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Four days ago my 3DS fell into water while on, when I pulled it out it remained on, quickly I turned it off and dry it with a towel, removed the SD card and game card, and placed it in a bowl with rice until it got fully covered.

Today I checked it out and while it is charging, the power button won't turn it on. I'll take it to a repair shop later, but in case it doesn't have a fix, what have info have I lost on it?

For example, I play Pokemon Omega Sapphire from a game card, if I get another 3DS, will I be able to still play it without losing my data? What about my pokemon on my PokeBank?

In regards to my SD card, can I place it in a new 3DS and load my data? For example, I had Monster Hunter Ultimate on digital in it, will I be able to play? What about Pokemon Shuffle data, will it be playable if I insert the SD card on a new console? What about Metroid on the virtual console?

How does this affect my Nintendo Network Id if I get a new 3DS? Will my data from all of my card games be erased?

I'm hoping there's a fix for my 3DS, but I want to be prepared for the worse.

  • 4
    SD is a standard. You ought to be able to use a computer, with a standard SD card reader/writer, and back up an entire SD card. Then write the data to a new one. I would then throw away the ex-wet SD card; the risk of a problem isn't worth the unpleasantness. – TOOGAM Apr 8 '16 at 5:57
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    @user13267 Rice absorbs moisture and can act as a desiccant, much like those silica packets you find in new shoes and other products that stores/manufacturers don't want damaged by humidity. For example; if you put a small amount of rice in a salt-shaker (assuming the holes are too small for the rice grains to slip through) it helps keep the salt from clumping and sticking to the walls of the shaker when the humidity is high. – Trent Hawkins Apr 8 '16 at 8:33
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    The rice trick is a myth; leaving your phone out to dry in the open air beats out even silica gel, which (along with cat litter and other drying agents) outperforms dry rice. smartphones.wonderhowto.com/how-to/… – JackArbiter Apr 8 '16 at 14:23
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    @JackArbiter I read the article you linked. It doesn't say, that there is a definitive answer that works best. The final step 3 they recommend is indeed silica gel! Open air depends on a lot of uncontrollable factors, like air humidity, ambient temperature and air convection. Using a sealed container with silica gel will always work well. – Nils_M Apr 8 '16 at 15:25
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    Don't chuck the SD card unless it fails. Even without any conformal coatung, the primary vulnerability is going to remain the contacts. If you dried it well, it should be fine. – The Nate Apr 8 '16 at 16:00
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Assuming the 3DS cannot be repaired, there's good news and not-as-good news (and maybe a little bad news) I'll start with ---

The good news:

Game Cartridges: all your save data is stored on the cartridge, with a new 3DS system you can pick back up wherever you left off in your savegames. The only thing lost may be streetpass data, and certain things like your friends lists may be cleared. Some games may require system updates or patches from the EShop before they can played.

Pokebank: Once you are able to use your old Nintendo Network ID, your stored pokemon will be waiting in the Pokebank right where you left them, as if nothing happened. Unfortunately, because this is tied to your NNID, this leads us to our not-as-good news.


The not-as-good news:

NNID: Nintendo, unfortunately, will not let you use the same NNID on multiple 3DS systems (I'm guessing to prevent people from buying a game on the EShop once, then sharing it across multiple systems), and since your old (presumably) broken 3DS is still tied to your NNID, you will not immediately be able to use your old NNID on your new 3DS system.

Normally you'd be able to get around this by performing a System Transfer, but if your old system is unable to perform a system transfer due to being lost/stolen/broken there is something you can do:

However, if you give a call to Nintendo's 1-800-255-3700 (6 am ~ 7 pm Pacific, everyday) Customer Service number, one of the service representatives can remotely unlink your NNID and make it so you can re-download your eShop content onto the replacement 3DS.

I have found another article from someone who has gone through the process, and the process will be a bit faster if you have the following information on hand when you call Nintendo's Customer Service:

  • The serial numbers of your (stolen/lost/)broken 3DS and your new replacement 3DS. Possible locations of the serial numbers:
    • should be on a sticker on the back of the 3DS systems
    • on the original box and user manual, if you still have them
    • if you registered your system online with Club Nintendo, you should be able to find it online. (Not entirely sure how well this works since they've re-jiggered the Club Nintendo system)
  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Nintendo Network ID name
  • Club Nintendo ID
  • Email address linked to either accounts
  • Downloads and purchases you’ve made with the account
  • Possibly other information to help them verify that you are the owner of the NNID.

However, once you've jumped through all the hoops (and it can take up to 24 hours for the process of unlinking your NNID from your old system on Nintendo's end) you should be able to use your NNID on your replacement 3DS. For simplicity, I'd advise against setting up a new NNID while you are waiting for Customer Service to unlink your ID, as you cannot have two NNIDs on the same system.

EShop: Once you've gone through the above process to retrieve your NNID, all your digital purchases associated with the old 3DS should be re-downloadable! This should include any 3DS ambassador program free titles, digital games bundled with the old system, and purchases through the Club Nintendo rewards.


The (possibly?) bad news

Unfortunately, the above process to retrieve your NNID is not as thorough as a system transfer would have been. So much of the data on the SD card is probably still tied to your old system. This may mean that you'd have to re-download all your digital purchases. And the save games for those digital downloads? The article I linked earlier suggests that as long as you have your old SD card, and it works, you should be able to use the "Data Management" menu in your 3DS's setting to retrieve it, but I can't find much info on how that works.

