Tutorial NDSL disassembly/reassembly guide

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thieves like us

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Jul 17, 2003
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NDSL disassembly/reassembly for case replacement

by thieves like us - 31st July 2008

replacement kit supplied by:

<div class="reviewbreak">Disclaimer</div>the information contained within this document is provided “as-is”, without any expressed or implied warranty. In no event shall the author and/or web host be held liable for any damages arising from the use of the information provided.

Guide Contents<div class="reviewbreak">Required / Optional tools</div>
  • #00 phillips (+) screwdriver
  • tri-wing screwdriver
  • x-acto/pro-edge type hobby knife
  • small (jeweler's sized) pair of needle-nosed pliers
  • small (1/16th in) regular (-) screwdriver (optional)
  • backing paper from a sticker sheet (optional)

prior to starting, make sure that your ds lite system is in proper working order and that you have a clean, dry, well lit environment to work in. I recommend performing the dis- and re-assembly on a clean, soft surface so as not to inadvertently scratch the outer case parts.

warning: be sure and properly ground yourself, discharging any static electricity before starting to avoid damaging the electronic components inside of your system.

<div class="reviewbreak">Disassembly (lower half)</div>1. remove the slot-2 cover and then turn the system over so that the bottom is visible. using the #00 phillips screwdriver, remove the battery cover and expose the lithium-ion battery pak underneath. remove the battery pak by inserting a thumbnail or some other small, flat implement (such as a small, flat-bladed screwdriver) under the lip (the area indicated in green) and then gently prying upward and in the direction indicated.

2. using a needle, pin or x-acto type hobby knife, carefully remove the (2) rubber pads to expose the two phillips screws underneath. the best location to insert and then gently lift upwards, is the bottom-center edge of each pad (as seen below). take your time to avoid scratching the case while prying the covers off. place the pads (sticky-side down) on the sheet of sticker backing paper to keep dust particles from settling on the adhesive.

3. remove the (7) screws holding the bottom cover as shown in the image below. the (4) tri-wing screws (which includes a smaller, black anodized screw, located at the top-center above the slot-1 access) are shown highlighted in blue, while the (3) phillips screws are shown in magenta.

tip: laying out the parts in an orderly fashion as they are removed will allow for easier reassembly as well as ensuring that the proper components are used in the correct locations.

tip: moving the volume switch all the way to the right (maximum volume) prior to removing the shell bottom will allow for easier reassembly of the bottom portion of the case in reassembly step 44.

4. carefully remove the bottom half of the shell by lifting it up and off. you may find it necessary to run your thumbnail in between the two halves and help separate them, [unlocking] the set of interior tabs located in the front above the slot-2 access (shown in the image below).

5. pull the wi-fi package up and off to separate it from the pc board. a press-fit connector and a block of double-sided sticky foam on its underside keep the package elevated from the rest of the components when it is connected, so it may require a bit of force to completely release it. after freeing the package, simply flip it over and out of the way for now.

6. remove the L and R buttons now so that they don’t accidentally come loose and propel the springs off in some random direction (never to be found again). slowly release the tension on the spring by unclipping the captured end from the notched post (see image below) and then pulling each assembly (shoulder button, post and spring) up and out.

note: the springs used in the shoulder buttons are wound in opposite directions. when assembled, the end that is captured by the notched post must extend from the bottom of the wound section in order to properly function.

7. disconnect both the white (microphone) and black (wi-fi) wires from their corresponding connectors using the small flat-bladed screwdriver, carefully prying the wire up and off. store the wi-fi package on the sheet of sticker backing paper to keep the exposed adhesive of the foam from attracting any dust particles.

tip: reconnecting the wi-fi package temporarily (as shown in the image above) will make removing the wire a bit easier.

8. wrapping a small piece of scotch tape (forming a conical shape as shown) around the end of the wi-fi wire will help prevent the connector from snagging on any of the surface-mounted components and then pull the wire from the right side, out from under the slot-one package.

