EZ Flash IV General questions

Discussion in 'GBA - Hardware, Devices and Utilities' started by abtmrw, Mar 2, 2011.

Mar 2, 2011

EZ Flash IV General questions by abtmrw at 6:11 PM (8,098 Views / 0 Likes) 20 replies

  1. abtmrw
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    Newcomer abtmrw Newbie

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    Hello,

    I just bought a EZ Flash IV(EZ4) from realhotstuff and after setting it up, I really like the device. I'm want to make sure I understand this thing as much as I can, so any help would be greatly appreciated. OK, here is what I was wondering about:

    -The SRAM is powered by the battery inside the flash cart, and the SRAM is used for storing saves when the power on the GBA/DS is turned off. So if the battery is dead, turning the GBA/DS off will cause the most recent save to be wiped. However, if a game is saved, and then reset back to the flash cart menu, it will save just fine, even if the battery is dead. This works because the flash cart will write the save to the miniSD as soon as you reset. So the battery isn't "necessary" as long as the in-game reset works. Is this correct?

    -After reading online is seems that the very first batch of EZ4s came with a rechargeable battery, but later models came with a non-rechargeable battery. I'm guessing they did this to lower costs. If the battery had an orange outline, that meant it was rechargeable. If the battery had a yellow outline, that meant it was non-rechargeable. I'm guessing that if someone wanted to they could unsolder a non-rechargeable battery and solder in a rechargeable battery pack. The rechargeable battery would last longer, even if it would eventually lose its ability to hold a charge. Is this correct?

    -I have the latest client for the EZ4. I also have the latest kernel, which is 1.72. However, I have read that there is a kernel called 1.72 RESET. I do not know what the difference is between 1.72 and 1.72 RESET. Can anyone tell me what is different between the two kernels? I intend to use the EZ4 only for GBA games, and all the games I have on it work great, along with the reset working fine for all the games.

    I really like this cart and would like to prolong its life as long as I can, since GBA flash carts are rare and probably won't be available for purchase in the future. Any help on the above subjects would help me out a lot.

    Thank you.
     


  2. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    As to the battery question:
    rechargables have VL-XXXX printed on it, where as non-rechargables have CR-XXXX printed on it. VL type coin cell batteries last about 5 years if used and recharged regularly, less if your use is sporatic.

    The majority of people fall in the sporatic use group, so the benifit of a rechargable is mostly illusionary.

    FAST6191 can probably answer the others better than me.
     
  3. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Just to confirm the EZ4 from realhotstuff is one that uses miniSD (the specs on there are for another model of EZ4). I have wondered about this for a while.

    Re Battery: as far as I know all EZ4s come with a rechargeable batter (VL2020 with tags if memory serves). I heard something about that for the 3 in 1 but never the EZ4. If I am wrong though you should still be able to solder a battery in and effectively have it trickle charge in normal use.

    Yeah you have the idea behind the EZ4 save model- most of the time even if you lack reset if you power off and on within a few seconds you should be good (between the less than instant SRAM reset and whatever amount of power the battery still puts out things are good).

    1.72 and 1.72 RESET- there was a bug introduced in the last few kernels that had an issue with DS mode resetting into GBA mode to run GBA games (GBA mode was already in GBA mode so that was no problem. This hack just forced a hard reset thus dodging the bug. If you want to drop down you can but you gain nothing for it (onboard cheats might have an easier time working but I am not sure about that and we have GBAATM- http://gbatemp.net/index.php?showtopic=99334 anyhow).
    http://nocash.emubase.de/gbatek.htm#dsback...mpatiblegbamode has some tech if you care for such things. If you used the ezfla_up.bin in the EZ4 client pack from filetrip or sosuke's you have modulo's RESET kernel.

    "since GBA flash carts are rare and probably won't be available for purchase in the future"
    On this you might well be wrong if the rumblings I hear are correct not to mention with it being the first big flash cart market things are set to be interesting.
     
  4. how_do_i_do_that

    Member how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    They went to a CR-2020 battery a little before they switched over to paper and plastic packaging.
     
