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Sounds like the screen is broke. Before you change the screen you may want to have a look at where the LCD ribbon connects to the motherboard it may be loose. It would be worth while opening the DS and disconnecting and then reconnecting this ribbon to see if it solves the problem before ordering a new ds screen.
You have a defective flatcable of the upper screen, or the calble is not correct seated in the connector on the systemboard. The upper screen connector is on the bottom side of the Left button-switch.
If the flatcable is defective (most likely because of the open-close actions every time the DS Lite is used) you have to replace the complete upper screen (the cable cannot be removed without replacing the whole screen).
First try to reseat the flatcable in the connector. If that is not working, replace the screen (manuals how to open the DS Lite etc etc can be found on the Internet)
i think you have answered that question yourself but what i would do, find a game repaireshop near by, and they will repair anything to do with game consoles, it should cost too much either, so its either them or the trash or try your pot look, learn a bit more and you might probably be able to fix it yourself, dont give up just yet, believe in yourself and concentrate
I hear about the ribbon cable not being inserted wel. Lots of people had it put in place, looking ok but no action from the ds. I suggest to reinsert the ribon cables, i heard its quite tricky with the ds...
Its possible though sometimes it is expensive so dont worth the work.
-Top screen broken: you can buy a replacement and carefully do the work by yourself with the help of a guide (youtube have many) and some tools (3 winding screwdriver is the less common though not much). The foil data ribbon can be bought separatelly for the original NDS though the new NDS lite have it soldered and very difficult to work.
-Broken plastics: a broken hinge means you need to buy a replacement shell. Anyway buy a complete shell from a DS modding shop or take parts from a non broken plastics DS (water damaged one may be good) in a place like ebay. You would be lucky if you find a non broken screens and good plastics DS for parts.
At the end you may be over your repair budget and not only that, you would be very near to buy a new unit with this money. Each one make its own choice.
If yours is the NDS Lite, just find this video in youtube: "Disassembling Nintendo DS Lite"
after opening it you can do your work. Make sure the flexible cables connecting the top screen part of your DS are well in place and not broken. Your problem may be only a loosen cable but in case the cable is broken you gonna need a replacement. Be careful not to damage the screen or other sensitive
electronic parts on your device and you will be on your way.