9. remove the 2 phillips screws (shown higlighted in magenta) to release the pc board and lower lcd panel from the top half of the lower shell. after removing the screws, you may have to press down gently (from the top side) on the lcd panel to free it from the frame opening. once freed, flip the pc board and lcd panel outward (and over) so that the flexible ribbon cable leading to the top display is accessible.

warning: move the pc board assembly and lower lcd display as one unit so that you don’t inadvertently pull on (and ruin) either of the two flexible ribbon cables.

tip: position the case in a “closed position” prior to proceeding to the next step. doing so will help ensure that hinge mechanism is in the proper position when you reassemble your system.

10. detach the pc board by removing the flexible ribbon cable leading to the upper display. unlatch the lock on the connector by inserting a thumbnail or something thin and sturdy under the locking mechanism [the dark brown plastic clip] and flipping it up (in the direction away from the cable as shown below). once the connector is unlocked, pull the ribbon cable straight out.

11. remove the (3) silicone connective pads and the d-pad, start, select and A, B, X and Y buttons from the lower shell half.

note: the A, B, X and Y buttons are all keyed with notches and flat spots so that each button will only fit in the correct location.

12. remove the (2) phillip screws (circled in [magenta]) that fasten the cover containing the power & wi-fi indicators. pull off the cover from the hinge mechanism.

13. slide the ribbon cable and both the microphone and wi-fi wires through the slotted section to detach the top half of the lower shell.

warning: be careful not to crease or otherwise damage the flexible ribbon cable when threading it through the slot.

<div class="reviewbreak">Disassembly (upper half)</div>14. grasp the exposed metal portion of the hinge mechanism using the needle-nose pliers, and gently (but firmly) pull the hinge mechanism out of the of the shell.

15. using the needle-nose pliers, carefully slide the metal collar out of the center section and remove it. older systems will have a slot in the collar, allowing the ribbon cable and wires to slide out easily through the split. newer systems have a complete circle which will require you to carefully coil the flexible ribbon cable (into a tight tube shape) to slip through the inside of the collar to remove it.

warning: even though the flat ribbon cable is extremely flexible, care should be taken so that you don’t crease it and damage any of the traces when rolling it into the small tube shape to remove the collar as well as pass it through the circular portion of the top shell.

16. using a hobby knife, needle or a pin, remove the (4) adhesive-backed squares to expose the phillips screws underneath. gently work the tip of the knife in from a corner or edge and pry the cover up and off, taking care not to cut or otherwise mar the case. place the screw covers on the sticker backing paper.

17. remove the (4) phillips screws and then slide the inner half of the shell down while, at the same time, sliding the outer piece upwards to unlock (indicated by a clicking noise) the upper shell halves. like the lower shell, you still may have to use a thumbnail to lift the interior half of the shell out and away from the outer half after you’ve unlocked the halves.

18. lift both speakers out and remove the plastic seals underneath (shown above) prior to attempting to detaching the lcd display. although the seals are not lined with any adhesive, you may still have to separate them from the face of the speakers if you do not find them lying in the cavity.

19. the top display is held in place by a double-sided, black piece of adhesive. free the display by gently (but firmly) applying pressure to one of the corners of the display (as shown below). once the adhesive starts to separate from the shell, continue to apply pressure (moving your thumb along the edge of the frame opening) until the display comes away.

note: some replacement kits comes packaged with a replacement double-sided adhesive frame that can be used in the event that you tear the original.

tip w/ warning: placing the upper shell half in the freezer for a minute or two prior to attempting to release the display can make this step a bit easier. however, leaving it for a prolonged period of time may cause condensation, which can damage the lcd panel.

20. with the display released (and flipped out of the way), remove the wi-fi antennae board from the shell, sliding the assembly free by pulling the black wire through the plastic collar (as shown below). repeat for the microphone and its wire by using the small flat-bladed screwdriver to release the wire from the (2) notches in the channel, gently pulling the microphone can a surrounding foam up and out and then finally pulling everything through the plastic collar.