  5. abtmrw
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    Newcomer abtmrw Newbie

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    Ok, thanks for the replies.

    Since you guys confirmed that info on that battery, I'm glad to hear that it is setup up this way. I don't really have to worry about my saves going way in the future.

    I downloaded the latest kernel from the official EZ Flash IV forum, dated 04/03/2009, so I'm guessing I have the RESET.

    I don't know what rumblings you are referring to, but I'm kinda new to the GBA flash cart scene. I just figured that all old hardware eventually gets abandoned.

    If there is any news of some sort of "super" flash cart for GBA, that would be pretty cool to see.
     
  6. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    I agree in principle- the GBA was the first to hit it big but there were GBC carts as well and those things are extremely rare these days. Likewise the "proper" GBA carts (the EZ4 does well for GBA but the GBA stuff played second fiddle to the DS side of things when it was active) are also rare and highly sought after.

    However you are among many just starting to plunder the GBA library (even more so as hacking projects sort some of the better things that never hit in English) for the first time using proper flash carts as opposed to expansion packs and this along with the expense to make them (ram and NOR memory is cheaper and better than it was back when) has not gone unnoticed by the flash cart teams.
    Whether it will mean new hardware, tweaks to existing stuff or just a nice software update remains to be seen but the DS, DSi and probably soon to be 3ds market is a bit cut-throat at the moment so new revenue streams are always being sought out.
     
  7. abtmrw
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    Newcomer abtmrw Newbie

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    I guess I see what you mean. Even though the SNES has been out for a really long time, retrozone USB decided to make a flash cart for it. I like the EZ4, but if someone does decide to make a "proper" GBA cart, I might be interested.

    Again, thanks for the information.
     
  8. xist

    Member xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    This may very well be a stupid question but is best practice for the EZFlash IV battery life to -

    Power on GBA and Load Game from EZFlash IV
    Play for however long you intend and then save.
    Power off -> Save is now in SRAM using battery of EZFlash IV
    Power Back up -> Allow EZFlash to write save file to Mini SD
    Power off again.

    So essentially two power up cycles per use to preserve the EZFlash? Is that ok on the GBA?

    Oh and i may as well ask an unrelated question....is a 2GB Mini SD going to be more problematic re:access speeds in games than a 1GB card?
     
  9. stonegolem

    Newcomer stonegolem Advanced Member

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    Oh Snap!
    I got my new unit in that small paper and plastic package.
    Suddenly my satisfaction decreased by 1 point >.
     
  10. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    All GBA games run through the NOR or PSRAM and writing to those is slower than any SD ever was (not that I suggest using a 64 meg one you found in an old phone as those rarely work properly with the EZ4). 2 gig cards might trouble it if yours still has the very first update on it (find a micro- mini adapter or a smaller one for the 20 seconds it takes to update- 2 gig miniSD cost about as much as 32 gig ones cost today if not more so they were added in a later update) but after that they should be fine.

    The EZ4 uses the battery all the time- all your procedure does is allow your save to be written and you not to lose it if the battery dies between usages (there is actually a workaround for a dead battery that works along similar lines but using a hard reset patch instead of the power cycle).
    I probably would not spend 20 minutes flicking the GBA on and off repeatedly but I very much doubt any harm will come if you flick it on and off for save purposes.
     
  11. xist

    Member xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    Thanks....i misunderstood where the games were running from and also see how my two power cycle routine achieves nothing. All in all a wasted venture but at least a couple of things learned.

    I actually managed to source a 2GB Sandisk MiniSD from someone who was chucking out a load of out bits and bobs...got it for £5 which although expensive in memory terms seems to be a steal given how much these things seem to go for. I'd be paying more for a 1GB card it'd seem so if a 2GB is fine then i'm happy.
     
  12. stonegolem

    Newcomer stonegolem Advanced Member

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    I think I'm missing something. So please let me ask.
    Lets think that my battery is totally dead.

