Replacing a Nintendo DS Case

I’ve recently become the proud owner of a Nintendo DS – it used to belong to my older daughter and has seen better days. In particular, the hinge was broken. It was also quite mucky (under the plastic, so not easily cleaned) and had various chips and scratches. Oh, and the battery compartment was missing.

To have sent it away to Nintendo and had the hinge fixed would have cost at least £30, so I decided to investigate alternatives. And on eBay I found a UK seller who supplies completely new replacement cases, along with installation instructions. All of this is for the princely sum of £13.99. Oh, and I also had to buy a “Nintendo” screwdriver to get out the pesky “Y” screws. None-the-less, it was far cheaper than a repair, and would resolve the grubbiness and missing parts issue as well.

It arrived last week and it was immediately obvious that this isn’t a genuine Nintendo part, as the case is obviously not the same. The original is white plastic with a thick transparent layer on top. The new was simply a glossy white plastic. It also didn’t seem to be of the same high quality. The installation instructions were also rubbish – thankfully I found a 3 part video on YouTube on how to swap over the cases.

So, at the weekend I sat down to follow the videos. I’d like to say it was easy and went well, but sadly it didn’t. Here’s what I found…

  1. The new case comes with its own screws (and none of them Y shaped screws). Sadly, nothing says which screws are for what and the plastic posts they screw into aren’t particular good quality – I would often find that none of the supplied screws would easily work, so I had to use some brute force to get them to “bite”.
  2. One of the screen screws on the original case wouldn’t move and I had to break the case apart to get into it 🙁
  3. The shoulder buttons are a test of patience, which I very nearly failed. They are a nightmare to put back, involving metal posts and springs.
  4. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get the power switch to drop into place when fitting the new case together. In the end, I put the switch from the old case in and it worked first time.
  5. The new Start and Select buttons are awful – you really have to push them down with your nail to get them to respond.

But here are the two big problems…

  1. The final fit and finish leaves a lot to be desired. In particular, the part of the case in front of the bottom screen doesn’t have anything to hold it together and therefore “gapes” quite considerably. I ended up using Super Glue to hold it together.
  2. The 3 part video on YouTube suddenly ended stating to continue to part 4. Sadly, no part 4 has been added, so it leaves you at the tricky stage of adding the shoulder buttons. Thankfully, I managed to find another video that completed the instructions. However, for a while I was panicking!

At the end of it, I’m not sure if it was worthwhile. £30 would have got me a guaranteed repair – a mucky case, but I could have got a replacement battery compartment. Instead, I’ve spend £16.49 (including the screwdriver) and have a clean, usable DS now, but sadly of much poorer quality build.

One response

  1. Nicky Lou avatar
    Nicky Lou

    Hey, glad to hear someone else had several problems when attempting to replace the NDS case. I’ve just completed mine and had similar problems with the buttons and the screws. I wanted to keep the white buttons from my old case and put them in the new black case, but unfortunately i had to use the new black shoulder buttons as the others wouldn’t fit and work properly! Also, some screws are now missing as they wouldn’t bite at all! Disappointed with the quality of the new case, but happy that i can continue playing on my DS without having to buy a new one!

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