NDS Adaptor Plus - Review and Opinions

Discussion in 'GBAtemp Reviews & Guides' started by Kentoss, May 1, 2010.

May 1, 2010
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    Kentoss New Member

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    So I received my <a href="http://www.hkems.com/product/nintendo/0907.htm" target="_blank">NDS Adaptor Plus</a> by EMS Production Limited after ordering it from <a href="http://www.renchi.com" target="_blank">Renchi</a> today, and I'm really quite happy with it. What this tool does is let you backup the save files from legitimately purchased NDS games, which is a godsend for people like me who are paranoid over losing precious save data. In this post I'm gonna go through my experiences with the product, as well as the journey I had getting it, so that hopefully anyone reading this can make an informed decision as to whether or not they want to purchase this.

    First of all, I've been wanting one of these for a while. I first saw the original NDS Backup Adaptor (not the Plus version) on a website referred to me by a friend called Console Source. The product page was kind of hidden, but when I found it I thought it was a good idea. I gathered up the cash and ordered one from this website, excited about my new purchase. Then I was informed a day later that there was an updated version called the NDS Adaptor Plus, and that the original one I had ordered was not compatible with 64-bit operating systems (which is what I have). After some research of my own, I discovered the Renchi page for the new product (the one I have now), and all the information I needed to know about the original. So I submitted a ticket to Console Source requesting that they cancel my order (they hadn't charged my card or shipped it yet, so there shouldn't have been an issue). My ticket didn't get noticed for 3 days, during which time they charged me for the product I no longer wanted. Then when my ticket was noticed, they put the money back on my card, minus about $5 they said was for fees they encountered during the process. I let them know their product page was missing important information, and that because I submitted the ticket before they charged me, it's their fault they received any charges at all, but I didn't press the issue, because it's only $5. I do not recommend using Console Source, however, because of this.

    So once I had my money back, I turned to Renchi, where the order was put in, and processed in maybe 3 or 4 days. Not a <i>long</i> time, but not as quick as some of the other sites I've dealt with. Given that they're in Hong Kong, I'm not really going to complain. So the order was shipped, and because I used registered airmail (instead of express), I was going to receive the package in 5-10 days. The package arrived in 6, by Canada Post, however I wasn't at home when it was delivered, so they left a slip telling me where and when I could pick it up. It was a Friday at that point, and the slip said I could pick it up tomorrow after 1:00 PM. So Saturday after 1:00 PM I went to the location they said to go to, and handed the lady my slip. She told me it wouldn't be in until Monday after 1:00. I asked if there was a building I could go to to pick it up, and she said there wasn't, and that there was nothing I could do until Monday. I do not recommend using Canada Post, if you have the option, go with a private company like Purolator, because Canada Post (if you're in Canada, that is), has terrible service and rude representatives. Finally I get my package on Moday after 1:00, and I bring it home to unbox. Everything is there, and the package is well protected on the inside. Renchi did a great job, and I am extremely satisfied, if you are going to get one of these, definitely go for Renchi, unless ShopTemp picks these up in the future (also a recommendation to them if they're reading this).

    So let's talk about the actual product. The case includes the device itself, an installation CD, and the instructions (which are printed on the packaging itself, on the inside of a folded card). It looks like something you would pull off the shelf at your local electronics store, like a USB stick or something similar. The design of the packaging makes it quite easily accessible in that you don't need to tear at it with scissors in order to get the damn thing out (like you have to do with a lot of sealed packages). The device feels quite solidly built, I'm not really worried about putting any pressure or force on it. The DS cartridge fits in nicely with enough room on either side to accomadate the slight varying sizes of cartridges. The cartridge slides in smoothly without having to use a lot of force, which makes me happy because I'm not worried about damage to either the cartridge or the device. There's no spring loading like on the actual DS itself, but it doesn't feel like it will easily slide out. It's actually quite similar in design to my Telus-branded mini SD card reader, which I've been using for years without problems. It seems to be a popular design with a lot of card readers.

    The device fits nicely in the front USB ports on my computer, but due to the high volume of cables and other USB plug-ins at the back, there isn't enough room to fit it in AND have a card in it. Although having it at the back of the computer doesn't really make sense, since the idea is to have interaction with the device as you swap cartridges and such, so there really isn't a point if you have the front USB ports. If you don't, I would recommend getting a cheap USB extender to move it to the front of your computer. Again the product doesn't feel flimsy sitting in the USB port, and I'm not worried about damaging it at all, which is a huge plus for me. Putting in cartridges while it's plugged in is easy and smooth, but I would recommend holding the device with your free hand to avoid damage to your USB port. When you put the device into the USB port, Windows starts searching for drivers, and wont find any, so you'll get an error noise. Don't worry, you can install the drivers at any time. I do recommend doing it first to avoid hassle, though.

