Nintendo's upgraded version of the Nintendo 3DS. It features bigger screens, longer battery life, and a better design.

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3ds xl powers on but won't boot

Its 2 in the morning and I have been trying to repair a 3ds xl for hours. I am at my wits end here, so bear with me. I bought a broken 3ds xl off ebay thinking I could repair it. I do Ds lites all the time, and stupid me thought I could handle the complexities of a 3ds xl. First mistake. Second mistake was that i bought more than one. 3 (already broken) motherboards, 3 top screens, 1 stripped screw and various other swapping of parts later, I still don't have a fully functional 3ds xl. Here's my problem. When put completely together (minus a few screws for the sake of time), The 3ds powers on, the screens turn on (as in the backlight turns on) but the screens remain black. Things I've tried: Reseating all of the ribbon cables. Checking the wifi module to see if it's connected. Swapping the wifi module. Swapping the battery. Holding the power button down for 10 seconds while holding the wifi button simultaneously. I am already looking into buying a (functional) 3ds xl, so before you give me the Very Helpful (insert sarcasm here) suggestion of buying a new one (or a "New" 3ds xl), Please do me a favor and Don't.

TL;DR: I'm hungry, tired, and desperate. Please help me.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I have one more motherboard that I haven't yet tried. Should I try swapping that one out, or am I screwed?

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I also feel your pain. I bought 2 off eBay as well with this exact problem. So far, all of my research is pointing to sleep issues with a bad update installation. If this is the case then I doubt there is much we can do to fix this (commonly referred to as the BSoD - black screen of death).

Have you tried holding the 'L,' 'R,' 'Up' & 'A' buttons before powering the system on? I haven't had a moment to test that out but I've heard some have had some success with that, along with reseating the WiFi module, etc.

Due to the age of this post, if you've found an answer/fix, please let us know what you did to correct this issue.

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I've been having this problem as well with an XL I got recently, but I can shed a bit more light on how it started with mine.

I had bought an XL for cheap because the original owner has damaged the headphone jack. The rest of it was functional. Shortly after I was asked by a friend to fix his system, which would 'pop' and turn off when turned on. My idea for a quick fix at the time was just to switch the motherboards and the shells, and deal with the busted ribbon cable later. However before I could get to doing the swap, the container that both systems were in was dropped. After that point I had the same symptom in the good system, regardless of which board was being used.

My suspicion is that the boards are healthy, but it could be something wrong with the upper half of the shell (possibly the magnet which triggers sleep mode).

Also I tried the L + R + Up + A method, but all this did was cause the wireless light to flash. Reseating and swapping the wireless cards had no effect either.

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Haven't found a solution yet. I just recently moved so I haven't gotten a chance to tinker with it as much as I'd like.

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@redterror117 I didn't realise there was a magnet that triggered the sleep mode. If this is the case it will certainly help track down the problem these 3DS' are having. When I get around to opening one up (again) I'll look around for what you suggested.

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From what I recall, the long term exposure of a strong magnet can cause the 3ds to be stuck in sleep mode. Further research on this website states that there's a magnet in the speaker, which when comes close enough to the motherboard will trigger sleep mode.

Anyway I need to get a hold of another XL to work with, but I'm still thinking that the problem lies in the upper screen components. I'll update with confirmation once I get the parts to fix the other XL

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So a bit of backstory into my answer. I've bought 5 busted Nintendo 3DS XLs with various problems. Three of the systems booted up fine while two were affected by the BSoD (black screen of death). The typical look of the BSoD is the blue power light, no amber wifi light and both screens staying black. Basically it appears that the system is hanging on boot up.

While attempting to repair a special edition Year of Luigi 3DS XL, I noticed that the touch screen was acting funny and decided to replace it with one of the assemblies from 1 of 2 BSoD XLs. I pulled the full assembly (touch screen & lower LCD) out of the Luigi console and swapped it with the assembly from the red BSoD XL. When I put the Luigi XL back together, I started it up and it began to hang at startup, acting like a typical BSoD. Thinking that was odd, I put together the red BSoD XL back together with the assembly from Luigi XL. The red BSoD XL then booted up normally and I was able to use the system just fine. So by accident, I stumbled onto the answer of the BSoD issue (or at least 1 of several).

To confirm this, I took the other black BSoD XL (the 2nd one) and swapped that lower assembly with a working one. Just as I expected, swapping the lower assembly fixed the black BSoD XL and that booted up perfectly fine.

TL;DR

If you're suffering from the BSoD problems, check the following:

  • WiFi card is seated correctly (most times this is the main cause)
  • Check all of your ribbons/connections so that they're seated correctly
  • Finally, if none of the above have worked then you're going to replace your lower LCD to fix this problem. Follow this guide to get your system back up and running: Nintendo 3DS XL Touchscreen Replacement I would suggest not detaching the ribbons from the upper section though, skipping that part will save you a big headache on reassembly. Just be gentle, take your time and be patient. You don't want to cause more damage to your system.

The cause of the lower LCD becoming faulty is not clear but some reasons come to mind:

  • The LCD has overheated and caused a short in the ribbon
  • A fall & impact has caused:
    • A tear in the ribbon that is not visible without dismantling the assembly
    • Unnoticeable damage to the LCD somewhere in the display
    • The backlight is damaged

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Will this work for all system or just a certain type of model? I have a 2013 model that I turned off but it never came back on when I went back to it.

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@rexyn So far, I've only seen it work with 3DS XLs of any model type. This does not include the 3DS LL, with the right analog stick, as I have yet to repair a BSoD for that version.

I'm not sure if this will also work for smaller 3DSs or other handheld types, DS Lite, DSi, etc as well. I have run into BSoDs on DS Lites but that seems to be a different issue all together. I'm still studying those to figure out an answer.

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