My Nintendo 3DS does not come with a cable like this, but I'm wondering if I can buy it and plug it to my iPhone/iPad adapter. Is it safe to do so? (If someone can point me to the right Nintendo KB page that would be a good proof, then if my 3DS is fried I can still claim warranty.)

Edit: iPhone adapter looks like this (Although mine is with AU plug), not sure if the watt output varies from one country to another.:

  • What's the amperage required by an 3DS? I believe iPhone adaptors output 2.1A. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 1:44
  • Do you mean the end that plugs into the wall or the end that plugs into the 3DS? Because it's not an Apple connector, so those won't work
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 1:50
  • Does the adapter have the other end on it? It should work. If the Apple charger has a USB port on one end, along with the 3DS charger having a USB port, then it should work just fine. Can you put a picture of the iPhone adapter?
    – The Man
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 1:52
  • @BenBrocka, I've updated the question. Look at the linked Amazon page and the picture I embed. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 3:41
  • 1
    Not necessarily. It depends on the firmware of the 3DS, whether the charging circuits are activated by the voltage pin or whether they are turned on only when a valid USB data connection is made. My Sony eReader does the latter, so it ignores the iPhone transformer and only starts charging when plugged into a real computer USB port. I don't know how common that design is, but it does mean that it varies between devices and compatibility is not guaranteed. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 4:39

2 Answers 2


I have exactly the same setup - an iOS (iPhone5 right now) wall-to-USB adapter and a 3DS to USB cable - and it works fine for me. The 3DS detects that it's plugged into power and does charge.

I use this set-up occasionally when I'm traveling and don't want to take apart the whole cradle and charger system. It hasn't caused any harm yet, but I don't expect Nintendo to ever officially endorse it.

  • Thanks! Curiously are you using iPhone or iPad adapter? Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 10:18

Assuming you have any necessary adapter cables, there are three things to consider when charging stuff (see also this electronics.se question):

  • Voltage. To charge a device, the output voltage of the charger and input voltage of the device basically need to match. These voltages are printed on the device; the 3DS input voltage is 4.6V, my iPad charger outputs 5.1V, and standard USB output is 5V. A small amount of variance is sometimes acceptable, but exactly how much depends on the device. 4.6V and 5.1V is close enough it could or could not work, depending on the tolerances of components used in the 3DS (which could vary invisibly between 3DSs). Supplying too much or not enough voltage can break electronics but many devices can detect this and just refuse to charge.

  • Amperage. The output amperage of the charger is ideally at least as large as the input amperage of the device. Again, you can find this printed on the device. If it's larger, that's fine. If it's smaller, the device will charge but slowly. If it's much smaller, the device may simply decide not to charge at all. Apple chargers output anywhere between 1A and 12A; the 3DS requires 0.9A.

  • Manufacturer reliability. Apple and Nintendo are stable companies with smart engineering teams, and make certified, reliable, safe chargers. Is e.g. HDE, the makers of the cable you link, also? I don't know. Poorly-made power transmission devices are a safety risk; they can shock you severely or get hot enough to melt or start fires. Cheap cables can also get stuck in devices simply because of a poorly-moulded shape, and cause damage when you try to remove them.

For the specific case you're talking about, the amperage is fine. The voltage is close enough I wouldn't be surprised if it worked, but also far enough I wouldn't test it with my only 3DS unless I had some kind of guarantee. The most worrying part for me is the unknown (to me at least) cable brand. The Amazon reviews on it and other products from HDE are mixed at best.

  • Thanks for an educated and complete answer which is not just "I tried it, it seems to work".
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 10:31

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