    The CD is kind of lacking, without any officially installer software, or anything automated at all, really. It opens up a webpage stored on the CD with some links to other EMS products, an About page for the company, a contact page for the company, and finally the drivers page. I didn't really explore the other pages because I didn't feel like I really needed to. On the drivers page you find a list of all their products, and links to their drivers (stored on the disc, you do not need an internet connection for this to work). I didn't see a point to having <i>all</i> the drivers, but I guess it's good if you have other EMS products around. It's not hard to locate which driver you want, because the names of the products are clearly listed. I clicked on the product I wanted the drivers for, and it took me to a page with the links to the drivers and a link to the manual in PDF format, which is useful to have a digital copy of. Inside the zip downloaded are the drivers and the program used to interact with the device. I copied the exe to the desktop no problem, but the drivers were clearly noted to be 32-bit only, so I turned to their website for the 64-bit drivers. Now, I read that the original did not work with 64-bit operating systems, but there were drivers for this version that supported it on the actual website. I went into this with good faith that I would be rewarded with a working product despite the doubts I had, and I was correct. The 64-bit drivers did work, so there is absolutely no issue there.

    A quick trip to their downloads page listed the new drivers right away, and the product number for the NDS Adaptor Plus was listed under the products supported column, so it was clear that I needed to download that file. Nothing vague or cryptic like I'm used to with a lot of support sites, so that was great change of pace. I visited the download page for the drivers I wanted, and gave them a download. Here's where the trouble for me started. There's no installer for these drivers. They're just the SYS files and an inf to go along with them. On top of this, the driver files aren't properly digitally signed, and Windows Vista and 7 will not accept and install them. The website does have a solution for this, but I feel that no installer and improperly signed drivers not something easily overlooked. If you're not really tech savvy, then this is pretty much a dead stop for some people, but it's really quite easy to do. Extract the Zip you open to the desktop, then visit <a href="http://www.ngohq.com/home.php?page=dseo" target="_blank">this website</a> to download the Driver Signature Enforcement Overrider. This will let you install the drivers with no problems, but uses a workaround to do it. It's a pain in the ass to do, but doesn't take too long. Enable test mode after running the program then reboot, then use "sign a system file" to sign the sys file you need (if you're not sure which one you're gonna use, sign them all, Windows will pick out the one it wants later) and reboot again. You can now move the sys and the inf file to C:/Windows/system32/drivers. If you haven't already plugged in the device, do so now (without any cartridge in it), and it should be recognized. If you were unable to move the sys files to the drivers folder, you can use the device manager to update the driver files, and search the folder on your desktop that the drivers were located in, and they should be copied for you by windows. Running the exe from the CD will confirm that it's working.

    Anyway, so it was a bit of a hassle to get it working, but it was fairly straightforward and once it was done it worked great. It's really quick, and a lot more reliable than the other methods available, like using WiFi and swapping out cartridges using homebrew. I put in Pokemon Heart Gold, and instantly the program showed the name of the game, the eeprom volume and the flahrom volume. I tried a back up (cart to PC) and within about 15 seconds it had saved it fine. I opened the save up in Pokesav to make sure it wasn't corrupt, and sure enough there was all my pokemon, my stats, my name, everything. It worked flawlessly. I edited my money a bit to show that there was a change on my legit cart, downloaded the save file back to the cart and sure enough, there was my new money. Everything worked perfectly.

    Overall I've had a great experience with this, it works exactly as it should, it's got a solid build, and isn't confusing or vague in any way. I highly recommend this product if you use legit cartridges, or if you have a flash cart and want to backup your legit games to it.

    <img src="http://www.fileize.com/files/997581a9/0dc/ndsbackup.png" border="0" class="linked-image" />
    <i>Note: It has a Windows XP theme to it, for some reason, but I am using Windows 7 Ultimate</i>

    <img src="http://www.fileize.com/files/7b9c6ba1/cae/HNI_0021.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" /> <img src="http://www.fileize.com/files/38cad8ff/78c/HNI_0022.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <img src="http://www.fileize.com/files/158d6f11/97c/HNI_0027.jpg" border="0" class="linked-image" />

    <b>Note: This is a repost of my article in the hardware forum. I figured I should submit it here for posterity's sake.</b>
    I apologize for the low quality DSi pictures, I'll have some higher resolution ones up in a little bit if anyone is interested.


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    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Great review! [IMG]
    I don't buy many legit game cards anymore. :/ This may be a good investment for other people though. [IMG]
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    RupeeClock Colors 3D Snivy!

