Tutorial  Updated

Flashing prototype DS firmware on real hardware

Hey all. I was looking for how to flash the prototype firmwares and couldn't find any good guide. I decided to write one instead. Enjoy!

Note that there is a chance of bricking your console. In addition, if done incorrectly this will break all wireless communications, and may break some games. I am not liable for any damage caused through this guide. By following this guide, you accept that you are responsible for anything that happens to your console.

Refer to this shitty ASCII table to see if this will work on your console:
Code:
---------------------------------------------|
|          ||  040615  |  40820D  |   X2B    |
=============================================|
| DS Lite  ||  WORKS*  |  WORKS   |  WORKS   |
---------------------------------------------|
| DS Phat  ||  WORKS*  |  WORKS   | UNTESTED |
---------------------------------------------|
*the firmware itself runs fine, but the touchscreen won't work in games. This is likely due to using prototype touchscreen configuration.

Requirements

- Flashcart​

- DS phat or DS lite​

- Screwdriver or tinfoil​

- FlashMe (not required, though highly recommended. I haven't used it but I'm an idiot.)

Setup​

1. Download the prototype firmware (go find it yourself, I can't post it here)
2. There should be a .bin file in your downloaded firmware. Rename it to cfw.bin.
3. Create a folder on the root of your flashcart's SD card called firmwares and copy cfw.bin to that.

4. Download fwManager.zip* at the bottom of this guide. (this is the tool we'll use to flash the firmware)
5. Extract fwManager.nds from fwManager.zip and copy it to the root of your flashcart's SD card.

Fixing Wireless Communications​

Each firmware copy contains WiFi board specific data that lets it connect wirelessly. This data cannot be moved from one WiFi board to another, or you will be unable to connect online or in multiplayer games. To solve this, we will back up the original data and copy it over to the new firmware we’ll be flashing.

1. Dump your DS firmware with DSBF_dump.nds. (use a flashcart for this)
2. Open the dumped firmware in a hex editor. It will be called something like "FWD7F1EE.BIN", and is found on the root of your flashcart SD card.
3. Select offset 0x2A to 0x1FF and copy it.

1678852151289.png


4. Open the prototype firmware (cfw.bin) in the hex editor.
5. Select offset 0x2A to 0x1FF on the prototype firmware and paste the data from before.
6. Save and overwrite the edited firmware.

Installation​

1. Launch your flashcart on your DS, then run fwManager.nds. Follow the on screen instructions, but don't start writing to the console!
2. If you were start writing, you'd notice that nothing happens. This is because the console memory is write protected. To disable it, open up the battery cover. (see images in spoiler below)
SL1-phat.png
image.png
WARNING: Make sure to not short a DS Lite (can happen by touching the metal point right next to SL1). Use an improvised tool that is insulated to the sides and only leaves metal exposed at the tip. (thanks KleinesSinchen)
3. Locate the SL1 pin. You'll notice there are two metal pads that make up the SL1. We need to bridge them (connect them together). This can be done by holding a small flathead screwdriver (or another metallic material) to both pads.

If you're unable to bride SL1 by hand for the duration of writing, you may want to consider soldering SL1 together. This will keep SL1 in write mode until you desolder.

ANOTHER WARNING: DO NOT remove the battery at any time during writing. You will BRICK YOUR CONSOLE (see the green text below for unbricking)
4. Once bridged, you may start writing. You must keep SL1 bridged for the entire writing process.
5. When the writing is complete, unbridge SL1 and reboot the console.

Your console should now boot to the prototype firmware (it may take a couple seconds to load). If your console does not boot after a long period of time, you've likely bricked it. But don't worry, YOU CAN UNBRICK YOUR CONSOLE! Refer to this blog entry for info on how to restore a bricked DS. It's pretty easy to do.
image.png
1671901496644.png

*I only included a compiled version because the original creator required you to build everything yourself. Credits go to them for creating the tool https://github.com/CTurt/CFW-Suite

Guide written by rmc on 2022/12/24, and last updated 2023/03/16.
Thanks to @KleinesSinchen for helping to make this guide better.
 

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KleinesSinchen

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Nice!
Three things I want to add:
  • Please secure the battery against dropping out – a shame losing a device due to the battery falling down.
  • Make sure to not short a DS Lite (metal point right next to SL1). I recommend using an improvised tool that is insulated to the sides and only leaves metal exposed at the tip
  • A bricked DS Lite can be revived when having another firmware chip → Relevant blog entry by @The Catboy
 

rvtr

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What's the benefit of having custom firmware on a ds lite and are there multiple to choose from?
I don't know anything about changing firmware beyond the proto firmwares, but there are (currently) only 40820D and 040615.

