Introduction

So you managed to break your circle pad and can't play your favorite games? Don't fear, the circle pad can be replaced!

Unscrew the two 4.2 mm screws that are located at the top of the cover. The screws have locking washers that prevent the screws from falling off of the back cover. Leave these locking washers on the screws, it is not necessary to remove the washers for this repair guide.
  • Unscrew the two 4.2 mm screws that are located at the top of the cover.

  • The screws have locking washers that prevent the screws from falling off of the back cover. Leave these locking washers on the screws, it is not necessary to remove the washers for this repair guide.

Note: If your top or bottom screen was working before disassembly and doesn't work after reassembly, then it's likely that the connector is loose or dirty or damaged or not clipped or PLACED UPSIDE-DOWN. I had this issue with my Super3DS XL(2015) and it turns out that the reason why my top screen wasn't working after put together, was because I had the top LCD connector upside-down. After I correctly put the connector in, It worked again!

justjustintuber - Reply

Hold the device so that the cover is facing up. Using a plastic opening tool, pry off the cover starting at the top right corner.
  • Hold the device so that the cover is facing up.

  • Using a plastic opening tool, pry off the cover starting at the top right corner.

    • Hold the edge of the cover to ensure it does not reattach.

    • Look for the small section below the stylus compartment. Pry off the cover at that point if it is still attached.

  • Take off the cover of the device and set aside.

Note that on the lower side (opposite to the hinges), there are small hooking tabs. These require you to lift the top (screw side) off towards you, then the lower area.

Jordan Kelly - Reply

Insert the plastic opening tool into the opening located on the right side of the battery. Pry off the battery from the lower casing. Lift the battery out of the case and set aside.
  • Insert the plastic opening tool into the opening located on the right side of the battery.

  • Pry off the battery from the lower casing.

  • Lift the battery out of the case and set aside.

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Using tweezers pull out the rubber bumpers that are located at the top of the device on either side of the game cartridge compartment. Using tweezers pull out the rubber bumpers that are located at the top of the device on either side of the game cartridge compartment.
  • Using tweezers pull out the rubber bumpers that are located at the top of the device on either side of the game cartridge compartment.

I found that the rubber bumps don't move easily, you'll likely have to use a lot of upward force to move them.

jconnell85 - Reply

I torn one of the bumpers because I used a needle instead.

luxusmirajane - Reply

You do have a pry a bit. I tore one a little but not that big of a deal.

Christopher - Reply

I think the ease of this step would be subject to the age and condition of the 3DS. Mine came out with minimal leverage using my nails.

infmz - Reply

try twisting upward

Kmi Nguyen - Reply

I used a super tiny metal screwdriver to push the bumper against one side and then used the screwdriver to push it up and out

S Maduras - Reply

I tried tweezers but they were scraping against the plastic and I didn't want to leave any marks. Ended up using a tiny flat screwdriver to get them out like S Maduras said. Once I got them out I noticed there was a tiny bit of glue on the bottom holding them in place.

Anth Rodi - Reply

Deck the Halls
With tools and Fix Kits
Remove the six 6.2 mm screws using a Phillips #00 screwdriver Remove the six 6.2 mm screws using a Phillips #00 screwdriver
  • Remove the six 6.2 mm screws using a Phillips #00 screwdriver

#000 ifixit philips screwdriver does not fit the 6.2mm screws. Whats the deal?

sevenethshinobi - Reply

I have a 000 Phillips from tekton and it worked just fine.

Megan -

I stripped a good #000 screwdriver, and found that EVERY screw actually fit perfect and snug with a #00 screwdriver. Zero damage to the screws or the screwdriver with the #00.

Vannicke Trabeitt - Reply

Don't buy the #000 screwdriver from this site! It's poorly made and strips the screws. I had to drill the screws out and replace them, it was very tricky and nearly broke my DS. Get a screwdriver from an electronics store.

sharga - Reply

I bought and used the #00 screwdriver, and it worked perfectly for this.

I had also bought the #000, but I never needed it during the entire operation.

jconnell85 - Reply

All 6 screws are exactly the same so you don't have to worry about mixing them up.

Christopher - Reply

One of the screws in my 3ds XL seems to have its '+' engraving worn off, i can't seem to unscrew it, though the other 5 unscrewed properly. What should I do?

Potato Man - Reply

J000 works better here.

Dom - Reply

Remove the 2.3 mm screw located above the game cartridge slot with a Phillips #00 screwdriver.
  • Remove the 2.3 mm screw located above the game cartridge slot with a Phillips #00 screwdriver.