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    I've been thinking of getting one of these solely for Soul Silver, as I've been using the pokéwalker, and may want to transfer my game to my acekard eventually.

    On the other hand, it's entirely possible that someone could update a homebrew save file extractor in the future, saving me money on getting that gamesave ready.
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    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Alright, I just bought one! I didn't think I really needed it, but my Soul Silver forced me at water gun point for it.
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    Dialexio we !# r of #tea !

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    Fantastic review! [IMG] I find the device a bit on the bulky side, but it does do what it's supposed to.
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    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Well, I found that when I buy games, I actually finish them. [IMG] When I bought Soul Silver, I actually finished it (unlike platinum which I pirated)! Now that I finished it, I think I'll back my save file up, and use it for pokesave fodder, and have more fun. [IMG]
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    Jemlee New Member

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    A very well done article.

    But something seems to be missing:

    How fast is the backup proccess when it is used on a bigger game save e.g. wario ware DIY since some games use different save sizes.
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    Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    Driver signing is done by microsoft certifying it passes their quality tests, it's through verisign, and there's a fee.

    Let's break that down...
    [*]Microsoft has to certify it. Microsoft may not allow this driver to be signed, as it's for a "game backup device" that could be used for piracy, or whatever shit they'll think up. This isn't far-fetched, as many pieces of homebrew that can back up saves can be modified to back up the ROM data as well.[*]The process takes time. It could be weeks or more before it comes back, and that's weeks you could spend actually selling your product, not just sitting on your investment as it whittles away due to upkeep costs while you take in no money from sales to offset that.[*]The signing process costs about $500 USD, IIRC. That's $500 more you'd have to spend before anybody buys your product, that adds to your investment and costs before you get any sort of return, meaning it's an even bigger risk to your project just falling flat.[*]Verisign only signs drivers for established companies, not individuals. If this does have a company behind it, it's likely a company with ties to piracy, which nintendo and verisign won't deal with.
    So unfortunately we can expect most tools like this to use unsigned drivers.
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    TM2-Megatron Predacon Commander

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    Pity the digital signatures can't just be ripped off other drivers and hacked onto the NDS Adapter's. Although the process to get the current ones working on 64-bit systems is pretty easy, having signed drivers would make it even simpler..
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    thaddius Charmander is not pleased.

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    Which isn't much of a problem for Windows 7 32 users.



    I own the original NDS Adaptor and I don't see much of a difference between it and the plus apart from the word 'plus' and it being $15 more expensive. The EMS website says that it supports some of the newer DS games but I've been able to back up my save game from my original cart of Soul Silver no problem.
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    Splych GBAtemp's Lurker

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    hehe,
    feel special,
    http://www.hkems.com/reviews/0907.htm

    your review is on that page [IMG]

    now i might actually consider buying this,
    it looks nice,
    and it seems to be able to do everything i need ^^.
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    TM2-Megatron Predacon Commander

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    You've been able to backup SoulSilver using the original NDS Adapter? You're either lying, or have magical technology.
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    thaddius Charmander is not pleased.

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    You got me. I made it all up so I'd get your attention and maybe you'd ask me to homecoming.



    I was indeed able to back it up. What I just found out though was that the save file is the wrong size and doesn't work on my acekard. Ah well. The price difference now makes sense.
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    TM2-Megatron Predacon Commander

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    The Adapter Plus has updatable firmware. The save data on the Hg/Ss cartridges is accessed in a different way, because of the built-in IR port (that exercise game with the pedometer might be the same way, but probably so few people own it, it doesn't matter). The old Adapter doesn't know where to look for it, and can't be updated.
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    shadow1w2 Rockman 9 time!

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    I really need one of these for Wario Ware DIY. I run out of space way too fast on that game and like to jump between DS and PC for more professional look.

    Wish Shoptemp had these in stock.
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    DarkChili New Member

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    Does it rip games too or just the save data?
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    thaddius Charmander is not pleased.

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    Just save data.
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    Kentoss New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the comments! I'm sorry I didn't get to replying sooner; I honestly didn't notice this thread had any replies (I just expected it to fall into oblivion), but I'm excited some people got some use out of my review.

    Kinda late, but I'd like to reply to some of your posts.

    Big hint shoptemp!!! Perhaps I'll push for it on their section of the forums.
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    Knyaz Vladimir 3DS Hacker

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    This seems incredibly good! If I get a legit copy of Warioware DIY back, I might just transfer my save on that.
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    tajio New Member

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    I really want just so I can back-up my Soul Silver Save and maybe fiddle with on PokeSav and then use it on my flashcart just for the LOLz.

    Anyone know a UK supplier or maybe if Shoptemp was going to had this in there stock ....... [IMG]

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