EZ-Flash II Power Star - Some questions after 8 years

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by Bonny, May 31, 2013.

  1. Bonny
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    Bonny GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Hi!

    4 month ago, i took my EZ-Flash II Power Star 1Gbit out of it's box and flashed it full of games. I played them all and created (of course) a few saves on the card.

    A few days ago i took the card again, and i noticed, that a few saves were gone. Donkey Kong Country 3, Super Ghouls and Ghosts... and Wario Land 4 gave me an "Save Data corrupted" message, as i started it.

    The saves of Kirby's Nightmare, Scooby Doo The Movie and one other game were still there.

    I'am just asking me: Why? If the Battery is broken or completely drained, then all saves should have been gone. Why just 50% of them?

    Some other important things... (if someone of you guys know :P):

    - I connected the card (in it's linker) to an Win98 Laptop and started EZ-Client 3.26. I did the RAM Check: OK, i dit the ROM Check: OK... but why are the 2 Options "Write Data" and "Load Data" under "Battery Check"" are always greyed? I can't select them! Did this command ever worked?

    - If i put the card in it's linker and connect it to the Win98 Laptop (with EZ drivers installed!), the LED of the Linker turns green... so i guess power is running throu the device and is charging the carts internal battery. If i connect it to an Win7 PC, the Led is OFF (cause it only lights up if EZ drivers are installed, but there are no drivers for Win7!) - So the LED is OFF because of this fact, but does the battery charge?! I mean is there still power running throu the device?
     
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Assuming you were not use the SMS thing for managing saves and assuming the games did not silent detect corruption and just start over that is quite odd indeed. I am not sure how SRAM without power fails though. By any chance were they the first or last ROMs written to the cart?

    They have been greyed out for years as far as I am aware.

    It should turn on/power in any device with USB regardless of OS, drivers or anything like that, it is odd that it will not do it and doubly so that it is 7 that did it (some older laptops USB ports strictly adhered to the USB spec and will not provide enough power).
    I will note that the USB leads that came with the EZ2 are not the highest quality so it might be something like in the laptop a connection is made as you are bending it the right way or something.
     
  3. Bonny
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    Bonny GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    No. I never used the SMS thing. And, well... in the case of Wario Land 4, a corruption is maybe possible. EZ-Flash II dosen't support ALL savetype perfectly. But why are the DKC 3 and Super G'nG saves gone? The Order of roms.... Super G'nG was the second game in the list, Kirby was on the 5th position, DKC3 on the 6th, Scooby Doo Movie was 9 and Wario 11. :blink:

    Yep, this is what i thought too. A shame... this test would have been the most interesting in my case, but i'am glad ROM and RAM are OK. ;)

    I'am sure, that the EZ-Flash Linker LED does only light up if the drivers are correctly installed. No matter which OS. And because of this, it dosen't light up on Win7. It also dosen't light up if you use an USB-AC-Adapter. But i guess you're right: There should be power running throu it in any case - at least, i hope so :unsure:

    I'll try loading the battery with an USB-AC-Adaptor. I hope this helps. Replacing the Battery isn't so difficulte, but i need the right replacement battery, and i have to solder... :sleep:
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I do not get the full bright green light but I do get the dull red one. I do not think they changed it up for the 1 gigabit versions/later EZlinker models.

    Oh and if you do not fancy having to drag out and fiddle with the Win98 laptop every time we have had some success with virtual machines http://gbatemp.net/threads/using-virtualbox-to-manage-legacy-gba-flashcarts.275407/

    EZ2 and savetypes... it should support them all. I am not sure if the Dragon ball z antipiracy is patched out on the EZ2 right now but it should support them all.
     
  5. Bonny
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    Bonny GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Well, the light can be green/orange or red. But for me, when i plug the linker into an Win7 USB-Port (It's an All-In-ONE PC) , or into an USB-AC-Adaptor - there is no light at all. Sorry. :sleep: But to be 100% honest: If i use the USB-AC-Adaptor, in the moment when i plug it into the socket, the light flashes up red for an 1/2 second, than stays off.

