Macro Tutorial (DS Lite)
Items you will need:
- Nintendo DS Lite
- Rosin core solder
- Soldering Iron
- Hot Glue Gun
- Tri-wing Screw Driver
- Small Phillips head screw driver
- 330 OHM 0805 Surface Mount Resistor (or standard 330OHM resistor though this tutorial focuses on using a SMT resistor)
- 30 Gauge Kynar Wire
- Tweezers (optional but recommended)
Step 1 – Opening the DS
First, turn the DS over, remove the battery cover, and then remove the screws marked in red.
Once these screws have been removed you can pry the DS case open. It is a bit of a pain, but remove the bottom first, leave it so the bottom screen is laying face down or else you risk damaging the ribbon cable.
Start at right side and slowly pry around to the left side until you can lift it up. Lift it up slowly, the springs in the L and R buttons may pop out.
Once open, remove the screws and disconnect the cables marked in red. Then remove the Wifi/Bios module (marked in blue).
Note: It may be difficult to remove the wifi antenna (black). You can try to feed it through the DS slot, but it will probably get caught on something. Since we’re not going to need it I usually just cut it off.
DO NOT DISCARD THE BIOS CHIP (BLUE) IT IS REQUIRED FOR THE DS TO BOOT
Next, you need to disconnect the digitizer ribbon cable, the connector is VERY fragile. Lift it up from the bottom with a small flat screwdriver or similar.
Now you may remove the motherboard from the shell. To do this, push the touch screen from the outside, this will lift the motherboard out of the shell.
Then, flip the motherboard up from the bottom and rest it on your workspace (see below).
After this, you may disconnect the ribbon cables marked.
Now you may remove the top half of the shell from the board and remove the touch screen. Feed the ribbon cable through the slit like you see below. If you have no plans of using the top screen then you could also just cut the cable.
Step 2 – Soldering the resistor
Now that you have the board free of the shell, and the touch screen removed you must solder a 330 OHM SMD resistor to the points marked below. LEDC2 and LEDA2. Orientation does not matter. Through hole resistors will also work, but will take up more space.
I have found that the easiest way to install these resistors is to first pool solder on the points (see below), then use a pair of tweezers to hold it to the points while heating the pool of solder. The resistor will lower to the point then you can solder the next point.
You can now test the unit if you’d like. To do so, plug the bottom screen back in, and put the bios module in.
Alternate Resistor Points
If you for some reason cannot use the easy solder points at LEDA2 and LEDC2 then you can also solder the resistor at the top screen ribbon cable pins. Specifically, you can use PIN 41 & PIN 38. See below. This will be much more difficult than the previous points.
Step 3 – Getting the speakers
Now it’s time to get the speakers. Get the top screen and remove the screws and rubber covers marked in red. Once you remove the rubber covers, remove the four screws underneath.
Now you need to flip it over, and pry the back off. Just do the same as you did on the case and slowly work around. I usually start at the hinge since that’s easy to separate. Once it’s open you should see something like this.
You’ll need to remove the ribbon cable holding the screen in. You can either cut it, or roll it up and slip it through the metal ring.
Once it’s out, push the screen out from the front of the case (just push against the plastic), and it will come out, speakers and all. Then desolder one or both sets of speakers marked below.
Next cut two strands of kynar wire (maybe four inches in length, you can always trim it later) and solder it to the connectors on the speaker.
Return to the motherboard and flip it over. Run the speaker wire under the DS slot like so. Just let the speaker magnetize to the motherboard for now. You will need to remove it to screw the motherboard into your case after you finish your mod. Once it’s screwed in you can glue the speaker down.
Next, flip the motherboard over and solder the speakers to the points marked below. This tutorial will only include the right speaker. But if you want to use the left as well, solder it to the point referenced.
- Right = SPR0
- Left = SPL0
- Ground = headphone Jack Ground (Rear of the board. See photo)
Now you can reconnect the wifi board, hook the battery up, plug the screen in, and test it!
Once you have confirmed it is working you can glue the speaker down like so, where the stylus slot is:
You can simply place the speaker over the pre-existing stylus slot. Or you can fill the slot with bondo, sand, and drill speaker holes as seen here:
Step 4 – Reassemble
The final step in this build is the body modification. I do not have a specific tutorial for this as it’s a fairly straightforward process.
- Cut the hinge on the front panel off
- Sand to a smooth finish
- Fill the holes with body putty
- Once that is hard, sand down to a smooth finish again
- Prime and Paint!
Alternatively, you can assemble it as is, it will certainly work just fine without any fancy case-work 😀
Optional – Disabling the Sleep Circuit (Recommended)
When building your Macro you may find speaker placement to be problematic. The most common area where you would install a speaker can inadvertently activate the sleep mode on the unit. You can bypass this by removing U11 from the motherboard.
U11 is located between the face buttons on the right side of the motherboard. To remove U11 either desolder the three legs of the chip, or clip them off.
Then, bridge the top solder points of U11. See the photos below for more detail.
After this, your unit should no longer sleep.
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