Turn broken Nintendo DS into Gameboy Advance


The original DS was so ugly I was sad when I first took it out of the box. Just look at it, What made it worst is that I imported mine for the US.


I was so happy when they released the Nintendo DS lite but with it bought all sorts of problems. The hinge was a major bug bearer and soon many DS was left looking like this. This is one I bought off eBay, as you can see the top screen has totally been ripped off the bottom. Kids these days


If you have one with a broken hinge or one that wont turn on then I’m going to show how to turn it into a Gameboy Advance. First things first you will need to strip down your DS or in our case you will just need to strip the bottom half down so follow this ifixit guild.

Once your DS is striped down you will need to looks for the 2 pads on the left of the screen side shown the photo below and bridge them with ether an resistor or a LED, any size resistor will do we just need to trick the DS into thinking that the top screen is still connected. If you are going to use a LED then you will need to attach the positive leg to the top pad and the negative leg to the bottom pad as shown in the picture.

28 June 2014 130752 BST

Here’s it with a lovely blue LED. Be warned that the LED is very distracting and blinding.


Also can use a resistor (330 ohm) if you don’t fancy getting distracted/blinded by a LED


You will need a fine pointed tip soldering iron because these pads are really small but just take your time and you will fine. Here’s a video of me soldering my DS

You will lose your all the functionality of the DS such as the speakers but you can just use headphones. weirdly enough you can still get it to load a ds game but without the top screen its not much use. I’m not sure how this affects battery life but im sure that it will extend it with only powering one screen. The major upside to this mod it that you get a backlit Gameboy Advanced for much less than buying a Gameboy Advance micro


I mentioned that you can still boot DS games but I found that I couldn’t get  my R4 card to boot. I’ve got a ezflash v card which is a Gameboy Adance flash card which you use the r4 to flash/load games onto it but without begin able to load the r4 card I can’t. not sure if other cards would work or it could be the hack that the r4 card is using to boot who knows.

I wanted to see what you could do other than play Gameboy Advance games on this bad boy. I found a Gameboy Colour emulator because as you know the DS can’t play Gameboy games. Download the emulator here


Also while I was looking I found a NES emulator which was kinda cool. You can download that here



38 responses to “Turn broken Nintendo DS into Gameboy Advance

  1. Hey, I did exactly as you told and soldered the resistor. The DS lite turns on just fine but the screen is completely black. What did I do wrong?

      • I just solved it, I forgot to connect the wi-fi board, apparently it does not work if it’s not connected. I already modded a Ds Lite and now a DS Fat. Thanks for the help!

  2. If you get it to boot an r4, maybe a dsi’s flashcard, cause theese flashcard are working like a ds game; you would be able to play gbc games via lameboy

    • Yeah you can boot any flashcard really but without the top screen it might be difficult to navigate and load up roms/emulators. Why don’t you give it a try

  3. i added an led, it lights up but the screen flashes and it turns off could there be anything wrong?

    • If the screen flashes like that it means that there could be a problem with the way the led is hooked up or that the led isn’t resistive enough. I found that if you remove the LED then replace it with a 330ohm resistor it will work better and allow you to access the DS menu still

      Hope this helps

      • Hey,

        sorry for the question: why 330ohm?
        Is it enough to “replace” the top screen? Any risk oft damage?

        Some tutorials say that it should be much higher …i’ve tested 3,3k. Doesn’t work. A 100ohm resistor or blue LED from an pc mouse works.

      • The reason for the 330ohm resistor is because when I had just the LED installed and went into the ds menu (the menu when you don’t have a game installed) and changed the brightness it wouldn’t let me go back into that menu and or play ds games. I got the resistor value off some other tutorial but cant remember the site. Hope this helps you.

  4. Hi! For some reason my ds lite (when I connect the LED to the shown points above when I turn on the unit, it powers the LED then the screen flashes white once then it’s powered off completely

  5. Hello, i finished my gba macro (took me several weeks) and like a stupid after some days I tested the “luminosity” button (he lightbulb on bottom-left)..once i hit it…. the screen went black and from that moment the GBAmacro never worked again. When i was trying to turn it on: green power led, white screen flash, then turns off. I tried changing screen, trying loading with a top LCD working, desolder and resolder the resitor, change it with another one… nothing, i raged very hard and threw it against the wall and destroyed everything. I also had soldered two speakers so it was a perfect project. Now i’m calm and im planning to re-do that but why did that happen? Is that because of the 150 ohm resistor i used? Like, did I “break” something inside the PCB by triggering the luminosity with a wrong resistence? As already said, i’m gonna re-do the project, this time with a 330ohm resistor. Can u tell me if i mess around with luminosity with this resistor, it doesnt break itself? This project really costed me much time and money so I don’t want any more failures. Also: i used two DSlite original speakers, why is the volume so low? I decided two because with one it was already hard to hear but things didnt change much. Thanks for reading.

    • Im really sorry to hear this but I hope I can help you out

      I did the same as you did. While playing around with the brightness I blow one of the DS fuses because I didn’t use a 330 Ohm resistor. Do a google search for DS fuses, There are 2 on the DS. All you need to do is remove the fuses and bridge the gap and the DS will work again.

      Im not sure about the spearks because I just used headphone. Im sure someone out there will have an answer. I will try and have a look

      I hope this helps you with your great project.
      Happy hacking

      • Thanks a lot mate! Well about the speaker: I tried with one original DMG speaker and the sound was nice but the speaker was too big to fit inside the case..and I decided to put 2x original DS but not so satisfied with the result..so yea we need to look for a better solution 🙂

  6. Yep its kinda the same I did, the only difference i soldered the ground of speakers, both under the screen (GND spot) instead of where there is the audio jack, but I don’t think that could make a volume difference? Here is the pic of my work: http://imgur.com/a/cblgP

    • Yeah your right GND is GND so I shouldn’t make a difference with the volume, I would just double check and wire the GND to the headphone GND. Did you look into changing the fuse to get your DS working again?

  7. Nah i raged and make holes everywhere on the PCB with the solder iron, now I have a fresh board, just soldered a SMD resistor (330 ohm) and now im going to solder the speaker(s) to the headphone GND and see if things will change (talking about audio volume)..Yeah i could replace the fuse on the older PCB but I worked for weeks and seeing that not working anymore made me lost brain i didnt think something like “lets see how can i fix this”, i just freaked out! Anyway the SMD resistor is kinda tricky to solder but its AWESOME 🙂 By the way, are you 100% sure with this resitor if I mess around with luminosity the ds won’t break again its fuses? Just in case i “missclick” the luminosity button..who knows

    • There is nothing better then taking your rage out on things lol. I wish I had used an SMD resistor, They are kinda fiddly if your not used to using them.
      Ive got a 330 ohm resistor in mine and Ive not had a problem with brightness at all.

      Happy hacking

  8. Excuse my ignorance, but if you use a resistor do you have to use the LED wires anyway? Or can you solder the resistor directly?

    • Ive seen other people use a 1206 SMD sized resistor and just solder that across the 2 pads. You could just solder a normal through hole resistor across the pads too.

  9. Pingback: Nintendo DS, la sucesora de Game Boy | Las joyas de MundoPixel #32 | Nintendo Online·

  10. How do you use the GB and NES Emulators for it? I can’t think of how one would do it. Also, is there an SNES emulator also potentially work?

  11. Where/ how do you install the LED once you’ve done the resistor? Or does the LED act in place of the resistor? Also, what type of LED should I look for?

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