some did appear to be injection moulded slightly differently, how much of this is having an early DS vs a later shell model or something else is up for debate. Snap tabs were not great but between them and screws it worked about as well as the original.
    I did have cut into the X button slot in the touch screen top side with a craft knife as the gap was not aligned properly.
    The screws/moulding mostly worked but I reused a couple of the originals and had to dip into my pot of random screws for a couple of them to get them to bite properly. Better that than fracturing it from undrilled holes though.
    The top screen cover is not made of the hardest plastic so may scratch more easily than you are used to. It did come covered with a thin film on both sides though which is nice.
    It did not come with any means to attach the top screen cover, double sided sticky stuff for fixing phone screens and the like is sold by the metre though and as such I had a bunch left over from phone and similar device repairs. The bezel as it were is several mm wide in most places so you could probably get away with glue/epoxy though that would be a risk and you would want to do it unassembled.

    You will want a craft knife/scalpel, a triwing for the shell on the original DS and a small Phillips/cross head for everything else. Depending upon how broken your hinges are (mine were basically held on by the ribbon at this point) when you replace it a 4.5mm spanner to realign it and a set of pliers/grips to reinsert the hinges (I had a big set and used a flat head screwdriver but you should probably take more care). Some canned air/clean air and a microfibre/glasses cloth also worked well for me for the screens.
    I will not be doing a guide here, if you want one http://www.squidoo.com/replace-ds-shell does well enough.

    The mic and light holes were routed/drilled (I do not think they were a mould feature) less than spectacularly but the included light pipe (oh yeah one is included but it is a clear one where the original was clouded) seemed to work well enough.
    Inside the speaker holes there was an inner and outer shaft where there was only one on the original.
    The stylus hole was a bit tough but equally the shell it is replacing is first year.

    I tried mixing and matching buttons. In the end the only thing that stayed was the original D-pad and select, start and power (probably should have done those but it is only select, start and power). This might not have been my choice but the replacement case dimensions forced it or sanding the originals down in places and otherwise fiddling. The face buttons I probably could have got away with but the shoulder buttons ended up fully locked.
    Button feel of the replacements is different in that they seem slightly lower. They play Tetris, Mario Kart and various shmups just fine though.

    I did initially try to keep the original back cover, this might have been doable but was ultimately abandoned.

    Apologies for the quality of some of these, I was free standing and with my cheap and nasty micro camera.

    The lovely box it came in.

    The state of affairs before and after.


    Left, original. Right. Replacement.

    The other stuff that came in the box.
    Top replacement, bottom original.

    Ozito likes this.
  2. Ozito

    Ozito Not a new member anymore

    Mar 20, 2006
    Awesome review :yaynds:

    It's a shame that it has become difficult to find good quality housing.
    How about I send you one of the eBay housing and you review it?

    Never mind, the seller doesn't ship to Sweden and I can't make inquiries about anything, eBay doesn't let me.

    I like the Ninetudo name though ;)
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