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How to Replace a DS Shell

12/18/11
What’s up fellow gamers? Today I am gonna try to give all you guys out there a helping hand replacing an old or broken shell on your DS.  First off, let’s get our tools together. We are gonna need a small Phillips screwdriver, a tri-wing screwdriver, and a small flathead can also be helpful at times.  While you are at it grab pair of tweezers and an exacto blade – these can come in handy too. Alright, you are ready to go now. Let’s begin by removing the small screw that holds the battery cover on. Once you get this off remove the battery itself.  Your exacto knife can be helpful here to gently pry the battery up and out. After the battery is out, there are 7 tri-wing screws to remove to release the back plate. You will find two on each side, one centered in the bottom, and then two on the top.  After you get these removed make sure keep them organized and together and the bottom of the unit should just pop off. Now the motherboard is exposed.  
The motherboard is attached by four screws with three spread around the board itself and one located under the game slot.  You can go on and remove these four screws. With these screws removed the motherboard can be maneuvered and the left & right shoulder buttons can now be detached.  The have a simple spring that sits under them that you must also grab and keep up.  At this point you have the motherboard totally detached but sitting in place in the shell. Now it is time to address the board still being attached to the LCD screen.  So look for the upper LCD ribbon cable clip. Gently unhook this clip but be careful – these can easily be torn or damaged.
  You will also need to find the ribbon clip for the lower LCD and essentially do the same thing.  Now you set the motherboard completely to the side.  From here you will see there is insulation under where the board was previously.  Along side the ribbon cable you will use your exactor knife and cut the insulation and peel it back to expose another Phillips screw.  
This holds the door unit. Go and remove this screw.  Now you can remove the top cover of the shell. Though everything does not have to disassembled you will need to remove the top half of the upper unit to pull out the hinges so that you can insert the new board.  The lower LCD should be taken out. Use the exactor blade to remove the 4 sticker pads that cover the 4 screws of the upper LCD case.  There is one screw around each corner of the upper LCD. Remove these 4 Phillips screws and the upper LCD case will come apart. But before you separate the case pull the ribbon cable and antenna through the opening so they are not ripped as you disassemble.

To open the upper LCD half you use your fingernail or small flathead screwdriver and pry all around the sides until it pops apart.  With the upper half exposed push the two hinges inwards to clear way to work between them.  Now we are ready to bring in the new lower half of the shell kit.  
Install the rubber game pads.  Set the unit in the new lower shell half.  Pop the hinges back into place to lock the two halves into place.  When you feed the ribbon cable make sure you do it precisely so it’s not twisted with the white end first which allows for it all to fit smoothly and easily.  Now we have the lower shell pulled through. The cable orientation can be tricky so take your time.  Feed the antenna wire back though the unit to the underside.  Now you can go on and put the upper shell back on to enclose all your work so it stays in place. Screw your 4 screws back in place too. After this is complete you can reaffix the sticky pads to that to cover it. The last step for the upper half is to reinstall the hinge in its entirety.  You may need to use the new parts included with your shell to have it all lined up properly.  The top screw now needs to be installed to hold the upper unit together. Now we can seat the lower LCD into place and reattach the ribbon cable.  A small piece of double-sided tape will allow you to have it stick where you cut the insulation before to expose it.  After all this its time to start putting the mother board back in place. The ribbon cable will need to be folded backwards over itself from the upper LCD so that way it lays properly on the motherboard.  On the other side you have three ribbon cables (two from the LCD & one from the touch screen) that you need to be prepared to feed through their respective slots as you sit down the motherboard.  Make sure the motherboard is seated as it is supposed to be so it attaches securely and then put the four screws back in that hold it in.  Now for the next couple of steps a pair of tweezers will be very helpful.  The LCD ribbon cables (unlike the DS Lite) do not have any tabs on them to let you know then they are properly seated.  It can be a challenge to make sure they fully back in place and plugged in. Use a pair of tweezers to now push the ribbon cable into its slot on the motherboard. 
After that you can move over the touch screen ribbon cables and essentially complete the same process. The lower two smaller cables have a piece that locks into to place so you know you have done it correctly. Make sure you push the slots down so the touch screen or LCD to get a proper connection.  With the Upper LCD, use the tweezers to push in the tougher part of the plastic on the cable to slide the ribbon into its slot on the
board.

Before we finish up go back and reattach the antenna to the board.  At this point you can reinstall the left and right shoulder buttons.  This is pretty easy – just push the springs into channel and drop the buttons into place.  Now as we approach the finish line take the lower shell and set it into place.  One by one screw in the tri-wing screws starting with the one inside the battery cover so you can have your unit held together for testing before completion in case of any mistakes or bad connections. For example if you don’t have any of your ribbon cable fully seated you won’t get a green flash on the DS at power-up. If you feel comfortable with your work finish with all the screws and put the four sticky pads on the inside that acts as bumpers when closing the DS unit.  If you haven’t already for testing, place the battery back in and install the battery cover.  Hopefully, these tips helped you and your DS is back in business and ready for play!


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