As for benefits of these? None. With them breaking wireless, it's anything but a benefit. This is one of those things you do "just because."

EDIT: guide has been updated and wireless now works
 
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What's the benefit of having custom firmware on a ds lite and are there multiple to choose from?
Originally it was needed on DS because it broke wireless when using flashcarts. Like the games sent download play and local wireless unencrypted. The cfw allowed unencrypted wireless to be received iirc. It's not needed with later flashcarts.
 
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who wants this on real hardware?
A few people I know in various communities. Whenever something of this sort is released, you're gonna have a people who want more than just photos of the program- myself among them.

It may be silly, but there are plenty of silly people. I just want to make it easier and safer for everyone.
 

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A few people I know in various communities. Whenever something of this sort is released, you're gonna have a people who want more than just photos of the program- myself among them.

It may be silly, but there are plenty of silly people. I just want to make it easier and safer for everyone.
I like your intention :)
 
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I've just soldered the SL1 pins together to save myself from potentially dropping the battery or shorting the console. Probably not the best idea for a one time flash, but if you like to (stupidly) flash things often, it's a lot better.
 
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Apologies for the bump, just wanted to say that this has been tested on DS lite with the recent X2B prototype firmware. Everything is visually the same to retail and ejecting a cart in pictochat is just like v5 retail.
20230129_143438.jpg
 
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Hey all. I was looking for how to flash the prototype firmwares and couldn't find any good guide. I decided to write one instead. Enjoy!

Note that there is a chance of bricking your console. In addition, this will break all wireless communications, and may break some games. I am not liable for any damage caused through this guide. By following this guide, you accept that you are responsible for anything that happens to your console.

Refer to this shitty ASCII table to see if this will work on your console:
Code:
---------------------------------------------|
|          ||  040615  |  40820D  |   X2B    |
=============================================|
| DS Lite  ||  WORKS   |  WORKS   |  WORKS   |
---------------------------------------------|
| DS Phat  || UNTESTED |  WORKS   | UNTESTED |
---------------------------------------------|


Requirements

- Flashcart​

- DS phat or DS lite​

- Screwdriver or tinfoil​

- FlashMe (not required, though highly recommended. I haven't used it but I'm an idiot.)

Setup​

1. Download the prototype firmware (go find it yourself, I can't post it here)
2. There should be a .bin file in your downloaded firmware. Rename it to cfw.bin.
3. Create a folder on the root of your flashcart's SD card called firmwares and copy cfw.bin to that.

4. Download fwManager.zip* at the bottom of this guide. (this is the tool we'll use to flash the firmware)
5. Extract fwManager.nds from fwManager.zip and copy it to the root of your flashcart's SD card.

Installation​

1. Launch your flashcart on your DS, then run fwManager.nds. Follow the on screen instructions, but don't start writing to the console!
2. If you were start writing, you'd notice that nothing happens. This is because the console memory is write protected. To disable it, open up the battery cover. (see images in spoiler below)
SL1-phat.png
image.png
WARNING: Make sure to not short a DS Lite (can happen by touching the metal point right next to SL1). Use an improvised tool that is insulated to the sides and only leaves metal exposed at the tip. (thanks KleinesSinchen)
3. Locate the SL1 pin. You'll notice there are two metal pads that make up the SL1. We need to bridge them (connect them together). This can be done by holding a small flathead screwdriver (or another metallic material) to both pads.

ANOTHER WARNING: DO NOT remove the battery at any time during writing. You will BRICK YOUR CONSOLE (see the green text below for unbricking)
4. Once bridged, you may start writing. You must keep SL1 bridged for the entire writing process.
5. When the writing is complete, unbridge SL1 and reboot the console.

Your console should now boot to the prototype firmware (it may take a couple seconds to load). If your console does not boot after a long period of time, you've likely bricked it. But don't worry, YOU CAN UNBRICK YOUR CONSOLE! Refer to this blog entry for info on how to restore a bricked DS. It's pretty easy to do.
image.png
View attachment 344202
*I only included a compiled version because the original creator required you to build everything yourself. Credits go to them for creating the tool https://github.com/CTurt/CFW-Suite

Guide written by IanSkinner1982/rmc on 2022/12/24.
Thanks to @KleinesSinchen for helping to make this guide better.
Oh nice thats the firmware I dumped (bottom photo), cool to see it working on other hardware :)
 

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