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NDS Silver Slot 1 Repair – Sort of

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Sometime last summer, my oldest daughter told me her DS was broken. The game cartridges wouldn’t stay in. You’d push them in and the spring would just push them right back out. She said that when it started happening, something fell out of the slot.

I figured there was some plastic tooth that usually fits into the dent on the cartridge that broke off and got lost.

For a long time we experimented with holding the cartridges in with various kinds of tape. Painters tape worked best, but it wasn’t a good solution. I also considered trading up the DS Silver & $79 for a DS Lite at GameStop, but I wasn’t sure if they would take it with a broken Slot 1.

Slot 1Then I started noticing replacement Slot 1 parts available on E-Bay and from various DS Gamer online sites.

Looking at the tiny surface mount leads in the pictures, I was not hopeful that I would be able to solder it in without ruining the DS.

My hope was that I could pry out the little plastic tooth that holds the cartridge in and replace the missing piece in the ailing DS.

So, largely on blind faith, I gave my credit card # for the $20 for the part and $5 for the tri-wing screwdriver that you need to open the case.

The package came before Christmas, and I finally got around to sitting down with it when I was on break afterwards. As soon as I got the case appart, I knew that there was no way that I would be able to de-solder and resolder all the tiny leads on the slot.

LeadsNot only are the leads tiny, they are right next to the leads for the GBA slot down in the gap between the two parts. Any stray solder could easily get stuck to the GBA leads as well as the wrong slot 1 leads. Also the positioning between the two slots makes a cramped space for the soldering iron (for my skills anyway).

At this point I started poking around inside the Slot 1 attached to the circuit board. I was looking for the missing tooth in the side of the mechanism. Feeling with my mini screwdriver it seemed like the tooth and spring were still there inside the disfunctional slot 1. As I was looking in from the front of the slot, I noticed something at the back of the slot on the inside that didn’t look like it belonged there. There was some sort of gunk stuck to the back of the shielding. A little poking at it with the tri-wing screwdriver and the crud popped out.

Dried gunk - probably was once food

Dried gunk - probably was once food

The crud was preventing the cartridges from extending far enough into the slot to engadge the spring and tooth that holds the cartridge in place. With the gunk picked out, the cartridges started to stay in like they are supposed to.

So problem solved, but I had spent $20 on the extra part. At least it got me to buy the tri-wing, which had helped me fix the DS.

I decided to take a closer look at that part and post what I found out here in case it might help someone facing problems with slot 1 learn something. At least somebody might get some value for my $20 spent.

The first thing I noticed is that the shielding over the top is only loosely coupled with the body of the slot. In the DS, the shielding is held down by solder tabs at the sides, while the plastic insides are held down by a screw in a cutout through the motherboard.


Slot in circuit

If you had to do a repair on the insides of the slot, it wouldn’t be too hard to unsolder the tabs holding the shielding down over the top of the slot. Now what could you do once you’ve got the shielding out of the way?


This photo is a little out of focus, so you can’t quite see it, but the card edge contacts go right out and form the solder leads to the circuit board. If you have broken or bent contacts it seems like it would be feasible to pull the contacts from the replacement slot and solder them into the one in your DS as replacements. You’d still be soldering tiny contacts in the cramped space mentioned above, but you’d only have to do it a few times. It also does look like my original theory about replacing the plastic springloaded mechanism that holds the cartridge in place would work if somehow yours popped out. Playing with this thing tho – that part seems to be nearly bomb proof and I don’t see how it would come out unless you were trying to get it out.

Hope this helps someone decide whether they should fork over $20 for one of these.

Written by headbonk

April 12th, 2009 at 4:37 am

Posted in Geek

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