Flash Cart Recommendations in 2022?

MintedClean

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To get the obvious question out of the way, I cannot install CFW the normal way. My 3DS is soft-bricked. The home menu displays nothing but a black screen, and no workaround I've found has resolved this issue. I can boot into games and the system update menu with button combinations easily enough, but attempting to update just returns an error. Strangely enough, this soft brick happened despite me never hacking my 3DS in the first place. My only option, other than buying an entire new 3DS, is to use a flash cart to try and resolve issues that way.

The problem is, I am unsure where to start in finding a good flash cart. The nds-card website seems to have mixed reviews in recent days, and the 3ds hacks guide website does not point me in many other directions. I'm aware of a list found on reddit that describes various good carts, but it's quite ambiguous as to which ones would actually help me. While I only really need a flash cart that can unbrick my system, having one that can avoid issues like timebombs. I'm skeptical of AliExpress links due to the difficulty of telling which carts are and aren't clones, as well as which sellers can really be trusted.

I ask anyone with good, recent knowledge of flash carts to share their advice in this thread. Is there an unquestionably reputable location or seller in 2022 where someone like me could obtain a cart to unbrick my 3DS? If you purchased such a flash cart, how well has it been working so far? If the only available carts are the ones with timebombs, could you provide a link or tips about "defusing" them? Finally, if all else fails, is there a way to unbrick my 3DS without a flash cart?
 

Zaldbathar

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Everything i have seen suggests the Acekart i2 is good, there are a few people selling them on ebay that actually show full pics of the cart so you can see it's legit. Never buy a cart where the seller wont show pics of both sides clearly.
 
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RHOPKINS13

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I'd recommend getting one of the carts listed for ntrboot: https://3ds.hacks.guide/ntrboot

I assume that since you never hacked your 3DS in the first place, you don't have a NAND backup. If you can find a good stock image (they are out there in the wild), you may be able to restore it with CTRTransfer and fix your softbrick. That being said, you'll lose any game saves you have, unless you back them up first.

It's really strange that the system update function isn't working for you. Having done no prior modifications, I have to wonder whether you've got a faulty NAND or something.
 
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CoolMe

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I'd recommend getting one of the carts listed for ntrboot: https://3ds.hacks.guide/ntrboot
Yes, but he needs to get another system like a DS/DSi or another 3DS to set it up.
I assume that since you never hacked your 3DS in the first place, you don't have a NAND backup. If you can find a good stock image (they are out there in the wild), you may be able to restore it with CTRTransfer and fix your softbrick.
Actually that's not good advice at all, restoring a nand image from a different 3DS is a guaranteed brick. On the other hand doing a CTRTransfer is a good idea. Though with all the lack of details from OP to what caused this issue, and what state the 3ds is in, it might work or not at all..
 

lifehackerhansol

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To get the obvious question out of the way, I cannot install CFW the normal way. My 3DS is soft-bricked. The home menu displays nothing but a black screen, and no workaround I've found has resolved this issue. I can boot into games and the system update menu with button combinations easily enough, but attempting to update just returns an error. Strangely enough, this soft brick happened despite me never hacking my 3DS in the first place. My only option, other than buying an entire new 3DS, is to use a flash cart to try and resolve issues that way.

The problem is, I am unsure where to start in finding a good flash cart. The nds-card website seems to have mixed reviews in recent days, and the 3ds hacks guide website does not point me in many other directions. I'm aware of a list found on reddit that describes various good carts, but it's quite ambiguous as to which ones would actually help me. While I only really need a flash cart that can unbrick my system, having one that can avoid issues like timebombs. I'm skeptical of AliExpress links due to the difficulty of telling which carts are and aren't clones, as well as which sellers can really be trusted.

I ask anyone with good, recent knowledge of flash carts to share their advice in this thread. Is there an unquestionably reputable location or seller in 2022 where someone like me could obtain a cart to unbrick my 3DS? If you purchased such a flash cart, how well has it been working so far? If the only available carts are the ones with timebombs, could you provide a link or tips about "defusing" them? Finally, if all else fails, is there a way to unbrick my 3DS without a flash cart?
Hello, I'm one of the writers of that reddit guide.

