Video Overview


Nintendo's newest 3DS XL is literally called the *New* 3DS XL, but just how new is it? We'll have to tear it open to really find out.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Nintendo 3DS XL 2015, use our service manual.

  1. We braved a gnarly midnight line at our local GameStop to bring you this teardown. No expense was spared for your enjoyment.
    • We braved a gnarly midnight line at our local GameStop to bring you this teardown. No expense was spared for your enjoyment.

    • Hot off the press, the Nintendo 3DS XL 2015 boasts the following tech specs:

      • "Super-stable, face-tracking 3D"

      • Addition of the C stick along with new ZL and ZR buttons

      • Built-in near-field communication (NFC) reader

      • Improved CPU performance

      • Upgraded rear-facing cameras and microSDHC support

      • *Charger not included. Thankfully there's a simple solution for that problem.

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    • Making its comeback debut, not seen since the Gamecube era, put your hands together for the C stick. All glory to the C stick.

    • We haven't seen this sort of incredible technology since the ThinkPad.

    • How do these things work again?

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    • It's time for a face off between the New 3DS XL, and its older brother, the original 3DS XL.

    • Perhaps the biggest change is the shifting of the cartridge slot to the front of the device, making room for the new ZL and ZR buttons.

    • It looks like the New 3DS XL has lost some weight too! Weighing in at 329 grams, Nintendo has shaved 7 grams off of the original 336 gram weight.

    • The New 3DS XL is also slightly larger and thinner, coming in a 160 x 93.5 x 21.5 mm vs the original 156 x 93 x 22 mm.

    • Also the new one is shiny.

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    • It's a bit hard to see, but there's a very subtle moiré pattern on the New 3DS XL's shiny exterior.

    • The back cover shows off the usual disclaimer/manufacturer imagery, telling you this is the *New* version and not the old one.

    • You'll have to remove the stylus before disassembling your New 3DS. After pulling it out, we noticed it to be a bit different than the old one.

      • It's the same weight as the old one—1.8 grams, according to our dealer precision scale. Yet, it's a bit stubbier, and feels a little cheaper.

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    • That's right, you need a frickin' screwdriver to replace the (now micro) SD card. Gone are the days of flappy door access.

      • At least they're captive screws so you don't have to worry about losing them.

    • And once you're inside, the card and battery are easily accessible.

      • And very easily removable...

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    • Battery removal and installation in 3 seconds. Hey Apple, take note. This is how it's done.

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    • Two teardowns for the price of one! We never gave you an original 3DS XL teardown (although we have many lovely guides), so here's the skinny on batteries, at least.

    • On the left is the New 3DS XL battery, with the "old" 3DS XL battery on the right.

    • It seems Nintendo didn't bother upgrading the battery in the New 3DS XL. Both models feature a 3.7 V, 1750 mAh battery rated at 6.5 Wh.

      • Here's a point where the New 3DS XL isn't quite as new as we thought! We tested, and the batteries are interchangeable between both 3DS XL models.

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    • All it takes is a push from a fingernail to get the micro SD card out of its tiny house. So out it went with little effort on our part.

    • Nintendo hid two screws under a couple of rubber feet; the other six were exposed when we removed the bottom cover. We've been in this game long enough to not fall for that hidden-screw trick.

    • We push-pinned those little rubbers out of the 3DS, and presto-blamo — cracked it open!

    The 8 screws in this step require a smaller screwdriver than a Phillips 00.

    psjaron - Reply

    i think they are jis #000

    Mark Damien English - Reply

    • What "new" magic awaits inside the New 3DS XL? Let's find out!

    • The flappy shoulder bumper buttons stay in the lower case, so we employ a bit of cable-spudgering to separate the pieces.

    • It looks like Nintendo doesn't care much for internal appearances — they left some uncured powder coat on the interior of the lower case.

    My right shoulder button is missing its ribbon mount it was attached directly to the case. Yours is are gray and mine blue. I would like to get the mount but not sure what it is really called[|.]