21. coil the flexible ribbon cable and push it through the plastic collar to completely free the display and speakers from the shell (again, taking care to not crease or damage the flexible cable).

22. finally, remove the runner stops and place them on the sticker backing paper (these prevent the shell halves from rubbing against one another when your ds is closed). disassembly complete.

<div class="reviewbreak">Reassembly (upper half)</div>tip: although the shell plastic is reasonably soft (which technically makes the screws “self tapping”), starting and then backing them out a few times (making further progress with each attempt) will create a threaded channel that the screws will [bite] into. assemble the shell halves and repeat this process for the (4) screw holes in upper shell and the (11) in the lower shell prior to starting the reassembly process.

23. transfer the small, square piece of adhesive-backed foam (located under the left speaker) from the original to the replacement case. coil and thread the flexible cable for the upper display back through the plastic collar of the shell face as shown below. leave the lcd panel assembly (including the speakers and wiring flipped out for the time being to give yourself more room to replace the wi-fi antennae and microphone assemblies.

translucent case tip: take care when positioning the adhesive-backed foam pieces, strips of tape and runs of wiring when replacing them as they will be visible (from the outside) when the case is reassembled.

tip: routing the connector ends of both the microphone and wi-fi wires through the flexible cable coil prior to replacing them will make the following two steps easier.

24. place the microphone back into place, routing the microphone wire through the coiled flexible cable inside of the plastic collar and then using the flat-bladed screwdriver, gently work the surrounding foam into the circular cavity so that it is positioned evenly. the microphone is actually a lot smaller than the piece of foam encasing it, so make sure that it stays correctly oriented (with the front of the microphone directed squarely towards the hole in the front of the shell).
last, but not least, tuck the wiring into the channel and secure it in place, using the small flat-bladed screwdriver to gently press the wire into the (2) slots.

25. replace the wi-fi antennae circuit board, routing it through the plastic collar inside of the coiled flexible cable (along with the microphone wire) and then making sure to run the wire between the inside edge of the frame and the two pins to hold it in place (use the flat-bladed screwdriver to gently seat the wire into position).

translucent case tip: be sure to reposition the adhesive-backed foam square on the wi-fi antennae circuit board so that it appears straight and centered prior to proceeding to the next step.

26. flip the display back over and into position and then gently press it into place making sure to seat the black adhesive frame to the backside of the shell (all the way around) on the surrounding edges.

tip: if you are using a replacement piece of double-sided adhesive, be sure to clean the front of the lcd display of any residue from the old adhesive frame with a soft cloth dampened with rubbing alcohol.

27. place both of the plastic seals and speakers into their corresponding locations. remember to position the speakers so that the cones are facing downwards to project the sound out of the holes located underneath. carefully reposition the speaker wires, using the small plastic posts to route the wiring.

translucent case tip: remove and replace the two pcs. of tape that hold the speaker wires under the display in place so that they are applied straight. additionally, clean any fingerprints from the backside of the display using a soft cloth dampened with alcohol or glass cleaner prior to fitting the upper shell halves back together.

28. fit the upper shells back together, starting with the outer half positioned slightly lower (so that the tabs inside the edges line up properly) and then slide the outer half upward, using an firm, but gentle and even motion until the parts lock into place.

warning: do not force the halves together. if the halves do not appear to be fitting together completely, check to ensure the display, microphone, wi-fi antennae, speakers and all wiring are positioned correctly and that nothing is being pinched.

29. replace the (4) phillips screws surrounding the display, tightening them just enough so that each screw cover fits back in place completely into the recessed area.

warning: over-tightening the screws can result in stripping the hole(s) and/or damaging the backside of the shell (causing the screw to “bubble” the plastic).

30. thread the flexible cable, microphone and wi-fi wires through the metal collar and then push the collar back (all the way) evenly into the shell.

