GBA and NDS Test Cartridges

Discussion in 'GBA - Hardware, Devices and Utilities' started by Localhorst86, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Localhorst86
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    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    As some of you might recently have seen in the blog section of gbatemp, I got my hands on a box containing a white gamecube with an additional purple top shell which seems to be brand new, a GB micro and few Test Cartridges for the GB, GBA and NDS.

    I decided to check out the GBA cartridges and record what they do (I wont be sharing the ROMs here as they are surely copyrighted by Nintendo). The video I made also contains the NDS Cart for fun.

    Here's my Rundown of the cartridges:

    -----------------------------
    GBA Cards
    -----------------------------

    The first thing you'll notice about the GBA Cartridges is the interesting color scheme. All 7 Test cartridges come with a regular black GBA front and a yellow backside which is unlike any GBA game I have seen. It closely resembles the color I remember the Pokemon yellow cartridges to be, even though I can't verify it since I don't own that GB Game anymore. The japanese text on the front label translates to "Aging cartridge", four of these test cartridges will boot into a Key Input Test, the other three will boot into a Flicker Adjuster. Upon dumping all 7 cartridges I found out that the 16Mbit ROMs an all 7 cartridges are identical, all roms have the exact same checksum. The game title in the header is "AGB CHECKER TCHK 10". The cartridges contain a 4k eeprom save chip which determines the function of the cartridge.

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    The EEPROM save
    -----------------------------

    The EEPROM contains a 512 byte save of which only 26 bytes are used, a further 6 bytes are filled with 00 and the rest is padded with FFs. Byte 0x0F will determine the function of the cartridge. Here's a table of which value will produce which result. Note that byte 0x19 also needs to be altered as it contains a simple checksum. I will list the correct value for this as well.

    Code:
    Programm              0x0F  0x19
    Menu                   01    80
    LCD Unit Checker       02    7F
    Flicker Adjuster       03    7E
    Aging Cartridge        04    7D
    Self Test Cartridge    05    7C
    Key Input Test         06    7B
    Anything beyond 06 will cause a blank screen. Wiping the save from the acrtridge or an invalid checksum will cause the cart to fall into the "AGS Aging Cartiridge" Mode, which is the same as the "Aging Cartridge" Menu except it will have a timer of 2h if run from the menu, 3h if initiliased by a blank/invalid save. After the 3 hours have passed my GBM would turn to sleep mode (screen turns off, start/select flashing). After waking the device using the start button the aging test would continue indefinatly, I don't know if this is intended behaviour of the programm or if the GBM has an automated sleep function that was causing this.

    The menu allows you to run various tests, including the Key Input Test and Flicker Adjuster my cartridges initially were set up with.

    The menu can be accessed by holding L+R on boot up which allows us to configure any of the cartridges. Same manipulation is no longer needed, the savegames cannot be created "on the fly".

    -----------------------------
    Compatibility
    -----------------------------

    After I dumped the contents of the cartridges, I decided to try a few things. The ROMs can be flashed or run from Flash Cartridges like the Flash2Advance or the EZ-Flash IV without any issues. The cartridges work fine on a AGB-001, and ABG-001 with an AGS-101 screen, an AGS-001 and an OXY-001 (Game Boy Micro). Compatibility with VBA, batgba and the Revo K101+ is limited. It works fine if set to the menu, LCD Unit Checker, Flicker Adjuster, Self Test Cartridge or Key Input test, however the Aging Cartridge Mode (or a blank save) will not work. The system is doing various tests (Memory, Screen, Interupts etc.) before running that test which fails on VBA, BATGBA, the Revo K101+ and mGBA.

    Aging Cartridge Mode Compatibility List

    So, Interesting to see, even though this will probably not be usefull at all. But I thought maybe someone is interested in a short overview. Attached are some pictures and a link to a youtube video containing a short preview of what these cartridges do (Video currently still uploading to youtube. Be patient).

    PS: Info on the NTR and GB cards might come in the future as well, if you guys are interested.

     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by Localhorst86, Jul 19, 2017
  2. Todderbert

    Todderbert Korg Fanboy

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    These are cool. Would love if they were ever made public. I know you can buy a GB test cart, but have not seen these.
     
  3. Localhorst86
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    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I do have two GB test cartridges and an additional GBA Cart (I just noticed the black cartridge in this picture is actually a GBA cart) as well.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

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    I'd love to own those cartridges.
    Prevents me from using flashcards to test handhelds in me gamestore.
     
    PokeAcer likes this.
  5. JCR1

    JCR1 GBAtemp Regular

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    looks useful for testing buttons, where I can find the agb test rom?
     
  6. Localhorst86
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    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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  7. JCR1

    JCR1 GBAtemp Regular

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    thank you!
     
  8. siamese

    siamese GBAtemp Regular

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    PS: Info on the NTR and GB cards might come in the future as well, if you guys are interested.

    yes, I am! please do record what does that ntr card does! Thx
     
  9. Localhorst86
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    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    You can see the NTR card in the video as well. I am still fiddling around with it to see what it all does and if I can manipulate it in the same manner as the GBA cards.
     
  10. Localhorst86
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    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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  11. Ryccardo

    Ryccardo WiiUaboo

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    Never heard of this (and unlikely since not all programs can be spontaneously paused... think of anything using external accessories), it's most likely built into the software
     
  12. Localhorst86
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    Localhorst86 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    It is. Whatever duration you set the aging test to, it will go to sleep afterwards. But after waking up, the aging test continues.