Ezf advance and x-rom cables, and gba flash carts

Discussion in 'GBA - Flashing Hardware and Software' started by azeluk, Dec 12, 2012.

Dec 12, 2012
  1. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I've just found out my ezfa cart and my xrom cart but I can't seem to find any of the cables for them, i'm currently doing a electronics course at uni so I'm pretty confident I could make one but I don't know where to start or even if it would work with windows 7 does any one know how I can make a cable for my gba micro to flash these carts.

    Or does any one know where in the UK I can get a flash cart like a ezflash vi.

    Many thanks.
     
  2. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Afraid I am not sure what goes as far as UK shops and flash carts these days, there are some good shops in Europe though (I am in a bit of a rush but if you find any of the recent "where can I buy an EZ4?" threads I will have dropped a couple of links).

    The cables themselves never had specs released that I know of (and you are not the first one to wander up to here looking for info) and the little bit of RE that was done/release says they were some odd variation on USB to serial* rather than something common (likely nothing outside what you could probably do with a teensy or arduino but a lack of specs or even a starting point does not do well) . Windows 7 would probably involve making fancy drivers as well so most people have taken to using a VM these days (passthrough USB and such is quite functional).

    *some of those old NOR chips are as odd as any modern low power FPGA in terms of clocks, voltages and whatever else being necessary before you even get to the write protocol. That said I would probably try for datasheets (not sure if the things were sanded or had fake screening put on) and go from there if I did. It is probably not that necessary as you can still get loaders and patching software ( http://www.no-intro.org/tools.htm ) but those things are a bit more known.

    It will likely not help much but if you do want some links
    http://www.ziegler.desaign.de/GBA/gba.htm and http://www.devrs.com/gba/files/mbv2faqs.php
     
  3. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    Looks pretty much impossible :-( oh well back to emulation I guess :-(, just out of curiosity do you know anything about the k101 revo? Does that come with a flash cart.
     
  4. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    To the best of my knowledge it comes with a device specific cart which works fine on the revo but is not a full flash cart in the traditional sense and will do nothing on a regular GBA/DS.
     
  5. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    So I had a clear out the other day and I found an ancient t laptop with xp installed and i've found my cables for me xrom and ezfa cart :-D OMG I'm in gba heaven again and i've got both my micros and gba sp :-D soooooooooohappy rright now.

    Only other question I've been using gbsp on my psp will my xrom and ezfa cart be able to use the save files from it.
     
  6. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Nice, if you are so inclined 5 minutes with a logic analyser (or probably even a half decent scope) and a soft USB protocol analyser will probably help the next person this happens.

    I assume I do not have to make the distinction between savestate and regular in game save. I can't say that I have ever had to go from PSP to legacy flash cart, worst case scenario as I see it is the PSP compresses saves (why it would do so I have no idea when the largest saves would not trouble a megabyte and most are sub kilobyte) and the more likely but still not direct transfer scenario is the PSP emulator sticks a header/footer onto the save (if it is not a power of 2 size then yeah) which is solved by ten seconds and a hex editor (and after that a batch file with something like filecutter- http://crackerscrap.com/ click projects).
    The only other outside possibility is the EEPROM saves are interleaved but that is usually only a problem if you rip saves from actual carts.
     
  7. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    Thank you for all your help, but one last question I've stupidly been playing a us version when I should have been playing the eu game so I can trade with my friends :-( is there a way to change region of the save file?.

    P. S. I'm still very new at hex, if I struggle could you help me out.
     
  8. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    On hex- my general process would have been to have the PSP make a few saves from new games, make a few in VBA on the PC and make a few on your carts. Compare the lot and it should be fairly obvious if there is an extra header.

    As for cross region... try it (do also try trading as that might still work- there is VBAlink and vba-m which can do linking for many games and might give you an idea if your friends are not available). Sometimes they work flawlessly, sometimes they work with minor errors (especially Japanese to not Japanese) and other times they do not work at all. What stops them from working could be a simple fix or it could require a massive reverse engineering project. If nothing else a combination of VBA's speedup button and some cheats can usually see rapid progress made or at least a fair bit of grinding done.
     
  9. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    Damn it I've hit a snag :-( my xrom cable isn't working but my ezfa is :-) is there Any way I can use my ezfa cable to write to my xrom cart........ Please say there is.
     
