Tip & How-To about Nintendo DS Lite

DS Lite Dismantling Process, Ideal For Shell/ Housing/ Casing Replacement.


Has you DS lite devloped an issue that requires you to take it apart? Has your shell/ housing/ casing becomed damaged or is scratched? Have you broken the hinge and want to replace the relevant parts? This guide is for you.

N.B. - It is lengthly but thats because it is an indepth guide to make it suitable for even the most novice of people.

For this process you will need a few tools (all avaliable on ebay):
1) A precision cross-head "+" screwdriver.
2) A precision tri-wing screwdriver.
3) A pair of tweezers.
4) A craft knife or scalpel.
5) A flat-head "-" screwdriver or cutlery/ butter knife.

To begin you need to remove the battery, unscrew the battery compartment with the cross-head screwdriver and then lever it off with the knife. Next remove the battery by levering it out, you will see a small lip on the right hand side near the top, lever it up there. Now you need to remove the remaining 3 cross-head screws, their locations are:
1) Top right of the battery compartment.
2) Under the rubber foot next to the left shoulder button, lever the rubber foot off with the knife.
3) Under the rubber foot next to the right shoulder button, again lever the rubber foot off with the knife.
Screws 2 & 3 are of a gold colour whereas screw 1 is silver in colour.
Note there is another cross-head screw that is visible in the battery compartment, we will leave this one for now.

Next you need to remove the 4 tri-wing screws, these are located:
1) Top left of the base of the DS lite, just under the right shoulder button.
2) Bottom left of the DS lite, below the stylus slot.
3) Bottom right of the DS lite, its tucked right in the corner of the battery compartment.
4) This one is a little harder to see and a lot of people miss it... It's located at the top of the slot -1 port as you can see it is black and shorter than the others.
Now you can remove the back, gently pull it away from the top first and then lever it off at the bottom taking care not to lose the springs and rods found on the shoulder buttons. Take off the shoulder buttons and take a good look at how the springs are positioned as this is crutial to the performance of the button, take a photo of them if you have to.

To remove the motherboard you'll need to disconnect the wi-fi cable (black in colour) located on the wi-fi module (the extra piece of PCB* board attached to the motherboard) use tweezers to do so and then remove it from under the slot -1 component. Again using the tweezers, disconnect the microphone cable (white in colour) which is located on the motherboard directly diagonal to the top left corner of the wi-fi board, labled "p12".

Now remove the 2 screws holding the motherboard into place, they are located:
1) On the left hand side about 1inch above the headphone socket.
2) On the right hand side about 3/4inch above the volume switch.
Flip the motherboard up and over taking care not to put any strain on the top and bottom screen ribbons.

Disconnect the top screen by lifting the securing flap (if you have trouble use the knifes blunt side to lift it) and pull the ribbon away. Remember to put the flap back down after to avoid breaking it. This will now fully free the motherboard from the DS lite shell. If you need to, disconnect the bottom screen by again lifting the flap of the connector and pulling the ribbon free and then remove the touch screens ribbon using the same method, It's connection is located just above the wi-fi board. Remember to put the flap back down after to avoid breaking it.

If you need to replace the buttons or pads you can do so now, you will also see that you cannot put the buttons back in the wrong place because they are unique to their respective places. When replacing the pads make sure that the "black dots" are visable i.e. face up.

You will see 2 cross-head screws located at the top left of unit, if you unscrew them you can pull away the hinge which in-turn losens up the other hinge, but before you part the top from the bottom slip the top screens ribbon through the slot to release it and feed through the wi-fi and microphone cable. Now you can seperate the top from the bottom and if you need to, replace the hinge barrel and ring by pulling them away from the body of the DS lite and fitting the new ones in the reverse of the removal.

Now for the top half of the DS lite...

Firstly you need to remove the 4 cross-head screws, they are hidden under square, colour co-ordinated plugs and are located near each corner of the inside top half of the DS lite. To remove the plugs use the knife to lever them out but take great care as they are easily marked/damaged. Once the screws are removed you need to turn the unit over so that you can see the DS symbol and have the hinge side nearest to you. Place your thumbs on the top and your fingers on the bottom, now push away from you with your thumbs so that the top slides forward around 1/5th of an inch, you can now take the top off to reveal the insides.

