EZ-Flash IV Mother 3 hangs after "Game boy player" logo - NOR damaged?

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by oneWonders, Apr 28, 2017.

  1. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Hi, I just got an EZ Flash IV micro-sd model and all seemed well until I tried testing it with Mother 3.

    What happens is that the game copies to the NOR memory with no issue.
    However when you run the game, it only gets as far as the GAME BOY PLAYER logo and then goes to a white screen with horrible digital noise coming out of the speaker.

    This would indicate to me that maybe some blocks of the NOR memory are damaged / corrupt and that the NOR chip is faulty?
    I just want to see what people think before I send it back as faulty.

    I have tried both the normal clean japanese version and also the english fan translation.
    I patched both with both the latest EZ flash patcher and the community ezgba patchers and both produced the same issue. I even tried with unpatched roms just to see if they would work (without being able to save).
    Everything I tried produced the same issue.

    The unpatched rom has the correct md5 checksum of af8b0b175f7ec8914cb87b3161ba1aaa before anyone says it is a bad dump.
    I can provide checksums of the ez client and ezgba roms if that helps.

    I don't think it is an issue with the rom though but the NOR memory of the flashcart.

    Or is it a software issue?

    I have tried reformatting the NOR memory several times (pressing start in the appropriate section of the flashcart menu).

    I have also tried various levels of FW, including 1.76, 1.77, 1.78 and 1.74. All exhibit the same issue.

    Smaller games seem to work in the NOR memory but they are probably not being loaded into the damaged area of the memory. I also tried Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, another 32MB game, which loaded fine and seemed to start fine but that doesn't rule out the memory being bad in my mind because it didn't necessarily try to load the "bad" section of NOR memory for the 2 minute test I did.

    Is there any way I can test the memory?

    What do people think?
    I am thinking I will have to return it and hope the replacement isn't faulty.

    I just posted here to make sure I haven't missed out anything stupid.
     


  2. slaphappygamer

    slaphappygamer GBAtemp Maniac

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    Since kingdom hearts works fine, I'd say your software and hardware is all good. I know you say your mother3 rom is good, but have you tried to load it in another emulator?
     
  3. migles

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    my dad works for nintendo.
    there was another guy @Yuanye198425
    which also reported the game not working on his ez iv..

    i do have an old ez iv and never gave me issues about mother 3.. (appart from the 254mb error in old firmwares)

    not sure whats going on..
     
  4. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Yes it works in an emulator fine.

    What I am saying is that although Kingdom hearts may "appear" to work okay, the broken area of the ram might only be for data that it isn't being asked to load (or for example artwork data), where as with the Mother 3 rom i am guessing it might be messing up in an area of data that contains the actual programme code (or at least something that attempts to get loaded early on).
    It might be that if I tried to play all the way through kingdom hearts it would eventually crash itself too.

    Does the cart load the same section of data into the same area of NOR memory every time you try and write the same rom to NOR? If it does, that would make sense for the issue to possibly display like i said.

    That said, i'd much rather it be a software issue that can be easily fixed.
     
  5. how_do_i_do_that

    how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    You have insufficient posts to view location.
    The mother 3 ips patched version will take nearly the entire space of the NOR. That means if you like to use soft resets or patches that make your life easier habitually, your going to be SOL when you want to play mother 3. You have to boot it into loaderless NOR mode. I don't remember how to do it.

    There was a whole thread covering the issue and how to get it running without issue, etc. The search function here only does 10 pages and the thread covering this problem is several years old. Somebody who has it bookmarked can probably link it for you.
     
  6. Yuanye198425

    Yuanye198425 Newbie

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    Thanks pal.I don't care about this anymore.I returned that ez 4.and bought a everdrive. a bit expensive.but it's perfect.ez waste too much my time!
     
  7. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Thanks for the replies!

    Hmm I'm not really sure what you mean by soft resets and patches and things.
    I didn't IPS patch mother 3 unless you count the EZ Client save patching. I also tried with the fan translation which I assume is the IPS patch you are talking about and it had the same issue. Both final roms are exactly they same size though - an exact full 32MB (33,554,432 bytes or 32,768 KB).

    I'm not sure what you mean by loaderless NOR mode - I've googled but I can't seem to find anything about it unfortunately.

    That said, are you sure that is necessary (or isn't being done by default), as all the guides I have seen just say to load the thing to NOR, then go back to the top level (with the EZ-Disk folder and the NOR contents visible) and load it normally by pressing A.
    I've also tried by holding L and pressing A but it doesn't seem to help.

