Repair a damaged Nintendo Change: Learn how to overcome your concern of DIY sport console repairs

Fix a broken Nintendo Switch: How to overcome your fear of DIY game console repairs

Cracked again cowl restore, halfway by.

Scott Stein/CNET

It is regular for the Nintendo Change to sometimes expertise some sort of injury. The sport console is understood to have a number of issues with Pleasure-Cons breaking and cracks popping up alongside the Change’s vents or by the again corners. However that does not imply it’s a must to purchase a brand new Change. That sort of breakage may be fastened with somewhat endurance and a few screwdrivers.


Brett Pearce/CNET

Nintendo’s transportable sport console has been round for greater than 4 years, with the first iteration popping out in 2017. The Change has since seen gradual upgrades over time, together with a model with higher battery life, known as the Change V2, and a lower-priced, handheld-only Change Lite. (Here is the CNET Nintendo Change evaluation and Nintendo Change Lite evaluation.) A new OLED Change arrived this month with a 7-inch OLED show, higher audio system, boosted storage and different interesting options. (The Nintendo Change OLED might not be for you, however whether it is, you should buy one proper now.)

Learn extra: CNET’s Nintendo Change OLED hands-on and evaluation

Final yr, my Nintendo Change had turn into a dirty mess. Smudged, dust-caked display. Oily Pleasure-Cons. My youngsters had been taking part in Animal Crossing: New Horizons for days, jostling it out of the dock within the mornings. I advised them to watch out — then I noticed the crack on the again.

It wasn’t an enormous crack. But it surely was there. After all, I freaked out.

I’ve points with issues breaking. And I am not a repair-oriented individual. I haven’t got fix-it in my blood. My yard is a large number. Dysfunction terrifies me, and but it occurs. And eventually, electronics get broken.

I Googled my drawback and noticed a variety of different folks had related cracks in well-used methods. 

Learn extra: Greatest Nintendo Change controllers and video games to play in 2021


The crack.

Scott Stein/CNET

I’ve seen others posting footage of their Switches with new colourful instances they placed on, and Pleasure-Con kits they fastidiously assembled — and even Pleasure-Con fixes. A cracked plastic again? Come on, Scott. You are able to do this.

Learn extraLearn how to trick out your Nintendo Change

iFixit instantly got here up in my search with an ideal step-by-step information. You need to use it. I am right here to let you know how I adopted that information, and what I ordered.

Additionally, bear in mind that self-repairs like this might void your guarantee, when you nonetheless have one. And to be protected, simply ensure you’ve saved your sport information within the cloud.

Worth: How a lot does it value to repair your Nintendo Change?

I went to Amazon to get some spare elements: a rear case and entrance cowl set that appeared very well-reviewed, so I purchased it ($9.95). I seemed for Change restore instruments, and went with a set that had a bunch of huge, separate (versus interchangeable-head) screwdrivers (at present $15, however I paid $18.89). Complete: $30.79.

They took per week to reach — not so long as some orders to start with months of the coronavirus pandemic, possibly as a result of they’re for repairs. 

Then, I began.


These screwdrivers felt nice to carry, and durable. No swapping ideas wanted.

Scott Stein/CNET

Unscrewing your Nintendo Change: Learn how to take off the sport console’s backplate

The following steps concerned taking the unique rear case off. Some recommendation earlier than continuing:

Lay the Change facedown on a comfortable material. You do not wish to scratch it up.

Pull off the kickstand. You will want that off earlier than eradicating the rear cowl. It is simple to take off, and Nintendo has a information. Push in a bit on one facet. Reattaching it later is comparable however in reverse.

Be very cautious with the screws. The tri-wing specialised screws, and a few Phillips-head screws, are extremely small. Some are additionally very quick. I unscrewed all of them within the order iFixit beneficial, 4 corners first.


Listed below are the screwdrivers I used to repair my Nintendo Change.

Scott Stein/CNET

These had been OK, however some felt caught with grime. I used to be extraordinarily fearful about stripping the tri-wing screws. I saved the screwdriver nonetheless and turned firmly however gently on the identical time.

