Introduction

This guide will show you how to replace the most important part of your Nintendo 3DS XL, the motherboard. The motherboard is the central part of your device, it's where everything happens!

Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: 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

Image 1/2: Using a plastic opening tool, pry off the cover starting at the top right corner. Image 2/2: Hold the edge of the cover to ensure it does not reattach.
  • 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

Image 1/3: Pry off the battery from the lower casing. Image 2/3: Lift the battery out of the case and set aside. Image 3/3: 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.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • 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

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • 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

Image 1/1:
  • Remove the 2.3 mm screw located above the game cartridge slot with a Phillips #00 screwdriver.

Add Comment

Image 1/3: Two ribbon cables connect the case to the circuit board. Be careful to not pull the case too hard and rip the ribbon cables. Image 2/3: Two ribbon cables connect the case to the circuit board. Be careful to not pull the case too hard and rip the ribbon cables. Image 3/3: 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

Image 1/3: Completely remove the lower case from the rest of the device and set aside. Image 2/3: Completely remove the lower case from the rest of the device and set aside. Image 3/3: 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

Image 1/2: Locate the circle pad on the right side of the device. Image 2/2: Remove the two 7.5 mm screws on the upper left and the bottom right corners.
  • 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

Image 1/2: 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. Image 2/2: There is a loose washer located in between the circle pad joystick and the circle pad. Use caution and do not lose this piece.
  • 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

Image 1/2: Remove the ribbon and circle pad joystick. Image 2/2: 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

Image 1/2: Locate the IR board located on the upper right side of the motherboard. Image 2/2: The IR board is installed ''upside-down'' in these photos by mistake. Installing it this way will result in your DS failing to start. Note the orientation of your IR board before you remove it, and reinstall it the same way.
  • Position the device such that the game cartridge slot is located at the top.

  • Locate the IR board located on the upper right side of the motherboard.

    • The IR board is installed upside-down in these photos by mistake. Installing it this way will result in your DS failing to start. Note the orientation of your IR board before you remove it, and reinstall it the same way.

  • Remove the IR board with a plastic opening tool by inserting the tool below the IR board and gently prying up.

The IR board appears to be upside down in this photo.

ealaney - Reply

One assumes they forgot to take the photo before removal and quickly put it back on upside down (accidentally) for the purposes of taking the photo.

Retro Gaming Repair -

Removing the IR board is actually a completely unnecessary step. It's absolutely fine to leave the IR board attached to the motherboard, it's then one less loose piece to go missing ;)

Retro Gaming Repair - Reply

The reason they remove these "easily loosable" pieces is because there's an order to put the board back together or the 3DS won't turn on. This is for replacing the motherboard, which most of the time you will buy and it won't come with the microphone, volume or IR board. Use your head kiddo. If it's so easy to loose these pieces, you should keep better track of them. We might as well just not take out any screws as well because those are very easy to loose

Miles Holiman -

You should add this note to the other uses of this picture; I accidentally knocked that chip off and reinstalled it upside down. I was referencing the photos for replacing the joystick.

Infernal Dalek - Reply

You skipped removing the microphopne.

Mykaila Brown - Reply

In my 3DXL, there was no IR board: the parts were installed directly on the motherboard.

Dan - Reply

Image 1/2: The Wi-Fi board will still be connected by a wire and it is not necessary to completely remove it for this step. Simply place it out of the way for this step. Image 2/2: The Wi-Fi board will still be connected by a wire and it is not necessary to completely remove it for this step. Simply place it out of the way for this step.
  • Using a plastic opening tool, pry off the Wi-Fi board.

  • The Wi-Fi board will still be connected by a wire and it is not necessary to completely remove it for this step. Simply place it out of the way for this step.

Component on bottom left was taken off, but not mentioned. Not sure what it does it does, and I'm assuming it's unimportant, but I just wanted to note.

Jordan - Reply

The thing on the bottom left in the little black rubber cover is the mic!

Maxwell Alexander -

Why not just seperate the wifi board from the antenna now while in your hands? You're going to do it later anyway...

Retro Gaming Repair - Reply

Image 1/2: Using tweezers, carefully remove the volume board from the casing. It will still be attached to the motherboard by a ribbon cable. Image 2/2: Using tweezers, carefully remove the volume board from the casing. It will still be attached to the motherboard by a ribbon cable.
  • Locate the volume switch on the right side of the motherboard next to the circle pad joystick.

  • Using tweezers, carefully remove the volume board from the casing. It will still be attached to the motherboard by a ribbon cable.

Add Comment

Image 1/1: Remove the volume board and set aside.
  • Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the flap that attaches the volume board ribbon to the motherboard.

  • Remove the volume board and set aside.

This step proved to be unnecessary. It's perfectly fine to leave it attached, and again it's one less small fiddly piece to go missing.