    It's weird, I've heard people say that holding L and pressing A does a hard reset load and that just pressing A does a normal load. However to me it seems the opposite - if I press A then it shows the GAME BOY - NINTENDO "piiing" logo sting but if you hold L and press A it just goes straight into the game without that.



    Anyway, from what you are saying, it seems you are saying that there isn't enough space in the NOR unless I do this loaderless thing? Well then either that isn't the case with my model or it is doing it by default with newer FW?
    I say this because surely if there wasn't enough space then it would refuse to even load the ROM in to NOR in the first place. It does that when you try and load something into NOR with Mother 3 there already taking up space (much to my horror when I didn't know how to delete things from NOR and assumed it would do it automatically).



    Also just so we are clear about where it locks up. It is the same place in both the original rom and the fan translation.
    Org ROM: It does the GAME BOY - NINTENDO sting, then it shows the health and safety message, then shows a GAME BOY PLAYER logo and then goes to a white screen with lots of static audio corruption.
    Fan translation: It does the GAME BOY - NINTENDO sting, then it shows the translated health and safety message, then the fan-added red disclaimer screen talking about the translation, then shows a GAME BOY PLAYER logo and then goes to a white screen with lots of static audio corruption.

    To me, it sounds like it is trying to read data from a corrupt section of NOR and things have gone horribly wrong.

    Thanks for all the replies so far.
     
  8. how_do_i_do_that

    how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    You have insufficient posts to view location.
    The soft reset is an option in the EZ Client program, which lets you add code to the ROM so you can do a button combo to return you to the EZ-Flash IV system menu. It tends to make the ROM overly larger than the space needed.

    Best way to describe what loaderless mode is how a 3in1 boots directly into the ROM in NOR. Loaderless mode for the EZ-Flash IV is a button combo you use when the GBA is started up and bypasses the menu system and load the ROM preloaded in NOR. It has been 5+ years, but I believe that is was a custom hack of the loader. The site is gone by now, meaning this isn't really an option anymore for those that want to try this. I don't believe it will work on the black version. You can skip any mention of anything about loaderless mode.

    Sorry, found the thread about mother 3 running properly on a EZ-Flash IV, it either uses an older ezfla_up.bin version or a modified ezfla_up.bin. All workarounds and fixes were done with the White miniSD slot version.

    I forgot to ask if you were using the Black version with the microSD slot or not. I can link the original thread and files, they may or may not work for you and others that have the Black EZ-Flash IV.
    thread: http://gbatemp.net/threads/issue-with-nor-on-a-new-ez-flash-iv.360684/
    files: https://filetrip.net/nds-downloads/...ion-premade-loaders-ez42013norfix-f32647.html


    This might work if using modified ezfla_up.bin files is not an option for you.
    I would recommend using a different patcher like gbata and drop the modified file directly to the sd card before loading it to NOR.
    https://filetrip.net/gba-downloads/tools-utilities/download-gbata-gba-tool-advance-0-7a-f223.html

    The thing about gba flashcarts is that there is no size check if the file is bigger than the space it is being loaded to. Any missing data not written leaves you with an incomplete file in NOR. With mother 3, we are talking about a few kb of data. The ezfla_up.bin is also stored in NOR, you have to keep that in mind when loading IPS patched roms to NOR that you can't just consider the ROM size alone.

    It is not that the data is corrupt, it is that you have incomplete ROM data in NOR that is causing your issue.

    Is this too convoluted or enough ramblings that you kinda understand?
     
  9. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Thanks for the response.

    In answer to your question, I have the black micro sd version of the ez-flash iv.

    I'm not sure if what you are saying about there being no way to check the size of the ROM is correct though? The ROMs all list their size in the file manager in the menu within the GBA itself. In fact, when I tried to load a ROM into NOR and there wasn't enough space (because I had forgotten to delete what was currently there), the system told me this and wouldn't load the new ROM into NOR.

    Also I tried with a completely unpatched version of the game and it crashed in the same place. By completely unpatched I mean not even save patched with the Ez client. I did this as a test, knowing full well if it worked i wouldn't be able to save.
    The patched and unpatched ROMs are completely the same size btw (exactly 32MB).

    I have been patching the ROMs and outputting the patched versions directly to the SD card after I saw people saying to do this, however I don't understand why it should make any difference whether you do that or manually copy them yourself?