  10. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    They were both to the GBA serial port no? In that case the GBA link protocol is what is likely used (it uses multiboot and then just transfers there).

    If so I do not see why not but you may have to hack the XROM software to disable any checks to see if it has an official cable. The XROM was an odd cart back when (pretty much F2A, EZFlash or EZFA (different to EZFlash) or nothing. I had a quick look around the remaining info sites and usual suspects for programs (littlewriter and such like) where it seems you are out of luck.
    Again though there is probably no hardware reason why it would not work but software is a different matter, if you are going to fire up a copy of OllyDbg/IDA then I can probably give you some pointers to look out for (right now I am trying to decide if it would be worth hacking the XROM software to use EZFA drivers or get the EZFA to send the XROM multiboot program and work from there (I would be surprised if either have proper flash memory protocol checks to have to work around). It was around this time the Chinese flash cart companies learned of obfuscation though so it might be more than a "my first applied assembly programming project" that it could be.

    Before going on though do the basic continuity checks of the wires and their connections- sometimes it is the chips but they are fairly basic so it is more often the wires that go in these things (especially if it is has spent the last few years being slightly strained in a box). Similarly if you can try using a powered USB hub or something (old laptop USB tends to be a bit problematic* in terms of being able to push the requisite voltages and currents with these sorts of devices that have a rather loose interpretation of the USB spec).

    *if nothing else said old laptops often actually do the part of the spec that says "only allowed 100mA or so until IDed at which point up to 500mA" that most modern USB ports do not bother with.
     
  11. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    So I finally got my xrom cable to work :-) so I flashed pokemon leaf green to both my ezfa and xrom cart, it works flawlessly on my xrom with any. Sav file I load to it, however my ezfa would not load the game, I would only get a white screen so I looked at the xrom flash and little writer had patched the rom and seam so I backed up the rom off the xrom cart and re-flashed my ezfa and the game loaded but with the warning save file corrupted but the game still loaded and with the save file but when I try to save the game crashes :-(, i've tried different save types I've tried the card as single boot and multi boot but still the same problem. Any advice at all.
     
  12. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    I believe the EZFA stopped being updated long before the GBA scene became easy to work with so I am not sure the software is up to the task (and pokemon saves are a pain at the best of times)- try the GBATA SRAM patcher ( http://www.no-intro.org/tools.htm ) and then stop any patching you can on the EZFA software- you effectively did something like it when you ripped it back from your XROM.

    It might also be that you have a dodgy SRAM chip on the EZFA but ponder that one later.
     
  13. azeluk
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    Newcomer azeluk Member

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    Cheers for the reply but I've tried gbata and still the same problem :-( I'm pretty sure the chips good as the other games work fine on it, i've got a feeling it could just be the general software. It's a bit frustrating but at least it works on my xrom I suppose
     
  14. DanTheManMS

    Member DanTheManMS aka Ricochet Otter

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    If you're still curious, you could try seeing if FlashManager would be up to the task of flashing an X-rom with the "wrong" type of cable. I know you said you got the X-rom cable to work, but this piece of software is always good to have on-board. I've used it to back up save files from official GBA game carts using my F2A USB cable. http://mootan.hg.to/fmgba/
     
  15. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    Damn, I had forgotten mootan did a lot more than turn the EZFlash linkers into GB/GBC dumping tools.
     
  16. DanTheManMS

    Member DanTheManMS aka Ricochet Otter

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    Yeah, that program is amazing. It basically completely separates the two processes of having the right linker cable and being able to flash the card, if that makes any sense at all. When someone sent me a free "dead" F2A cart when I bought their USB cable, I used FlashManager to dump the contents of the cart to find that it truly was dead, as it could only correctly flash every other 2-byte chunk of data.

    But now I'm curious. How did Mootan turn the EZFlash linkers into GB/GBC dumping tools? Does that cover just game roms or save files as well? I'd love to transfer over my Game Boy Camera save file since it contains an old image of my late cat Boots (and I believe kiGB can run the Game Boy Camera ROM properly), but I only have a GBA, not a GB or GBC.
     
  17. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip
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    http://mootan.hg.to/fmgbx/ez_fmgbx.html has more on it- the idea is not really that different so most of it was voltage and signals tweaking rather than any proper logic. I do not believe it works on the EZ3 or the later variation of linkers the EZTeam made (if you had to use EZMode you are out of luck) but I could be wrong.
     

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