EZ Flash IV mini guide for myself

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by stonegolem, Mar 11, 2011.

Mar 11, 2011
  1. stonegolem
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    Newcomer stonegolem Advanced Member

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    My EZ Flash IV just arrived this morning and I started to use it. Everything is OK sor far.
    Here is short list of stuff I made for myself.
    Some of these stuff may be outdated or not true at all.
    Please confirm or correct.

    1) Games have to be tranferred by using EZIV Client. It will create save files during process.

    2) We have to rename each game and it's save file, so they don't have more than 8 characters(+3 for extension). Otherwise, game saves doesn't work.

    3) Each folder can have up to 80 files. So save folder can get no more than 80 files. This means I can play 80 games with their save files at a time.

    4) 32 MB games must be trasferred to NOR Memory.

    5) While Using EZIV Client to tranfer games, I use "Add Save Patch" and "Reset" because they were selected by default. (Am I doing wrong? Should I only use them when needed?)

    6) Classic NES Series gamers (Famicom Mini for Japan) can not be used by this cartridge. Or we have to find patches / patched roms for it.

    7) EZ Flash IV cart will charge it's internal battery when GBA's power is on. It has Panasonic VL2020 rechargeable battery
    [edit: Recent, compactly packed EZ Flash IV carts doesn't come with this rechargeable battery anymore. Instead they have a regular battery]

    8) EZ Flash IV cart in not compatible with memory cards which has more than 2 GB. And it can only be used in FAT16 file system.

    9) It's always better to use MiniSD Cards instead of using mini adapters. Many issues can be solved by just using a miniSD. Adapters can cause connection issues etc.

    10) There is no Real Time Clock (RTC) in EZ Flash IV. So, games like pokemon series have to be patched in order to function properly.


    my system
    unit: GBA-SP
    cart: EZ Flash IV (GBA size)
    cart FW: V1.720
    memory card: Sandisk 2 GB Micro SD (with Sandisk Mini SD Adapter)
    file system: FAT16
     
  2. xist

    Member xist ΚΑΤΑ ΤΟΝ ΔΑΙΜΟΝΑ ΕΑΥΤΟΥ

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    Posting here because i just got one and it's easier to find it this way than by tracking.....also the MiniSD thing....just connection issues? Surely that's a user error???
     
  3. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Sometimes it is user error but most problems vanish as soon as someone gets a miniSD

    2) We have to rename each game and it's save file, so they don't have more than 8 characters(+3 for extension). Otherwise, game saves doesn't work.

    That only applies to a handful of games (mainly the mario games- it appears to be something to do with the save being written back as well rather than not working). The vast majority of games should be OK.
    Unless of course you have not updated your loader (they very first ones which might be on your cart had 8:3 naming but that was improved about 2 weeks after launch).


    3) Each folder can have up to 80 files. So save folder can get no more than 80 files. This means I can play 80 games with their save files at a time.

    Ish- 80 is the per folder limit (the loader has trouble with more) but as long as you do not try to view the saver folder you should be able to have more on the cart.

    I think some of the very first famicom mini worked but yeah you need patches or better yet grab a copy of pocketnes and/or HVCA (HVCA has FDS as well) and have a better time than Nintendo offers.

    "I use "Add Save Patch" and "Reset""
    Carry on if you want (I am not sure the saver one actually does anything) but you might run into trouble when using link cables if you have reset patches (it troubles timing in some games).

    You can also copy manually if you make a save file and patch with another program (GBATA http://www.no-intro.org/tools.htm and TrolleyDave's R4 commander having some good patching abilities)


    Patches
    http://bubbz.pocketheaven.com/

    Filetrip has a bunch as well for the nes and a few choice rom hacks.

    Speaking of rom hacks do check out to see if your game has some (many RPGs) as there are some really nice ones http://www.romhacking.net/?genre=&plat...le=&author=

    Edit: as for pokemon it gets a bit tricky so http://gbatemp.net/t269418-clarification-o...-iv-the-big-one has a bit
     
  4. stonegolem
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    Newcomer stonegolem Advanced Member

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    As far as I understand, there are 6 types of GBA cartridge saves.