Thank goodness the screwdrivers are magnetized, protecting the screws hooked up a bit after eradicating. I positioned them in little dishes, to remind myself what step they had been from. I dared not drop one accidentally.

  • Subsequent got here the microSD card slot screw, which wasn’t as tightly hooked up.
  • Then got here two Phillips-head screws on the underside, on both facet of the USB-C port.
  • Then, a Phillips-head screw simply to the facet of the highest vent.
  • Then, the middlemost screw on the facet rails the place the Pleasure-Cons usually slide in, one on either side.

I pulled the plastic off gently; it received caught a bit. I observed how a lot mud there was, and that a few of the plastic tabs had already damaged off.


OK… some additional bits wanted to be transferred from one again panel to the opposite.

Scott Stein/CNET

Sudden extra steps: Transferring the microSD bracket and sport cartridge cowl

At this level, iFixit mentioned to reverse the steps. However I spotted there have been nonetheless some lacking elements to my Change rear cowl: 

  • The cartridge slot cowl was on the unique cowl, however not on my new one.
  • Somewhat bracket close to the microSD card slot wasn’t on my new cowl, both.
  • Nor had been the little vent grille covers on the underside of the duvet, nor little foam squares on the corners.

I went right into a panic now, however determined to simply transfer the elements over. I gently unscrewed the SD card and cartridge elements and reinstalled them on the corresponding areas of the brand new cowl.

The vent covers, these weren’t as simple. I noticed folks on-line had gently peeled them off and glued them on. They’re little strips of plastic. I pulled them off, and located that they had simply sufficient stickiness left to stay on once more like a sticker, and form of transfer on from there. The froth nook squares I did not fear about.


Seems, the brand new again’s plastic tabs did not match completely in my Change.

Scott Stein/CNET

What is the hardest a part of the Change DIY restore? The decrease plastic tabs

Then I hit a severe snag. I attempted snapping the brand new cowl on, but it surely would not match. One backside plastic nook would not snap in. It seemed like the outlet in my Change wasn’t deep sufficient for the tab.

I don’t know what occurred right here. Nothing was left in my Change that I may see, and the rear cowl I eliminated was lacking that plastic tab fully. I could not discover something on-line that matched my drawback.

It was time to improvise. I attempted sawing the plastic tab off.

I used a pocket knife and began gently attempting to take away the plastic tab from the rear cowl with out breaking all the pieces. That is the place I felt like I might significantly gone off-road. Amazingly, the tab broke off and I used to be capable of snap the duvet on. Not very best by any means, but it surely labored. 

The rear cowl was on, and all of the lacking items had been now hooked up. Issues seemed like they had been moving into the suitable path. 

Final step: Screwing on the brand new Change again cowl (with warning)

I screwed the screws again in, in reverse order, backtracking by the steps I took within the first place. Tiny screws are even tougher to get again in than they’re to take out. I attempted decreasing them in after which positioning them on the magnetic screwdriver, and really fastidiously screwing again in, not overtightening in any respect. I sweated. I’ll have stripped a number of screws a bit. I am by no means doing this once more, I advised myself.



Scott Stein/CNET

How lengthy does it take to restore your Nintendo Change? About an hour

I attempted to doc my repairs by propping up an iPad and exhibiting what I used to be doing. And I took issues actually slowly. It was about an hour of labor. I received actually careworn.  However I used to be rattling proud after I was finished. After which, I turned on the Change to ensure it labored. Sure, all the pieces appeared (and appears) tremendous. 

I did it.

I confirmed my son how the cracked again was all good and clean now, all tremendous.

He simply nodded and requested to play Animal Crossing.

I gave him the Change, and went to the kitchen to do dishes and make dinner. I felt extra positive of myself in a world the place I have been feeling uncontrolled. I took a breath. Repairs can occur, new abilities may be realized. Damaged Switches may be fastened. That is my little story of my very own anxieties. I hope you’re feeling assured sufficient and cautious sufficient to face yours, too.

For extra Nintendo Change fixes, try repair Pleasure-Con drift and the place is the redownload button on the brand new OLED Nintendo Change? You may also check out CNET’s listing of greatest video games to your Nintendo Change in 2021

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