Take note of how all the items are placed or take a photo if you need to. Firstly you can feed the top screen ribbon, wi-fi cable and mic cable through the hinge hole. The speakers are not stuck down and are held into place by the plastic housing so are easily lifted/ levered up. The wi-fi PCB* board is secured in much the same way and so removal is identical.

You need to loosen the screen in order to remove the microphone cable as it is held under the bottom of the screen, you will need to use a moderate amount of force to unstick the screen from the housing, use a flat-head screwdriver or cutlery/ butter knife to lever the screen out and away from the housing pull the microphone out of the housing either with tweezers or gently pulling on its cable.

Congratulations!!! you have now fully disassembled your DS lite! Give yourself a pat on the back.

To re-assemble the DS lite simply reverse the process. Tip- when putting the springs back make sure you put the end back into the slot so that it is taught and the shoulder button returns to its resting position after being pressed.

*PCB - Printed Circit Board

I hope that my guide has helped.

I take no responsability for any damage that may occur whislt following my guide, tips and tricks.


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Related Questions:

1 Answer

top screen won't lock


The most likely reason for the screen being unstable is that when the shell casing was damaged the top screens ribbon was damaged at the same time.

You can sort both these issues out but it is not a small job, you will need a few specialist tools, a new top screen, basic soldering skills, delicate handling and plenty of patience.

If you are willing to take on this task then everything you need for the job is readily avaliable from ebay.

The stuff you need are:
1x Replacement shell/ housing/ casing for DS lite.
1x Replacement top screen for DS lite.
1x Precision tri-wing screwdriver.
1x Soldering iron (ideally with 1mm tip, but not essential) and solder.
1x Tweezers.
1x Flat tool, i.e. craft knife, flat head screwdriver.
1x Precision cross head screwdriver.

If you click on my name it will take you to my profile page, once there have a look at my guides I have written, you will need "DS lite dismantle process" and "DS lite top screen replacement".

If you require further help or advice then please get back to me and I will do my best to assist you as best I can.


May 15, 2010 | Nintendo DS Lite Console

1 Answer

the top screen on my DS Lite lights up but there is no picture, the touch screen works fine and so dose every thing ellse.


Chances are the screens ribbon connectior has become loose or the screen has develouped a fault.

If its under warranty then send it in, otherwise you can take it to a local repair shop or do a bit of DIY.

Take the DS lite apart (a tri wing screwdriver is needed and can be found cheap on ebay), disconnect the top screen by lifiting the motherboards connector flap (located near the hindge) and then re-insert it, try switching it on again and see if thats sorted it. If not then you will need to replace the screen.

A new screen can be brought on ebay for a reasonable price, there will be a little soldering required as the speakers will need to be de-soldered from the old screen and re-soldered onto the new one (please take note of which wire goes where).

Remove the screws from the lid of the DS lite (4x screws hidden under little coloured squares above and below both speaker outlets) slide the top/outer part away from the hindges, it will move about 5mm and then you can lift it off... Gently pull the ribbon through the hindge so that it is free from the bottom part of the DS lite, pry the screen away from the shell (a small amount of force may be required to remove it) remove the front plastic part of the screen (with the respective DS lite coloured frame, de-solder the speakers, re-attatch them to the new screen, place the new screen into the housing along with the speakers and put back the wifi and mic to their original position if they got moved, you will notice a slot in the hindge where the ribbon goes in, this is for the ribbon to easily slide back into the bottom part of the DS lite... pop the ribbon through and then re-attatch it to the motherboard with the connector, pressing down the connectors flap.

Screw the DS lite back together and hope fully this has resolved the issue.

If you find that your DS lite now doesn't want to stay powered on please refer to my other tips and tricks I have issued on here.

I hope this helps and have to say that I accept no responsability for any damage that may occur to your DS lite when following these tips.


Feb 07, 2010 | Nintendo DS Lite Console

1 Answer

need to replace shell case nintendo ds lite

If you have the right tools (which can be obtained at most electronic stores...name the star shaped screwdrivers) then you could take it apart yourself. Just be careful with the small wires inside.

Oct 10, 2009 | Video Game Consoles & Games

3 Answers

Cracked hinge and chipped corner on DS LITE

yes the shell can be replaced, you can either check ebay or google nintendo ds lite shell housing, i have seen them, doing this yourself is no easy task, there is a repair service on ebay under repair service fix nintendo ds lite

Aug 05, 2008 | Nintendo DS Lite Console

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