    1) EEPROM
    2) FeRAM
    3) FLASH
    4) FLASH with clock
    5) SRAM
    6) no save

    Since GBA community is(or used to be) a huge community, I think there might be some kind of list for GBA games and their save types. And also their patching method (probably patching depends on flash cart, so maybe there are no common lists for patchers at all)

    This kind of list might have all needed information:
    rom number / rom name / region / save type / suitable patcher for this rom.

    I want to believe (and hope) the most recent EZ4 Client is taking care of most of these save types. But it's proven that several well known games needs external patcher.

    My aim is knowing what to do for each rom before I insert them into my EZ Flash IV.
    My search for this info is not because I want to play all 2810 commercial roms, but for archiving purposes. This is why I'm not searching / asking for individual games.

    I would be happy if someone knows and shares a web link for such kind of information.

    Edit:
    My apologies,
    I forget to mention FAST 6191's link has a good variety of related info in it. Thank you.
    http://www.pocketheaven.com/ph/bubbz/?syst...p;section=patch
     
  5. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Saves- broadly speaking there are three

    SRAM- FeRAM is a hardware variation on SRAM the works like SRAM but does not need to be powered all the time.
    Flash
    EEPROM

    Well there is no save as well but I am ignoring that. There are rules of thumb as to what genre uses what but there are loads of outliers so I would not read much into that (smallest to largest goes EEPROM, SRAM, Flash).

    Each of those has several minor variations and this is where troubles tended to arise as new versions would appear on occasion (even between region dupes) and need new patches to be made (other than that it was mainly just teams finding a place to hook and/or inject soft reset code or cheats). The last notable event here though was the introduction of EEPROM v126 back in late 2005 ( Crash & Spyro - Super Pack Volume 3 (European version) was the first but nobody really cared about double packs so Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (US version) was the first that troubled people). A few carts had since stopped getting updates so not all carts supported it but GBATA and a couple of other tools rose to fill the gap though so all was good again.

    As for a list of what is what most of the releases lists should have it http://gbatemp.net/newgon/?dat=gba , http://www.advanscene.com/ , http://datomatic.no-intro.org/ and http://www.pocketheaven.com/ph/releases/?s...on=release_list should cover it. If you want offline I like offlinelist myself http://offlinelist.free.fr/ (many places will do compatible dats for it if you do not like the stock one)

    There were some threads in the past on the specifics of patching but generally speaking you search a rom (standard ASCII) for SRAM, Flash or EEPROM to find out what type (this is quite a costly operation on limited hardware like the GBA so coupled with cards not using SD cards and the like in favour of chip flash memory that is why nobody ever really did cart side patching). Emulators like VBA (not sure if it was corrected in VBA-m) stopped there and consequently you had to adjust the save type manually for a few games.
    Flash cart programs and good patching programs take this a step further and check for the version type (it is shortly after the main type)
    After this it is a simple matter of placing two premade patches (same code for every rom- you are changing it to use the save memory of the flash card after all) in some locations which can change with the minor variation (and is what troubled things when v126 appeared as in this case it had changed).
    This is somewhat academic as the whole EZFlash range supports all known save types- I have never managed to duplicate the save errors (I assume you are referring to the advance wars issues or do you mean the issues some had with I think it was Rebelstar - Tactical Command or Sigma Star Saga - I can not recall which one it was and suffice it to say I could never replicate that either) beyond the 8:3 naming stuff although for those that get them I agree GBATA usually sorts it. SRAM tends to be SRAM (or people copied each other) so patches should work across all GBA flash cards with the possible exception of the supercards which did some odd things and saved directly to memory cards rather than SRAM. I have not looked at what the f2a fixes did to the roms so I am not going to comment there (I believe they are simple save patches but I am not sure).

