They Don't Call it Hardware for Nothing
Nintendo DS Case Swap
A while ago I sat down with some unusual tools and my failing eyesight to rescue a Nintendo DS that had suffered an Act Of 5-year-old. It wasn't too damaged, but the hinge area had cracked and so it had a tendency to fall apart. At the time I was expecting to pay around $200 for a replacement.
But then I discovered DealExtreme. Oh. My. Dog. That site is so awesome. It's like a massive south-east Asian computer market but instead of all the cheap cool gadgets being strewn amongst a thousand tiny stalls, they are all catalogued, displayed online and available for purchase with international shipping included. Just amazing, have a browse.
Whirlpool has a DealExtreme FAQ on their wiki, highly recommended for Australian customers.
Anyway one of the things you can buy from DX is a full replacement housing for a NDS for $14.15. Sold!
It arrived a couple of weeks later (yes delivery is slow). I spent the afternoon swapping the old case for the new. Put briefly, you do not want to attempt this operation unless you really have to (or have rolled an 18 for dexterity).
The best instructions for Nintendo DS disassembly are available on flickr. I followed them closely and, for the most part, successfully.
Here is a shot I took just after removing the back cover. You can see the broken hinge — which I have completely removed — on the right. After this point things get very tricky. See that ribbon cable on the left? That joins the upper screen to the lower PCB and was a complete bitch to get out.
The new case fit very nicely and everything went quite smoothly during reassembly. The shoulder buttons were only exception to this; it took literally about an hour of fiddling to get them both in and working. In the picture above you can see the right shoulder button still in place, with a little metal hinge that fits into the case itself. Well, when reassembling the NDS you have to align both of the button hinges and both of the little springs (not visible above) that are needed so that when you release the button it doesn't stay pressed.
In short, I stuffed up one of the springs. So now we have one button that needs to be pushed back out before it can be pressed again. This is livable for most games. Otherwise, everything works perfectly, and has for the last few months. If we want to play a game with a lot of shoulder-button action (eg Mario Kart), we generally play it on the other, pristine, NDS.
Clifford The Cricket
Bouyed by the success of the NDS, the Alien DAC, and by a new-year enthusiasm for making stuff, I bought an electronics kit. The intention was to introduce electronics to the Jr. Girtbys and to re-introduce electronics to me.
It's supposed to start chirping like a cricket when you turn out the lights. I don't really understand how it works, but it's something to do with a light-dependent resistor which increases voltage across an IC input. This apparently activates a little oscillator and that makes the noise.
Here is mine. It doesn't work.
I've checked, and re-checked, and re-re-checked the components, to ensure that everything is in the right place, and with the right polarity. I've also checked my soldering which, while pretty dodgy in places, does at least look to be basically functional.
I can get him to chirp by shorting various pins on the IC - which indicates that it is something to do with the logic parts of the circuit. Perhaps I've fried a transistor or something, I don't know.
Troubleshooting tips appreciated.