Replace the top screen of a Nintendo DS (without opening up the bottom half)

Picture of Replace the top screen of a Nintendo DS (without opening up the bottom half)
Do you have a DS Lite that needs repairs? HA HA HA SUCKERS. Er, head here for NDSL specific repairs.
I'm warning you, though, any repairs to the NDSL requires a specialty (tri-wing) screwdriver, and the top screen needs a soldering iron!

If anyone tries out these instructions: could you give me a holler? (Comment, PM or email me at my user name at gmail dot com.) I want to get a sense of the success rate.

Pre-caution: This is a fairly wordy instructable. Most questions you might have, and problems you might run into are likely addressed in the body of the instructable (or within the comments). That means you need to read, and re-read carefully.

Actual intro!: Is the screen your Nintendo DS cracked? Don't throw it out, repair it. (And then sell it to help cover the cost of getting a new DS lite.) It is not expensive, nor all that difficult, to replace the screens on a Nintendo DS.
I found PowerGamingParts.com's guide to DS repair to be pretty useful, but I didn't need to disassemble the whole contraption, since I was replacing the top screen only. (Opening up the bottom half also requires a specialty screwdriver which I didn't have.)
I'm sure there's good directions for replacing the top screen without disassembling the bottom half, but I haven't found them. And since I'm feeling productive, I present to you documentation of what I did to replace the top screen.

Go poke around on the internet to find a source of replacement screens. A quick Google search turns up prices in the 40$ range, but Ebay has cheaper. Most screens will be "top/bottom" screens--they can be used to replace either, but the bottom screen does require an additional touch sensor overlay.

Tools needed:
-Basic manual dexterity (Take a look at the photos to see the scale at which you'll be manipulating things)
-Small philips head screwdriver

Useful tools:
Board (on which to place all your components)
Tape( to keep little parts from going missing)
Wood/plastic/something blocks (see steps 2 & 3 for photos of it in action)

These directions are reasonably devoid of dangerous actions, so if you break things or burn your house down, it's your own fault.

If your DS won't power on after repairs: it's probably an error related the the ribbon cables. I will repeat this litany often: go to step 2, look closely at the photos and the comments on the photos. Look at the comments on this instructable and see if anyone else had similar trouble, and what they did. Then go back and check your work! And if that still isn't solving the problem, you can message me and I'll make sympathetic noises but probably not have any additional information that isn't posted all over this instructable already. (Sorry?)
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GASSYPOOTS3 years ago
its easier to remove in a dsi just use the same screwdriverr u use for the battery civer
bcoleman63 years ago
I have search a lot about this .......and at last i found this..yay yay yay...
i guess i had found it also about my nintendo ds in NRS
the piece of white paper may have fallen off? You can make another the same width as the ribbon and put it UNDER the cable to hold it snugly up where it contacts.
BrazRus3 years ago
Hello. Please can you help me with my toy, the problem is that everything works until i go to play games, both screens are about to be on, but in some seconds the screen down is off, only up works, but still there is no any image, sound....what should be done, please, waiting for an advice.
Thanks in advace,
samirsky3 years ago
Fixed my DS.
mgentry14 years ago
I really benefited from this, I now have a fully functional DS,
I had a DS that had a broken top screen, and another DS that I had left at my fathers for 2 years, and the touch screen would not calibrate.
The two were a match made in heaven, A broken top screen, and a broken bottom screen. Thank you so much for this! I hope to read more of your How-to's soon! I may need them!
dszackman134 years ago
snake674 years ago
hey,I need help with my ds i replaced upper screen, but when I put everything together on my ds, light don't remains on, after 2 seconds it turns off,
also the charger won't work, and I tried other battery and still do the same...
casper1254 years ago
Excellant instructions!! Was able to follow and replace my son's top screen to his DS, part cost only $13.00 including shipping. Don't change a thing, instructions were easy to follow.
friney236 years ago
Uhhhhhhhhhh....... Where do you get the new screen?
I just so happen to have this useful website in my bookmarks: http://www.modsupplier.com/catalog/ds-service-parts-c-47_52.html , i hope to actually buy something from the site soon. I actually totally disassembled my original ds last night for the first time, when i put it back together it wouldn't turn on and i freaked out that i broke the board or something, turned out i didn't put ribbon 1 into its slot properly, so i fixed that and it all worked. The original DS uses the same screen for the top and bottom, the DS lite uses different ones.
Over modsupplier go with http://www.dealextreme.com/products.dx/category.604

MUCH cheaper, plus free shipping. Though shipping from China so there will be a delay before receiving.
cheap their $30-40 not cheap go on amazon you can get them for 15-20 depending on shipping
thank u for the link i am so happy now and those screens r cheap which i need cheap
dude the screens r exspensive
You can find the screens quite inexpensively on ebay. Even cheaper if you take a chance and buy a parts (otherwise broken DS) that comes with what you need.
Inexpensive my butt! Mine cost $17.99 with shipping from New York to Michigan was $5.99!And there is no original ds screens on ebay for a reasonable amount of money. it would be better to just buy a used ds or ds lite than try to repair it.
Really? Kind of strange.... I ended up buying a broken light blue in color DS and replacing the parts from mine with that one. This being that when I'd taken my DS apart, my family had ended up dropping for a surprise visit. Sadly this means, they also did a surprise cleaning of my apartment and ended up throwing out a good portion of the components that were a part of the DS. :( I ended up getting the broken DS for about 15 usd total. Which included screen, speakers,etc.