    Thanks for the hint! I know that this is an good option. But i also have to deal with Bung X-Changer/GB-Transferer/ToToTek SNES and MD-Carts. So i need the Printer-Port of the Laptop :lol: But setting up a virtual machine is surly a good idea, so i don't have to use the laptop at least for my F2A and EZ-Flash II Carts.

    Uhh... good to know! I wonder if it even works with the NES/Famicom-Classic-Series. :unsure:
     
  6. Darkipod

    Darkipod SELL ME GBA FLASH CART

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    Man I wish I cold get me one of these carts with the flasher.
     
  7. Psxphile

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    Hm, hate to bump up an old topic but I googled up some info on the EZ Flash II Powerstar and this topic turned up. Surprised to see my old account is still in the system... never did get to use it much.

    Okay. First of all, I got my flash cart ages ago when they first started becoming available for purchase. A solid investment, it's been very good to me (I have the 256Mb model, btw). It fell out of favor after I switched over the the DS lite and subsequently picked up an R4 and the EZ3-in-1 slim. Since then my GBA SP, the Powerstar and its Linker has been neglected and stored away in a box. Flash forward a few years, and I come to discover that the GBA SP battery's dead after wanting to mess with it a little. I powered on the flash cart on my DS and while its battery has been discharged for quite a while, it still had the games I last flashed onto it. I redownloaded the EZ client (3.26) and installed it, and was surprised to find that on my Win 7 (32-bit) machine it recognized the Linker correctly. I was able to write and rewrite onto the card with no problem (can't figure out how to do custom loader images again, though... I have a slew of old backgrounds I made back in the day sitting on my comp that I'd like to reuse).

    So the main issue: after letting it sit in the Linker for a few hours to charge the battery, I did some tests with a game or two on the cart to see if the saves will hold. And they did, meaning the battery is still somewhat functional. In the meantime, I decided to get another GBA SP (AGS-101 this time) for nostalgic purposes. It finally came in a few days later, but now I come to find that the saves on the cart have disappeared (the loader program also forgot the date/time settings I put in last time... what's up with date mechanic not working right? Anything higher than 2009 and it sets the year all the way to 2016?). So the battery discharged after a few days. Now I'm going to have to test further to find out how much charge the battery will hold (if it's more than a day than I guess I can deal with having to charge it in the Linker every night or something).

    Stupid question time: what model battery does the EZ Flash II Powerstar use and how easy/hard is it to replace? If the battery doesn't improve I'm going to have to open up the cart to replace it, but I really don't want to do that. I wonder how many forum goers here even have that flash cart anymore.
     
  8. sanoblue

    sanoblue The Fuzzy Blue Woof!

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    i actually have one... thou like yours is covered in dust lol
     
  9. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    I recall another thread with RTC for Bokai/Solar Boy Django and it seems there is a bug with the dates this far into the future, I confirmed it on mine as well. You can go back in time or you can set it with a game and it will kind of work behind the scenes but display odd times.

    The battery. I could go lecture mode on battery chemistry but it would be boring for all concerned. Suffice it to say battery chemistry is very odd and chances are even if your battery holds charge for a while it might not be for long.

    The battery model
    Panasonic VL2020 @ 3V
    Crash course in batteries
    Panasonic is the brand, it does matter if you are a device developer and for the second part of this but realistically anything will do here.
    VL varies from brand to brand (later EZ4s which use similar things are CR2020) and covers the chemistry of the battery. Vanadium Pentoxide is the case here though it is a type of rechargeable Lithium battery.
    2020 is actually two numbers.
    The first is the width in millimeters
    The second is the height in millimeters though with a decimal point between the two (2.0 mm), nice list http://www.batterystore.com/Charts/CoinCell.htm
    You have a tiny bit of leeway either side here if you really want.

    I am not sure if they make this model still or have changed for a compatible model or have abandoned everything (I had a quick look at their sites as part of this but it was too boring for 11pm).

    After this I do have to note these batteries have tags on them to allow easy soldering, alas the EZ2 was not one of the easily changeable carts.