    I will try the gbata patcher program that you linked.
    I am a little nervous trying the other, older firmware and modified firmware as they seem to be designed for the older version of the cart and I don't know whether they would brick my newer version if I tried flashing them?

    Thanks
     
  10. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Okay I just read all of the thread that you linked and none of the people seem to have the same issue - the first few people are having problems where the games will not write to NOR properly and either don't show up in the menu or are listed as having a size of 0 bytes.
    The other people are having an issue with loading large games into NOR with the writing halting at 254 Mb. This was reported as fixed in the EZ Kernel 1.76 (see http://www.ezflash.cn/download/ )

    I am having neither of those issues, the game writes to NOR fine and shows up as the correct 32,768 KB size in the NOR menu.

    From reading that thread it seems like they changed the NOR chips and hadn't fixed the FW to support it properly but that doesn't seem to be the case now.
    I have been using 1.77 and 1.78 mainly as those seem the most "fixed" for my newer version, however I have tried some old version as linked in my post.

    The 2013 NOR Fix thing you linked to seems to be for a time period where they had changed the NOR chip but not updated the FW to support the new chip? Where as now the FW does support the chip. At least, if it didn't then I wouldn't be able to load anything to the NOR surely (as people in the thread mentioned too).

    They don't mention anything about loaderless unless you mean running roms from hard reset vs soft reset. From what I read, hard reset is more compatible and in the latest fws it is the default action anyway, where as from what people have been saying, in the older fws you had to hold L and press A to force it.


    Unfortunately, the gbata patcher didn't work. In fact it was worse than using the latest EZ Client patcher or ezgba community patcher in that whenever I tried to move the ROM to NOR it listed the result with a size of 0 bytes.
    I did like you said and patched straight to the SD card and I assume you meant that I should only patch the ROM using the SRAM Patcher functionality of gbata and none of its other functionality (e.g. no reboot / sleep patch etc).
    So for some reason the EZ Flash IV fw doesn't like the way in which gbata patches games. I tried loading it multiple times and when loaded to NOR it always listed as 0 bytes in comparison to the 32,768 KB of the other patchers.

    So I'm not convinced it's not a hardware issue.
    All of the issues I have seen have been people with older, broken FW and once the managed to get it loaded into NOR it worked for them.
    With mine, the game loads into NOR correctly but simply crashes after a certain point of running.

    None of the people in that topic are reporting having to do anything funny in terms of patching their roms or running the game in a special way. They all reported issues with it not listing in the NOR menu or listing with the incorrect size or that they couldn't even get it to copy there / show up in the first place. These things all seem to be fixed in the later FW.

    Surely if the game wasn't fully copying to NOR then it wouldn't list the KB size of the game in NOR as correct but it would be less. I also haven't seen anyone say that they have to do anything fancy in that regard, whereas i've seen a lot of people saying that they copy it to NOR normally and it works fine.

    Thanks for your thoughts and help so far.
     
    Last edited by oneWonders, Apr 30, 2017
  11. how_do_i_do_that

    how_do_i_do_that Blue Wizard is about to die.

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    You have insufficient posts to view location.
    I expected as much, that the options for the white version will not work for the black version. If playing mother 3 is a priority for you and you have a 3in1, you can run through gba explorer.
     
  12. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    So does anyone have the black microsd version and can test if it works for them?

    [​IMG]

    The unpatched ROM should have an MD5 hash of
    Code:
    af8b0b175f7ec8914cb87b3161ba1aaa
    Patch with http://www.ezflash.cn/zip/EZ4_20140306.zip
    Select only the Save Patch checkbox option, leave the reset patch unchecked.

    The patched ROM should have an MD5 hash of
    Code:
    b044de4106b0f296d34a46a869872233
    This is what happens when I try and run the game after copying it to NOR:
    http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=43628528947986895835

    It happens whether or not I hold L when starting the game.


    So, can anyone test for me?

    Thanks!
     
  13. Gyron

    Gyron GBAtemp Regular

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    Ok, I just set up two EZ IV Micro SD version's ('rev 1316' and 'rev 2516') with the same environment as your vid. Official 1.77 Kernel, clean Mother 3 rom patched with 'EZ4_20140306' client. Subsequent patched rom with MD5 of 'b044de4106b0f296d34a46a869872233'. Game works fine booting from NOR. Tested with and without the 64k '.sav' file in the 'Saver' folder. No issues either way. Tested flashing EZ IV's in a 'GBA SP ags-001' and a 'GBA ags-101'. Again, no issues.
    Try copying your rom back from your SD card to your PC and check it's MD5 again in case you have an SD card issue. You might also want to try another Micro SD card just as a matter of process elimination.
     
