EZ-FLASH OMEGA that does not want to save 128KB games, hates Advance Wars and other bizarre occurrences.

Chi_Master_Funk

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Dec 27, 2022
Messages
5
Trophies
0
XP
35
Country
United Kingdom
Hey everyone, very long time lurker, first time issue poster upper. I've spent the last few days doing some research online to make sure I haven't missed anything on this issue but I've had no success in solving my problem. Also a bonus problem that I have not seen been brought up.

So I've had the EZ-FLASH OMEGA for about 4 years now and have been on again, off again with it since. I've mostly been playing your typical Castlevania and Mega Man games and have had zero issues with the games saving (save for Mother 3 being problematic from time to time resulting in corrupted data). I know all about the 5 second rule to give everything time to write to the flash cart internally etc. I have noticed others have brought up issues they've been having with 128KB type save games such as the Pokemon titles as well as Super Mario Advance 4 and I am having the exact same issue plus a really weird one with a completely random game I loaded on a whim.

*Please note I have tried various rom dumps that were all verified to be clean
So with Pokemon; Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Fire Red and Leaf Green the scenario goes as follows
- Boot up GBA with EZ-FLASH
- Go To the Rom
- Make sure Save type is Auto and do a Clean Boot
- Go through all the Pokemon intro stuff
- Go to save
- Greeted with Message "The backup memory is damaged or the internal battery has run dry. The game can be played. However, progress cannot be saved."
- Get force booted to the title screen. Fire Red and Leaf Green have the added grief of just getting locked into a loop where they continue to complain that they cannot save.
- Turn off GBA
(Side note, if I try to boot the game again with the previous created save file that the flash cart writes on the initial boot the game freaks out saying that data is corrupt so...)
- Delete any Pokemon R/S/E/FR/LG save data in the SAVER folder
- Try again but this time 128KB save type and do a Clean Boot
- Exact same problem occurs

I did try Super Mario Advance 4 out of curiousity and much like some other people, it doesn't save. It does find a way of being passive aggresive as instead of kicking me to the title screen, it lets me carry on but disables the sound.

Now, my loaded on a whim game is Hamtaro Ham-Ham Heartbreak (I remembered playing the GBC one back in the day) which is true to its name as when I load the game, after the opening credits I'm immediately slapped with , "Saved story data is corrupt. Deleting data." It goes into an infinite loop of this and you may have guessed but, I haven't even gotten the chance to start my story so there shouldn't be anything to corrupt! The interesting thing is this is a game with a 32KB save, Aria of Sorrow is the same save type and doesn't experience any issue like that.

I've tried booting into EZ-FLASH SAFE MODE and ran Test card to which I get these results:

(NOTE: Running FW:9 K1.09 from the official website)

read S71 ID OK GL64
read S98 ID OK
END


I'm not sure what the GL64 is but there doesn't seem to be any issue with my S71 chip, which makes sense because every other game that I have tried has not given me issue with saving.

This is a big head scratcher for me. I thought maybe my internal battery was actually dead and that's why it was being funny but the clock in the OMEGA menu is keeping track of time just fine.


So the second issue I'm having is a very weird one. I haven't really come across any actual issues with launching games, even though the 128KB ones are fussy about saving they still boot. My EZ-FLASH seems to HATE Advance Wars, it shows utter contempt for the series, yes the series. I get the same issue with both 1 and 2, I go to boot the game and I am presented with nothing but a white screen for both games; Advance Wars and Advance Wars 2. I have tried multiple roms from various sources (verified clean) including the japanese double pack Gameboy Wars 1+2 , which is an odd one because the game select menu loads fine but when I boot the game it whites out on me. I left them running for a bit, and tapped some buttons but they never got past the white screen and I am forced to shut down the system.

Upon writing this and reflecting on how the games are acting, the only thing that's raising a red flag to me is that this is the kind of behaviour that you may associate with anti-piracy protection in games. It just seems really strange how Hamtaro and Advance Wars either refuse to get past the title screen or won't boot at all. I would chalk the 128KB issue as being an anti-piracy measure as well but then it seems like this isn't an issue that the majority of people come by so I have absolutely no clue. Again, I am well aware that there will be a majority of those out there who do not experience any of the issues I do. If anyone has any suggestions or insight into the matter it would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
(on the fence if pun intended)
 

Chi_Master_Funk

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Dec 27, 2022
Messages
5
Trophies
0
XP
35
Country
United Kingdom
Hey thanks for your time!

So I ran the program and it seems the only difference with the sha-1 has in the file name is that there are zeros missing?

Hash in filename: 2ff7978fdad0c3e90609c63c5a1924d859c4a5e0
Hash results : 2FF7978FDAD0C3E9_6_9C63C5A1924D859C4A5E0

I have put underscores just to emphasise the missing zeroes, I am unsure if that has hints at why my EZ-FLASH is acting funny.

