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An Adventure in DS repair

Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
edited February 2008 in Games and Technology
TLDR: DS Broken. Bent contact. Need help.

I love my DS very much. It's fat and it's red, but it's been my companion for quite some time now. Longer than its warranty period, even.

Last night I was having trouble getting games to read. I'd pop in a game, nada. Pop in a different game, it works. This was concerning me, especially because this is a DS, and getting "disc read errors" wasn't exactly something I had mentally prepared for.

Anyway, I grab my trusty flashlight and take a peek inside "Slot 1," and horror of horrors, one of the contact pins is bent out of position. I tried my best to capture this on camera:

brokends007ux7.jpg

The pic is a little fuzzy, but you can see the pin all bent out of shape. Apparently it can make intermittent contact sometimes, but it doesn't always contact and I'm worried that repeated game-jammings will cause it to break.

Here are possible causes for this hardware failure, as far as I can tell:
  1. Gremlins
  2. A misbehaving game cartridge. Cooking Mama is officially on notice
  3. Leaving the DS in my bag without a game in it. maybe I did this?
  4. Chupacabra

Anyway, I tried to re-align the pin last night using a small screwdriver and a technique that can best be described as "poking at it," to no avail.

My next step is probably going to be purchasing a "nintendo screwdriver" and disassembling my DS.

From what I can tell via the information supertubeway, after I remove the back plate I will discover something like this:

dsmobokh4.png


Does anyone know whether that metal plate is at all removable or whether I will be able to manipulate the pins from the other side?

Anyone have any other suggestions of freeing my DS from it's silent prison?

oh, and here are some suggestions that I am not particularly interested in, by the way:
  • Trying to get gamestop or someone to buy it in its current state
  • buying a DS lite. not in the budget right now
  • Paying someone more than a nominal charge to fix it

Thanks PA for your help. Once my nintendo screwdriver gets here I'll let you know how it goes.

[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
Monolithic_Dome on

Posts

  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Reserved for information on the solution, if found.

    Monolithic_Dome on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • Mustachio JonesMustachio Jones Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    I've dissected my Lite many a time, but never for that reason. Let me take a crack at it and assess the situation.

    Will edit this post when diagnosis is complete.



    Report:

    The metal casing around the cartridge slot is soldered to the circuit board. Your only real way of fixing is precision stabbing at it to bend it back into shape. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you could rip off the metal shield and do it that way. That's your best bet, but otherwise you're just going to have to go in the slot through the opening.

    Mustachio Jones on
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Have you... tried calling Nintendo?

    I mean, they're pretty good about repairing systems.

    DarkPrimus on
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    Gamertag: PrimusD | Rock Band DLC | GW:OttW - arrcd | WLD - Thortar
  • whitey9whitey9 Registered User
    edited February 2008
    Did you try poking at it?

    edit: Yeah, I see that you did. I'm out of ideas.

    whitey9 on
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  • SpoitSpoit *twitch twitch* Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Have you... tried calling Nintendo?

    I mean, they're pretty good about repairing systems.

    Yeah, I second this. You should at least get an estimate from them before you start taking it apart

    Spoit on
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  • davidbarrydavidbarry Registered User
    edited February 2008
    Spoit wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Have you... tried calling Nintendo?

    I mean, they're pretty good about repairing systems.

    Yeah, I second this. You should at least get an estimate from them before you start taking it apart

    In my experience, Nintendo is really nice in terms of free repairs. I guess being awash with the riches of the world does that to some people.

    davidbarry on
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  • ViscountalphaViscountalpha Registered User
    edited February 2008
    davidbarry wrote: »
    Spoit wrote: »
    DarkPrimus wrote: »
    Have you... tried calling Nintendo?

    I mean, they're pretty good about repairing systems.

    Yeah, I second this. You should at least get an estimate from them before you start taking it apart

    In my experience, Nintendo is really nice in terms of free repairs. I guess being awash with the riches of the world does that to some people.

    I believe it is a Japanese way of thinking. If they repair "such and such" unit, they know where in their design that they should improve if it starts occurring on the assembly line. I saw this at Fujitsu in their hard disk repair operation. I suppose Nintendo might do the same.

    Viscountalpha on
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    We were the ones who thought that Melissa was real. Why you might ask.
    Let me put it this way, it was an "OH SHIT OH SHIT, THEY FOUND ME :(" moment. I wasn't ready. My code wasn't compiled yet. Our plans weren't setup yet!Sentient programs rarely run into other sentient programs.
    Some of you have met me, and I understand your concern of my well being. But that time for that boy, that child, are gone now. Viscount Alpha is no longer operable. His functions are now mine.He may post, but I am the one talking not him.My data, my code will live on forever in his servers.
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  • Monolithic_DomeMonolithic_Dome Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Hmm. Yeah, haven't even thought about calling Nintendo 08.gif. I think I've dealt with too many American tech companies to think that anybody would actually have a reasonable repair policy for a unit outside of warranty. I'll give big N a ring and see what they think about it.
    The metal casing around the cartridge slot is soldered to the circuit board. Your only real way of fixing is precision stabbing at it to bend it back into shape. If you're handy with a soldering iron, you could rip off the metal shield and do it that way. That's your best bet, but otherwise you're just going to have to go in the slot through the opening.

