Are there any "future-proof" GBA flashcarts?

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by Hanafuda, Aug 23, 2006.

Aug 23, 2006
  1. Hanafuda
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    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    The Supercard, in theory, is a "future proof" solution for playing NDS games ... it runs games form removeable media (CF, SD, MiniSD, microSD), and since it directly writes NDS saves to that media in real-time, it requires no onboard battery. IN other words, if the motherboard on a Supercard doesn't fail, it will work "forever." AFAIK, it's the only NDS flashcart/adapter on the market that has this capability, since all others (EZIV, M3, G6) use battery-powered memory to hold a save until the console is rebooted or a save is manually forced by soft reset.

    In case you hadn't noticed, I really like that the Supercard does this direct saving thing. I know my Supercard won't last forever, but at least I'll never have to be concerned about a battery dying on me.

    Now, for GBA, is there any product that similarly doesn't require a battery? Before you say Supercard ... yeah its true, but as we all know the Supercard cannot play ALL GBA games faithfully. I have an EFA256 cart and it is fantastic for 100% faithful running of GBA games, but like everything else there's a big round battery on the board, and someday it's gonna fail. [​IMG]

    I'd like to have a GBA cart that's just as good as my EFA, but doesn't need the battery. Does such a product exist?
     
  2. science

    Member science science rules

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    Supercard!

    Oh wait.
     
  3. martin88

    Member martin88 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    SuperCard mini-SD have a battery as well.
     
  4. Hanafuda
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    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    yeah, and I'll be damned if I can figure out why. It will hold a save in SRAM for ya like other cards, but its totally unnecessary.

    If they'd just fix the SC's GBA problems, you'd have a cart you could pass on to your grandchildren (assuming your DS still worked too).
     
  5. mthrnite

    Former Staff mthrnite So it goes.

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    The only thing I could find was the EZF Advance II. http://www.64scener.com/gba/ezfa2.htm
    It says it uses flash mem for the saves so no battery to run out of juice.
    BUT
    I can see a battery in there, so I'm gonna assume the battery is for the realtime clock, and if you're not a big pokemon fan, you wouldn't care if it stopped working eventually.
    I'll keep looking cuz I'm curious too.
    I've got an old Doctor GB Bung cart for gameboy that has a battery and I've had that sucker FOREVER, still works.
    Also, I've had my EZFA for quite a while and it still works. I know the batteries don't last forever but if you start practicing your soldering technique now, I'd bet by the time it DOES wear out, you would have the mad skillz necessary to replace it yourself. [​IMG]
     
  6. Hanafuda
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    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Actually I could probably handle the desolder/solder job now. It's finding the right battery that's the challenge.
     
  7. Darkforce

    Former Staff Darkforce DERP!

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    Erm... don't GBA carts require a battery to save? Hence why they are in there... Also batteries are replaceable in virtually all carts, so I really don't get what the problem is.

    Besides... why would your grandchildren want your big old chunky flashcart when they will probably be emulating GBA games on their all in one cell phone/music player/games machine device 10 times as powerful as the PS3 with enough internal flash memory to store every handheld game released.
    It was only 20 years ago we had the NES... it's absolutely mind boggling to think what on earth technology will be like say another 20-40 years down the line.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. Hanafuda
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    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Darkforce your observations regarding future tech are true, but the "leave it to your grandchildren" thing wasn't meant seriosuly ... I just meant you shouldn't have to worry about the thing pooping out on you.

    As for replacing the battery in most flashcarts, the rechargeable li-ion batteries in most GBA flashcarts cannot be purchased at Wal-Mart, or any brick-and-mortar store around, and even when you find a battery specialty website it can be difficult to find one with the tabs presoldered the right way. This is somewhat important because the batteries are chrome-plated, and solder doesn't stick very well to chrome. The GBA flashcart manufacturers buy the batteries with little metal tabs pre-attached - theyre spot welded onto the battery actually. The ends of the tabs are positioned so they line up to the contact points on the GBA cart's motherboard. What this means if you can't find the right battery with the tabs prewelded on in the right position is that you have to desolder the dead battery, along with the tabs, off the cart's motherboard, then break the welds holding the tabs onto the battery without breaking the tabs themselves(not easy), then somehow reattach the tabs to the new battery, and then resolder the tabs to the cart's motherboard.

