Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

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Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Fri 30 Jan 2015, 18:38

*** WARNING - do not attempt to do the following if you still have a warranty on your Nintendo 3DS (XL) console. In that case, just get it repaired. Likewise, don't do this if you do not feel confident/secure enough with regards to handling sensitive electronic components. You don't have to be a professional to do this, but you should still be careful.


And I don't assume any liability either, for anything that you might screw up in the process of this tutorial.  ***


Hello all,


In the following, I am going to show a possible (and relatively simple) fix to the so-called "blackscreen of death" in the Nintendo 3DS (XL) console. If you encounter that error, you won't see anything besides a "lit blackscreen" when turning on your console. There is no error message whatsoever, and the console doesn't react to anything. You can only hold the power button until the console powers off.

The guide is basically a re-enactment of the procedure I did on my own 3DS XL. Originally, my sister had the issue, hence I did the procedure on her console. She had a "normal" 3DS though, and not the XL version like me, but most of the things are the same in both console versions. If there are differences, I will explicity state them. So here goes:








The picture here isn't too good, but yes, that's what the "BSOD" in the 3DS (XL) looks like. What you do at first is to power off the console and remove the stylus pen, the SDHC card and any game module you might have inserted into the console.









Now let's flip the console and focus on the two screws that I marked in the next picture:






Unscrew those with a fitting screwdriver. I used a so-called PH00 screwdriver, as shown here.






It's a very small/slim screwdriver with a "+"-like shape. The diameter of that is 2 millimetres, but if you google for a PH00 screwdriver or ask for that in a hardware store, you should be doing fine. Note that these screwdrivers often come in a "set", with either several different screwdrivers, in different sizes, or there is just one "actual" screwdriver, and you get a bunch of "bits", meaning little metal pieces in many different sizes, which you can then mount at the front end of the handle piece. And if you need to work with screws in different sizes, you can simply change the bit into something with a different size.

These types of small/slim screwdrivers are very common in areas where you need to work with delicate components, like in electronics, jewelry, watches, and the like. In addition, the screwdriver shown in the picture is magnetic, meaning that screws will attach to it, which is an additional benefit, so you might want to go for that too.

Why do I write this text about screwdrivers ? It's because of the crappy quality of Nintendo's screws, at least in their 3DS consoles. If you don't have a screwdriver in the right size and don't unscrew properly don't bother to do anything at all, because you will run the risk of damaging the screws, and believe me: they get damaged very easily. And once they are damaged, it will be nearly impossible to get them out again, even with the "right" tools. An example screenshot, not from me, but to give you an idea.






This is what a so-called "stripped screw" looks like. This is caused by excessive power applied to the screwing process, which in turn is often due to not having the right screwdriver/tools.

Back to topic, unscrew the two screws of the back cover (see above), like shown here:








Again, if you have the right tool, it shouldn't be too difficult to unscrew that. But still: do it gently, and don't rush things. When you're done, the cover might still feel "stuck", in which case you take another small screwdriver, and pry apart the cover from the console body, but again, do it gently and slowly. It shouldn't be too hard though to get this first cover off.


With regards to actually removing this back cover, look here and memorize the direction of the red arrows:







Open it exactly like this. Also keep in mind the plastic hooks at the bottom of this back cover, so as not to damage them. Be careful !








When you're done with that, remove the battery pack. You can easily do that with your fingers by lifting it up, on the right-hand side.







Now we're going to remove the next "layer", the thicker back plate, which basically connects the L + R keys of the console, to the motherboard, via 2 flat orange cables. We need to remove that back plate, in order to proceed. 

In the 3DS XL version, you will need to unscrew 4 screws, for now. The "normal" 3DS, on which I originally did the procedure, has more screws, if I recall correctly, it was 9 screws. 






I can't repeat it often enough: be careful with removing the screws. If you literally "screw up", it will be next to impossible to get them out, without damaging the console (more precisely: parts of the plastic back plate). 

Another specialty in the XL version is that 2 screws are "hidden" underneath two rubber guards. You will also need to remove the rubber guards, and the screws underneath them. You do NOT have these rubber guards in the normal 3DS.








The two red arrows mark the rubber guards, and the green arrow simply shows an additional screw at the top end of the game card slot, which you ALSO need to remove. For all these screws (the two under the rubber guard + the one marked with the green arrow), you can continue using the PH00 screwdriver. But first of all, let's remove the rubber guards.