In your case, unless you have another console on hand, you will need a cartridge with ntrboot pre-flashed. There's only really one reliable place to get them: https://nds-card.com/ProShow.asp?ProID=574

Aliexpress sellers are usually fine whoever you get it from, but it doesn't help in your situation since they don't sell pre-flashed ones. (and ones that are compatible don't work on the latest system version without CFW.)

You might find better help on this matter over at Nintendo Homebrew Discord: https://discord.gg/C29hYvh
 

MintedClean

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I assume that since you never hacked your 3DS in the first place, you don't have a NAND backup. If you can find a good stock image (they are out there in the wild), you may be able to restore it with CTRTransfer and fix your softbrick.

From the information I could find, a CTRTransfer is not available for non-hacked systems. The method on the 3DS hacks guide only shows a method using GodMode9, which I obviously cannot launch into. Is there another method that I missed during my search?

In your case, unless you have another console on hand, you will need a cartridge with ntrboot pre-flashed. There's only really one reliable place to get them:

Like I said, I was apprehensive about nds-card due to unhappy reviews in the past few years. The most recent discussion about it is a reddit thread warning that it's a scam website and people have not received carts they paid for. This is in addition to insistence by the review replies stating the above card does not have a timebomb, even though the 3DS hacks guide states that it does. There's just a lot of conflicting information going around, but if you believe nds-card is still the best bet, then it seems like that won't change anytime soon. I might check on the discord some time in the future to confirm, but I doubt I'll get a different answer.

With R4 cards apparently out of production and few people willing to make as widespread and trustworthy of a similar product, I figure my best bet is to bite the bullet and go with nds-card or wait until the 3DS is truly "dead" enough. I'll likely do the former, and if I manage to get things working, I'll do my best to notify the thread. If I don't write back in this thread, either I never received the cartridge or the method failed. I can only hope this thread becomes irrelevant before too long in the future due to some alternate flash cart or softbrick fixing method being discovered.

Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!
 

lifehackerhansol

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I might check on the discord some time in the future to confirm, but I doubt I'll get a different answer.
That Discord has 2 people (myself included) who ships out flashcarts pre-flashed with ntrboot to users who really need them. It may be feasible to reach out to them, because frankly I don't trust nds-card either.
 
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sombrerosonic

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I assume that since you never hacked your 3DS in the first place, you don't have a NAND backup. If you can find a good stock image (they are out there in the wild),
That would brick it...... hope you have a DS to flash a flashcart or use a Ace3DS X, best idea is to buy a Ace3DS X they come preflash and you use it with a switch.
 

lifehackerhansol

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That would brick it...... hope you have a DS to flash a flashcart or use a Ace3DS X, best idea is to buy a Ace3DS X they come preflash and you use it with a switch.
CTRTransfers don't brick consoles, what are you saying? This has been the approved method of a simple unbrick for a long time now.

You still need ntrboot anyway, since console is borked. Also, no one sells Ace3DS Xs anymore.
 

Hayato213

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I'd recommend getting one of the carts listed for ntrboot: https://3ds.hacks.guide/ntrboot

I assume that since you never hacked your 3DS in the first place, you don't have a NAND backup. If you can find a good stock image (they are out there in the wild), you may be able to restore it with CTRTransfer and fix your softbrick. That being said, you'll lose any game saves you have, unless you back them up first.

It's really strange that the system update function isn't working for you. Having done no prior modifications, I have to wonder whether you've got a faulty NAND or something.

Can't CTRTransfer since he has no CFW.
 

lifehackerhansol

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No flashing some rando nand on your console, that BRICKS it.
A CTRTransfer is a stock NAND image. With console-unique data removed. There's nothing different about a CTRTransfer and a NAND image other than that a CTRTransfer image has a few files deliberately removed.

Also you can use a donor NAND image, though that is for much deeper level bricks, which we haven't gotten to yet (and console is permanently stuck with CFW afterwards which in 2022 I wouldn't understand why people wouldn't want it.)
 

sombrerosonic

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A CTRTransfer is a stock NAND image. With console-unique data removed. There's nothing different about a CTRTransfer and a NAND image other than that a CTRTransfer image has a few files deliberately removed.

Also you can use a donor NAND image, though that is for much deeper level bricks, which we haven't gotten to yet (and console is permanently stuck with CFW afterwards which in 2022 I wouldn't understand why people wouldn't want it.)
Oh, fuck. my bad i thought he would just flash some rando nand. sorry, my bad
 

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