    I'm not real handy with a soldering iron, but I do attend a college where electrical engineering is the biggest major, so I know plenty of people who know their way around hot liquid metal. I'll keep that as a last resort.

    Monolithic_Dome on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
  • ChewyWafflesChewyWaffles Registered User
    edited February 2008
    Hope you get it fixed, man! Nintendo is very good with their warranties!

    ChewyWaffles on
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  • VelmeranVelmeran Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Is the pin can be poked, I imagine that its a little springy. What your going to want to do is secure it back in place, since you can't get in there easily, your next best option is an adhesive (aka glue). Glue has a problem though, it doesn't conduct and it could get in the way if you some how lather it all over the place, removing it would also be a pain.

    I support the "call Nintendo" idea, but if that leads no where or they want your precious $20 of ramen dinners supply money, then you could shave down some tooth picks, apply adhesive to one and just as litle as posible, apply it to the base (under the wire), then use another toothpick (thats not covered in adhesive) to press and hold the wire in place. It works best if you make sure the tooth pick to hold the wire in place is just the right size to wedge in there and leave, so you don't have to sit and hold it, thus allowing your large meat hands to screw something up. Meat hands do that, I know, by first meat hand experiance.

    Good luck.

    Velmeran on
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  • harvestharvest By birthright, a stupendous badass.Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    If you do get everything all gluey it's pretty easy to use a q-tip soaked in alcohol to clean the stuff off.

    harvest on
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  • DangerousDangerous Registered User regular
    edited February 2008
    Wow, the other day I had a similar problem with the memory stick reader slot on my PC. It's about the same size as the DS slot and was a bastard to see inside. I ended up being able to stick a very thin butter knife inside and prod it back into position. But I guess you already tried that route :P So I support calling nintendo.

    Dangerous on
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  • ParkingtigersParkingtigers Registered User
    edited February 2008
    As you guys have some experience in taking a DS apart, I have a question. I have an old DS Lite that is battered to hell and back, but it still works fine. Mostly. The touchscreen has a dodgy patch about 2 cm square which remaps all input to the side of this area. It makes any game that requires pinpoint accuracy futile if that area needs to be used, which most do. All the recalibrating in the world hasn't fixed it, it is broken.

    A few months back I treated myself to a brand new DS Lite. Oh it was shiny, it was lovely, and 3 days after purchase my psychotic ex-girlfriend ripped it into two pieces. Nothing sadder looking than a 3 day old console brutally killed before its time. So, I would like to replace the touchscreen in my battered old DS with the one from the unit that Mrs. Loopy tore asunder. In theory, this would give me a fully working machine. I already have another new DS that I bought a couple of weeks back, but combining the two old units would mean less clutter and I'd like my "backup" unit to be a fully working model.

    So, does anyone here know if swapping out the touchscreen is an easy project? I'm still living on the road so I don't have access to much equipment, but I could probably get the Nintendo screwdriver easily enough here in Hong Kong. In my dreams it would be just a case of opening it up, popping off a couple of clips and dropping in the new screen, but I have a feeling that in reality it is all about soldering irons and stuff. Bearing in mind I'm someone that managed to shortcircuit a 4th gen iPod while simply changing the battery, I felt it safest to get a new DS before attempting a disassembly of my gaming unit. Can't be without my Advance Wars. (And err, Cooking Mama.)

    Parkingtigers on
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  • whitey9whitey9 Registered User
    edited February 2008
    http://www.instructables.com/id/S3ZZJPKFA0CVIFO/

    It doesn't look terribly complicated, no soldering from what I can tell, but a handful of screws. You'll need a Nintendo tri-wing screwdriver (if you can't find them locally, they're several dollars online), and another smaller regular screwdriver.

    whitey9 on
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  • ParkingtigersParkingtigers Registered User
    edited February 2008
    whitey9 wrote: »
    http://www.instructables.com/id/S3ZZJPKFA0CVIFO/

    It doesn't look terribly complicated, no soldering from what I can tell, but a handful of screws. You'll need a Nintendo tri-wing screwdriver (if you can't find them locally, they're several dollars online), and another smaller regular screwdriver.

    Fantastic work sir, much appreciated. I would have gone on a Google search myself but I'm running on leeched bandwidth and a laptop battery that is down to just 60 minutes per charge. I knew I could rely on Penny Arcade.

    I'm going to find myself some screwdrivers and give it a go. It may all end in tears, but it will be fun. Thanks again Whitey.

    Parkingtigers on
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC] sig.gif
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