For actually removing the rubber guards, I used a "flathead" (= "-"-shaped) screwdriver. Pry apart the rubber guards carefully again, and then unscrew the hidden screws. When you are done, you should end up with these here:








The 4 on the left are the screws that are "unhidden" in the back plate. The stuff in the middle is the two rubber guards with the two "hidden" screws. And the one on the right is the small screw at the top end of the game card slot. Make sure to NOT lose anything of that !!!

Now, beginning from the bottom end of the back plate, very slowly start flipping it open. Keep in mind that at the top end of the back plate, there are cables, so be extremely careful. Do not lift up the "whole" backplate, only the bottom end, which I am holding in the picture.








If you do it correctly, you will end up with this here:








Note the two flat orange cables (on the top left + right of the console) leading to the L + R keys of the console, mentioned above. That's why I said you should be careful with opening/flipping open the back plate. The red arrow shows the WIFI-adapter/card, which we will be focussing on. Note that in the "normal" 3DS, the location of that WIFI-card is different - it's approximately where I put the red circle. Also note that you might want to put something behind your console, so that you don't have to hold the backplate in a vertical position, all the time. I simply used a cup. Very Happy








Getting back to the WIFI-card: it seems that the Nintendo 3DS console will not boot up, if the WIFI-card is not (properly) connected to the plug in the motherboard. And indeed, in my sister's console, the WIFI-card was completely detached from the motherboard. Your aim will be to (re-)connect the card again. The card's connector (left arrow) goes into the plug on the right. Make sure to do it properly, but still softly. 


Be advised: if you look carefully in my picture, there is a small green cable connected to the WIFI-card. This is the case for all 3DS (XL) consoles. Avoid quick and jerky movements with the WIFI-card ! You certainly don't want to destroy that cable connection.









And this is what a properly connected Nintendo 3DS WIFI-card should look like. It must sit tight, and not be in any ways shaky (of course).








Now close the back plate (again, pay attention to the cables of the L + R keys !) but don't put any screws in it yet. Just close the back plate, so that it is "somewhat" stable. Insert your battery pack and power on your console. If your WIFI-card was indeed "shaky" or either completly disconnected (as in my sister's case), chances are high that your console will work properly now, and boot up. 

If not, then I'm afraid the damage is much more severe, and you will pobably need to get a replacement. Forget about actually letting it repair by a professional if you don't have a warranty (anymore). You might just as well buy yourself a new console.

There is a theoretical possibility of a glitch in the firmware of the 3DS, and fixing it would involve "dumping" the firmware and reverting to an older firmware version, but that case seems to be rare. The procedure is difficult, and will be mainly relevant for people who use pirated 3DS games & flashcards. Besides, if you didn't make a backup of one of your earlier firmware versions in the past, it will be useless anyway (as you can only use your own firmware versions, and not someone else's, due to the unique encryption in each 3DS console !). Maybe I will look into that though, sometime in the future.


Back to topic: as for re-assembling, I think that should now be pretty straightforward - just do everything I said in "reverse" order.

For the future, please AVOID dropping the console to the floor (which happened to my sister a bit too often). 


Basically, that is it from me. Good luck if you encounter that error. Smile  


P.S. as a personal note, I find it highly embarassing from a technical point of view, that when you have a "shaky" or even completely detached WIFI-card, the console does not boot up at all. You don't even get any specific error message (in most cases; though I've heard from instances in which people report "weird things", for lack of detail and a better word, lol). If there was a problem with the WIFI-card/adapter, it would've been fair if you could at least play the games offline, and only be unable to access the online features. 

Also, if that was intended as a "safety measure, so as not to damage the other electronic parts of the console" (i.e. in the sense of deliberately not letting the console boot up) then there shouldn't be any electricity at all. But obvously, there is some sort of electrical activity going on.

I'm not sure if this is a "specialty" of Nintendo only, or if other handheld consoles have similar issues. However, for the relatively high price tag of Nintendo products in general, I personally would expect more, but OK - so be it. 


My sister nearly wanted to throw the console away, and thank god she didn't do it.

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by Adwomin on Fri 30 Jan 2015, 19:43

Thank you for your extensive guide, Carlos!
I personally love taking things apart, hence I enjoyed reading your guide. Smile

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Fri 30 Jan 2015, 20:27

Admin wrote:Thank you for your extensive guide, Carlos!
I personally love taking things apart, hence I enjoyed reading your guide. Smile

You're welcome ! Smile  What I only mentioned indirectly in the guide (and another reason I dwelled extensively on the part with the screwdriver), was that I also did that procedure on a friend's 3DS console, earlier, where nearly all screws in the backplate were "stripped". :DedicatedToLorilihim 

She basically "overtorqued" (i.e. applied too much power) the screws with an unsuitable screwdriver, and wow ! The procedure was entertaining as hell, lol. I basically had to damage the backplate (more precisely: the parts surrounding the screws) so as to break them out. Since there was no other way to get the screws off.

