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.
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.
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.
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.
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.