How To Fix Nintendo DSi L and R Buttons

My son’s been having a problem with his Nintendo DSi. The L and R buttons (also known as shoulder buttons) seem to intermittently fail. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t.

This is not the first time he’s had an issue with the DSi. While it was under warranty he did something that would be called stupid if someone my age did it but innocent and cute for a kid his age. Since it was under warranty I was able to send it back to Nintendo for repair with minimal cost.

Because of what he previously did (which I will not reveal here) and the fact that the unit was no longer under warranty I kept telling him that I couldn’t send it for repair and he’d have to learn to take better care of his stuff.

Earlier this week I spotted him using my daughter’s DSi to play one of his games. When I asked him why he wasn’t using his own he said because this was a game that absolutely needed the shoulder buttons. So I set off on a search to see if I could find a way to fix it.

My first inclination was to open the unit and re-seat the buttons. So I got out my screwdrivers and started to loosen the first screw. But before I got too far I thought I’d do some checking online to see if anyone else had done this before. I’d hate to open it up and see that I can’t fix it the way I thought or it goes back together in a different way than I thought. It’s a good thing I thought to do this because the solution was much simpler than I would have thought.

The solution I found works under the assumption that the buttons and contacts are in proper position but that dirt has somehow worked its way between the contacts so as to render the buttons not functional. The solution is odd but it worked for me. Here it is:

  1. Wrap your lips around the buttons to form a seal around the shell that surrounds them. The whole button as well as the gap between the button and the shell should be inside the seal.
  2. Blow as hard as you can.

Though it sounds (and looks) odd the idea here is simple: blow the dirt off the contacts. Thankfully it worked for me and my son was able to use his own DSi again. Maybe it’ll work for you too.

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you know if you do that more than one time your dsi will break the top screen will get salivan. just send i t to nintendo to get it fixed


Mother of god. No. I don’t believe it. I refuse to accept it. It’s just too ridiculous. What the hell.

Wow… Just wow, thanks man, lol, I owe ya

Oh.. It did work, AWESOME!!!

using your breathe can corrode the buttons. also i have had the dsi since release and my warranty just gave in i have tried compressed air. i took it apart and tried cleaning it and still no luck the buttons are not working. whats even worse is I’ve sent this dsi to Nintendo at least 4 times with the same problem every time l and r and after about 2 months they mess up again this is getting really annoying is there a way to fix or replace the l and r.

Thank you so much!! This worked so well!

Thank you sooooo much I have been missing out when my freinds play games that require the shoulder buttons and now i can take part

Thank you sooo,sooo,much!!! I wasn’t able to play a game without it. It tried it, and it worked! I was thinking that i should buy a new one, but now i don’t have to!!! :>

ive done thhat before and it works for a small period of time. I always have to do it and then push down really hard,and it still wont work got a better sollution?

I was about to start crying because I couldn’t play Kingdom Hearts, and then – BAM your solution solved it.
Thank you!

I was thinking to Hold down the L or R button , the one that is not working, for atleast a minute and it will start to function again but I just tried your idea, and it works marvelously, Best solution ever! (y)

i thought this was a troll tried in my 3ds it worked….. thnx so much finally i can play mario kart

dude i have a bader prop the l botten works but the r botten no and im like what the hell and im about to get pissed

Ok, for 1,

Blowing on the button like that can DAMAGE the contacts.Also, it will only work for 1 to 10 minutes.Even worse, DURING that time, the buttons play fluke jokes.So you have to press down REALLY hard on the button.One time i pressed it down so hard, the L and the camera picture were imprinted on my hand! Also, When i play games,They work fine.But on kingdom hearts recoded and 358/2 days, i try to lock on to the enemy.FAIL.
1.dirt gets permanitly stuck
2. Contacts BREAK.

Email me if you want.

you sir(or ma’am) are a genius

I am laughing so hard at how serious this article is and then to have read that simple solution…I stopped playing many games on my DSi and switched to the orginial DS (that thing is freaking durable) because it was the only system that had shoulder buttons that worked. Then I saw this article and I was just…astonished at how easy that was. All this time…and I never knew…thanks.

Thanks dude this works like magic, I thought it might do nothing because… well it sounds stupid but it works a treat now I can play Mario yay!!!

uhhh thanks it help!!! btw email me if you are an omorashi lover

After doing this a few times it stops working. I want to play Explorers of Sky on my R4 and its not working anymore!! Any other fixes!?!?!


If you’re good at taking things apart and put them back together I recommend you take a dry towel wipe the terminals of the L&R off and put it back together. All you’re doing is blowing the dust around on the inside.

Though this method is effective, it can actually cause more trouble to the buttons. Blowing into them can cause the dust/dirt to come out, but not all of it does. What doesn’t come out of the system can actually solidify or harden because you blow into it, and our breath is moist. Upon drying, the grime sticks to the trigger, and eventually screwing up the entire button, rendering it useless, so that you must manually remove the dust. This information is all from my current experience. My 3DS shoulder buttons don’t work at all now. I have used this method and the buttons work for a few hours to a day or two, but then they get clogged, so I repeated. Every repetition, the time period gets smaller, and I have to press them harder, as well as from a certain angle now.


Holy shibble
I literally gave away like most of my games cause i couldn’t use the l and r buttons
Dang I wish I had seem this earlier

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