How-to: Fix a Nintendo DS Lite that won’t turn on

A while ago I dropped my DS Lite on the floor. It wasn’t a particularly long fall, but it landed completely flat, and it really didn’t sound good when it fell. Much to my dismay, after this incident it did not start again. Sliding the power switch did absolutely nothing. Trying to charge it there was no light at all, and it did not turn on with the charger plugged in. So I figured that I might as well open it up and take a look to see if perhaps it was something simple. I’m sure there are a number of things that can break when you drop your DS, so I can’t guarantee that this will work for you, but I did find this thread about a person having a similar issue.

Open it up
For opening the DS Lite, please go to this great thread over at GBAtemp. I followed the intructions and it was pretty easy. Just don’t make the same mistake I did and forget to take the Slot 2 card out of the DS before unscrewing the back, and remember you’ll need both a small phillips head and trigram screwdriver.

Diagnose
As soon as I took the backplate off, I noticed a little piece falling out – meet the resistor fuse!

This is a small surface-mounted component that had fallen off the PCB, and armed with that knowledge I started looking around trying to find where it once was. The hi-res photos of the DS Lite PCB over at the GBAtemp thread were of great help. After some time, I located the place of the component.

The fix
Since the component was very small (about 0.2-0.3cm in length) I was unsure if I would be able to solder it back onto the PCB directly, so I opted for the more cumbersom, but safer approach – soldering it to two pieces of wire and then soldering the wires to the PCB. Here’s how it turned out:

Wires, the component attached to them.

Close-up of joints on the PCB. Not the prettiest solder joints around, but considering the small size it’s still quite the accomplishment for me. 🙂

At this point I tried to turn the DS on by pressing the battery against the battery connectors on the back. If it turns back on, like mine did – congratulations, your joints are working and you’ve got the DS back to life!

Tidying it up
Using electrical tape, I affixed the component to the PCB to make sure it doesn’t wiggle around.

I actually had to go back after this picture and remove some tape because it was just so much that I could barely fit the backplate on. I also attached a tiny piece of tape between the connectors on the PCB, since I didn’t want them to short out if the cable twisted in some weird way.

Conclusion
Quite a fun project. This did take probably 4-5 hours with internet research, diagnosing and soldering, but it was very rewarding. Let me know if you’ve had this problem and the fix worked for you!

In other news

Just a couple of days left before the first Professor Layton movie comes out abroad, and with the third game coming out in English just last week I have Layton fever!

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11 Comments on “How-to: Fix a Nintendo DS Lite that won’t turn on”

  1. william Says:

    while taking apart my ds lite the power switch broke so i replaced it from another ds that stupid resistor fell out and then nothing works so thanks for saving me “4-5 hours”

    • khromov Says:

      Hi! Sorry to hear you lost it – those things are pretty tiny!

      It’s called the L2 Inductor and you can find more info about it here:
      http://www.fixya.com/tags/l2_inductor

      I remember reading that one person had lost his L2 inductor and just put some solder to connect the points, and it worked out for him – let me know if it works for you as well!

  2. AekinJayJeff Says:

    That chip that’s right below it labeled 100, what is it called and she could I find a replacement?

  3. Emily Says:

    One question before I start this project- what do you mean by solder it?

    • Emily Says:

      Meaning- what type of solder and how do you do it?

      I have soldered normal metal in metals class- is it the same type of process? Sam sort of material?

      • khromov Says:

        Hi Emily,

        Sad to see your DS has (temporarily) passed away.

        Yes – any regular solder should work just fine. If you are unsure, ask about soldering electronic components at your local hardware store.

        PS.
        Almost 4 years later, mine still works after this fix. 🙂

        Best of luck.


  4. my ds lite fell on the floor and now it wont turn on

  5. LegoPadawan Says:

    my DS lite is having charging circuit problems as well I’ve checked the fuses, jumped the EM10 which I’ll replace later and it still won’t charge not even a flash out of the LED I’ll try replacing this too but this is my third DS Lite I’ve gone through and they all have done this. Any suggestions as to what else might be wrong?


  6. yeah. I would expect it to be sturdier.

  7. Teamrobbo Says:

    Holy testicle Tuesday, I’ve just opened up my daughters do lite after she dropped it and it wouldn’t turn on. The first thing that fell out was this exact little cube!! Thankyou so much for detailed solution. I will let u know how I get on.


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