Now that I have a working DS I felt it was time to turn the spare parts into something I had seen five years prior. Back then I still retained the need to restore the console, but now I'm ready to transform the leftovers into a project I have dubbed the DS Boy Advance! Since the DS and DS Lite play GBA games, as well as DS games obviously, I feel it's a good choice to be a backlit console to play my GBA games, without cramping my hands around a tiny square. I'm referring to you GBA SP!
This is where the DS Boy Advance is born! You can use either a DS or DS Lite; I'm choosing the fat DS because the GBA cartridges fit flush into the console, but the trade off is that the original DS screen doesn't offer as much brightness or clarity as the DS Lite. This really comes down to what you prefer. Maybe in the future I'll also make a DS Boy Advance Lite, just to see how it is, but that cartridge overhang really annoys me.
|After you remove the battery cover and battery here are all the other screw locations.|
|Green = Top screen ribbon cable|
Red = inner screw locations
After you've disassembled your DS you are going to need to detach the top ribbon cable from the motherboard, or in my case what was left of it. Once the ribbon cable has been removed the console will not boot without a slight modification, which just means putting a 330 (or about) ohm resistor into the circuit to trick it into thinking the top screen is still attached. You can use normal resistors, but I decided to check around in my parts box and use a surface mount resistor. These take up much less area and don't require any case modifications, which you might need to do if you use a normal resistor.
|It's a small spot, this is why I used a surface mount.|
Solder the resistor to the pads just right of the Select and Start buttons like this.
Now that your system boots up without the top screen you will need to figure out how to get sound. Remember? The DS speakers are in the top portion of the console and are attached to the top screen circuitry. This isn't difficult at all; in fact I managed to wire a single speaker for stereo. It may not be true stereo, but it sounds good enough for me, with enough volume that I'm not worried about having to wire and fit two speakers.
Once your speaker is wired up it will now need a home. Luckily there is a nice little space big enough for a speaker just below the action buttons. This is a perfect fit for the speaker, and there is even a small channel through which you can feed the speaker cables up to the soldering joints to where they need to be. Once this is all done everything fits together as if it was completely stock.
One problem you will have with the original DS case is that the original DS housings are exceedingly brittle! You're going to need to modify the case in a few ways, most notably adding speaker holes and removing the hinge areas at the top. I held a thin wire with needle-nose pliers and ran my soldering iron across it as I slowly, but firmly, pressed it into the plastic to melt some starter holes for my speaker. You'll notice mine aren't the prettiest so be more careful than I clearly was.
Well, that's essentially all you'll need to do. You can modify the case however you want now. Some people remove the X and Y buttons, some people add two speakers, some people cover up the DS cartridge slot, and some people go completely crafty on the housing face and make it look professionally done. I'm perfectly happy with the way my console turned out, crappy sound holes and all. Since you can use the D-pad and actions buttons to navigate the menus I removed the touch sensory part of the touch screen, but left the glass in as added protection for the display.
|Like a glove!|
|Really wish I had taken more time with the|
speaker holes, but at least I can hear.
Converting an old DS or DS Lite is a fairly quick and easy modification. The only odd tool you'll need is a tri-wing screwdriver, which can easily be bought online these days. If you are using a DS Lite you'll need to find the DS Lite specific tutorial because I'm pretty sure the solder joints on the DS and DS Lite are different. I'm not entirely happy with the screen on mine, but it was a fun project and it works! Maybe I will do that DS Boy Advance Lite sooner than later, you know, just in case.