USB DS Charger FAQ
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                   by astrangeone

1)  Version Information
2)  Introduction
3)  Caution and Warnings
4)  Materials Needed
5)  USB Cable Types
6A) Charger Cable Types
6B) Difference Between NDS & NDSL Charger Cable Types
7)  How to Solder
8)  Heatshrink versus Electrical Tape
9)  What's Vinyl Dye?
10) Time to Mod!
11) About the author
12) Credits
13) Mini-FAQ (SP and DS Batteries!)
14) Copyright Warning

===============================================================================
=                           1)  Version Information                           =
===============================================================================
1.7 - Updated email and stuff about the NDS Lite plug

1.6 - Added less ugly headers and updated info on difference between NDS and
      NDSL plugs

1.5 - Centered title formatting for easier reading.

1.4 - Added blurb about vinyl dye.

1.3 - Fixed up title and subtitle formatting.

1.2 - Updated Copyright Warning to a more serious format...

1.1 - Minor formatting stuff.  Applied numbering system present in
table of contents for the rest of the guide.  Added the hyperlink
to USB specifications.

1.0 - Yes!  Fixed the table of contents errors, and created an
introduction.  Also added the fact that there are ready made usb
chargers on the market.

0.9 - Found a new product, added it to heatshrink/electrical tape
category

0.8 - Added blurb on soldering and heatshrink/electrical tape

0.7 - Made a pretty little ascii art for the Title

0.6 - Fixed up formatting.

0.5 - First completed version of the guide.  Added warnings and
cautions...and more about both cable types.

0.2 - Blast it!  Fumbled around with extra stuff about USB and
charger cable types.

0.1 - Writing the basics of this guide.  Basically just finished the
actual modding article, and need to clean it up.

===============================================================================
=                              2)  Introduction                               =
===============================================================================
The standard charger adapter that comes with the DS is pretty decent.
But that's all.  It's not all that portable, and it's "brick" adapter
part is pretty hefty.

If you are like me, and spend a disproportional amount of time in
front of a computer monitor....you'd want a plug that can charge your
DS directly from the computer.  Now, a computer has many ports and
adapters on it's own...but the universal serial bus is the most
common.

Some websites also sell DS/SP usb chargers, so you don't have to risk
frying your equipment with altered cables and stuff.  But if you are
anything like me, you are extremely paranoid about giving your credit
card number to any company over the web.

Read more about ready made usb chargers here:  http://www.lik-
sang.com/info.php?category=278&products_id=2994&

** This charger is for just recharging the battery on the SP and the DS.
Data can't be transferred using this cable....

Anyways.  Go read the rest of the article!  Shoo, scat, move!

===============================================================================
=                         3)  Caution and Warnings                            =
===============================================================================
I'm not liable for any loss of property and or personal damages if
you decide to follow the instructions here.

That said, modding is a very safe pastime if you follow your common
sense.

For this mod, you will need to be careful of fumes from the soldering
process and the vinyl dye.  Solder can also be very hot, so be extra
careful around it.

The last caveat is electricity.  Be careful, and protect yourself
using rubber gloves and or don't touch bare wire.  Use common sense
and you wouldn't be dead or in pain.

This guide is made for people who have no basic understanding of all
things computer related, so please bear with me (or skip) the
sections you already know about!

Thanks!

===============================================================================
=                           4)  Materials Needed                              =
===============================================================================
- A DS or SP cable
- a usb extension cable
- soldering iron & solder
- electric tape & or heatshrink
- heatgun or blowdryer
- black vinyl dye
- wire stripper
- a very well lit and well ventilated area

===============================================================================
=                              5)  USB Cable Types                            =
===============================================================================
There are many different types of usb cable out there that we can use
for this mod.  USB stands for universal serial bus, and uses the same
voltage the world over.

There are several basic types out there that you can salvage for this
mod.  To do this mod, we only need one plug...it's a basic USB plug
that looks similar to this:

   _______
  /       |==|  =============
--        |  |  |+++++++++++|
--        |  |  |           |
  \_______|==|  =============

The "+" represents the layer of plastic present on the end of the
plug.  This is the end that goes into the computer and provides your
device with power.

For those interested in a more technical explaination of the USB
cable: http://www.usb.org/developers/usbfaq/

Be warned, although - it is an extremely long document.  It's not too
technical, although...so happy reading!

===============================================================================
=                         6A)  Charger Cable Types                            =
===============================================================================
I have seen many aftermarket adapter chargers on the market.  Three
of the most common ones are the silver (platinum) ones by Intec, the
standard Nintendo licensed one with the folding prongs in the
adapter, and a Hip Gear replacement one - non-folding prongs, but the
adapter head is on the side so it doesn't take as much room to plug
in.

 |  |
------  ------    Two different kinds of chargers.
|    |  ||  ||
|    |  |    |
------  ------

(Top Down View of Two Chargers)

I recommend you to get the Nintendo licensed one.  It's practically
garuanteed that it's will work and last longer than the third party
ones.  It uses stranded wire which helps the cable last much longer
through the bends and twists of daily use.