Retro Gaming Repair - Reply

Image 1/2: You can also remove these pieces easily by carefully lifting up the 3DS and holding it upside-down.   They normally fall right out, but don't lose them! Image 2/2: You can also remove these pieces easily by carefully lifting up the 3DS and holding it upside-down.   They normally fall right out, but don't lose them!
  • Remove the black plastic pieces from the lower left and right hand corners with either your fingers or tweezers.

  • You can also remove these pieces easily by carefully lifting up the 3DS and holding it upside-down. They normally fall right out, but don't lose them!

Add Comment

Image 1/3: These flaps are located on the top right and bottom right side of the motherboard. Image 2/3: Remove the ribbons from the flap. Image 3/3: Remove the ribbons from the flap.
  • Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the flap that attaches the two smaller ribbons to the motherboard.

  • These flaps are located on the top right and bottom right side of the motherboard.

  • Remove the ribbons from the flap.

For the first picture on step 17, (the one at the top of the board) what does that cable connect to? My clip broke.

Bradly - Reply

MMM as far as I can tell it looks like it's for the touch screen as it plugs into p13 and is the same plug type as p10, p12 and p17 and a couple others. Could be wrong though :)

Connor -

Image 1/3: For the wider ribbons make sure to lift the flaps from the white side. Image 2/3: Remove the ribbons from the opened flaps. Image 3/3: Remove the ribbons from the opened flaps.
  • Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the flaps that attach the wider ribbons to the motherboard.

  • For the wider ribbons make sure to lift the flaps from the white side.

  • Remove the ribbons from the opened flaps.

Note: the top right wider ribbon is for the camera, the thinner ribbon in the top right is for the speakers and the bottom ribbon is to the upper lcd. You will want to ensure you stack the ribbons appropriately when putting the system back together.

Elaine - Reply

Had some trouble with this: Not exactly sure why, but when after successfully replacing the screen and beginning to resemble, while reinserting the wide ribbon for the lower LCD (p8) it seems that the white locking clip unhinged itself from the connector, and bent some of the pins. The ribbon now won't fully insert.. Can't figure out if I've somehow completely ruined my 3ds. Mostly concerned about my save data that's not on my sdcard.

kbbauer - Reply

Image 1/2: For this flap lift from the black side. Image 2/2: Remove the ribbon from the flap.
  • Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the flap that attaches the ribbon to the motherboard.

  • For this flap lift from the black side.

  • Remove the ribbon from the flap.

    • Reassembly: This wide ribbon is the one with the BLACK STRIPE and goes on the upper (visible) side of the motherboard during reassembly.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Image 2/2:
  • Remove ten 5.5 mm screws that are located around the face of the motherboard.

Add Comment

Image 1/2: Carefully lift the board straight up just enough to clear the two plastic mounts located near the top corners of the cartridge slot. Image 2/2: Gently flip the motherboard over the top side.
  • The motherboard will still be attached at the top right hand corner so do not completely detach it at this point.

  • Carefully lift the board straight up just enough to clear the two plastic mounts located near the top corners of the cartridge slot.

  • Gently flip the motherboard over the top side.

Laying it down like this puts too much stress on the ribbon cable. I find it better to release the connector while the board is tilted at a 90 degree angle to the body of the 3DS. Less chance of damage to the top screen cable that way.

Retro Gaming Repair - Reply

Image 1/2: Make sure to lift the flap from the white side. Image 2/2: Remove the ribbon from the opened flap.
  • Using the flat head side of the spudger carefully lift up the flap that attaches the wider ribbon on the upper right side to the motherboard.

  • Make sure to lift the flap from the white side.

  • Remove the ribbon from the opened flap.

  • Set the motherboard aside.

So I tore this wire is this the visual or something?? Please help

linkon king - Reply

I tore this wire too. Am I able to buy it individually?

dobe mon - Reply

How do you get this cable back in? It is way too short...

Luke Miller - Reply

Tweezers, steady hand, and a little luck.

Marcus DeCamp - Reply

Conclusion

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

21 other people completed this guide.

Charlene Donlon

Member since: 04/08/2014

6,414 Reputation

8 Guides authored

Team

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

CPSU-REGAN-S14S9G13

5 Members

8 Guides authored

6 Comments

yes but what about putting it back in?

jefbt - Reply

Does anyone know how to fix the flap on the ribbon because I accidentally removed the whole thing

Carlos Mendez - Reply

How do you fix it so it will stop shutting down on start up?

shawn66674 - Reply

my 3DS XL in turn on, speaker making cracking sound, no display, then power off. is this motherboard issue.

neofighter103 - Reply

NICE!Thats a really good instructional guide.

Baily Walston - Reply

What does the P12 connector actually do? What does the cable go to? If this wasn't hooked up would the 3ds still boot?

joe1.oldendick1 - Reply

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 30

Past 7 Days: 228

Past 30 Days: 939

All Time: 26,673