    Rokusay - Reply

    • Okay, what Ouroboros business is going on here?

      • The circle pad cable is weirdly wrapped over its own ZIF connector, hindering access to...itself.

    • Our first inclination was to disconnect the ZIF connector and proceed with removing the motherboard. But it's such a tiny, frail connector, and cable, that we decided to remove the assembly first.

      • Out the circle pad goes! More on that in just a jiffy — first we focus on the motherboard.

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    Spread the Fixmas cheer.


    Spread the Fixmas cheer.

    • Once we got inside, our trusty Phillips drivers started to mysteriously let us down—these screws seemed to be in between two sizes.

      • Surprise, they're JIS! Now, where do we get ahold of a JIS bit...

    • With our driver properly equipped, the motherboard comes flying out without delay...

    • ...or not? There's not one, but two cables attached to the rear of the motherboard, just to make things tricky.

    • Boy, reassembly's gonna be fun.

    Regarding Step 11's attached photo: exactly how ARE those cables supposed to be attached?

    Perchance someone could take a photo of their nN3DS XL and show me? 'Cause I was attempting to replace my D-Pad, and now either I hooked something up wrong or (far worse) I broke like ALL of the black ZIF connectors, 'cause my nN3DS XL isn't booting anymore. :(

    Kizul Emeraldfire - Reply

    We do have guides on this device, this is a teardown and not meant to be followed as a disassembly guide. Check out the directional pad guide, it has more in-depth photos for those connectors. If you only broke the locking tabs on the ZIF connector you should be fine, you can use tape to secure the ribbon cables if they slide out. If you broke connectors off the board, you might be out of luck. Hope this helps!

    Sam Lionheart -

    Well, I HAD followed that guide when I disassembled my nN3DS XL. :)

    None of the connectors have been physically separated from the board (unless you count the top half of the Circle Pad's connector — the bit that locks down), and as far as I can tell, I've got everything hooked up correctly. :/ But for some reason, it just won't turn on anymore.

    I think I'll ask how to get my nN3DS XL working again on that particular guide; it'd probably be more on-topic. :)

    Kizul Emeraldfire -

    Oh good! You can also post in our Answers forum, there's more traffic there, so you may have better luck =)

    Sam Lionheart -

    • With the motherboard extracted, we're free to remove the microSDHC reader.

    I have added 200gb micro SD card and it is reading/writing it just fine. It shows 999,999 fre blocks.

    krisiluttinen - Reply

    • It's time for some motherboard action!

      • Nintendo 1446 17 CPU LGR A (custom CPU, likely based on an ARM core)

      • Atheros AR6014G-AL1C Wi-Fi SoC

      • Samsung KLM4G1YEMD-B031 4 GB eMMC NAND Flash

      • Fujitsu 82MK9A9A 7LFCRAM 1445 962 FCRAM (Fast Cycle RAM)

      • Texas Instruments 93045A4 49AF3NW G2 (Possibly Power Management IC)

      • Renesas Electronics UC KTR 442KM13 TK14

    Any sound chip information?

    King Mustard - Reply

    • The back of the motherboard has a few goodies as well.

      • Texas Instruments AIC3010D 48C01JW (Possibly Codec IC)

      • NXP S750 1603 TSD438C Infrared IC

      • Texas Instruments PH416A I/O Expander

    20791, this is the Broadcom NFC chip BCM20791.

    Frank Chen - Reply

    Where is it on the board??

    Daniel Consaul -

    The linked webpage about the CPU is for the old one, from 2011. I'd love to see die scans of the new 3DS! Still unsure what the processors in there are.

    tipoo - Reply

    • Break time: We did a quick reassembly, followed by a nostalgia overload.

    • My my, how far we've come since the good ol' days.

    • Now that the tech writers are fed and caffeinated, we'll be moving on...

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    • Hey guys, ever wonder how a circle pad works? Yeah? We did too!

    • Allow us to present to you Xzibit A: the internals of the circle pad. Here it is in action.

      • But wait, there's more!

