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Irresonsive L&R Shoulder Button Fix
Old 03-18-2014, 11:31 PM
Mactire's Avatar  
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: The Netherlands
Posts: 650
Default Irresonsive L&R Shoulder Button Fix

I've been having more and more problems with my right shoulder button.
It would not respond or switch on and off while pressing it (it would have been an impressive auto-fire if only it was consistent ^_^).

A solution I found online was blowing the 3DS (mouth over shoulder button). Some forums suggested that some 3DS' might need some 'extra loving'. And while I do love my 3DS, blowing it was not the solution.

Please note that my 3DS is over 2 years old and because of that out of warranty. If you are within 2 years please return it to Nintento.

For everybody with a >2 year old or a 2nd hand 3DS without receipt. You can also try this:

Buy shoulder button switch replacements online.
The are very cheap. A set of two (L&R) with flatcables set me back €10,-
Please be advised, replacing the switches by soldering is not recommended unless you are an expert at soldering. The switches are mounted on a thin flatcable and the solderjoints are very small. I'm pretty skilled in soldering but didn't want to risk it.

I didn't take pictures, but the procedure is pretty straight forward. If you know the interior of the 3DS it's a 5 minute job.
If you require a photoguide follow here for an iFixit teardown guide.

And for anyone that is calling their lawyer in advance in case something goes wrong, please note that I'm not responsible for any of your handy work or typos in this guide. Please do think for yourself. I'm in no way a professional.

Legal issues out of the way, here we go!

Grab a small + screwdriver (philips head) and something to keep your screws safe. Grab a placemat or something soft to put your 3DS on to prevent scratches. An old mousepad with fabric top works wonders.

- Switch off and remove everything from the 3DS (Cartridge, SD-Card, Stylus)
- Remove the 4 screws from the battery cover and set it aside. The screws stay attached to the cover.
- Remove the battery.
- Unscrew the 9 black screws from the back cover
- Unscrew 1 silver screw at the cartridge slot.
- Set the 10(!) screws aside.
- Gently lift the back part of the housing about 1 cm and peek inside. You should see two flatcables running from the triggers on the back cover to the mainboard. Use a screwdrive to give them a nudge and remove the connectors at the mainboard.
- Remove the back housing as it's completely and flip it over, triggers away from you.

The right trigger is now on the right and the left on the left. Convenient!
What trigger did you need replacing? The left is the easy one.

Left Trigger
There is a black plastic cover over the left trigger holding it in place. Before unscrewing it please note that there is a small metal pin and a small spring that might jump out upon removal of the cover!

- Remove the 3 black screws
- Note how the flatcable runs through the black cover
- Gently lift the black cover
- Gently pull out the flatcable making sure the pin and pin stay in place (or store them somewhere safe)

The right trigger is also covered by the (metal) battery shield.
Here you will also find a small spring and metal pin below the black cover. Please don't loose them ^_^

- Remove the 3 black screws from the battery shield, set the shield aside
- Remove 1 more black screw from the black plastic cover holding the trigger in place.
- Note how the flatcable runs through the black cover
- Gently lift the black cover
- Gently pull out the flatcable making sure the pin and pin stay in place (or store them somewhere safe)

Rebuild in opposite order.

It's really easy to do and cost very little compared to a repair center.

Why the shoulder buttons keep failing I don't know. But it's a quite common complaint on the internet.
I carry my 3DS along everywhere in a hard case. Most of the time it sits on it's side in my bag. Maybe when it's resting on the shoulder buttons it puts to much stress on them. I'm not sure. But for now I'll make sure it's either laying flat or on it's side with the buttons facing upward.
"You love that plant" -"Yes, it's my best friend"
Old 03-18-2014, 11:38 PM
dcv1979's Avatar
Super Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,256

A very nice tutorial you have here
+rep to your post