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    Note: the "Not-as-good news", while a pain to deal with, is probably considerably better than the situation was pre-NNID; as you were pretty boned if your system was lost/stolen/unrepairable. – Trent Hawkins Apr 8 '16 at 4:23
  • Also, I know there is save backup possibilities, but again I am pretty sure those are stored on the SD card so if it survived, and you have games you downloaded, they should keep the save files that it finds on the SD card. – Ash Apr 8 '16 at 6:20
  • I'm fairly sure some card based games use "Extra Data" for saved data. There is a fairly small limit to how much they can save to the game card, so if a game really needs a lot of space to save the game, they can use Extra Data on the SD Card. This will likely be lost if the other SD Card data is not recoverable. It may be the case that devs are not allowed to use Extra Data for saved games, only for additional content which should be re-downloadable, but I've never used it so I have no idea what the restrictions are. – Mick Waites Apr 8 '16 at 7:27
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    @Mick Waites extdata isn't used for game saves AFAIK. extdata contains current theme, badges, some settings for Streetpass and Miis. Pretty much everything that is 'shared' data between applications or data required for the home menu to work. – noirscape Apr 8 '16 at 8:05
  • I have not yet encountered a cartridge that when swapped to another system loses it's save data. It may not keep ALL data - For example, if Pokemon X/Y is played on a different system, it only loses the WiFi Friends/Acquaintances data (May affect the Friend Safari, as that is based on a combination of Friends/system-friend-codes; I'll have to look into this). – Trent Hawkins Apr 8 '16 at 8:21
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Disassemble the device and brush the PCB with a soft toothbrush and isopropyl alcohol (90%+), wash the PCB with alcohol again and let it dry for about 12-24 hours (alcohol damps fast).

It might fix your issues. We have a ~66% success rate with this method in our repair shop.

  • since the charge LED turns on but the power button won't turn it on, did the battery die? Also, if I disassemble the device, won't it affect the stored data on the internal storage (not talking about the data stored on the SD card, but the one stored in the device)? I'm asking that because someone I know took his to a repair shop and all of it StreetPass data (stamps, Miis, etc) was erased and he only took it there to repair the Control Stick. – Uriel Arvizu Apr 8 '16 at 15:13
  • also, will the alcohol work even if 5 days had passed since it got wet? – Uriel Arvizu Apr 8 '16 at 15:16
  • @Uriel I dropped my Note 2 in soapy water, then let in sit in rice for a week. It would turn on, but wouldn't charge, so I took it in to a phone repair shop. They said all they did was give it an "alcohol bath", and it worked fine for a year later. – Carcigenicate Apr 8 '16 at 15:28
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    Is 66% success rate "2 out of 3"? – liori Apr 8 '16 at 15:47
  • @liori He said ~66%.. which implies maybe more, maybe less. I doubt a repair shop has only repaired 3 3DS'. – Insane Apr 9 '16 at 5:54
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I went through a similar experience a few months ago, and have two things to say, both to the asker and to anyone else seeing this question:

First off, even if it's been a week and your 3DS won't turn on, don't lose hope. I dropped my 3DS in a sink full of water while it was turned on, and although I immediately turned it off, removed the battery/game card/SD card and dried it out thoroughly, It took about ten days before it would turn on again. I recommend leaving the battery out of the system and letting it dry separately, so as to reduce risk of anything weird happening as it dries out. The power button and the touch screen are probably the last two things that will return to working order, which is probably for the best.

Secondly, the other answers and comments about alcohol are absolutely correct- I will elaborate on them slightly here. Once the water has evaporated from the system, any remaining problems are due to material that had been dissolved in the water and now is interfering with the electronics, or with corrosion of the surface of the electronics. Isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) is a fairly powerful solvent, capable of dissolving most of the contaminants that water can leave, and evaporates quickly and cleanly. If you are willing to partly disassemble your 3DS (no harm will come to the data by doing this, though there is always a risk of damaging the hardware further) then I would focus firstly on cleaning any visible rust or corrosion (I noticed some near the headphone jack and around the game card), and then on the shoulder buttons if they have problem. Screens and buttons aside, the electronically sensitive parts of the 3DS are remarkably well shielded, and there will most likely be no problems with them. If you have a 3DS XL, you can easily and safely disconnect both shoulder buttons and clean them, as they connect to the main body with a simple snap-on connection (I believe the ordinary 3DS only has one shoulder button connected in this way, with the other being more securely attached, but I could be mistaken).

  • is there like a diagram that describes accurately how to disassemble a classic 3DS? I work better if I have one and feel less stressed about on how things were joined before I attempt this – Uriel Arvizu Apr 8 '16 at 20:40
  • If you can't find a diagram/service manual, take pictures of everything as you go through taking it apart. It'll make life easier when you have to put it back together again. – adamdc78 Apr 8 '16 at 22:13
  • ifixit.com/Device/Nintendo_3DS is a good place to start. Good luck. – krs013 Apr 9 '16 at 3:59
  • Removing the battery is probably the most important part. Three are three avenues for water damage: a short circuit permanently damaging a trace (remove the battery quick! Within seconds/minutes.), corrosion (dry it, soon! Within hours/days. Opening it up and wiping with alcohol is the fastest/most-sure way. Rice is ... not great.) and conductive residue (No lasting damage if left unpowered. The alcohol & wipe will take care of that too). – Bob Apr 9 '16 at 5:33

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