I’ve been looking for a new, more simple project to take on and noticed a lot of these DS Lites without the top screen. The idea is basically the opposite of a Game Boy Micro, a big GBA. In addition to just being a better design ergonomically, you’d be able to throw an R4 in it and emulate GB and GBC games on the bottom screen. It seemed like a cool idea so I ordered a broken DS Lite (non working top screen) off of ebay for $10.

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Super dirty DS Lite

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Anyways, after tearing it open, I started working on it, and noticed it will not boot without the top screen. I found some stuff online where people had identified two solder pads on the main board, LEDA2 and LEDC2 as being the power for the top screen backlight, and those leads powering something is really all it needs to “trick” the DS into thinking the top screen is there. Many people stated that a single LED would do it, but that simply didn’t work for me. I ended up hooking the leads up to a breadboard and testing various combinations.

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The moment I got it working.

I managed to get it to boot with multiple LEDs, but really, another LED just seems like the dumbest way to do this. Why would I want a second power led on this thing? I decided testing resistors, and eventually got it to work with a 330 OHM resistor. Lower OHM wouldn’t boot, and when I tried a 1k resistor the screen was just incredibly dark, 330 OHM seemed to be the sweet spot where it was normal brightness and I could run through all of the different levels as well.

 

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Speaker points for future reference

 

I then broke out my multimeter and tried to find the speaker connections, it was actually really (really) easy. Literally the first points I probed were the connections. They’re just 45, 44, 43, and 42 of the top screen ribbon cable.

 

 

 

 

When taking apart the DS I was a bit too hasty, and accidentally destroyed the ribbon connector for the touchscreen, my bad. So I had to go about fixing that. It wasn’t too big of an issue, just using 30gauge wire and protecting it with some hot glue. After that, the touchscreen works as normal.

 

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One thing I neglected to do was to take a video of it working, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. So after all of that I decided to hardwire the resistor and test the ol thing.

The shell fits fine, and boots as it should, so it seems to be good placement. This is likely temporary, I’m going to order some surface mount resistors so I can make this much smaller.

 

That’s pretty much it for now. This is an overall simple mod. I’ll probably finish it before next week. All I have to do now is relocate the speakers (most likely to the rear of the unit, and cut/fill the unused portions of the case.

Minor Update (4/21/2015):

I decided I’d rather get the speaker sorted out last night. If I remove the stylus completely then there is a spot on the back which is pretty much perfect for the speaker. The DS will be mono, but that’s not a big deal, I can always use headphones. I think I can put the wifi antenna on top of it as well, and just drill a couple of holes through the antenna for the speaker to go through.

 

Small update to the macro. I dremeled down the case, and did the first application of bondo. Pretty rough so far. But I hope it looks good. Right now I think I’m going to paint it grey.

The SMT resistors came as well, so I just replaced that resistor with a tiny one. So far so good!

 

Update 4/23/2015

Sanded and ready to paint. I should finish this very soon. I’m not sure if I should drill the speaker holes before or after painting. Guess I’ll figure that one out.

 

I then found the most high tech way to drill evenly spaced speaker holes

 

Update 4/25

Primed!

 

I’m not taking any more orders for a while. Keep an eye on the site (gameboymacro.com), I’ll update it as I progress, as well as the facebook page. Orders will open again once I’ve progressed through the queue a bit.

https://www.facebook.com/gbmacro

I don’t know if anyone comes back here for anything other than macro, but I’ll probably be using the macro site for the macro related news, and keep this  site for all of my personal projects.

 

I have made some progress in the design, including:

  • Micro USB Charging (will be an extra fee though)
  • LED Diffuser
  • Properly contoured top, as opposed to the current macro.

Here are some pics:

I’m cross posting this tutorial here for anyone who isn’t following gameboymacro.com!

Items you will need:

 

Step 1 – Remove the back of the DS

This is a fairly simple step. Using the tri-wing screwdriver, removed the screws from the points marked in red below.