    Last edited by Gyron, May 5, 2017
  14. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Thanks for testing!

    Where are you getting these revision numbers from?

    If you shine a light through the back of the case you can see writing on the PCB revision, mine says:
    Code:
    EZ402TF 2014.0814
    However that doesn't seem to be the same thing you are referring to?

    Copied the ROM back to my pc and yes the MD5 hash is still the same.
    Will try other SD cards and formatting as FAT rather than FAT32 but I don't think that is the issue - worth ruling out though :)

    But yes, you're making me more confident that it is a NOR issue like I suspected, thanks.

    Thanks for the confirmation that it works for you on two Micro SD versions!

    edit-
    Tried with a different 2GB sd card formatted to FAT and it made no difference.
     
    Last edited by oneWonders, May 5, 2017
  15. Gyron

    Gyron GBAtemp Regular

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    The revision is printed on the PCB above the Micro SD slot.

    Try this:
    Download the attached files and unzip them.
    Copy '32mb Blank Rom.gba' to the SD card.
    Copy '32mb Blank Rom.sav' to the 'Saver' folder.
    Copy 'EZ IV Sram Blank.sav' to the SD root.
    Format NOR flash (press 'start', then 'A' in the first screen of the 'File Browser').
    Hightlight the 'EZ IV Sram Blank.sav', press 'A', when you see the warning screen, press 'A' again to write it to your EZ IV SRAM.
    Write '32mb Blank Rom.gba' to NOR.
    Power cycle your GBA/DSL.
    Now load "32mb Blank Rom" from NOR.
    When you see the white screen power cycle your GBA/DSL.
    Delete "32mb Blank Rom" from NOR (highlight it, press 'select' then 'A').
    Now try flashing Mother 3 again.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by Gyron, May 6, 2017
  16. bradzx

    bradzx x-Darkie-x

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    EZ-Flash 4 is too much waste your time? I found it that odd. Lol. Because it look fun to use it as real cartridge style.
     
  17. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

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    my dad works for nintendo.
    i think he means he wasted too much time trying to figure out a fix for this issue, it's an hassle to copy games (you have to patch them) and copying a game to the nor is slow as hell..
    everdrive wins in all theese aspects
     
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  18. bradzx

    bradzx x-Darkie-x

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    I know that, but still, it look fun to find it what is cause it and how to solve the problem. Simple as that. That why most of them don't care about EZ-Flash 4 because they are completely useless to them. To me, it look fine to me when I have problem with rom or game hack. It better than do nothing to learn.

    Pardon for my grammar if you don't understand what am I saying.
     
  19. oneWonders
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    oneWonders Member

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    Thanks for trying to help - sadly it didn't make a difference.

    The 32mb Blank Rom.gba was only listed as 256KB when copied to NOR - I'm guessing this is meant to happen because it was just a lot of null data?
    I didn't patch the files with anything and just copied them directly like instructed.


    With regards to the everdrive, it's 4 times the price.
     
  20. Gyron

    Gyron GBAtemp Regular

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    Yes, 256KB is correct, it writes the Header info and the rest in zero's.
    Anyway, I'm beginning to wonder if you've received an EZ IV from a dodgy batch. The reason I say this, is because someone else has this exact same problem with Mother 3 on a new batch EZ IV Micro SD (revision 0217). He has passed the card to me and I can confirm the exact same issue as your video you posted (passes 'Game Boy Player' logo, then freezes on a white screen with static audio).
    I'm only surmising here (and we need some more input), but it's uncanny that someone else has the exact same problem on a newly bought EZ IV. The EZ team at the moment appear to be taking one step forward and two steps back. I've noticed in this latest revision, they have fixed the bug of the firmware being overwritten/wiped if you press 'R' on boot (even when no 'ezfla_up.bin' is present on the root of the SD card (this bug was present in at least 2 other revisions of the Micro SD version)). But on the other hand, there is definitely something screwy going on with the NOR, especially if you can't play Mother 3. All the other revisions of the EZ IV I have here play Mother 3 just fine. I was going to post this on the EZ forums but I can't even log in any more other there, and re-registering doesn't seem to work as you don't get the activate email.
    If you send it back and receive a replacement, post the outcome here please.