Modify Your Nintendo Switch Dock: The switch is great! Nintendo’s dock design is less great Buying a third-party docking device can be risky, but there’s an alternative: replace the original’s plastic shell to get a slim, nasty, quick-docking machine.
Accessories manufacturers have started selling alternative dock shells. It’s actually just plastic parts that keep the electronic guts of the official Nintendo Dock in a new and more user-friendly position.
How to Modify Your Nintendo Switch Dock for Better Portability
Thanks to this modified layout, the dock can be about a third the size of the bulky original for a more comfortable journey. The Switch’s tablet screen is also displayed for easy gaming while charging. This modified switch dock is about a third the size of the original and can display and charge the switch at the same time.
By using Nintendo’s original docking board and USB-C connector, the modified dock maintains all of the original’s charging, video-out, and USB ports without the risk of third-party alternatives. You have to assemble it yourself, but it’s worth it.
What you will need
All you need to complete this project is one of these third-party cases and takes about 20 minutes. This case costs around $15 on Amazon and comes with the custom three-wing screwdriver you need to open the Nintendo Dock.
However, you may want to use your own small screwdriver because the cheap ones that come with the dock are thin and uncomfortable.
Here’s a bigger, better three-wing screwdriver if you want a permanent Nintendo-specific addition to your toolkit. A few cups or bowls to hold the loose screws are also useful.
First step: Open the Nintendo Switch Dock
First, remove the docking station of your switch from the TV and remove all the hardware from it. Flip-up the back cover to reveal the connector openings. Remove these eight screws with your three-wing driver:
When you have removed these screws, you can pull this plastic part out and release the dock board.
The tablet sits loosely in the bowl.
Second step: Remove the circuit board and the USB-C connector
Two cables are connected to the board: the ribbon cable from the USB-C connector and the power cable that leads to the LED. The ribbon cable is on top in this orientation, so grab it first. Pull up the tab that holds it to the connector and pull out the cable.
Now carefully lift the board up and you will see a red and black power cord connected underneath. Disconnect that and then you can completely remove the circuit board.
You can leave the power cord where the USB-C port is at the bottom of the dock. To access this component, you need to switch to a standard Phillips screwdriver and remove these nine different screws. Six of them are recessed deeply, so you’ll need a short, thin screwdriver to get them out.
With the nine screws removed, you can pull off the next piece of the plastic shell.
Turn the rest of the dock around to access the connector assembly below.
Carefully pull the ribbon cable to one side and remove these four screws. This allows you to pull off the retaining plate that holds the springs on the sliding USB-C connector. Don’t let the feathers get too close: they will tangle easily if they are loose.
There are two very small screws that attach the USB-C connector to the slide unit. You want the smallest screwdriver you have that still has a good grip for this step. Remove these screws, set them aside and pull out the USB-C connector.
Step 3: Install the components in the new shell
Now you are almost ready to move the components into the new dock. Plug the USB-C ribbon cable back into the connector on the circuit board and snap the latch into place. The blue side of the connector should face up. If you have fully closed the latch, you will not see a blue cable on the cable:
Don’t worry about the LED light in the original dock: it’s just a display and is not part of your finished modified dock. Take the USB-C connector at the end of the ribbon cable and insert it into the oval hole in the upper part of the housing.
Now take out the same two tiny screws that you removed on both sides of the USB-C connector in the original switch dock (in the last part of step 2). Use it to attach the port to the new shell, this time screwing it in from the bottom.
Fold the board over the longest part of the USB-C ribbon cable. The connectors on the board should fit snugly into the cutouts in the shell. When the excess ribbon cable is in the way, press part of your finger with your finger into the curve of the top part.
Use three of the supplied screws to screw the board in place. The circuit board should now be firmly seated with the various connections aligned with the top half of the shell.
Place the lower part of the bowl on the upper part and fix it with four more screws. It will only fit in one direction.
Remove the rubber feet from the replacement shell packaging and stick them over the screw holes.
Step four: check your work
And you’re done! Check your newly modified dock to make sure there is enough free space for all ports. If so, connect your power and HDMI cables and test it with your TV. You should see the picture of the switch on your TV.
Since the original board is still in use, the switch assumes that it is in the original dock when it is connected. This means that the screen turns off when plugged in.
If you want to use the modified dock as a desktop charger, use another Nintendo USB-C charger and unplug the HDMI cable. I found that the switch screen stays on while my Android phone is charging, so I can play at the same time.
Now that the components of the original dock are in the new case, reassemble the original dock case so you can keep it if you ever want to return. The only tricky part is making sure the spring assembly is properly aligned with the plastic tips that hold it in place. For everything else, you simply need to replace the original screws by following steps 2 and 1 above in reverse order.
Thus you can Modify Your Nintendo Switch Dock. If you feel any issue, comment in the comment box.