    1) turn on GBA
    2) play and save the game
    3) reset the GBA (by using EZ4 Clients integrated reset patch A+B+L+Up)
    4) [save data will be transferred to SD card after reset.]
    5) turn off GBA

    Can I still save by using the procedure above? Or another hard reset patch is mandatory?
    I think I'm confused with the terms. if EZIV Clients integrated reset patch is called hard reset patch, then everything is ok. Because, I thought it's soft reset.

    edit:
    typo fix
     
  13. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    "reset the GBA (by using EZ4 Clients integrated reset patch A+B+L+Up)"

    I can not recall if the EZ4 reset patch is a true hard reset or a soft reset (resets you back to the game start rather than the cart). If it is a hard reset then yes that is how to dodge a dead battery.
    If not then yeah you will need to find a hard reset (I believe Kuwanger did some stuff on the EZ4 section of sosuke's and if not then try some of the options of BOMA or GBATA or I might consider making a cheat or patcher of my own- http://nocash.emubase.de/gbatek.htm#biosresetfunctions if you want to give it a go).

    Failing that SRAM does not reset instantly (I am not sure what this model times out at but some are as long as 20 seconds and considerably longer if it is cold (see cold boot attacks)) so you might even still be able to power cycle (especially if the battery is not "completely" dead).
     
  14. stonegolem

    Newcomer stonegolem Advanced Member

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    When I use the key combination to reset, it returns back to flash carts user interface.
    As soon as UI shows up, there is a Tip Screen which says "hold L to skip saving"
    If I don't pres L, then there is a save screen which may take up to 10 seconds to save depending on save size.

    We can play many games one after another just by using this key combination to reset. And it keeps the previous game saves.
    Can we assume that, it saves to SD card?

    edit:
    If I understand correctly from what I read, game saves are kept in internal ram and this save information kept safe by battery. Battery is needed to keep the data on internal ram and if there is no battery, then this data will be erased just after a couple of seconds after power off.
    So, if the gba unit is powered on during save process, Cart will have power to keep the data on internal ram and transfer it to SD.
    Are these correct ?

    Is there any other function of the battery other than keeping the info on internat battery?
     
  15. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Well if it returns to the loader then yeah it is a hard reset.

    PS if you want there is a forced save option in the menu that will always save the game and ignore when you press L.
     
  16. Melter

    Member Melter GBAtemp Regular

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    I'm confused, how do I know if my EZ4 Phat has a rechargeable battery?
     
  17. Schlupi

    Member Schlupi Gbatemp's Official Earthbound Maniac™

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    Open it up. If the battery has print on it saying VL-XXXX (X being any number), it is rechargable. If it says CR-XXXX, it is not.

    Also, if it has a serial number printed on the bottom via sticker, it most likely is from their first batches (before switching packaging, used to have wooden case) and is rechargable. Newer models (in cheap, platic and cardboard packaging) have no serial, and are DEFINITELY not rechargable.

    YOU could always replace the battery to a rechargable one though. [​IMG]
     
  18. Melter

    Member Melter GBAtemp Regular

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    Yeah my battery is not rechargeable. I read alot of people buying an EZ4 with the battery already dead but mine works fine. How long do these batteries last on average?

    About the integrated reset:

    The EZ4 reset patch resets back to the ROM loader, which writes the save in the SRAM to the miniSD.

    I think the default A+B+L+UP combo can be triggered by accident, luckily you can change it in the EZ Flash 4 Client (Config > Reset Key)

    I set mine to L+R+UP+START, which is comfortable to press on my Game Boy Micro, and eliminates any chance of accidentally resetting (since you would never press Start along with L+R+UP during normal game play)
     
  19. Ammako

    Member Ammako GBAtemp Guru

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    I set mine to A+B+START+SELECT, because even if you accidentally hit those four buttons during gameplay, it would have soft-reseted anyway.
    (That's assuming you can even accidentally hit those four buttons at the same time.)
     
  20. Melter

    Member Melter GBAtemp Regular

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    do you have a game boy micro? Im not sure how it is for other GBAs but pressing A+B+Start+Selec seems very uncomfortable on the micro
     

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