The ROM padding says it found no mismatches either.

I have also scanned he rest of that forum page and got the RTC checker and it doesn't seem like the battery defo isn't an issue as it confirmed that it's keeping track of time just fine. I've even went as far as to backup my SD card, flashing the omega recovery image to it and running it through the update loader in the Safe menu just to see if that would somehow help but the results are the same? I'm really at a loss as on the surface everything seems normal aside from those missing zeroes in the SHA-1 hash.
 

ghjfdtg

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2014
Messages
1,360
Trophies
1
XP
3,271
Country
Are you sure you didn't miss the zeros? There are only 2 explanations if this is indeed what it displays: Either you are the most lucky human in the universe or something is glitching the output.
 

Chi_Master_Funk

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Dec 27, 2022
Messages
5
Trophies
0
XP
35
Country
United Kingdom
I Just ran the program again, I would like to add horribly unlucky to my pool of explainations lol! It seems so weird that my Flash cart is like "I am perfectly (somewhat) okay! I can't find any rhyme or reason for it to be acting the way it is.

321953806_1356415925103972_340797003651383887_n.jpg
 

moon_rabbit

Well-Known Member
Newcomer
Joined
May 6, 2022
Messages
95
Trophies
0
Age
34
Location
kor
XP
226
Country
Korea, South
https://github.com/ez-flash/omega-kernel/blob/master/docs/EZ-FLASH OMEGA DOCUMENT.pdf

Assuming from what you wrote.
It seems that there is something wrong with the SRAM of S71.

According to the documentation, SRAM of S71 also includes a vram buffer.
Problem could be the chip itself, a weak battery or a connection issue.

------------------

VRAM buffer doesn't seem to have anything to do with the game.
Perhaps it has something to do with RTS.
Have you tested with another gba device?
 
Last edited by moon_rabbit,

Chi_Master_Funk

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Dec 27, 2022
Messages
5
Trophies
0
XP
35
Country
United Kingdom
So I just measured the battery with a multimeter and got 2.86V which would mean the battery is fine. Regardless I took it out and rigged up another coin cell just to make sure and yeilded the same results. I've put the original battery back for the time being. I went back and loaded a save for Castlevania - Aria of Sorrow and messed about a little bit then saved to see if any corruption would happen but it saved just fine.

I have tested it with two unmodified GBA SP's, an original GBA, three original Nintendo DS's, a Gameboy micro and a Gamecube with a Gameboy Player, all of which give me the same issues with Pokemon's saving, Hamtaro's corrupted save loop and Advance Wars refusing to load.

Since it doesn't seem to be affecting every game and the battery seems fine, do you think reflowing the chip would be the last thing to try? If so, should I single out the S71 or should I reflow the entire board just to be safe? If that fails I'll assume I pulled the short straw and got a very quirky board.

Side note - I noticed in my tests tonight after posting the image of the screen that the RTC was actually becoming out of sync with the time I had initially set. If it's not due to the battery being low is that further evidence that the S71 Chip is a dud or is that more of a timing crystal issue ontop of the other issues I'm having?
 

moon_rabbit

Well-Known Member
Newcomer
Joined
May 6, 2022
Messages
95
Trophies
0
Age
34
Location
kor
XP
226
Country
Korea, South
According to my experience, simply measuring 2.86v does not tell the state of battery.
If it is almost new, it measures around 3.3v.
If it's almost dead, it measures around 0.7v.

However, anything in between can be measured.

If the other parts of the PCB are OK, I recommend reflowing S71 and FPGA.

When reflowing, use a nozzle larger than the chip and be careful not to move the chip.
 

r1vver

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2017
Messages
551
Trophies
0
XP
979
Country
Russia
So I just measured the battery with a multimeter and got 2.86V which would mean the battery is fine.
Was the battery measured with a voltmeter "simply alone" or "with a load"? To really test such batteries, you need a 1k+ Ohm resistor (4.7k, 6.5k, 10k, 15k, etc.) in parallel.
 

Chi_Master_Funk

Member
OP
Newcomer
Joined
Dec 27, 2022
Messages
5
Trophies
0
XP
35
Country
United Kingdom
Sorry for the wait, I had some post-holiday stuff to catch up on. Battery measures 2.86V when measured off the board. Tried reflowing the chips, put different battery on, exact same results. I'm thinking at this point I just have some buggy chips and there's not much that can be done. At the very least I can enjoy a majority of the GBA library. Thanks for all the help and suggestions!
 

Site & Scene News

Popular threads in this forum

General chit-chat
Help Users
    SylverReZ @ SylverReZ: @NinStar, Who's whipping who?