Nintendo Switch Re-Skin

When I was a kid, I had a Gameboy Color in Atomic Purple. I loved that thing to death and I always thought the translucent case was the coolest thing ever, so when I noticed people on ebay selling custom shells for the Switch, I just had to have one.

In purple.

Photograph of a Nintendo Gameboy Color in Atomic Purple
Tell me that isn't cool

This isn’t a how-to, but I’ll mention a few things I learned that made it easier for me.

The first thing was to put down a light-coloured piece of cloth onto my work bench. This makes it a lot easier to find all the little parts if they drop out during (dis)assembly. It also dampens the surface so they’re less likely to bounce away on the hard work surface and get lost.

The mess of Joycon reassembly
The mess of Joycon reassembly

Do it one “piece” of the console at a time so you’re not trying to figure out which part goes into which Joycon. Also, when doing the Joycons, start with the left one which is easier and has fewer internal parts.

Take photos of the innards as you go so you have a reference for how everything should go back together later. The Joycons in particular are already very fiddly to assemble, so try to make it as easy for yourself as possible.

Photograph of a Nintendo Switch Joycon with the case open and the battery out so you can see the circuit boards inside.
So many flex cables. Where do they all go? Will you remember?

Take particular note of the orientation of things like the rubber backing on the buttons and how the thin flat-flex cables snake around the larger components like the battery.

The flat-flex connectors on the boards in the Joycons use zero insertion force (ZIF) connectors. Each connecter has a little lever which, when lowered, is used to lock the cable in place. When operated correctly, it should never take any force to insert or remove a cable from these connectors. If you find yourself tugging on something, stop and check what you’re doing as they’re really easy to damage.

While assembling the Joycons, I found that the “scanning” pattern of the four green LEDs made for a great function test. After putting a cable into a connector, you can tap a button connected to the cable and watch for the pattern to ensure the connection is good. Way better than assuming it’s okay, only to find it’s not working later after you’ve screwed it all together.

Photograph of the front of the completed unit with its new translucent purple case
I chose to keep the original black buttons because I thought they made a nice contrast with the purple case
Photograph of the rear of the completed unit with its new translucent purple case
It's bit of a shame there's so much shielding around the main board blocking our view of all the goodies. The things we do for the FCC.