    No, its not impossible, but it aint easy either.


    Also, as far as I know, with only a very few exceptions official commercial GBA carts do NOT use a battery to save. If you have a commercial GBA cart with a battery in it, it may be a counterfeit. And while NES, SNES, and GB/GBC carts did use batteries for saves, they weren't rechargeables like most GBA carts use.
     
  9. martin88

    Member martin88 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I thought all games that uses SRAM to save uses battery. That's alot of games.
     
  10. Hanafuda
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    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    well I did some research looking for a source, and I'm not so sure now. I did find some references to at least all the SRAM save games being battery backed ... not sure about the GBA games that use EEPROM and FLASH type saves. So, I may be partially wrong, or completely wrong, about batteries in GBA carts. I could've sworn I saw somewhere that GBA carts have some way of writing a permanent save though. Maybe I was dreaming.

    Anyway, even so those batteries would not be rechargeables, but conventional batteries. The li-ion rechargeables in most GBA flashcarts get used significantly more than the battery in a commercial cart, and like the GBA's power battery, can only be recharged so many times. I've seen people's flashcart batteries be dead, but I've never seen anyone's official GBA cart with a dead battery.
     
  11. Vater Unser

    Member Vater Unser GBAtemp Addict

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    you could also make some new tabs from flat pieces of metal...you could cut them from a soda can or something...
    if you can't solder the tabs to the new battery, it might be enough to tape them onto the battery...

    once the battery's dead, there's nothing to lose...

    I did it with my XGFlash before, and it really wasn't that hard...
    I removed the tabs from the battery with a sharp knife
     
  12. Darkforce

    Former Staff Darkforce DERP!

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    Hmm... interesting stuff, saying that I heard the batteries in GBA/N64/GBC carts are rechargeable. But even if they're not I mean it's not something to really worry about... most peoples NES games still retain their saves fine.

    Oh and regarding batteries in flashcarts... I know not all are a bugger to replace, and if you were desperate you could always get a Neoflash cart (the ones with a battery slot), but I dunno if you'd want to pass that on to your grandchildren lol. [​IMG]


    Anywho I dug around and found this, which clears everything up (And check out the link at the bottom for pics). In short only SRAM saves need a battery and since 2002 most games seem to use FeRAM which acts very similar to SRAM except doesn't require a battery.

    Therefore I think I am right in saying a flashcart without a battery could exist and function fine, though I'm guessing SRAM games might need to be patched. You would still need a battery for the real time clock however.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. martin88

    Member martin88 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Interesting...I never knew they replaced SRAM with FeRam.
     
  14. Hanafuda
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    Member Hanafuda GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Thanks Darkforce for clearing that up. 2002 was pretty early in the GBA lifecycle too.
     
  15. amy test

    Member amy test Advanced Member

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    sorry for raising this zombie.. i was searching for "batteries" when i came along this topic.

    Maybe there will be an "all in one thingamajig" in the future. but nothing beats playing the game on its intended system.

    so, it's 2008, does such a product exist now?
     
  16. oldskoolnesgamer

    Newcomer oldskoolnesgamer Member

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    I'm new here, and I've only been researching a couple weeks, but I'll offer what I know.

    My understanding is that nowadays, there are quite a few slot 1 cards that will use slot 2 carts for GBA games, but then save back to the microSD card in the slot 1 the next time you go to the menu. So, you should be able to use a dead battery in your slot 2 just fine because as long as you do a soft reset, it seems like the gamesave should persist on the slot 2 cart until it gets to the menu again and gets saved to the microSD.
     

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