Review: Dragoninjector (Hardware)

Reviewed by linuxares, posted Nov 14, 2019
Nov 14, 2019
What is this device? It’s a RCM payload injector that uses a bug in unpatched Switches. RCM is the Recovery Mode normally used by Nintendo for the Switch, but thanks to a mistake inside the Switch, the bug can be abused to run unsigned code. Payloads are packages sent to launch in the RCM when it boots. Some of the most common software are CFWs, such as Atmosphere, ReiNX and SXOS. There is a wide arrange of methods to achieve access to the RCM, such as a computer, phone or injectors via the USB-C port on the Switch.
linuxares

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The Dragoninjector: the ongoing project from MatinatorX.

This product is bought by the reviewer and is a pre-release product, subject may change before the final revision

MatinatorX first posted about this project over a year ago and he immediately piqued my interest. After the success of the RCM dongle from Electronrancher, this device was going to be something extra. It was touted as a device that could fit in your gamecard slot.
At the time that sounded too good to be true, and I thought, “Like sure, give it a go buddy”, assuming it was more of a dream than a reality. I was wrong, and oh boy am I happy that I was totally wrong.
The more the project went on, the more pictures MatinatorX posted. First CGI, then code, prototypes and now, the early bird units are out. I was lucky to get my hands on one.
 

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What can I say about the product itself? The first thing you will see is it looks like a Switch game.When you open the case, you're presented with an injector nestled inside the game cart holder, some stickers, instructions and a dongle that is glued down. This dongle requires a hefty bit of force to pull out, but thankfully I have been told they are working to make that easier going forward. The case also includes a screwdriver for easy battery replacement, some stickers, and a hand signed insert from Matty himself that reads “thank you”. These inserts are only included in the early bird units, sorry fellas!

 

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So let’s start setting up this device. It’s very simple. Thanks to the “Dragoninjector Updatetool” (which is still in active development by Jerome) the software itself is super easy to use. The tool auto-downloads the device’s firmware and bootloader. It also flashes the device for you. Currently the tool only works with Windows, but I have been informed that it will work with other OSes soon. Involved in the development of the bootloader is Stuckpixel, the developer of the "Nereba" exploit for the Switch!

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After updating the device’s software, you will need to set up your SD card. I of course had to test booting the device without doing this step, and I got the following error message: “FatFS error code 5”. That means the device can’t find its payload. (I expected that to happen). 
You have to create a folder on your SD card named “dragonboot”. Payloads are then placed in the “dragonboot” folder. I loaded mine up with Hekate 5.0.2.

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When you boot up your switch with the dragon injector inserted you are presented with the text “booting payload” and then the payload runs. I spoke with MatinatorX about it, and they will include a splash screen in a later firmware update.
It’s as simple as: 1. Hekate boots up,  2. boot via the normal option, then 3. The Kosmos splash screen and I’m up and running.
 

Now to make it less simple: let’s say I want multiple payloads!
To make multi-payload you must create folders called 01, 02, 03 (up to 08) depending on how many payloads you want to use. In these folders you put your payload of choice. I tried Hekate 5.0.2 in 01, and SXOS payload in 02.
When the Dragoninjector flashes red, you can press the plus button and it will flash bright red once for payload 01. It will shine bright red twice for 02, three for 03 etc.

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“But Linuxares, you already use AutoRCM!” you say. “If we buy this for our first time use, what can we do then?” They thought of that as well! There is an RCM jig included in the device’s cap! This is the smallest RCM jig I’ve seen so far. It’s so tiny. I still recommend enabling autoRCM after the first boot. It’s just less of a hassle, since you will always carry your injector with you.

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Now, for the big selling point. Will it fit in the card slot? Shall the dragon break my slot? Will my Switch explode in a burst of colors?
It fits! It fits like a snug little bug! Sadly, no explosion of colors… The first time ejecting it, it didn’t come out all the way. I suspect it was my fault. Every subsequent time the device has come in and out as it’s supposed to.

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I’m blown away. He did it. The crazy man with a bunny avatar from Freedome planet has done it.
He originally posted over a year ago, and here it is. It’s inside my Switch, snug as a bug!

 

What can I say? It does exactly what it’s set out to do. But it just does it so well.
A lot of GBAtemp members have helped MatinatorX either by beta testing, developing software for the device or by simply cheering the project on.

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This is what I love about projects like these. Everyone has gotten together and helped to develop this wonderful device and contributed to its hardware and software design.
The project is 100% open source! All the software can be downloaded, modified and improved.
The hardware schematics will go open source once MatinatorX can recuperate the cost of development, test builds etc. MatinatorX has repeatedly said he isn’t in it for profit, but for fun. But as he said, he’s gotta eat.

So should you get it? Yes! Just yes! No more phone cables, no more capacitor dongles without charge, no more losing your injector - it’s always right there with you in your gamecard slot!

Welcome home my little injector.

 

Pre-release versions (V19) will be available on dragoninjector’s store by the end of the month.
Finalized versions (V20) will be ready at the end of January if all goes according to plan

For more info visit:
https://dragoninjector.com/
http://source.dragoninjector.com/
https://gbatemp.net/threads/dragoninjector-game-cart-payload-injector-trinket-m0-clone.511780/

Verdict
Pros
+ It fits in your card slot
+ The tiny RCM jig
+ Opensource
+ GBAtemp member project
+ Easy to update
+ Battery included
+ Instructions on the inside
+ USB-C to USB-A adapter is most welcome
Cons
- It’s not out yet as of writing this review
- Need more case color options
- It can be a bit hard to press the button if you have big fingers like I have
- The red of the sleeve doesn't match the rest of the Nintendo games
- No place to store the USB-adapter
9.7
out of 10
Overall
It's overall THE injector everyone has been waiting for. The quality feels great, the project is open source, and it's a must have for hardware collectors like myself.


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