Non typical B(lack)SOD

Discussion in '3DS - Console, Accessories and Hardware' started by Nitrus, Oct 13, 2018.

  1. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    Hi all,
    I've got the old, non-XL 3DS that I'm having some issues with. It powers up, backlight is on, I can hear audio, both screens are black, though as I "navigate" in the menu, I can see faint differences in the blackness, like very very dark streaks changing.

    Summary of causes/symptoms:
    - Device boots, has audio (I can hear the menu music), has touch, buttons work, sliders work (volume and 3D, I can see a change in the backlight)
    - Has backlight, and seems to respond to various events (dims, turns off, comes back on)
    - Is able to go to sleep

    Now for the problem:
    - Does NOT have video, or has very faint horizontal streaks that seem to change when I use any buttons. These are VERY faint, think very dark gray on black. I've tried to film it but it doesn't show on camera, it looks all black.

    The rest of the symptoms lead me to believe it's not a typical B(lack)SOD. I've gotten it second hand, and I don't think it's had homebrew, though I could be wrong. There is no evidence of it on the SD card. (I guess a flashcart could have been used at some point?)

    I've opened it up, inspected it, no apparent damage. I've disassembled and reassembled it completely, which means I've re-seated all the cables, modules and connectors (yes, the WiFi and battery too).

    Anyone has any suggestions?
    I am willing to try hardmod or flashcart stuff, the problem is I have no idea what version it's on since I can't see.
     
  2. smileyhead

    smileyhead 56709

    Member
    15
    Aug 31, 2015
    Hungary
    Hungary
    If the cable is definitely in place, it could be a faulty screen. Try ordering a replacement.
     
  3. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    Both screens though?
     
  4. smileyhead

    smileyhead 56709

    Member
    15
    Aug 31, 2015
    Hungary
    Hungary
    Maybe the GPU is fucked? I'm no expert to be honest. :unsure:
     
  5. The Real Jdbye

    The Real Jdbye Always Remember 30/07/08

    Member
    18
    GBAtemp Patron
    The Real Jdbye is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    Mar 17, 2010
    Norway
    Alola
    If it wasn't sold as broken/for parts, you should get your money back. This definitely sounds like a hardware fault.
     
  6. TurdPooCharger

    TurdPooCharger Meh

    Member
    10
    Jan 1, 2018
    United States
    • Are both screens blank or black in HOME Menu?
    • What about in Recovery Mode?
    • Have you tried removing and reinserting the battery? What about booting without the SD card?
    • If you have Luma3DS, try holding (Select) when turning on the 3DS. Any configuration menu?
     
  7. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    To answer your questions
    • Both screens are blank/black, no text, backlight is on.
    • I have tried L+R+UP+A+Power, same video, though slightly different audio in the background so I am assuming it's gone into recovery mode. Screens are still blank/black/lit, touch still works (I can hear sound effects when pressing on the lower screen)
    • Have tried both of those things, as well as a complete disassembly/reassembly. At the moment I even have the SD Card reader unhooked completely.
    • I don't know if it has Luma3D as it's been given to me as-is. However, holding SELECT while booting seems to have done nothing, same regular audio plays in background, both screens are still black/blank/lit.
     
  8. TurdPooCharger

    TurdPooCharger Meh

    Member
    10
    Jan 1, 2018
    United States
    If you have a physical DS game cart, try launching it. It has to be a DS game and not 3DS.
    1. Insert your DS game in the card slot. Pick something you're familiar knowing how it sounds in-game.
    2. Tap the area boxed in red until you hear no further chimes. Guessimate.
    3. Assuming your's set to a single row of icons, hold the circle pad or d-pad to the left until it stops making clicking noises.
      • Your 3DS should be at the farthest left.
    Smaller → Bigger icons
    4. Slowly scroll right with single right d-pad or circle pad pushes. You'll want to be on a hear out for the classic Nintendo DS startup. If you hear this, launch your game cart. Don't worry if you happen to have a DSiWare game.


    Assuming single point failure

    I) This test is to check whether or not the black screens are present in DSi (TWL) mode. If you have functional DS mode with working screens, your issue points to the GPU. The only way to fix this is a reflow. Read here:
    II) However, if the screens are also black/blank with your DS game of choice yet there's sound, suspicion leads to bad LCDs screens or connections. You would have to replace both screens.

    III) Your described Black Screens of Death appears somewhat similar to a type commonly experienced in the New 3DS XL model. Another thing you can try is replacing the camera module.
    Take note that the disconnecting camera flex cable solution presented in that thread probably won't work with the old 3DS; you can try testing without the camera and booting into Recovery Mode to check anyway.