One note of caution:  American and European home voltages are much
different - 110 volts versus 220 volts.  Get the ones that correspond
to your DS's country of origin!

===============================================================================
=           6B)  Difference Between The NDS and NDSL Charger Cables           =
===============================================================================
The original DS and the Lite have different charge cable type heads.  (The male
plug is slightly different, and they ARE NOT INTERCHANGABLE.)

Looking from the top down, the NDSL (Lite) cable head looks like this:

/---\
-----  (Very similar to the mini-USB cable head)

Looking from the top down, the NDS (Launch) cable head looks like this:

 _____
[     ]  (Has a bump on the bottom, and is larger than the NDSL cable head.)
--...--

**  NOTE:  Want to save a buck or two when making a cable for the NDS?  Get a
GBA SP charger cable.  It fits!

===============================================================================
=                              7)  How to Solder                              =
===============================================================================
The idea behind soldering is providing spliced ("joined") wires with
a permanent connection to each other.  I had have several projects
fall apart without the soldered connections to help them stay
together.

The solder is usually a mix of flux, silver and lead.  This mixture
is easy to heat to it's melting point, and quite easy to manipulate.
It is practically the "glue" that holds the two wires together.  It
looks like a spool of plain wire, and is sold in different
thicknesses (gauges) for different jobs.  The thicker the wire, the
harder it is to melt.

As with any skill, this takes practice and time to learn.  You can
screw up soldering in many ways...such as heating the components too
long which results in damage, soldering the wrong component, or just
not applying enough heat to the solder.

The Basics:
-----------
You heat the wires or components that you are supposed to join, and
then apply the solder to the hot component.  The solder should flow
smoothly over the hot wires, and congeal.  Remove the soldering iron
or gun from the component.

You can read more about the soldering process at:
http://www.epemag.wimborne.co.uk/solderfaq.htm

===============================================================================
=                    8)  Heatshrink versus Electrical Tape                    =
===============================================================================
These two items are just simply a must when dealing with electrical
sources.  These two items surround bare wire with rubber to prevent
electrical shocks and short-circuits.

Heatshrink comes in various sizes.  It looks like colored tubes of
hollow, flexible plastic.  The various sizes are used to match the
sizes/thickness/diameters of wiring.  It is used in conjuction with a
blowdryer or a heatgun to shrink to the exact size of the wire.
Problems arise when you shrink it.  Some people heat it for too long
and damage the heatshrink.  The good thing is that this heatshrink
looks much more professional and finished when used.

Electrical or PVC tape comes in various colors.  I've seen red,
white, green, and pink versions floating around.  You use it like
tape for to cover bare wires.  The problem with electrical tape comes
from the fact that it uses a type of glue to secure it to your work.
This leaves a sticky residue on your wiring, making it hard to fix or
upgrade later.  I like using electrical tape because it is so easy to
find, some dollar stores even stock this stuff.

Yet another option I've seen is Liquid Electrical tape.  Yes, you
read that right.  It's produced by the same company that does Plasti-
Dip (Performix).  Anyhow, it comes in a can with an applicator brush.
It seems like a good option, as you can be very precise with it.
Read more about it at:  http://www.quiltershusband.com/cgi-
bin/shopper.cgi?preadd=action&key=PLAS3LET

Anyhow, use what appeals to you...and or your wallet!

===============================================================================
=                           9)  What's "vinyl dye"?                           =
===============================================================================
Vinyl Dye is a dye with a plastic dissolving component.  It's used on
on plastics to give them a coating of color that doesn't fade or
wear off with repeated use.

The good thing about this stuff is that you don't have to prepare
the plastic in any way, form or shape.  That means you don't have
to sand or buff the plastic before applying the dye.  The dye sinks
into the plastic because of the plastic thinner.  And the fact that
you don't have to be very precise with this stuff makes it very
attractive.  Just apply evenly to all surfaces that you wish to
dye and you'd be fine.

The bad things about vinyl dye include the smell.  Because of the
thinner component, this stuff stinks to high heaven.  You absolutely
have to use it in a well ventilated area.  In fact, the first time
I used it, I had a hour long headache from the fumes.

The long drying and curing time is a pain too.  It has to dry
overnight for the stuff to harden.  My recommendation is to set
up a fan near an open window to speed up the drying process.

This stuff can be found in auto shops.  They come in aerosol cans,
kinda like spray paint.  The vinyl dye comes in very basic colors,
like black and grey.

Have fun, and continue reading!

===============================================================================
=                              10)  Time to Mod!                              =
===============================================================================
Ok.  Have you gotten everything you need?  Turn on the soldering iron
to give it time to warm up.  Your objective from here on out is to
turn two cables into one.

