And the sun shines on the bay

I had to get up early this morning for another trip to EFI HQ in Foster City, CA. The 7:30 flight translates into a 5:00 am wake up time and I failed to get to bed before midnight. I’ll probably “nap” on the 2 hour flight but it will likely make no difference today. I’ll be attending a series of meetings today and tomorrow welcoming and orientating me and a colleague to our new team at EFI. You can bet that I’ll be hitting the free espresso machine whenever I get a chance this afternoon.

The Olympics have been keeping me awake at night and I’ve been trying to leverage that extra wake time to work on a little side project. It’s going pretty well so far and I’ll probably have more to report on sometime in the future.

A couple of weeks ago Graham started to notice cracks on one of the hinges of his Nintendo DS Lite. It wasn’t long before the cracks grew and the hinge broke. The remaining hinge, which houses the ribbon cable that connects the upper display to the motherboard, had a great deal of non-rotational play to it so we became concerned that if he used it further he would eventually tear the cable and lose the use of his beloved DS. When he realized this he was very upset and even cried a few times while I tried to reassure him that we would do our best to fix the broken hinge. We found a place that stocked replacement parts but the hinge was more expensive than I thought it might be. A quick search at eBay found cheaper hinges but also revealed that for a few dollars more we could replace the entire shell of his DS. He soon found an “ice blue” shell that was perfect for him and we ordered it. In the week that it took to get here from Hong Kong he continually asked me when it would get here and if it had been a week yet. When it arrived on Monday he was anxious to begin the delicate operation but I put him off until the next day when I planned to stay home from work.

As soon as I woke up the next day, he insisted we begin right away. Tina’s dad is in town and is an experience electrician (you know, one of those only choosing the best tool backpack and doing his job with a great accuracy), and Graham thought he should help, too. We waited for him to wake up but then he and Tina went shopping so Graham and I were left on our own to completely disassemble his DS and then reassemble it with the new shell. The place that sold us the shell sent us a link detailing the procedure and I had previously found this video which goes over the disassembly part:


The whole process went off without a hitch. After pulling about 7 screws, I decided to use a little trick that an IS chick showed me years ago. You roll up strips of tape so that they are sticky on both sides and then stick the tape to a blank piece of paper. You label each strip of tape and put the screws on top where they will stick to the tape. You do it in order and you know exactly where each screw goes. In my case, I drew a diagram of the shell with all the screw holes and then affixed each screw to the proper hole. It made the reassembly much easier. Especially since I have a tendency to forget where things go if there’s more than five or six steps during disassembly.

We thought we had lost the ice blue “Y” button that came with the new shell but Thomas found it hiding in one of the shoulder buttons. I had only had to re-remove 2 or 3 screws to pull the motherboard out and replace the old buttons with the ice blue buttons. It all snapped together really nicely and turned on the first time I flipped the switch. After driving in the last screws, I handed it to Graham and told him to go test it. A few minutes later I looked in the family room and he was sitting there turning it in his hands admiring it.