Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Replacement

Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad replacement.

Figure out a way to break your Circle Pad? Luckily, you can replace it with a new one.

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Edit Step 1 Back Cover  ¶ 

  • Unscrew the four Phillips #00 screws along the top of the back cover.

  • The screws are held in place by locking washers, and will not come out of the back cover.

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Edit Step 2  ¶ 

  • Hold the device in one hand and turn it over.

  • Grab the top edge of the back cover with your opposite hand so that the cover does not fall back into place.

  • Flip the 3DS over again so that the back cover is facing up.

  • Pull the back cover up and away from the rest of the device to remove it.

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Edit Step 3 Battery  ¶ 

  • Insert a plastic opening tool into the notch in the lower case above the battery.

  • Pry the battery up with the plastic opening tool.

  • Grab the top edge of the battery and lift it out of the lower case.

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Edit Step 4 Lower Case  ¶ 

  • Remove the nine 6.3 mm black Phillips screws from the lower case.

  • Remove the 2.4 mm silver Phillips screw above the game cartridge slot.

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Edit Step 5  ¶ 

  • Lift the bottom edge of the lower case off the rest of the 3DS.

  • There are still two ribbon cables connecting the mother board to the case, so be sure not to pull the lower case all the way off.

  • Use a plastic opening tool to pry the shoulder button ribbon cables off their sockets on the motherboard.

  • Remove the lower case from the device.

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Edit Step 6 Circle Pad Joystick  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 7.7 mm Phillips screws securing the back of the Circle Pad to the motherboard.

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Edit Step 7  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the back of the Circle Pad off the motherboard.

  • Lift the Circle Pad joystick off the motherboard and lay it on its back so that the ribbon cable connector is accessible.

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Edit Step 8  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the Circle Pad ribbon cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Lift the Circle Pad joystick off the motherboard.

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Edit Step 9  ¶ 

  • To decrease the chance of losing it during repairs, you may want to remove the two thin pads underneath the Circle Pad joystick.

  • Use a spudger or screwdriver to lift the pads up and remove them from the device.

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Edit Step 10 SD Board  ¶ 

  • Remove the two 4.5 mm Phillips screws securing the SD board to the motherboard.

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Edit Step 11  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the SD board ribbon cable connector off its socket on the motherboard.

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Edit Step 12  ¶ 

  • Insert the flat end of a spudger between the SD board and the motherboard.

  • Run the spudger along the sides of the SD board to free it from the adhesive pad holding it in place.

  • Once completely freed, lift the SD board straight off the motherboard.

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Edit Step 13 Wi-Fi Board  ¶ 

  • Slide the flat end of a spudger under the corner of the Wi-Fi board, and lift it away from the motherboard.

  • The Wi-Fi antenna cable is still connected to the Wi-Fi board, so you cannot completely remove the Wi-Fi board yet.

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Edit Step 14  ¶ 

  • Lift the Wi-Fi board off the motherboard and rotate it so that the bottom side is facing up.

  • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the Wi-Fi antenna cable connector off its socket on the Wi-Fi board.

  • Remove the Wi-Fi board from the device.

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Edit Step 15 Motherboard Assembly  ¶ 

  • Grasp the microphone ribbon cable near the microphone with a pair of tweezers.

  • Pull the microphone straight up out of the upper case.

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Edit Step 16  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the speaker assembly ribbon cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

  • Disconnect the speaker assembly ribbon cable with a pair of tweezers.

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Edit Step 17  ¶ 

  • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the camera ribbon cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

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Edit Step 18  ¶ 

  • Remove seven Phillips screws securing the motherboard to the upper case:

    • Four 2.5 mm gold screws

    • Two 3.5 mm black screws

    • One 2.5 mm silver screw

  • Lift the side of the motherboard that sits along the bottom edge of the 3DS.

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Edit Step 19  ¶ 

  • Continue lifting the motherboard assembly and rotate it until it is resting next to the rest of the device.

  • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the LCD ribbon cable ZIF socket.

  • Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.

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Edit Step 20  ¶ 

  • Remove the motherboard assembly from the rest of the device.

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Edit Step 21 Circle Pad  ¶ 

  • There is a black plastic ring that sits between the bottom of the circle pad and the underside of the upper case. The ring has a slit in it that allows you to remove and reinstall it.

  • Use a spudger to orient the Circle Pad and plastic ring so that the slit in the ring is 180o from the opening in the bottom of the Circle Pad.

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Edit Step 22  ¶ 

  • Insert the tip of a spudger into the slot in the bottom of the Circle Pad and under the plastic ring.

  • Use a prying motion to remove the plastic ring from underneath the bottom of the Circle Pad.

  • It is all right if the ring is slightly bent by the spudger during removal. As long as it is not torn, the ring will still perform its intended duty.

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Edit Step 23  ¶ 

  • Open the 3DS and hold it so that the bottom of the buttons are facing upward.

  • Grab the top of the Circle Pad and pull the tip of one of the "prongs" on the bottom of the Circle pad through the hole in the upper case.

  • Continue pulling the bottom of the Circle Pad through the hole in the upper case while rotating the Circle Pad until it is free.

To reassemble your device, follow these instructions in reverse order.

For more information, check out the Nintendo 3DS device page.

Required Tools

Spudger

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Phillips #00 Screwdriver

$5.95 · 50+ In stock

Plastic Opening Tools

$2.95 · 50+ In stock

Tweezers

$6.95 · 50+ In stock

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Comments Comments are onturn off

where do you buy the circle pad

Joe Leon, · Reply

yeah where can I buy a new circle pad? mine broke in half the lower half is still inside my 3ds XL and I refuse to pay $135 nintendo non-warranty fee just for this problem.

TJ Celtic, · Reply

Hi can you tell me where i can get the replacement? thank you

linkjosef, · Reply

Awesome example!!! Just what I was looking for :P

luckymarie15, · Reply

#00 screwdriver is too big... probably need a #000

thomascroguennec, · Reply

The correct screwdriver should be a JIS, or you can get a screwdriver specific for the 3DS from other sites for less than $2

Oscar, · Reply

Had to give up at this point. Tried using the ifixit #00 phillips screwdriver to take out two screws and ended up stripping them.

Demios, · Reply

Stuck at the same spot, those screws are in there really tight.

John Pasula, · Reply

Ruined my screws because of incorrect head, thanks!

3dsuser, · Reply

I had so much trouble with these screws, I gave up. Unfortunately, I can't accept failure so tried again. I figured out if you turn it right before you loosen it worked. Maybe it was just me, but I turned it right then kept pressure as I turned to loosen. I was surprised I hadn't stripped any screws out.

Nicole Bauer, · Reply

Does anyone have any idea of how to remove these screws. I've pretty badly stripped the screws and I've gone to 20+ pages trying to figure this. I'm considering just prying the !@#$ thing.

Vino, · Reply

ruined my screws here too...what the !@#$ nintendo?

trying to survive a nuclear meltdown inside the !@#$ thing

Hamza Jarkas, · Reply

I used a #00 Philips 1/8" bit with no problem; however, the narrow diameter of the counter sunk hole can inhibit making secure contact with the screw head. You can be using the right bit (#00) but if the diameter of the bit shaft is too big you won't get proper contact.

I found this to be an excellent guide. Thanks

Dave W, · Reply

If anyone can point me to a link to purchase the 9 screws, let me know. Contacted Nintendo and they said I'd have to send it in. Email me at xavierfflores@gmail.com

Xavier Flores, · Reply

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