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With a plastic opening tool pry off the lower case starting at the bottom edge and working around the perimeter. Two ribbon cables connect the case to the circuit board. Be careful to not pull the case too hard and rip the ribbon cables. Two ribbon cables connect the case to the circuit board. Be careful to not pull the case too hard and rip the ribbon cables.
  • With a plastic opening tool pry off the lower case starting at the bottom edge and working around the perimeter.

  • Two ribbon cables connect the case to the circuit board. Be careful to not pull the case too hard and rip the ribbon cables.

Make sure that you have removed your SD card, otherwise that'll keep you from completing this step.

jconnell85 - Reply

Remove the ribbon cables located underneath the left and right bumpers by prying up the base of the cables with a plastic opening tool. Completely remove the lower case from the rest of the device and set aside. Completely remove the lower case from the rest of the device and set aside.
  • Remove the ribbon cables located underneath the left and right bumpers by prying up the base of the cables with a plastic opening tool.

  • Completely remove the lower case from the rest of the device and set aside.

The IR board is facing the wrong way.

Jordan - Reply

Thank you so much for pointing that out, it was keeping my system from starting up and I thought I blew it!

Ryan Hescock -

Yup, that is definitely an upside-down IR board, and will result in a silent post error. It was driving me crazy trying to figure out why the system wouldn't start up.

alexmouravskiy -

That's it!! Thanks so much!! I've tinkered around about one month and couldn't get this thing to work...all because I've followed the guide here and looked the picture up twice so I don't put the IR-Board in the wrong way...

chfreydank -

Hehe. That would explain why it was not working ;-)

boma40 - Reply

Thank you guys so much! I followed everything faithfully and it was DOA on startup. (Black screens, blue light). The IR board was backwards. These pictures need to be fixed. As-is, it shows a broken 3DS.

jtmuehlbauer - Reply

Position the device such that the game cartridge slot is located at the top. Locate the circle pad on the right side of the device.
  • Position the device such that the game cartridge slot is located at the top.

  • Locate the circle pad on the right side of the device.

  • Remove the two 7.5 mm screws on the upper left and the bottom right corners.

This IR is bad side, diode IR must be UP

patholog - Reply

Using a plastic opening tool pop off the circle pad joystick. Do not use excessive force with the plastic opening tool. There is a ribbon attaching the circle pad joystick to the motherboard that will remain attached.
  • Using a plastic opening tool pop off the circle pad joystick.

    • Do not use excessive force with the plastic opening tool. There is a ribbon attaching the circle pad joystick to the motherboard that will remain attached.

  • There is a loose washer located in between the circle pad joystick and the circle pad. Use caution and do not lose this piece.

I found it easy to put my finger ontop of the board and apply a little pressure. When i popped off the board, my finger stopped it flying off.

Chris Ramsay - Reply

Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the retaining flap that attaches the circle pad ribbon to the motherboard. Remove the ribbon and circle pad joystick.
  • Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the retaining flap that attaches the circle pad ribbon to the motherboard.

  • Remove the ribbon and circle pad joystick.

The 'flat head' holds it in place when down, and you can reattach your ribbon cable when it's up, it only needs to be partway in so when you close the flat head, if your joystick board can't move easily in place then you've done it right, it it's too loose, try again to work the ribbon cable under.

jconnell85 - Reply

The ribbon goes into the left side of the "flat head" right? Not the end that clamps down on the right? I'm having a !&&* of a time sliding the end of the ribbon into the little space between the flat head when it's up and the side of the terminal.

Sedroc Djeddi -

For those of you like me, who got stuck after the last step.

To understand how to actually remove the circle pad, continue with these steps at 21.

Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Replacement

Hope it helps those after me. I almost ripped some cabling inside thinking I had to take out the motherboard.. luckily I didn't.

monk333y - Reply

Just as what monk333y said, follow the Original 3DS steps. They are identical and you don't have to remove anymore big parts. The only annoying part is taking out the circle pad.

luxusmirajane - Reply

I broke the retaining clip. It is not very strong and I used a bit too much force i think in opening the clip or pushing it back down. Thinking of using hot glue or something else to keep the circle pad ribbon in place.

Lawrence - Reply

How do you re attach the ribbons? do the just snap right into the motherboard?

petraogan - Reply

thank you monk333y, the author of this guide needs to correct a couple of things and how hard would it be for her to add steps 21 onward from the other guide?

S Maduras - Reply

step 11, if you're just replacing the button, you don't need to disconnect the circle pad ribbon from the motherboard.

S Maduras - Reply

During re-assemblhy, note that the peg between the joystick mechanism and the circle pad is rectangular, and must fit into the matching rectangular socket on the circle pad.

Dan - Reply

Conclusion

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

53 other people completed this guide.

Charlene Donlon

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Cal Poly, Team 9-13, Regan Spring 2014 Member of Cal Poly, Team 9-13, Regan Spring 2014

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Thank you very much.Perfect repair the circle pad.