DS Adapter Side of Things:
--------------------------
1)  Cut off the adapter end of the DS cord.  This means taking off
the "brick" with the prongs that normally plug into the wall socket.
2)  Cut off the plastic shielding on the adapter cord.
3)  You'd see two wires.  One is protected by another plastic shield,
and the other is bare wire coiled around the shielded one.  (The
shielded one is the power wire and the non shielded is the ground
wire.)
4)  Take the ground wire and twist it around itself if it is stranded
wire.
5)  Cut off the shielding on the power wire, and twist it around
itself if it is a stranded wire.

USB Cord Side of Things:
------------------------
1)  Take your USB cord.  Cut off the end you are going to use.
2)  Cut away the plastic shielding to reveal four wires.  (Red,
white, green, and black.)
3)  Black is ground, and the white/green wires are data.  Strip all
of these and twist them together to form a single wire.
4)  Red is your power cable.  Twist this wire around itself.
5)  If you are using the optional vinyl dye, now's the time.  Protect
the metal parts of the cable and the exposed wire with masking tape,
and spray away.  Let it dry overnight or longer to let it set.

USB Cord, meet DS Adapter:
--------------------------
1)  Take the ground wires of both the USB and DS cables, and twist
them around each other.
1a) If you are using heatshrink, slide three pieces onto the wire
now.
2)  Apply solder to the areas where the wires touch.
3)  Cut off short pieces of electrical tape and wrap them around the
exposed wire.  Cover the whole area of exposed wire.
3a) Slide the heatshrink over the exposed wire, and use the heatgun
to cover the heatshrink on the wire.
4)  Connect the power wires of both the USB and DS cables in the same
way.
5)  Use more electrical tape to cover up the wiring.
5a) Use the last piece of heatshrink to cover up your mess.

Testing, Testing, Testing...
----------------------------
Plug that bad boy into a free usb slot on your computer.  Plug the
other end into your preferred Nintendo licensed product.  If the
charging led lights up, then good!  If it doesn't, the splicing
didn't go as planned...open the heatshrink or tape up and see how the
wires are touching each other, and twist them tighter around each
other.

===============================================================================
=                           11)  About the Author                             =
===============================================================================
*******
"I'm a barbie girl, in a barbie world...
Life in plastic, it's fantastic!"

Aqua - Barbie Girl
*******

What do you wish to know about me?  Hmmm...I'm your average girl who is
studying computers in college.  I love seeing how things work, or
making things more functional or more beautiful.  Hence, my
writing this guide.

I'm extremely interested in seeing how you gamefaqs.com users can come
up with working alterations of this cable, so please email me with your
variations.

astrangeone@null.net

Please don't email me with offers of dates, badly spelled emails, and
emails with viruses.  Otherwise, feel free to contact me about anything
about this guide!  Oh - and please put something like "DS USB Charger"
in the title, otherwise...your email may be deleted!

Oh - please don't ask for my real name.  Thanks.

You'd usually find me in the www.gamefaqs.com DS General forums, hope to see
you there!

===============================================================================
=                               12)  Credits                                  =
===============================================================================
http://www.darkain.com - For being the first on how to make a diy usb
DS charger!

http://www.hackaday.com - Great site for different ways you can use
and abuse your hardware!

http://www.lik-sang.com/news.php - Unbiased news and reviews for
different platforms.

Crazyreyn - for reminding me that there are usb DS chargers out there
for sale!

DeMatt & Cold NRG - for looking over the format for this guide.  Thank you!

Nintendo, for being the bleeding edge in handhelds!

===============================================================================
=              13)  Mini-FAQ - Backwards Compatible SP batteries              =
===============================================================================
I've come across some articles that mention that the SP and the original DS
batteries are interchangable with a little modification, that is.

The batteries are very similar in voltage and output.  The forms are
just a little different although.  There are two little plastic nubs
on the edges of the DS and SP batteries.  The SP battery just differs
in a slight off-centering of the little plastic nubs.

 o    o    o   o        <---  The offending plastic nubs!
-------    -------
|     |    |     |
|     |    |     |
|     |    |     |
|     |    |     |
-------    -------

Remove those plastic nubs with a small pair of scissors or an exacto
knife and you can place them in your DS.

It works well for those people out there who are still awaiting an
official replacement battery for the DS.  Or for people like me who
are too cheap to want to buy an actual DS replacement battery...

** NOTE:  I'm not certain that this process works for the Lite.

===============================================================================
=                           14)  Copyright Warning                            =
===============================================================================
This entire document is (C) 2005 astrangeone. All trademarks are
property of their respective owners. No section of this guide can
be used without my permission. This includes, but is not limited to
posting on your website, making links to my guide, including parts
of my guide in your own, or making reference to any material
contained within.

All the sites mentioned below have permission to do the above.
Please email me at astrangeone@dbzmail.com to enquire about
gaining permission to use this document.

www.gamefaqs.com

- Thanks to Michael Sarich for this Copyright -

*Any misuse of this document will be followed up by my Yale
graduated cousin lawyers!

Bon chance, fellow gamers!