Thursday, December 31, 2009

The world's first Nintendo DS 4 internal speaker mod?

Hey there, GameFaqs contributor einsteinecker here (I'm better known as mangatron in the anime world) So here we are, 10 months later from it's conception, (possibly) the world's first 4 Speaker Nintendo DS mod. Well, I've not the time to go through those 140,000+ search results, so for now I will lay claim to the title. It shouldn't have taken this long, but sickness, acquisition of HSDPA internet, writing FAQs for GameFaqs, and that other DS mod kept me quite busy till I eventually posted this on such a time of the year. So while I'd like to divulge on the details, I'll leave that for the full story here. On to the parts:

-A Nintendo DS Fat (grey and black first production run)
-2 Internal speakers from Palm Tungsten devices, or some DS Lite speaker parts from Dealextreme would be nice, except for the part where they are too large. Radioshack anyone?
-2 Copper wires measuring about 10 inches long in length, about half a millimeter thick
-Plastic (preferably rubber) tubing to fit the wires inside
-Triwing screwdriver (I used a flat tip optimized to fit the DS size)
-Flat tip screw driver (that's why I modified a flat tip for both triwing use and cross/horizontal screws)
-Some electric tape (personally I prefer Masking tape, with the right one it won't leave a mark in the long run)
-Super Glue. Super? Maybe there's something else called instant glue? What about Forever Glue? That might make a good name...
-Maybe a soldering gun, but I didn't use one. Simple, right?
-Rubber gloves or a static wrist-strap like for computers, that's if you work on the DS while it's on
-Hobby knives for cutting the new speaker holes.
-Speaker covers (those round black ones came from the Tungsten speakers)

Flash is used to try and show the cutouts where the new speakers are. The Palm T|X was used to lessen the flash reflection on the DS screens (darkest object I could find nearby, without it I have a ghastly picture)

Hmm, I don't know whether or not I should put instructions, I mean the pictures are plenty self explanatory, right? This isn't like deciding whether or not the voltage is correct, or replacing the wifi module, or replacing the screens. A couple of wire insertions and steady hands is all it takes... Or maybe I can put up some resources (really, I don't even know how to explain this in a DIY way, to me it's very simple, but yeah I know what's simple to me may not be simple to others, so...)

Those wires actually fit in there...

Ah heck, maybe I'll make it simple. Start by opening your DS. This site sounds like a good place to go. Start by removing the backing of the top screen, then the base of the lower screen, since we'll need the top exposed. The top of the DS, that is... ahem, I should note if you have any wifi game settings you'd might want to move it over to another DS since removing the battery for more than 15 seconds resets to factory defaults. Anyways, our first move would be to remove the mainboard down on the bottom half of the DS, and then hold the DS on it's side, mainboard facing you (like you're playing Hotel Dusk) and use your four fingers to lift the touchscreen up, in turn also lifting the mainboard from its roots.

For me, I started from the bottom working my way to the top. We'll start by cutting holes into the DS shell right where we want the speakers to go. And yes, I carved both holes while the mainboard was still in place. Simple right? Hint: start cutting on the outside. Once your foxholes have been dug, place your speakers as shown below. I secured them  with super glue.



Don't mind that Goldeneye game cart. There just wasn't any other FPS that year, that's all...

Now let's wire this place. As you can see in the pics, the rubberized tubing only went through the hinge part of the DS, my method of making this quick and simple (you know how hard it was to carve those holes?) I start by inserting the left speaker wiring through the hinge, followed by the right (take note the right wiring might need a bit longer wiring than the left speaker) Once the wiring is setup up on the bottom of the DS, place the mainboard in its spot and put the base of the DS back on. We're moving up top.

Hope the camera flash isn't too blinding...

The top screen of the DS is no laughing matter. As you can see, I severed the wire connecting the right (left) speaker to the circuit board. Of course such a thing can easily be worked around, so I'll caution you that you just might ruin your wiring. Now attach the wires to the main speakers, before I simply attached them to the main wiring itself but that didn't work in the long run. By attaching them to the main speakers themselves, opening and closing the DS won't interfere with the wiring too much. (yeah, I tried attaching them to the main wiring itself, wasn't a good result)

Note where the blue circled wires end.

So, with that done, I guess you can test it out! Except when you power on your DS for the first time, you will have to re-input all your data! Mwuahahaha!

Guess which is the 2 speaker loudness and the 4 speaker mod. Tested using a mono microphone setup though so the obvious is even less painfully obvious...

Enjoy your ear deafening 4 speaker DS mod! Next upgrade: inserting a subwoofer! Hoo-rah!


-Q: What's the purpose of this mod?
-A: Well, as with all of my mods, it starts as a proof of concept kind of thing, then if it works, I turn it into a full fledged working mod. Those battery mods I've been doing are like that. That and connecting the DS to a computer is just... I don't know, not worth it? Because what I did before was connect my DS to my desktop computer with a 4 speaker setup, which was also connected to a surround sound system with two 3 foot tall 1980's era speakers. Now that's connecting it to the computer. But then your playing a handheld with its strings attached to a desktop computer... hence this mod.
-Q: So how loud is it?
-A: Very loud. DS players who own more than one type would know the DS Fat is louder than the DS Lite (unfortunately, I don't have a DSi to test). Surround sound enabled games like those from Nintendo (Metroid Prime Hunters, Mario Kart etc) sound even better with this 4 speaker mod.
-Q: How's the battery life?
-A: Hard to say. The battery that's in there right now is the one from purchase, and that means it's the first production run DS battery from 5 years ago! With the battery operating at less than half of it's rated capacity, I only get around 2-2/12 hours of gameplay now. So no telling how much juice is being used (although I noticed even less playing time when the volume is full blast.

Sneak preview of my other awesome mod: possibly the world's first built-in joystick mod for the DS Lite,  removable as well enabling the DS to close!

You have no idea how much better FPS gaming has been with this joystick mod.

Comments are open to anybody, Google members or not.

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