    Some problems exist for some homebrew programs but that should have been sorted/can be sorted with some of solutions from the stickies on http://ezflash.sosuke.com/viewforum.php?f=12

    After this the main troubles are with roms that use extra hardware like warioware twisted (tilt sensor), boktai (solar sensor), pokemon (real time clock) or have a measure of anti piracy (classic nes/famicom mini, a couple of dragon ball Z games and I think samurai deeper kyo). Earlier versions (each version of the software tended to be a fork/continuation of the of the previous) of EZ software did patch these as required and it appears as though the patches are still in the EZ4patch DLL (I have looked inside it a few times but my windows reverse engineering skills leave a lot to be desired) but the client program does not use them. This extra hardware has no effect on save type though and beyond it being an obstacle to getting a rom to work on a flash cart it should not be considered as part of the save patching process.

    Aside from all this about the only things I can think to add are
    the shrek video (the whole first film) that was never dumped- flash carts used various methods to get beyond the 256Mbit limit of the GBA and this was suspected to use similar ones (the only commercial game suspected to have done something like that unless things like the glucoboy did it).

    Some 256Mbit titles (rivera and bleach being the two that pop into mind at this point)- they appear to have junk at the end of the rom that prevents trimming (but lots of blank space before it). This can make roms larger that 256Mbit if you use simple reset patchers like BOMA and I think some of the EZ soft reset stuff. You can delete it but I was never certain if it would break the game, was just the fault of the dumper or if it was part of some crude AP. Using a hex editor is easy enough but I think in the case of riviera I made a patch http://www.4shared.com/file/zo43xl71/rivieratrim.html

    One of the fire emblem patches- the hackers changed part of the header (a simply byte that is normally 00 to FF- we guess as a flag) which broke the header parsing of the EZ4 and made the rom appear invisible when you copied it to the NOR. Change it back and you fix the issue. There was a thread about it on the EZ4 forums late last year.

    Bad dumps and some early hacked dumps- fairly obvious really, the only one that really troubled me is minna no soft tetris (the only good* commercial tetris game on the GBA- thankfully we do have homebrew and emulation) as I still believe it was underdumped (256Mbit stuff aside I have never seen a rom end that abruptly right on the limit- I might investigate it further and see if there are any pointers outside the rom at some point but I have tried for a while to find it without success or people want a fortune for it if it is available). It half works but it crashes on game over so you have to exit just before you get to that point. edit: I just found a copy for about $50 USD.... a bit steep but very very tempting. edit2: purchased it.

    *passing tetris fans I am not counting the tetris advance hidden mode- sure it is not broken tetris like the main game but I am not forgiving it that easily.
     
  6. Keylogger

    Member Keylogger GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    What about the NDS Roms with the EZ Flash IV? Is the compatibility good?
     
  7. stonegolem
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    Newcomer stonegolem Advanced Member

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    Thank you FAST6191 for this detailed and informative post.

    On-line game/save type lists are great and I will keep these links on my personal archieve. I only had trouble with the datomatic one which was probably because of server update. All of them are very useful.

    But, the off-line one is what I was dreaming of! Now, I'm updating it with new dat file and additional tons of ingame images. This will be my main GBA catalogue and save type informant. I'm very happy to have this kind of off-line database

    Now, I will re-read your post to fully understand the information you provide to us. (You wrote it perfectly fine. Just, I'm not a native English speaker and I want to get %100 of that information.)

    Thank you.
     
  8. Coto

    Member Coto GBAtemp Addict

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    If you count games up to 2009- perhaps some of 2010 yes. But newer (which relies on action replay code, bypasses issues) there are reported problems. Besides newest have bigger save types, and here´s why EZ4 needs save-patching. It usually shrink down a 4MB into a 512KB or 1MB save.

    I strongly recommend :

    ezflash.sosuke.com for more info.

    Besides EZIV eats up your battery faster, worse in NDS mode, so I would use it for GBA purposes only. (Lags a bit on heaviest GBA games, like Mother 3 accessing data, heavy streaming sounds, at same time) but on majority of the other games, runs at constant (near perfection) 60FPS without lags (like Golden Sun 2, Pokemon Emerald, etc)
     

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