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Introduction

Replace the brains of your 3DS with a new motherboard.

  1. Unscrew the four Phillips #00 screws along the top of the 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.

    • The comments section is full of unlucky souls who will tell you that the screws here through step 4 will strip incredibly easily. Press down fairly hard, and go slow.

  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.
    • 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.

  3. 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.
    • 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.

  4. Remove the nine 6.3 mm black Phillips screws from the 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.

  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.
    • 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.

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

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

  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.
    • 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.

  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.
    • 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.

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

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

  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.
    • 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.

  13. 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.
    • 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.

  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.
    • 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.

  15. Grasp the microphone ribbon cable near the microphone with a pair of tweezers. Pull the microphone straight up out of the upper case.
    • Grasp the microphone ribbon cable near the microphone with a pair of tweezers.

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

  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. Damaging the socket or cable will result in a 3DS that will blink its power LED when you press the power button - and do nothing else. Disconnect the speaker assembly ribbon cable with a pair of tweezers.
    • 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. Damaging the socket or cable will result in a 3DS that will blink its power LED when you press the power button - and do nothing else.

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

  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.
    • 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.

    • When reassembling, note that the gold contacts face toward the motherboard (as opposed to the camera cable's gold contacts facing away).

  18. Remove seven Phillips screws securing the motherboard to the upper case: Four 2.5 mm gold screws Two 3.5 mm black screws
    • 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.

  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.
    • 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.

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

  21. Set the motherboard assembly down so that the lower LCD is side-by-side with the motherboard. Use the tip of a spudger or your fingers to peel back the white tape covering the touchscreen ribbon cable connector. Use the tip of a spudger or your fingers to peel back the white tape covering the touchscreen ribbon cable connector.
    • Set the motherboard assembly down so that the lower LCD is side-by-side with the motherboard.

    • Use the tip of a spudger or your fingers to peel back the white tape covering the touchscreen ribbon cable connector.

  22. Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the touchscreen ribbon cable ZIF socket. Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.
    • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the touchscreen ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

  23. Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the lower LCD power ribbon cable ZIF socket. Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself. Pull the ribbon cable out of the connector with a pair of tweezers.
    • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the lower LCD power ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

    • Pull the ribbon cable out of the connector with a pair of tweezers.

    • Grasp the ribbon cable as close to the connector as possible with the tweezers to avoid tearing it.

  24. Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the lower LCD data ribbon cable ZIF socket. Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.
    • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the lower LCD data ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

  25. Grasp the lower display assembly and pull it directly away from the motherboard.
    • Grasp the lower display assembly and pull it directly away from the motherboard.

  26. Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the microphone ribbon cable ZIF socket. Be sure you are prying up on the hinged retaining flap, not the socket itself.
    • Use the flat end of a spudger or your fingernail to flip up the retaining flap on the microphone ribbon cable ZIF socket.

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

  27. Lift the microphone and its attached ribbon cable off the motherboard.
    • Lift the microphone and its attached ribbon cable off the motherboard.

  28. Turn the motherboard over. Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the volume switch connector out of its socket on the motherboard.
    • Turn the motherboard over.

    • Use the flat end of a spudger to pry the volume switch connector out of its socket on the motherboard.

  29. Remove the volume switch from the motherboard.
    • Remove the volume switch from the motherboard.

  30. The motherboard remains.
    • The motherboard remains.

Conclusion

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

32 other people completed this guide.

David Hodson

Member since: 04/13/2010

135,270 Reputation

127 Guides authored

6 Comments

This guide seriously helped me get a broken 3DS and replace the motherboard to make it a working one. Thank you for doing this guide, you are awesome. :)

Mr Blubird - Reply

I can't thank you enough for this guide! My 3 year old submerged my 8yr olds coveted 3DS in the toilet yesterday...I frantically took it apart as soon as I found it (knew not to turn it on) and wisely took pics on my phone as I frantically took apart each piece to get it dried....was however up all night dreading my ability to put it back together again...until I found this awesome step by step guide. Won't try to put it back together for another few days, but I will update my post and let you know if I got it working again:) Thanks so much!

abdefreitas - Reply

I need help!

My 3DS is acting alone directional up!

I opened the device and realized that there is a short between TP85 and ground !

I need to know what CI is responsible for the control functions !

Thanks!

Rilson da Silva Ferraz - Reply

The control functions are on the back of the motherboard facing the lower screen. It is the 4 white buttons right below the huge gap where the circular pad goes

afdflol82 -

Excellent guide. This is an incredibly frustrating device to take apart and get back together.

Probably the toughest part is the ribbon cables. They're positively tiny and some of them force you to insert them without much space to work. The best strategy I've found is to use a small poking tool like a pen cap clip to nudge them very patiently into place. First one corner in the socket so it doesn't fly back out, then nudge it along and get the other corner. Then straighten it out to line up perfectly. Being extremely patient and gentle are key -- if you even slightly bend a corner without damaging the wires, it becomes infinitely harder to get it in successfully. Most of the ribbons have small notches you can use to help you push them in and judge how far in they are.

Also if the wifi antenna wire gets loose when you're putting it back together, you'll have to undo everything to get it back into the right spot.

Chupi - Reply

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