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    • The circle pad consists of a small, donut-ish PCB with traces, a backing plate, and the spring-loaded X-Y sliders.

    • The X-Y sliders each have two metal contacts that are always touching the PCB.

    • As you move the sliders up/down and left/right, the metal contacts are adjusting the resistance of the circuit on the PCB.

      • This, in turn, is registered as movement in whatever game you're playing.

    • Regarding the spring-loaded sliders: A spring inside the mechanism makes the "stick" always return to center. If you wanted to convert the circle pad to more of a "throttle" type joystick — where it doesn't return to center automatically — all you would have to do is take the circle pad apart and remove the spring found within.

      • This precarious conversion should only be undertaken by the truly dedicated among us.

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    • Ah, the game cartridge reader. It sure does bring back memories of the good 'ol days of blowing into the cartridge reader.

    • For all the internal space dedicated to the cartridge reader, and with so many downloadable titles, we're wondering how much longer physical media will be a part of Nintendo handhelds.

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    • Oh hey, the button board comes out!

    • The ABXY buttons are right on the board, but the C stick can come and go as it pleases.

    • Said C stick doesn't actually move or push anything, and therefore seems to be powered by magic.

      • You nudge it with your finger, and the 3DS just knows. Our best guess is that this actually uses strain gauges to sense how hard you're pushing.

    Don't try to dissasemble it! I've tried, then I had to glue it back and it is not functioning now :(

    DJ Oguretz - Reply

    It looks as if the circle pad and c stick use the same connectors would it be possible to replace the c stick with the circle pad and move said circle pad under the buttons?

    Thezombielord47 - Reply

    • With the cartridge reader out of the way, we easily remove the D-pad buttons.

    • Fastest way to get half a dozen button covers out of a half-disassembled 3DS XL?

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    • The lower screen has a large black frame, perhaps as a defense against over-eager tapping.

    • This frame also houses what appears to be the NFC antenna for Amiibo figurines.

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    • Poppin' the lower LCD off some adhesive seems scary, but isn't too bad. No heat required!

      • There's a protective plastic film over the lower screen, both to protect the LCD and enable the touch action, so we feel pretty safe pushing on it.

    • The plastic LCD cover is threaded with a very-faintly-visible grid of dots. We didn't notice it at first, and taking a photo of it is near impossible — but it's there! We promise!

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    • We were told this is a dual screen unit. Time to see what's up on the top screen.

    • Four hidden screws and plastic clips along the perimeter hold the secret to its undoing.

    • Our opening pick makes the perfect tool for prying apart the two halves of the top case.

    • Want to see pictures of our cats? Nah, just kidding, that's not a wallet, it's the back of the LCD. These are our cats.

    Does anyone know what size screws these are?

    Chad Dressander - Reply

    You should explain that the cover needs to be pulled down before lifting it. I messed up mine thinking that it needed to be lifted only.

    succdav - Reply

    This is a teardown meant for an entertaining look at the interior, not a repair guide. Be sure to check out the step by step guides found on the 3DS XL repair manual for specific details and procedures!

    Sam Lionheart -

    • It is here that we realize the 3DS XL is basically built like a giant flip phone.

    • One side of the hinge is held together with a pin, and the other is hollow to allow the display, audio, and camera, and antenna cables through.

    • With the hinge pin popped, the lower assembly slides off the hollow pin, and the cables take refuge in a slot, ready for separation.

    You need to put an extreme, (did I say extreme?) CAUSE I MEANT EXTREME amount of force, to push the pin out of the hinge assembly.

    Eric Schuermann - Reply

    Is it possible to separate the hinge _without_ having to open up the upper assembly?

    Jose III - Reply

    • Let's just remove the camera bar. Oh wait.

    • There are several cables leading into the side of the display assembly. Our bet is that these control the parallax barrier, used to generate that awesome glasses-less 3D effect.

    • What's a parallax barrier? Imagine placing a very small picket fence in front of your screen, so that when you look at the display, each eye sees different pixels while they peer around the fence boards.

