Sunday, December 30, 2012

How to Open the Battery Compartment on the Leapster GS Explorer

My daughter received a Leapster GS Explorer for Christmas. It's terrific! The stories are actually teaching her how to read. She can tap the words to have them read to her if she has trouble sounding them out. The stories and the gameplay are challenging enough to be educational but rewarding enough to overcome frustration - that pedagogical sweet spot known as the zone of proximal development.

The only beef I can make about the Leapster GS is the darn thing is hard to open. The instructions don't adequately explain what to do to open the battery compartment. The steps are correct, but they don't tell you how hard you need to press in order to get it to open. Hint: you have to press pretty hard!

The instructions that come with the Leapster say you can do it by pushing on the arrows with your thumbs and sliding the cover in the direction of the arrows. No such luck! No amount of pressure that I could muster would do the trick. Trying to pry it off didn't work either. Eventually, what worked, was to use something tougher than my thumbs to apply the pressure in the spot indicated. I used the butt of a pocket knife. Anything similar would do the trick -  you could use the handle of a small screwdriver, for example. Work open just one side at a time, like in the photo. Also, put the Leapster on something soft so the pressure you apply doesn't damage it.

Update: A few weeks later, when it was time for new batteries, I didn't have a pocket knife handy. I used the eraser end of a pencil and it worked perfectly.