The circle pad link:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-New-Anal...?

mouyi chen - Reply

Great guide, just upgraded my joystick. Bought my replacement from shapeways. The replacement is metal so it won't break like the last one. Also it's a lot more comfortable.

Anyway highly recommend this replacement:

https://www.shapeways.com/product/76RHQ7...

Omniwheel -

I'm having trouble removing the plastic case in step 7, it seems it refuses to come apart at the SD card part. What should I do? What is holding it down?

brittanylikespie1 - Reply

Remove the SD card

Daniel Sze -

My son broke the circle pad on his 3DS XL while playing Super Smash Bros.. I purchased 2 circle pads just in-case from http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-New-Anal...

Excellent replacement, just like the original circle pad. The write-up and pics were very helpful. Highly recommend for anyone needing to buy and replace the circle button on a 3DS XL.

RickyB - Reply

When removing the circle pad joystick in Step 10, my ribbon came off of the piece that is attached to the motherboard. I tried attaching it back and turned my 3DSXL back on and the connection was making the select tool jump sporadically on my screen without me moving the circle pad at all. Is this fixable or do I need to send my 3DSXL to Nintendo?

Karen McLucas - Reply

http://m.ebay.com/itm?itemId=19159304393...

I received my circle pad from this seller.

luxusmirajane - Reply

You need to remove the SD card before step 7. I was struggling to flip the back cover until I realized the SD card was in the way. Instructions otherwise were excellent.

It takes very little prying to take off the back plate and back cover once the screws are off. If you have to force it you are probably doing it wrong.

zlandar - Reply

This Screwdriver is too big for the screws in mine. Maybe it's a later model or something, but keep that in mind.

Allison Hunt - Reply

I'm having trouble with the first two screws and I'm using the right screwdriver. The right turned easily but I'm having trouble with the left. No matter how I turn it it won't budge I think I've ruined the screw. What can I do to turn it or fix this?

Semeki Izuio - Reply

Well a small but large enough problem is that there are 2 variation for 3ds XL circle pad and the screws will not aligned unless it is screwed into it self.

James Betker - Reply

Couldn't get the ribbon for the joystick back on and the plastic retaining flap broke as I applied pressure. Should have sent it to the pros. Also the guide doesn't say what to do to actually install the joystick. Otherwise useful until that point, bit bummed that I destroyed my 3ds despite being very careful.

Jeff H - Reply

How do you replace the circle pad itself? not the joystick.

Thanks.

hlhr - Reply

Just registered to add my thanks for this - absolutely brilliantly easy guide to follow which has (together with replacement circle pad for $2 on ebay) made our son extremely happy to have his 3DS back again! Thanks!

Alastair Campbell - Reply

Thanks. A well-organised guide, very good pictures, and every step explained.

BUT

For a guide headed "Circle Pad Replacement" it completely fails to show how to actually replace the circle pad! (Which is why *we are all here*!)

Luckily I flicked across to another guide that gave me the clues I actually needed. (quiet "yay!")

Two more points:

1) There is no instruction advising us to remove the SD card. Would have helped (a lot).

2) With all the covers off, and while turning it over to insert the circle-pad, it is possible for some parts to simply drop out. The little corner thingies for attaching a carry/safety strap. Not essential to its function, sure. But still. That info could have helped me. (I found it on the carpet five minutes after I thought I had finished.)

Cheers

G

Ged Maybury - Reply

My battery won't charge after doing this... Please help

brentgarciar - Reply

i was following the guide and a small square shaped object with rounded edges came off and im not sure where it came from any clues?

Jose Soto - Reply

My ribbon cable tab came undone, I have used 5 others and cant seem to get it on, I have used sticky tape to connect it but doesn't connect properly what do I do, I am very frustrated at this point.

Kaleb Overmars - Reply

Hi there,

I just used this walkthrough to replace just the outer pad tip/top (brushed steel from Shapeways.com), not the whole module. While your instructions were very helpful for the steps involved in opening the case, you might want to adjust them to say that a 1.5 mm cross head works best to avoid stripping the tiny screws, instead of a pointy #000 Phillips head. Also, if you're just replacing the outer pad, you don't really have to do step 11 (and disconnect the module thingy entirely from the board) - all you have to do is pull the broken "joystick pad" part out of the hole once you unscrew the module, open the DS carefully from below (so as not to lose parts from the underside), twist the replacement pad into place, making sure to include the washer you mentioned around its base (between it and the casing), then close the DS again, pop the module connected to the board back onto the underside of the "joystick pad", then screw it back down, insert the battery and SD card, and close up the casing.

Feather Elfstrom - Reply

do i need to replace the circle pad ribbon?

Haruhiko Akimoto - Reply

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