    The 3DS systems are notorious to properly boot or not at all with a missing or faulty accessory part (ie, XYBA daughter board, speaker flex cable assembly, loose WiFi module). The n3DSXL is an exception with a disconnected camera.
     
  9. Sono

    Sono HoH SiSter

    Member
    10
    Oct 16, 2015
    Hungary
    Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
    It sounds like my bottom screen when I was poking around a multimeter. Are you 100% sure you re-inserted the ribbon cables properly?

    Also, you said that it also happens on the bottom screen. Try turning it on while the bottom screen ribbon connector is exposed, and get a PLASTIC tool which you can use to GENTLY poke the connector while the 3DS is on. It sounds like the connector got super fucked or the ribbon cable got damaged, or the screen controller inside is damaged from a heavy shock.
     
  10. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    @Sono yeah, pretty sure. I've had it apart and back together a few times now, one of them was bound to work.
    P.S. it seems that the top display's CPU side flat needs to be connected and the bottom one's wide flat as a minimum requirement for the 3DS to boot.

    @TurdPooCharger thanks for the very detailed step-by-step. Unfortunately I don't have a DS cart but I'll see what I can do. I live in a place where they're impossible to get locally!
    I might try a reflow though. My research shows that the PICA200 GPU is on the same package as the CPU, which is underneath the cart slot, bother.
     
  11. Sono

    Sono HoH SiSter

    Member
    10
    Oct 16, 2015
    Hungary
    Austro-Hungarian Monarchy
    Yes, because the backlight is also carried in the ribbon. You can disconnect the bottom screen if you keep the backlight connected.

    Also, I recorded a video showcasing how a damaged connector/ribbon looks like. I suggested poking around the bottom screen's ribbon because you can poke that without making the 3DS turn off with a pop sound due to disconnecting the backlight traces.

     
    TurdPooCharger likes this.
  12. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    @Sono thank you very much for the recording.
    Mine looks nothing like that and is pretty consistent, no amount of opening/closing the lid or gentle poking of the cables changes that. Thankfully, I think that eliminates the ribbon.
    To me it looks more and more like a GPU problem. I'll let you know if reflowing solves anything.
     
    Sono likes this.
  13. ghjfdtg

    ghjfdtg GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    5
    Jul 13, 2014
    May be worth mentioning that there is epoxy under the SoC so you can't really reflow it (not beeing able to use flux and still attempting to heat it up makes it worse).
     
  14. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    Yeah, just got through the nightmare of lifting up the game cart port. Usually they do have epoxy, and saturating in alcohol loosens it up for removal but this one seems pretty stubborn...
     
  15. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    For posterity: reflow didn't help (also, never again am I removing that epoxy, endless heat and isopropyl cycles were used, and it was still hard). I can't identify an obvious short to ground or anything - save for black video, console works after all.
    I've ordered a new motherboard from China as they're relatively inexpensive for the O3DS ($27 inc. shipping), and I can't single out the fault. Would have been a nice sense of achievement to figure out the exact fault, but I figured the cost of the replacement board is not worth my whole weekend, and I would have needed to order any suspect chips anyways, it's not like I've got parts boards that I can salvage. :)

    If it's not the board, my next step will be the displays. As the digitizer works on the bottom one, to me it's more likely that it's to do with video output on the board itself rather than the displays. But anything's possible.

    I'll post again here (if I don't forget) in about a month when the replacement board arrives.
    Maybe it will help someone in the future.
     
  16. ghjfdtg

    ghjfdtg GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    5
    Jul 13, 2014
    Did the Isopropylalcohol even dissolve it? I could imagine it beeing resistant to it. In that case probably only Acetone will help (risk to damage other plastic parts).

    I would personally try new LCDs first.
     
  17. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    It didn't really disolve it, it kinda loosened it up for lifting/scraping/poking. I think heat was what helped more.
    As for the LCDs, the deed is done, the board is ordered.
    I'm in no hurry so I'll get the displays later on if it does turn out that it's them.
     
    Itzumi likes this.
  18. Nitrus
    OP

    Nitrus Member

    Newcomer
    2
    Sep 27, 2018
    United States
    For anyone that still remembers this, after 3.5 months I received the pulled board from China. I had completely forgotten I ordered it.
    Yeah, it was (something on) the board.
    The unit now works :toot:
     
    Sono and TurdPooCharger like this.
Loading...