    Finally and coming back to the VL thing... charging batteries is not simply a matter of applying a voltage you want to charge to/what the battery is rated at and watching it happen and it gets all kinds of complex with proper chips and more to regulate it all. Should your battery get discharged too much (a scenario known as deep discharge) then more fun ensues (hard to get back if you can at all, most regulator chips will not do this action and so on). Also overcharging is very much a thing and a well known battery killer. If you are interested in this sort of thing http://www.eevblog.com/2011/06/09/eevblog-176-lithium-ionpolymer-battery-charging-tutorial/ is an example of one of them and the guy has a few more videos for some different chemistries.

    The EZ2 has precisely no charge management beyond a regulator in the linker (and whatever the GBA has when it is in that) for the voltage it gets so no worries about charge management if you go with another chemistry. Of course if that other chemistry can not handle constant input voltage during operation/charging then yeah (for the most part go with whatever you can get).
    The hardest part for most people is finding one with tags, though almost anybody that can solder can solder a tagged battery in the amount of people that can weld a tag is considerably smaller so you do have to buy one with them. This then sees most people have to look at the likes of http://www.digikey.co.uk/product-se...ies-rechargeable-secondary/394468?k=coin cell or http://uk.farnell.com/jsp/search/br...arametricAttributeId=&prevNValues=2031+204086

    The main trouble with such electronics sites is the shipping will not be nice unless you have a proper account with them, are a school/some such or want to buy a lot of goods (easily done if you are a fan of electronics but still not nice). You might get lucky on a more consumer focused website but who knows. The above has probably mentioned it but these types of batteries are called coin cells, you want one with tags and I took care of everything else.
     
  10. Psxphile

    Psxphile Member

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    Thank you FAST, you've given me a lot to pore over. I'll save this information for later. After a bit of hesitation I decided to open up the cart and have a look inside:

    [​IMG] (click for larger pic)


    Those things jutting out from the top and bottom of the battery are the "tabs", right? They connect to the board at two points. I'll have to invest in a soldering iron (used to have one, don't know what happened to it). And of course, the battery itself.

    Y'know, if I go through with this. Wish it was as simple as slipping one in...

    Another question: on the off-chance I fry the cart... what's considered the top flash carts for the GBA that are still available? Do they RTC? Standard/rechargeable batteries? High compatibility?
     
  11. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    You will have to try quite hard to wreck the cart (snip the old tabs off with a set of sidecutters first and you will have to try really really hard), if not take it to anybody that can reasonably claim they can solder and they will be able to do it easily enough (it is technically surface mount but not proper surface mount at all).

    Yeah there was a cart or two released some time after the EZ2 that allowed easy user replacement of batteries. That was a one off though and everything with batteries will be soldered in.

    GBA flash carts aside from EZ 3 in 1 expansion packs (aimed at those with a DS that can run a DS slot cart so as to manage them) are rare as anything these days and command a hefty sum by those few still selling them (probably nothing out of line with what you and I paid for our EZ2s back in 2004 or so but for those more used to DS carts and how much the EZ4s went for when they were not rare....), no chance of RTC though everything with it save perhaps pokemon emerald have patches (it was mainly pokemon and boktai that ever had it, I am not sure about Polarium but polarium without a touchscreen is almost pointless).
    As long as it is not a supercard or a supercard clone the compatibility is basically total if you do not mind applying a patch here and there (the two games/series that cause troubles are Legendz which is are Japanese monsters game with an addon that looks like it did things* and that unlicensed organiser thing).

    *think spyro Skylanders but years earlier.
     
  12. Psxphile

    Psxphile Member

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    Yeah, the only game utilizing RTC that I liked was Emerald (probably the #1 reason I want to keep my cart in proper working order).

    GBA flash carts are rare these days, huh? I guess that explains the offers I've been getting over email. I've been completely out-of-the-scene for years, this is all news to me. Considering replacing the cart will be next-to-impossible and/or expensive I'm going to need to be even more careful with it.
     
  13. Darkipod

    Darkipod SELL ME GBA FLASH CART

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    The main reason I am interested in yours is I need the cart programmer.