As it is now, my DS looks a bit strange (blue/teal) but I do love the original look to it. :D
Oops, forgot to include this! Did a search for the top DS Screen and this came up;

You can get a new screen for 6.99 + 2.99 for first class shipping. (That is a total of 10 dollars for first class shipping :) )
I see. the reason I got the DS Lite screen was because of faulty titling on the seller's part. It was labeled with "ds, ds lite, dsi, dsi xl, gba screen! look now!"
stacibonan4 years ago
I tried to replace my screen, and damaged som cable inside. I sent it to www.Videogame911.com and they fixed it for cheap. I don't recommend doing it yourself because thos games are sensitiv. good luck :)
ninjaimasta4 years ago
Hi all, just done this for myself less than five minutes ago and it took me well over twenty attempts to get it working right.

Just a word of advice - the dark trunk cable coming from the bottom of the DS needs to be seated fully in as hard as possible, however the trick is that the brown one from the screen isnt.

I noticed that when pulling the cable out after it was locked down, the screen was flickering and giving distorted images, so i tried putting the cable in and locking the clip without pushing hard and lo and behold, the screen came on however it was showing up in negative.

I was about to repeat it again but luckily i had a coughing fit so had to go and get a drink and when i came back there was colour in some portions - sat there watching it and the colour drained in slowly, so if you have purchased a brand new screen like i did (i.e. not from a spares or repair broken DS or from a second hand part reseller) then the screen may take a while to "warm up" and still looks white even if its connected properly.
mnyman6 years ago
My sons ds has a problem with the top screen, everything is upside down. Does any one know how to fix that?
zack247 mnyman6 years ago
you could try flipping it upside down, then everything would be rightside up, right?
Tee Hee Hee. NO!
mechaninja5 years ago
darn it! i just figured out that i ordered a nintendo ds LITE top screen, not for the original ds, as the seller stated.i hate ebay.
mechaninja5 years ago
when i pulled out the large ribbon, the small one came out simultaneously.
mechaninja5 years ago
The ds I got was from a friend who recently got a ds lite. His old ds ,which I am fixing w/parts from EBay ,had been squished between schoolbooks in his bookbag on the bus. The top screen was crushed, and he got mad at it and scratched the overglass with a pocketknife.
I have a DS lite, but the top screen just displays white and sometimes a fuzzy image for a few seconds. I think it is a loose connection somewhere, but lately it stopped showing any image when I moved the screen. All I need to do is get in there to fix it, but there are specially made screws that I can't unscrew.
You just need to by a tri-wing screwdriver, they are very cheap around a $1 just search the web. Also a precision screwdriver set comes in handy also.
or a very small flat head will work
OctopusInc5 years ago
I purchased a DS phat with a broken top screen on eBay.  I also purchased a new top/bottom screen.

I received the DS and tested it before operating on it.  It played games, both screens had light and action, sound worked, lights came on for power, it was otherwise normal save for the cracked screen.  So I got to work.

After replacing the top screen and putting it all back together it wouldn't power on at all.  I assumed this was a cable issue so I went back and checked that all three cables were squarely and completely inserted and locked down.  I reassembled and still no juice.  I tested twice more to be sure all were secure and in place, still nothing. 

I then reinstalled the broken screen to test if my screen was faulty, but nothing.  My next hunch was that it could be a connective issue between cable 3 and the receptor.  I cut a peices of paper to match the cable and inserted it under cable 3 for maximum connectivity on port 3.  Still nothing.

Does anyone have any ideas?  I'm fairly certain I didn't damage anything during disassemble and reassemble.  No connections are broken and no tabs were broken.  My next guess would probably be that there could be a circuit connection issue on the speakers, which I will test with a thin peice of copper.

Any help would be great, thanks!
get a new one lol jk i dont know but seriosly get a new one
PokemonUser5 years ago
I just have one question: do I go onto ebay.com or Amazon.com for a new Nintendo DS Main Screen?

I'm about to fix my sister's Nintendo DS because of the crack in the LCD screen.

Your tutorial helps.  I just opened the casing (top part), removed the screws holding the screen parts, and all I have to do is order a new screen online.

Thanks for this valuable and easy tutorial... :)


PokemonUser (Benjamin Wilson)
casmom25 years ago
I have repaired lots of ds lites and some original ds systems. I have come across something that I am not familiar with. I purchased some top screen connector cables for an original ds with a torn cable. The system worked fine, but the top screen did not show up properly because of the tear in the cable. I put the new cable on and now the system will not power up at all. I used another motherboard that I knew was good and it wouldn't work either. Now when I put the motherboards back with their original broken cables, the system will not do anything. Is it possilbe that the new ribbon shorted out the motherboards somehow? They will not even attempt to come on and when plugged in, I get the orange charge light for about a second. Thanks for any help....just hoping that a cheap fix didn't just cost me two motherboards!
jidery5 years ago
While putting it back together i get a flickery screen, after playing around with it several times i managed to break the small clip for the small ribbon. What would be the best way to replace it? ALso is the small ribon just power and the big one video?
ClickAndy5 years ago
The first time i tried this, i screwed it all in ready to go.. turned it on, and, nothing. Just a little crackle with the speakers, no light or anything.
I thought that my new screen was faulty since some it looked kinda dodgy, and also the tiny cable wouldn't go in as far as the gold wires go.
But surely enough i re-did the wires, still nothing. I went for one last hoorah and realised that the other 2 big cables REALLY need to be pushed in all the way.
Now it works. Awesome instructions, you won't find any better.
daniel258525 years ago
Please! I really need help. first I had the screen blinking problem,but I quickly fixed that.It will show the nintendo ds logo then on the top screen it shows a grid and on the bottom its just pure white.
the top screen in my ds went out last week. its nothing but a white screen. is there anyway i can fix it without stressing about buying a new one???
ohdutch5 years ago
Aaaaaargh torn ribbon on screen grrr now i have to buy new screen anyway sigh
i was just replacing the casing lol

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