bad contacts in the EZ-Flash IV mini SD slot

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by romanaOne, May 8, 2014.

  1. romanaOne
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    romanaOne GBAtemp Regular

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    where the potential goes to zero
    I bought a second "brand new" EZ-Flash IV from some guy in outer mongolia.
    I wanted to have a second one as a backup since when these flashcards are gone, they're really gone.

    My first EZ-Flash IV is a 2013 one and works fine with a micro-to-mini SD adapter.

    The second one, also a 2013, will not work with any mini SD or adapted micro SD card.

    The file selector UI loads fine, but as soon as I pick a .gba file and press A, I get a bunch of error reading sector <some hex numbers>. Sometimes I can't read certain directories, the GBA just freezes. (There are no long file names or anything special about the directory or contents, all is 8.3 just to be on the safe side.)

    Sometimes the file will load and then crash the Gameboy at or shortly after the logo screen.

    When I shove a little bit of paper in the slot on top of the mini SD card, there are fewer errors reading directories but games still don't go much past the title screen.

    I'm unsure how to deal with this contact problem. I'm afraid to stick anything too fat in there since pushing down the card might flatten out the contacts worse. It doesn't look any different inside the slot from my working EZ-Flash IV.

    I managed to flash one small 4MB game to the NOR and have run the update to the latest firmware from the EZ-Flash site. The game in NOR loads and the update worked fine. But it is still crash-crash-crash reading from any mini- or micro SD card which works fine in my other EZ-Flash.

    Both mini & micro SD cards were formatted with the "SD Formatter" application and work fine read & write in PCs.

    I noticed similar contact problems with several mini to full sized SD adaptors for reading the mini-SD card on PC. Instead, I use an ATP-branded usb mini-SD reader which works reliably and I can see that the pins make VERY SNUG CONTACT. There is no wiggle room at all. It's got a translucent case and the pins are so high off the board it looks like an African finger piano is soldered to the board. If only EZ-Flash had this kind of quality....
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Have you given it a squirt of contact cleaner (do not use automotive contact cleaner)? In a pinch inserting and removing the SD a couple of dozen times can do.
     
  3. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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    my dad works for nintendo.
    maybe the contacts are rusted? did you try to open ez iv? and give it a check?
     
  4. romanaOne
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    romanaOne GBAtemp Regular

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    where the potential goes to zero
    It all looks clean in there.

    Removed the cart and inserted a bunch of times.

    Tried the contact cleaner...

    Not sure what the problem is. Sometimes the card is readable, sometimes not.

    Tried three different mini-SD cards: one ATP, 2 Sandisk. All work fine in other systems.
    Tried the cart in different gameboys to make sure the problem isn't the connection btwn the gb and the ez-flash.

    I tried copying a few more games into NOR. No error messages during copying, but the games are obviously corrupt when I try to play them.

    This makes me suspicious that ezfla_up.bin may not get read properly. I tried reflashing it and there were no error messages. But that is no guarantee of anything.

    I think I have removed inserted the card close to 50X today. Maybe its slightly less likely to lock with a million "error reading sector FF2f:331A" type errors. Slightly less likely: it still happens.

    I think something in there is just not touching and I don't know how to get at the pins w/o breaking the damn thing.

    About ready to give up.
     
  5. romanaOne
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    romanaOne GBAtemp Regular

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    where the potential goes to zero
    So it seems this EZ-Flash IV can only read small amounts of data before crashing.
    I can play the tiny home-brew Rogue game with it and nothing else!

    All other files crash at or shortly after the title screen.
    Don't seem to be getting the errors reading the mini-SD card anymore.

    However, I got curious and put a voltmeter across the battery and discovered it is dead. Only reads 0.43V.
    Could a dead battery cause all this wackiness?

    What are the symptoms of a dead battery? I assumed it would just be screwed up saves. I thought the battery is for just SRAM and Rumbles.

    I am also trying weird stuff at this point. I have a Radica Gamster for my GBA SP and tried sticking the ex-flash in there. The GBA does not start up reliably with EZ-Flash in any of its 3 slots. Sometimes it hangs on the logo, sometimes it doesn't. Regular GBA games work fine in all 3 slots.
     
  6. Lemmy Koopa

    Lemmy Koopa M3 Perfect fanboy

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    I highly doubt a dead battery could cause any trouble besides with saving your save files. My M3 has a dead battery the only problems I get is not being able to use the RT clock anymore and having to power up right after I turn off the game to backup SAVE files if I want to keep the progress I just did before turning it off.

    Does anything else leading to the SD slot look weird?
     
  7. romanaOne
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    romanaOne GBAtemp Regular

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    where the potential goes to zero
    Doh! It looks like my voltmeter was the one with the failed battery. Anything I measured on the 20V scale was 0.43V. The EZ4 battery read 2.97V with a good meter.

    If I find another mini-SD socket someplace, I'll pull this one off and solder on a new one. Don't know where to get one of those. I never even heard of mini-SD until this flashcart. Giving up until I can find a new mini-SD slot.

    No chance of a refund/replacement; thanks for nothing ncardscanada.com!
    I got this card from ncardscanada.com and I do not recommend them because they do not respond to any form of communication after they've got your money.

    It took over a month to arrive and there was no tracking. Their online chat support UI is in Greek for some strange reason and they don't answer it. Don't answer email either.

    I've had much better results with realhotstuff.
     
  8. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    If you are soldering in a new socket then you can solder in a microSD one -- microSD, miniSD and SD cards all use the same pinouts.