I paid attention to take my time for that, so as not to damage any electronic parts underneath the backplate. After a while, I managed to get the back plate open, and re-attach the WIFI-card. While the backplate can't be "fixed" with screws anymore, the 3DS console still could be closed and "stabilized" with the remaining (thinner) back cover - the first cover I removed in my guide.

But yes, I managed to do that without damaging anything of the electronic parts, and that 3DS works again. Very Happy   Carlos is tha man

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by Adwomin on Fri 30 Jan 2015, 20:59

Carlos wrote:
Admin wrote:Thank you for your extensive guide, Carlos!
I personally love taking things apart, hence I enjoyed reading your guide. Smile

You're welcome ! Smile  What I only mentioned indirectly in the guide (and another reason I dwelled extensively on the part with the screwdriver), was that I also did that procedure on a friend's 3DS console, earlier, where nearly all screws in the backplate were "stripped". :DedicatedToLorilihim 

She basically "overtorqued" (i.e. applied too much power) the screws with an unsuitable screwdriver, and wow ! The procedure was entertaining as hell, lol. I basically had to damage the backplate (more precisely: the parts surrounding the screws) so as to break them out. Since there was no other way to get the screws off.

I paid attention to take my time for that, so as not to damage any electronic parts underneath the backplate. After a while, I managed to get the back plate open, and re-attach the WIFI-card. While the backplate can't be "fixed" with screws anymore, the 3DS console still could be closed and "stabilized" with the remaining (thinner) back cover - the first cover I removed in my guide.

But yes, I managed to do that without damaging anything of the electronic parts, and that 3DS works again. Very Happy   Carlos is tha man
Those screws are indeed a real pain in the rear. I had that a few times while repairing laptops and iPhones. Especially the iPhone ones are a hell, because the screws are so tiny.
If you run into "bigger" screws that can't be unscrewed any more, you can try drilling them out very carefully. There's even special equipment for that, but those are not worth the money if you're only going to use them "now and then".

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Wed 04 Feb 2015, 16:15

King Admin wrote:Those screws are indeed a real pain in the rear. I had that a few times while repairing laptops and iPhones. Especially the iPhone ones are a hell, because the screws are so tiny.
If you run into "bigger" screws that can't be unscrewed any more, you can try drilling them out very carefully. There's even special equipment for that, but those are not worth the money if you're only going to use them "now and then".

I actually thought about the option with drilling the screws in the DS out, with a very tiny drilling bit. I eventually refrained from it because I considered that too risky. If I wasn't ultra-careful, I'd drill "too far" and destroy the PCB or any other electronic component. This risk wasn't worth it.

Drilling out those tiny damaged screws out is only for real (electronic) specialists. 


Also, I thought about using super-glue alongside an older screwdriver.  Haters gonna hate  Very Happy  So if the glue dried and hardened, I would attempt to apply pressure on the old screwdriver, that is basically glued to the screw. So much for the theory. But I also refrained from the idea out of fear I might glue "too much". Also, the (glued) surface that would have connected the screwdriver with the damaged screw would have been really small. And the pressure on that small surface would've been too much probably, even for the best super glue in the world. So it probably wouldn't have worked anyways. And again, as with drilling screws out, this method with the glue might be more succesful on bigger screws only.

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by Adwomin on Wed 04 Feb 2015, 20:46

Carlos wrote:So if the glue dried and hardened, I would attempt to apply pressure on the old screwdriver, that is basically glued to the screw. So much for the theory. But I also refrained from the idea out of fear I might glue "too much". Also, the (glued) surface that would have connected the screwdriver with the damaged screw would have been really small. And the pressure on that small surface would've been too much probably, even for the best super glue in the world. So it probably wouldn't have worked anyways. And again, as with drilling screws out, this method with the glue might be more succesful on bigger screws only.
Oh yeah, I tried that with bigger screws too. Will not try again. Smile Facepalm

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by ruisuki on Sat 26 Sep 2015, 11:30

I screwed myself by scratching the screws on my vanilla 3ds. Damnit all, still pisses me off since it was likely just the wifi card that came disconnected inside the motherboard. Doubt i can unscrew now so maybe nintendo will offer a trade in deal for the new3ds....since they never lower prices!!!
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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Tue 06 Oct 2015, 05:20

@ruisuki wrote:I screwed myself by scratching the screws on my vanilla 3ds. Damnit all, still pisses me off since it was likely just the wifi card that came disconnected inside the motherboard. Doubt i can unscrew now so maybe nintendo will offer a trade in deal for the new3ds....since they never lower prices!!!


