Article Summary – What to buy:
- 3DS power to USB cable ($10 or less)
- Power pack/portable charger ($25 or more)
My total cost: $35.
I did not have to search the internet long to find many other Nintendo 3DS XL owners in the same predicament as myself. I am going away for a weekend and, while I can charge my system each night, I need a way to extend play-time throughout the day without an outlet. With my old 3DS system, it was simple. I bought a slightly bulky, yet comfortable and extremely useful, Nyko Power Grip. It met my needs perfectly: clipped it on when needed, took it off when I didn’t.
I moved to the 3DS XL because I wanted the larger screens, slightly better battery life, and really, who could pass up the limited edition Pikachu system? I knew the lack of a good extended battery solution going into this. Yes, there is the Mugen Extended Battery, but it makes an already difficult-to-pocket system even less portable. Also, it is not as easy to remove as the 3DS Nyko grip.
After much searching, I began to think that I wouldn’t come up with a solution before Youmacon. My interest had been piqued by the external power packs made for cell phones that offer a USB outlet, and often several adapters. The answer finally hit me while browsing the shelves at Gamestop, where I found the 3DS Universal USB AC Adapter (Note: this link isn’t the exact adapter I bought. I got SKU# 801670P9). I can adapt the proprietary 3DS power plug to USB!
The next venture was to decide on a power pack. Mophie was prominent in all the stores I visited. I was attracted to the Powerstation model that offers 4000mAh capacity. However, $80+tax was a bit more than I wanted to invest in this endeavor. I continued my search and found the Concept Green CG3600 offering 3600mAh for only $25. I debated slightly about their comparable “solar assist” model CGSA3610, but decided to stick with the cheaper option.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “Is this safe for my 3DS XL?” My opinion is, yes, because the power specs are sound. However, you may not hold me liable if your experience differs. The CG3600 has three settings. If you set it on the first, 5V are delivered at up to 1A, specifically 500mA-1000mA. The 3DS is looking for 4.6V at 900mA. If you look at other third-party adapters, be it AC (including the adapter I bought at Gamestop for the USB cable) or DC (think car charger), they deliver 5V at up to 1A (that’s 1000mA). I highly doubt a large company like Gamestop would put their name on a product that would be completely off-spec and fry people’s systems. To be safe, I warn you not to use the 5V 2A or 9V 1A settings for the 3DS. If you feel that simply having these options on the power pack is a danger, there are many other products out there, some that only deliver 5V 1A. The choice is yours. I like the flexibility so that I can use the power pack to charge a wider range of devices.
I sincerely hope this article helps at least one gamer out there who is looking to extend their 3DS XL playtime when an outlet is out-of-reach. Until next time, take care.
P.S. If you are wondering why I didn’t buy a cheaper 3DS to USB charge cable from the Internet: time is a factor in my situation. I also don’t want to pay for fast shipping.