31. push the hinge mechanism into the hole located on the right side of the shell assembly. the exterior of the hinge mechanism is notched matching the grooves of the hole that it slips into. be sure to press the hinge in completely so that only the metal portion is sticking out (as shown below).

<div class="reviewbreak">Reassembly (lower half)</div>32. thread the flexible cable through the slot in the inner half of the lower shell, pulling it though and into the open cavity afterwards. follow by routing both the microphone and wi-fi wires though the same opening, making sure that the wires remain inside the center of the coiled flat cable. after the wires are routed properly, slide the lower shell half onto the metal collar, ensuring that it seats properly and pivots without binding the flexible cable and/or either of the wires.

33. place the clear plastic LED diffuser (for the power and wi-fi indicators) inside of the right-side cover as shown below and then press the cover onto the hinge mechanism. notice that this positions the cover at an angle past closed (see image below). this angle provides the necessary tension to help keep the ds lite unit shut after closing it. replace the 2 longer phillips screws to secure the inner shell half.

note: both screws need to be tightened completed so that the heads are nearly flush with the bottom side of the shell.

tip: work the hinge once or twice after completing this step to ensure that the system locks in the correct [open] position. if it does not, disassemble to rotate the metal piece of the hinge mechanism 180°. re-assemble and test again.

warning: this next step is the most critical part of reassembly and is also the step that will cause most people grief (eg. their ds lite will not power back up after it’s completely reassembled). follow the instructions carefully and use the images for reference.

34. re-attach the flexible cable leading from the top display to the connector on the pc board. insert the cable completely (and evenly) into the connector so that it looks like the right-most image shown below and then close the clasp, locking the cable in place.

tip: those of you with larger, stubby fingers, may find it easier to grasp the end of the cable with pair of smooth needle-nose pliers to guide the end of the cable.

warning: DO NOT, under any circumstances use a pair of pliers that look like the right side pair (see image). any force applied with serrated interior will most undoubtedly damage the flexible cable.

35. replace the d-pad, start, select and the A, B, X, Y buttons into their appropriate locations (the A, B, X and Y buttons are all keyed so that they will only fit in the correct position) and then place the corresponding conductive pads over them.

36. route the white (microphone) wire across the top as shown (using the pinch slots to hold the cable in place*) and then flip the motherboard and lower lcd display assembly over and back into place.

note: some of the replacement shells are not molded exactly the same as the oem parts and subsequently lack the small slots to pinch and hold the microphone wire in place. if your kit does not contain the slots, you will have to hold the wire taut while flipping the pc board and lcd panel into place.

37. re-attach the microphone connector back onto the motherboard (by pushing it onto the connector squarely until it “clicks” into place) and then push the wire “taut” and out of the way (as shown below).

38. secure the motherboard in place with the (2) phillips screws as shown.

39. twist the wi-fi wire so that the connector is positioned face up (as shown below) and it is relatively straightened before attempting to route it under the slot-one package from the position shown in the 2nd image.

note: it may take a few attempts to push the cable through completely. if the wire starts to bunch up, simply pull it back out, straighten it back out and then re-attempt.

tip: an easier way to thread the wi-fi wire under the slot-one package is to straighten a paper clip, and tape the connector end of the wire to it. using the paperclip as a "guide wire", slide it through, pulling the wi-fi wire behind.

40. clip the wi-fi package back into place and then re-attach the connector on the black wire to the wi-fi package just like you did with the microphone lead. finally, pull the wi-fi wire taut (as shown below) so that it will not interfere with the left shoulder button spring.

tip: at this point in the re-assembly process, everything that has been assembled can be tested to ensure that your system is working properly.
hold the battery in place (against the connectors on the bottom side of the motherboard) and turn on the system to verify that both displays power up and that the touch screen functions properly (a quick touch is all that’s needed). if something is amiss, proceed to the troubleshooting section now.

