Tips and Tricks for hardmodding a 3ds

Discussion in '3DS - Tutorials' started by dark_samus3, Mar 11, 2016.

  1. dark_samus3
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    dark_samus3 GBAtemp Addict

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    Hey guys, lately I've seen a lot of mishaps with people trying to hardmod their consoles and having issues that end up completely destroying their console. So, as someone who has had a lot of experience soldering and has done a few successful hardmods on the hardest console to do it on, I figured I'd pass some info on in hopes that we can reduce the number of fried motherboards :)

    First, I'll talk about the materials
    • Soldering iron - a good one, the cheapest one you can find is most likely only going to cause you issues, you can get a fairly good one for ~$20-30 USD
    • Solder - if it isn't obvious why you need this, then turn back now
    • Wire - I recommend at least 26 gauge, though 28 is preferred, solid core. If you're doing an original 3ds (non XL) I highly recommend some 28 gauge magnet wire. - A good guideline for wire size if you have a bunch of random wire and don't know the sizes, the wire diamater should be at least less than half that of the diameter of the pads
    • Port and connector - we need a way to connect the 3DS and SD adapter together, there are many options, do whatever suits your needs best.
    • Micro SD to standard size SD adapter - this will connect to the card reader so we can backup and restore the NAND
    • Card reader - to read and write the 3DS's NAND
    • Solder wick - just in case you mess up, it's always good to have a way to remove solder
    Next I'll talk a bit about some recommended practices

    First and foremost, wire size. I can't tell you how many people I've had to help because they used giant wire and broke pads off. Why does it break pads off? Well the thicker wire has a lot more leverage on the small pads, so any flexing can cause pads to break off, this is why the materials list specifies the smaller wire, it's more likely to give and has a lot less leverage​

    Soldering techniques, too often I see and hear people who have splashed solder everywhere. I have a hard time understanding how in the world they do that, I mean you'd have to melt the solder over the board with a torch or something to do that usually... anyways, before I go off on a rant.... I bring this up because it can destroy components and can also be hard to remove later, and usually the way it happens has to do with the modder adding way too much solder onto the iron and not cleaning it off, most soldering stations come with a sponge or a brass wool cleaner, use it for christ's sake! Along with that, I see many people having a hard time soldering to the surface mount pads on the 3DS motherboard. If you do it right it's fairly easy to do, simply heat the pad with your soldering iron and put solder on the pad, without touching the solder to the iron, strip the wire you're using back and do the same thing to add solder to that too, then simply heat the solder on the pad until it melts and add the wire to it, the solder should melt together and you now have a properly soldered wire
    (video demonstration here)​

    A lot of people also ask about pinouts, this information can be found over at 3dbrew.org, in the hardware section. I'll be posting the pictures here as well

    Original 3ds:
    [​IMG]

    3DS XL/LL:
    [​IMG]

    2DS:
    [​IMG]

    New 3DS:
    [​IMG]

    New 3DS XL/LL:
    [​IMG]

    The SD card pinout is rather simple, just connect the matching signal names together:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by dark_samus3, Mar 1, 2017
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  2. zoogie

    zoogie simple pimp tool

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    Suggestion: show the ground locations.
     
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  3. dark_samus3
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    dark_samus3 GBAtemp Addict

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    Yeah, I was thinking of doing that... I decided I'd probably do it later, since I wasn't really in a position I could edit pictures
     
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  4. pre10c

    pre10c GBAtemp Fan

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    I always wonder howbig the pads are in real life. Someone said it's approximately 1mm, is that correct?
     
  5. yacepi15

    yacepi15 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Avoid lift up the green part between the pads. Now my unit has got an shortcircuit inside.
     
  6. democracy

    democracy GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Ground locations please when you get a chance.

    Great article with good Intel, thank you
     
  7. Arubaro

    Arubaro Soulspace Guardian

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    Great! I was training my soldering skills when I found this! :P
     
  8. N64

    N64 GBAtemp Fan

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    that sounds about right. they're pretty tiny.
     
  9. Virdoo

    Virdoo GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Since I broke data 0 point, can I use data 1 or 2 or 3 instead of 0?
     
  10. dark_samus3
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    dark_samus3 GBAtemp Addict

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    Unfortunately, no... There are alternate points for them though, what model do you have?
     
  11. Virdoo

    Virdoo GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    i have old 3ds xl, also if you know alternative points for clk and cmd show me them too please.
     
    Last edited by Virdoo, Mar 13, 2016
  12. mungry

    mungry GBAtemp Fan

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    I'm planning on performing a hardmod on my new 3DS when I muster up the courage. Anyways about the CLK on the New 3DSXL, is the pad you solder to the bottom right one specifically or can it be any of the 4?
     
  13. dark_samus3
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    dark_samus3 GBAtemp Addict

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    Any of the 4... There's also an alternate one, I'll get around to posting that when I get the grounds added to the pics
     
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  14. CokeCookie

    CokeCookie Member

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    What kind of solder would you suggest ? I plan on using these cables to mod my N3DSXL.
     
  15. dark_samus3
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    dark_samus3 GBAtemp Addict

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    rosin core, I use some pretty thin stuff (don't know the exact size sorry) but I like it, since if you need something thicker you can just add more, or braid it together, and if you don't need a lot then you're set... those cables look fine also
     
  16. CokeCookie

    CokeCookie Member

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    okay thanks, do you think that this one here is alright ? It's the only one I can find on Amazon that won't take about 2 months for delivery.
    also would it be possible to fit one end of the cable inside the case, so that I'd have to unscrew the back again and could then connect the
    other side to it ? (not really a fan of the case modding solutions)
     
    Last edited by CokeCookie, Mar 15, 2016
  17. mudassirul

    mudassirul GBAtemp Fan

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    be aware that's leaded solder, it's easier to use but it's not good for your health or environment. I hear conrad sells soldering stuff and electonics and found solder translates to "lot" in german.
    try this https://www.conrad.de/de/Search.html?search=lot
     
  18. CokeCookie

    CokeCookie Member

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    yeah but I think I'll use leaded solder anyway. I'm no expert but afaik the melting point is lower compared to leadfree solder,
    so it should be the safer option for me considering that I don't have more than maybe 15 hours of soldering experience.
     
    Last edited by CokeCookie, Mar 17, 2016
  19. GuyInDogSuit

    GuyInDogSuit I ain't your pa.

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    Yeah, as soon as you mentioned "soldering" I lost interest. I suck at it! I barely managed to install a chip in my Saturn and Gamecube, and that's only a few wires!
     
  20. DjoeN

    DjoeN Captain Haddock!

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    Somewhere in this potatoland!
    where to get GND for each console would be cool, also a decent layout (clear picture) on how to solder the wires to the SD adapter.
    Like is it the same for ALL consoles or is it different for 2DS.

    I have all wires connected like it should be on my 2DS:
    - Dat0 (Red Wire)
    - CLK (White wire)
    - CMD (Green wire)
    - GND (Black wire) (taken from the SD reader shielding (or is there a bette rplace to take it from?)

    But i'm struggling with the SD adapter, i've seen a few pictures but some have different layouts :/

    Let me say it this way:
    I have 2 blue screens with all output, but my computer doesn't recognize the 2DS as a medium to read/write from.
    I used this picture as a guide: but i also found other pictures with another layout, so it's a bit confusing

    [​IMG] [​IMG]