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For modern gaming in a portable format, it’s tough to argue against the Nintendo 3DS. It offers specialized graphics rendered in interesting ways, all thanks to its stereoscopic capabilities that allow players to experience the magic of 3D without needing any special glasses or other accessories.

Additionally, you get two screens for the price of one, expanding gameplay and viewing options with one screen on top and another on the bottom.

This is great, but any portable system needs battery power to run effectively. Some users may be concerned about the battery life of their 3DS consoles, or they may find that it drains the charge too quickly. We’ll address some of these topics here.

97174827_m Nintendo 3DS LL Super Famicom Edition. Portable game by Nintendo

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Why Is My 3DS Battery Draining So Quickly?

While it is normal for the battery to discharge as you play a game, some users might feel as though their batteries are losing energy at an alarming rate. There is no hard and fast rule for how long a battery should last, even when it is new.

This is because several factors can affect battery life. However, we can still make some guesses as to why a battery for the Nintendo 3DS might be discharging so quickly that the problem impacts its usefulness.

The settings on a 3DS, the kinds of games you play, and how long the games are in session can all have some say in how long a battery might last on a full charge.

It is also true that putting the console to sleep will conserve battery life, but it will still discharge the battery a bit just by keeping the 3DS in sleep mode. If you’ve had a 3DS for a while, you know about how long a decent battery should last for one charge before you need to recharge it.

If you’ve noticed a dramatic uptick in how fast it drains, there are a few issues that might be the true cause of the problem, and we can discuss them here.

1. You could be dealing with a faulty battery. Some faulty batteries can hold a decent charge for a while, but this turns out to be much shorter than the average life one might expect from a new, fully functioning battery for the 3DS.

In other cases, it may drain at rates that are different or hard to predict at times, indicating that it has some issues with holding a charge in general.

2. On a related note, you could have a damaged battery on your hands. This is like a faulty battery in many ways, and you will probably notice that it also doesn’t hold a charge.

In such cases, it may hold a charge for mere minutes before seemingly running out of juice. You might even be able to turn the 3DS back on and use it for another few minutes before the battery cuts out again.

If you suspect that the battery might be damaged, it is a very good idea to open the 3DS and check the physical battery itself.

Some batteries may expand over time, but damaged 3DS batteries might expand pretty rapidly, bloat, or otherwise become hugely problematic.

If you see any of these signs, remove the battery and get an official replacement to avoid damaging your console or other problems.

How Can I Make My 3DS Battery Last Longer? (5 Ways)

All batteries have a recommended range for how long they will last, both in total lifespan and for each charge they get.

However, there are still a few ways that you might make your Nintendo 3DS battery last longer on each charge. We will cover some of these below, but you may find other methods.

1. You can disable Wi-Fi when you don’t need it. Having Wi-Fi active and always searching can take away from the battery life.

2. Put the screen brightness level as low as possible while enjoying games. Lower brightness levels don’t need as much power.

3. Your 3DS should have a power-saver option that, when turned on, could extend the battery life by an hour or more.

4. If you are not using the system, it is best to turn it off entirely to conserve energy. Although the Nintendo 3DS has a sleep function, keeping this active can drain the battery quicker.

5. Similar to putting it in some mode that saves power, turning off 3D functionality will also help the system use fewer resources and won’t need to draw on the battery as much.

How Long Will a 3DS Battery Last?

When we talk about battery life for any device, we’re trying to determine what is typical for that battery’s capacity and the rate at which we can expect the battery to drain when it uses it in normal conditions. Therefore, there is no set rule for how long a Nintendo 3DS battery can last.

However, there are some good estimates for what your typical player can expect regarding battery life, and some of these figures come from the manufacturer.

We can use these to make some good guesses about battery life for a 3DS if we assume there is no fault with the console itself. The battery should also be in good working order and relatively new.

If we’re working within these parameters, most players can expect a Nintendo 3DS battery to last anywhere between 3 and 5 hours on a single charge. Remember that, depending on certain settings, your batteries may last somewhat shorter or longer than this average.

Software for the DS doesn’t use as many resources as the 3DS, so it may last up to eight hours in total on a single charge. However, like the 3DS, this is still an average that depends on usage and personalized settings.

The most notable settings that might impact battery life are how long the system is turned on to run a game and how bright the screen is. A brighter screen needs to use more energy to remain at the level you want, and it will pull more power from the battery to get it.

Similarly, if a resource-intense game is running constantly, you may see that the battery does not last for a full charge of five hours. This doesn’t necessarily mean that there is anything wrong with the battery. It could be as simple as the system taking from the battery to run a game continuously for as long as possible.

Suppose you find that your battery always lasts significantly shorter than at least the 3-hour minimum listed by the manufacturer. In that case, this could indicate a larger issue with how the battery takes and holds its charge.

Additionally, given the average lifespan and gaming time, a battery that is not faulty should still last for several years. It would not be unheard of to have your battery decrease to about half of the total capacity when it was new after five years or so.

This is just an estimate, and it is important to remember that more and more charging cycles can decrease overall battery life.

How Do I Fix My 3DS Battery Not Charging?

In some cases, your battery may not charge at all. There could be a few reasons for this, and we will cover some of the most likely culprits here. We can also suggest some of the common remedies for each problem.

This list is not comprehensive, but it should provide 3DS owners with a good overview of some of the issues they may face with charging their systems.

1. Check the charging port for dust or debris that could interfere with the console’s ability to charge properly. You can gently blow out any noticeable debris to see if that fixes the problem.

2. If the contacts on the charge port are bent, the 3DS might have trouble connecting with the charger. Check to see if this is the problem. If so, you may need help from a suitable professional to get the gaming system serviced.

3. The charger or adapter could be damaged in some way. In these cases, you may need to order replacements for them to restore everything to working order.

4. If you know that the charger or the contact ports are not to blame, this could still point to a battery issue, and a replacement may be necessary.

Do 3DS / DS Game Cartridges Have Batteries?

Some cartridges for older portable game consoles did indeed have their own batteries for storing data, so it is natural to wonder if DS or 3DS game cartridges have the same feature. Fortunately, games for these consoles use flash memory technology rather than batteries.

This difference in technology should allow the cartridges to last quite a bit longer than some of the older portable console cartridges in days past. Having a cartridge wear out is not a problem that most gamers need to be concerned about for many years.


The 3DS represents an excellent, battery-powered way to enjoy gaming on the go. As with anything that needs a battery, you could run into problems with it not holding a charge, not seeming to charge at all, or sustaining damage that makes it prohibitive to keep around.

In any case, replacements for 3DS batteries are available, and there are a few fixes you can try to get a battery that should be working going at full capacity again.