    • Then, with a combination of the magic of geometry, and the new face-tracking "super-stable 3D", the 3DS knows which pixels each eye can see, and draws two overlapping versions of the same scene—one for each eye. The combination of these two versions gets slapped together in your thinkpan as a sweet, sweet stereoscopic 3D image.

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    • Good news: The display assembly is only mildly adhered to the frame, meaning we can pop it free with little effort.

    • Bad news: Its ribbon cable, and two others, are routed through the hinge, and need to be rolled up and pulled through in a horrible, painstaking, risky maneuver.

    • But then it's free!

    Does anyone knows if the upper LCD screen is the same of the 3DS XL? If I substitute a New 3DS XL broken upper LCD for a working LCD from a 3DS XL will it work (plus the eye tracking)?

    Diogo Rocha - Reply

    • Front and rear camera(s) bar! Nintendo combined all three cameras into a single bar and cable.

    • The front camera is watching your every move, in an effort to serve you the best possible 3D with the least possible jitter.

    • The dual rear-facing cameras track AR cards, and take photos with apparently improved low-light capture.

    • Sadly, there isn't much component information here. There are no tell-tale inscriptions on either camera board or cables, aside from a vague QR code label that reads "3600 4C11 03YG."

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    • Nintendo 3DS XL 2015 Repairability Score: 5 out of 10 (10 is easiest to repair)

      • The battery is fairly easily swappable by unscrewing two screws and removing the back cover.

      • Screws and plastic clips are the primary fasteners, rather than adhesive. Also, no Proprietary screw types are used—only Phillips and JIS.

      • The top display's cables are routed in such a way that it makes them quite frustrating to remove without ripping them off, and just as difficult to re-seat properly during device reassembly.

      • There are tons of little components inside the 3DS, which may potentially cause problems if you happen to lose one while performing a repair.

      • The majority of connectors are ZIF, and it's difficult to ensure each one is connected properly without reassembling the whole thing and starting up the device.

      • The headphone jack and charging connector are soldered to the motherboard, meaning you need to take out your soldering iron if you accidentally break them.

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The 2 cameras are for 3d photos and the ar cards. The front camera and ir light are for the face tracking 3d

R A - Reply

Anyone know if some 3rd party will make case bottoms with a SD card slot on the side via a simple cable?

ZippyDSMlee - Reply

Not until someone knows how to reverse engineer the motherboard and the MicroSDHC card slot PCB parts. After that, 3rd party components will be available, but it's still risky business/corporate-wise.

tommai78101 -

Looking at console replacement cases theres not much to do other than match up screw holes and the MICROSD card itself is done via a ribbon/super flat cable connected to A MICRO or normal SD port on the side of the replacement case, no need to rebuild the electronics since its just an extension to the MICROSD port. The replacement case would be a slightly different size but exterior size is not that big of an issue.

ZippyDSMlee -

********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 New3DS XL) 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 -

On step 23: All portable Nintendo's since the original DS have "sliding clips" for the top screen, ie. you have to slide the outer cover slightly up to open it. This way, no efforts or tools are needed (assuming the "hidden" screws are already out). From the pictures, it looks like it's still the same for the new 3DS XL you opened, or am I wrong?

aeenkhoorn - Reply


justjustintuber - Reply

Nevermind about step 24.... You just need to apply an extreme amount of force on the white hinge to pop it back and take out the screen. They should have mentioned this; it was probably THEE MOST difficult thing to do of all the steps.

justjustintuber - Reply

Teardowns provide a look inside a device and should not be used as disassembly instructions.

Sam Lionheart -

********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 New3DS XL) 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

You have no idea how much I love you right now. I thought I'd broken a friend's DS after reassembling it, so I swapped out myt motherboard for his only to find neither of them worked anymore after reassembly. What I thought was a $400 mistake was just both top display connectors being upside-down! Someone should really note this in the guide, as it's very easy to do as that's how it sits naturally.

kaise123 -

Broken can anyone guide me the lcd cables I think I messed up cause I hear pop sound and it turns off.

