I bought a used DS Lite in order to play the small percentage of DS games that are region locked and won't play on my DSi XL.

I know the cards are good, but this DS Lite won't recognise the game card if I insert it and it's switched on already - yet if the card is inserted when the power is off and then I switch it on, it all works fine.

Does anyone know why this might happen - is the unit faulty?

  • 3
    I always thought handhelds didn't support hot swapping, and it was actually bad for the games/unit to hot swap.
    – Ids
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:19
  • 1
    @Ids They don't. For ANY DS to recognize the game card, it has to be turned off, card inserted, and then turned on. I don't know of a single handheld where attempting to swap cards while it's on actually works.
    – Frank
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:21
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    On the DSi you can insert the card when it is power on and sitting in the system menu and it will recognise the card and offer to launch the game.
    – U62
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:24
  • @fbueckert I am nearly positive the 3DS supports hot-swapping. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:26
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    Huh. According to wikipedia, a DSi can hot-swap from the main menu. Presumably the 3DS has the same feature. Sorry, my bad. But there's your answer, @U62: DS Lites have to be turned off to swap cartridges.
    – Frank
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 13:31

3 Answers 3


Tested on my own DS Lite, which is "tried and true" (I think I got it in the summer of 2007, and it still works perfectly fine, never crashes or anything), and yes, the DS Lite does not support hot swapping (unlike, say, the 3DS).


I'm 95% sure the DS Lite doesn't support "hot swapping" like this, I had a unit for two years but lost it. I am 100% certain my Nintendo DS ("fat") does not support hot swapping cards, and I'm pretty sure the DS Lite functioned exactly the same in that regard. Both DS game cards and GBA carts had to be inserted before the console was powered on to be recognized. (and popping the card out in gameplay almost always results in an unrecoverable crash)

Hot swapping's pretty new to handhelds; I think the PSP was my first one that did it.

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    This is true - the DSi and the 3DS are the only ones that support hot swapping.
    – user11502
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 14:33

I have both a DS Lite and a 3DS; the DS Lite does not support "hot-swapping" (removing, but mainly inserting a game whilst at the DS' [any DS, not just the orginal] start up [or, main] menu), whereas the 3DS supports hot-swapping for both 3DS and original DS games.

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