One thing to keep in mind for the future: if it doesn't "come off" immediately, chances are very high that you are using the wrong tool, and at that point you should let go immediately before you do more damage. That's not just for the 3DS console, but for electronic gadgets in general. If you do have the right tool, removing screws should go relatively easy.

Also, if Nintendo really took back that console with the damaged screws, keep in mind that they need to disassemble the console in order to re-connect the wifi-card. Probably they will try using tiny drillbits on where the damaged screws are. Not only is that procedure time- and work-intensive, but it is also risky and after that, it won't be possible anymore to put in new screws. How is Nintendo going to be able re-sell that console ? Not easily I guess, if at all. 

If you know what you're doing and are very bold, you could attempt to do it like me and damage the back cover (see my previous post in this thread), just enough so that it goes off, allowing you to access the motherboard. But if you're not confident enough in that, forget about it.

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by xKooriix on Mon 28 Mar 2016, 02:07

Cool..^O^ my 3ds xl is just 3 years old so I'm not 'yet' experiencing the black screen of death.. xD but I hope I don't experience that xD..
Uhhhmm can we become friends ? What is your FC ? Here's mine 4699-6395-1923 if you have pokemon xy we can battle.. ^P^

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Tue 29 Mar 2016, 14:46

@xKooriix wrote:Cool..^O^ my 3ds xl is just 3 years old so I'm not 'yet' experiencing the black screen of death.. xD but I hope I don't experience that xD..
Uhhhmm can we become friends ? What is your FC ? Here's mine 4699-6395-1923 if you have pokemon xy we can battle.. ^P^


If you take care of your console, and try not dropping it down (often), you should be fine. Smile  The main "inspiration" for me writing this post was my sister who is pretty careless in these things.

While I'm at it, I actually haven't been playing on that 3DS console (shown in the screenshots) in a while now, since my trollish sister decided to 'hijack' it. Maybe I can get it back, but let's see. Also, I would need to look up what my friend code is, since I never used it thus far.

WhatDidUJustCallMe?

I have a bunch of 3DS games, among which I believe is also Pokémon Y, but I haven't even started most of them, as I am mostly a PC gamer. The last 3DS game I played was Pokémon Omega Ruby, back in late 2014 I think - and that game was already 'dumbed down' pretty hard compared to earlier titles, though I still liked it overall. But that's just a side-note. Very Happy  

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Re: Bringing the "dead" Nintendo 3DS (XL) back to life: a possible fix.

Post by xKooriix on Wed 30 Mar 2016, 03:04

Carlos wrote:
@xKooriix wrote:Cool..^O^ my 3ds xl is just 3 years old so I'm not 'yet' experiencing the black screen of death.. xD but I hope I don't experience that xD..
Uhhhmm can we become friends ? What is your FC ? Here's mine 4699-6395-1923 if you have pokemon xy we can battle.. ^P^


If you take care of your console, and try not dropping it down (often), you should be fine. Smile  The main "inspiration" for me writing this post was my sister who is pretty careless in these things.

While I'm at it, I actually haven't been playing on that 3DS console (shown in the screenshots) in a while now, since my trollish sister decided to 'hijack' it. Maybe I can get it back, but let's see. Also, I would need to look up what my friend code is, since I never used it thus far.

WhatDidUJustCallMe?

I have a bunch of 3DS games, among which I believe is also Pokémon Y, but I haven't even started most of them, as I am mostly a PC gamer. The last 3DS game I played was Pokémon Omega Ruby, back in late 2014 I think - and that game was already 'dumbed down' pretty hard compared to earlier titles, though I still liked it overall. But that's just a side-note. Very Happy  

I'm taking care all of my consoles because it is important for a gamers like us ❤️ 

Ohh I see haha thats why.. XD yay I'm looking forward to it.. ^O^

You should start playing It if you have time.. :)yeah same with me I like to play in PC more than my consoles XD but if there's a new game I like ex. In 3ds then bye PC world gonna finish the game first lol.. XD its alpha sapphire for me.. ^O^ and I'm looking forward to sun and moon.. XD

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