41. assemble the L shoulder button, capturing the spring between the two tabs with the metal post and then fitting the assembly into the appropriate hole in the shell. make sure that the correct spring is used so that the spring end that is held in place by the notched post exits from the bottom of the coil. hold the assembly in place with one hand and move the free end of the spring into place between the notches.

42. repeat the process for the R shoulder button.

tip: temporarily unplugging the wi-fi package from the motherboard will give you a bit more room to maneuver the spring into place and secure it in place.

43. there is a small raised rail (shown highlighted in [green]) that acts as a guide for both the power and volume buttons. position each button on the other side of the rail and then push the button into place through the opening. (this may require a small amount of force to “pop” the button into the correct position).

note: the images show the original switch covers from the cobalt/black system inside of the clear replacement case so that you can see the proper orientation of the pieces.

44. move the plastic power button to the "OFF" position and the volume button to maximum (as shown below) to match the position of the actual electronic switches on the motherboard and then carefully place the bottom shell in place. it should drop into place with very little effort if everything is positioned correctly.

tip: if the outer shell half will not seat down properly, attempt to shift it ever so slightly so that the posts from the shoulder buttons align with the corresponding holes that they fit into on the underside of the shell.

warning: DO NOT force the bottom of the shell into place. doing so may result in breaking the post off of either the power and/or volume switches!!

44. replace the (4) tri-wing (displayed in [blue]) and the (3) phillips screws (displayed in [magenta])to secure the lower shell halves together.

45. replace the battery and secure the battery cover using the #00 phillips screwdriver.

tip: "nudge" the battery in the direction indicated if your battery cover will not close.

46. replace the (4) square screw covers, concealing the phillips screws surrounding the display and slide the rubber runners into the channels on either side of the upper shell. and last but not least, replace the (2) rubber pads on the bottom to cover up the phillips screws there as well.

47. last but not least, replace the (2) rubber pads on the bottom to cover up the phillips screws. reassembly complete.

<div class="reviewbreak">Troubleshooting</div>symptom:
the ds lite powers up for a brief instant, but then shuts off
potential solution:
disassemble the lower shell and check the connections of upper and lower displays (all three flexible cable connections).

the ds lite powers up, however the top screen does not display anything.
potential solution:
disassemble the lower shell and check the connection of the lower display. chances are that you didn’t not properly seat the flexible cable prior to locking the connector.

the ds lite powers up, however the touch screen does not appear to work properly.
potential solution:
disassemble the lower shell and check the connection of the small flexible cable. the locking mechanism for this connector is different and works in the opposite direction (as shown below). additionally, check to make sure that no foreign particles have become trapped between the lower display and the frame area of the shell. pressure caused by foreign debris can cause the touch screen to malfunction.

the power and / or volume switch floats freely and does not function properly.
potential solution:
disassemble the lower shell and check to make sure that you did not snap the post off of the physical switch. the power switch seems to be more susceptible to this due to the shape of the on/off button. unfortunately, if this is the problem, then you will need to purchase a replacement power switch and install it (which requires some soldering skill).

<div class="reviewbreak">Where to Purchase (required / optional tools)</div><div class="reviewbreak">Where to Purchase (dealextreme.com replacment cases)</div>
bape (gold) milo edition
bape (white) milo edition
doraemon edition
guitar hero edition
iQue: chinese dragon edition
legend of zelda: triforce edition
love and berry edition
metallic red
nintendo world (new york) mario bros. mushroom edition
nintendo world (new york) mario vs. donkey kong edition
nintendo world (new york) paper mario edition
nintendo world (new york) super mario edition
nintendogs: paw print edition
pokémon diamond/pearl edition
sd gundam g generation cross drive edition
translucent black
translucent blue
translucent pink
translucent white

This guide was written exclusively for GBAtemp.net. The text and all included images are property of GBAtemp.net
If you see this guide posted on any other site (in part or in its entirety) please contact me via e-mail at: thieves [@[email protected]] GBAtemp [.dot.] net

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