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After the screws are removed simply lift the rear of the shell to reveal the innards of the DS. Once opened, remove the screws marked in red.

Once removed disconnect the Wifi antenna cable, and the ribbon cables marked in red. Do not remove the motherboard yet, first lift up the bottom screen large ribbon cable to reveal two smaller cables below it. Remove those as well. These two ribbon cables are removed by pulling the brown locking mechanism forward. Do it slowly and softly, it is fragile (if you break it you can fix it with somewhat of a workaround). Once these are all removed you can remove the shoulder buttons and lift the motherboard from the shell.

Step 2 – Solder the resistor

With the motherboard out you are ready to solder the resistor! Get your 330 OHM resistor. If you are using an SMT resistor I would recommend getting some tweezers for this, as they are freaking tiny.

Soldering these is difficult (mine are rarely perfectly straight. The easiest way I’ve found is to pool solder on your two points, then lay one side of the resistor on the pools. When you heat the first side with your soldering iron it will suck the resistor in. Repeat with the other side and it will do the same, then the resistor will be level and soldered.

The points you are soldering to are marked in red below, they are LEDC2 and LEDA2. The orientation of the resistor doesn’t matter.

That is all you need to do to run the DS headless. You can plug the bottom screen in and test it if you’d like.

Step 3 – Removing the top screen

In this tutorial I am only installing one speaker (the right one). If you would like to use both left and right then just solder the the left speaker point as well.

First, remove the covers from the areas marked below, then remove the screws.

After the screws are removed pry the back of the screen off to reveal the inside.

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Remove the screws holding the two small boards in. Now you have two options here. If you have 30 gauge kynar wire you can just use that, if not, remove the longer black and red wires connecting these two boards and solder them to the speaker as seen below.

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You can then either wrap this connection in electrical tape, or just put a dab of hot glue on it to insulate it.

Now you can remove the top screen housing entirely. Remove the screw seen below

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Once removed, you just have to wiggle the top housing off of the hinge and sort of finesse the ribbon cable for the top screen out. It really doesn’t matter if you rip the ribbon cable unless you plan on using the screen in something else.

Step 4 – Installing Speakers

Now you’re ready to install the speakers, reference the image below again for the proper points. This tutorial only installs the right speaker.

Solder your speakers to points:

  • Right Speaker + (Red): SPR0
  • Left Speaker + (Red): SPL0
  • Speaker GND (Black): U1-GND

You can now test it if you’d like. Plug the bottom screen back in. It should work like this:

Step 5 – Glue the speaker down

Now, flip the motherboard over to reveal the back. This part is super simple. If you have a hot glue gun, plug it in and wait for it to heat up. Then glue the speaker down in the area marked below. Double-sided tape will also work if you don’t have a glue gun.

That’s all. It should work now! Soon I will have a tutorial up for cutting and filling the case. But that’s all you need to do for the bare minimum. If you don’t need a speaker you could just put it back together and play like it is, just with headphones.

 

Items you will need:

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.

There is some double sided tape holding the right side of the bios module down, so it will be slightly tough to remove

There is some double sided tape holding the right side of the bios module down, so it will be slightly tough to remove

Next, you need to disconnect the digitizer ribbon cable, the connector is VERY fragile. Lift it up from the bottom with a tooth pick or something similar

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Now, push the touch screen from the outside and lift the motherboard out. You can flip the motherboard up from the bottom and rest it on the table (see below). Then disconnect the ribbon cables marked. Then remove the screws marked.

Step 2 – Soldering the resistor

Now you can 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.

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You now need to solder the 330 OHM SMT resistor (or resistor of your choice) to the points marked below. LEDC2 and LEDA2. Orientation does not matter

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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 test it if you’d like, but it should work now.

Step 3 – Getting the speakers

Now it’s time to get the speakers. Get the top screen and remove the covers marked in red. Then remove the screws under them.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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 = VGND

Now you can hook the battery up, plug the screen in and test it!