Mohammad Ahmad -

did a LL to XL case swap and I'm having problems with the home button and mic.? Has anyone ran into this? And as for that ZIF connector on them is there a right way and wrong way to connect/disconnect?(specifically talking about mic and the one next to it since this breakdown doesn't label what connector is to what)

bibibook1 - Reply

I'm also having this problem with my home button and microphone. Very frustrating. If anyone can shed some light on how to properly get this fix, it would be very much appreciated.

Blair -

Its the black ZIF connectors that i'm talking about. they dont lock down all the way.

Simon Poon -

What are those new ZIF connectors called? Old ZIF had a white tab and locked into place. these new ones are black and doesnt go all the way up or lock back down. What am I doing wrong?

Simon Poon - Reply

FYI, This *New* 3DS motherboard appears to be a mix of old ZIF and new ZIF connectors. the black ZIF connectors are for the Homebutton and LCD brightness and others.

Simon Poon -

They should call this the Ibreakit 3ds teardown. Reassembly will never happen because the zifs lifted will result in the home button not working and other problems. Extra care should be taken if you are to remove any of the black zif connectors. I might recommend not lifting them at all.

Ailan - Reply

Hi guys, after I open my New3DSXL the 3D effect slider does´t work anymore. Its like its at 30% or so. When I slide the slider up and down, nothing changes. Any idea what could be wrong?

Sorry for my bad english guys.

adamferzauli - Reply

I just want that Optimus Prime Transformers coffee mug!!! But anyway I just attempted a repair of the Top LCD screen, did that without many issues, aside from the fact that the area where you have to wrap the display connectors and push them through the hinge. But that all turned out fine. The real problem I ran into was when I got it all back together and was testing the device. The 3D does not work on the top screen, the mic is not picking up any sound, and the home button no longer works. What a mess I've gotten myself into with this one. Any advice? I reconnected everything and double checked everything. And those 3 things are still not working! Ugh!

Matt Smith - Reply

What is the long red cable with the gold connector that travels between both top and bottom shells?

I think I kinked mine and I really can't tell what it was even supposed to do.


ultimaweaponx - Reply

Lol blowing into the game cartridge holder thats what I did with my ds lite

Science Enthusiast1231 - Reply

hello..i want know what is the flat related to the 3d slider? cause my 3ds have always that turned on..

alberto cerrone - Reply

No disassembly of the shoulder buttons? They're one of the most common things to break and need replacing

beaufabry - Reply

So I am half way through replacing and 3ds xl top screen and have had a piece fall out that I don't know where it came from. Is there a CAD drawing or parts list I can reference? Or at least some company that replaces these things that I can ask a question to?

landon Cooper - Reply

Hi Landon, you might have better luck posting in our Answers forum, our users are more responsive there. Be sure to post a photo of the part that fell out, to help us identify it!

Sam Lionheart -

please do one for the new 3ds regular!

aezothgames - Reply

Anyone know if replacing the bottom screen is the same as the older 3ds XL? I was hoping to follow a guide that won't tell me to disassemble things that don't need to be removed, which I thought might be the case if I follow this complete teardown. Thanks!

Wansuen - Reply

Hey fellas , I have a major problem with my new Nintendo 3ds XL.When I power on the game,the blue power button stays on about 5second then it turns off with a popping sound.Do anyone have a solution to fix this problem? Please help me.....Thank-you in advance!!!!!

James - Reply

This guide doesn't show how to take the R, L, ZR, and ZL buttons out. It also doesn't show the flex cables for these buttons. I was hoping to see the cables in this guide so I would know for sure that I'm ordering the right replacements without having to take apart my system again.... I just put it back together and realized I forgot to take a pic of the cables :(

Brittany Burrow - Reply

someone has the service manual?

Roberto - Reply

Hi there

I have a question here I know this post is old and all but I want to know something about the onboard wifi card I tear mine apart and want to know the pin layout of the wifi card to use on a project any idea’s where to find it


Aaron Darren - Reply

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