How NOT to hack a 3DS. A comedy of errors and mistakes.

Discussion in '3DS - ROM Hacking, Translations and Utilities' started by Sarthax, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    To start off, thanks to GBATEMP community. You guys are a huge fountain of knowledge and discussion. I never had anything to contribute until now.

    This story starts with an easily avoidable mistake but easy to make. I had 2 O3DS and a Gateway card. I wanted to get my second O3DS running on a newer emunand version and went to update from a Super Smash Brother's Rom to use the bundled update. From what I read it should have gone smoothly but afterwards I end up with a black screen.

    I was completely puzzled as to what happened and chalked it up to a corrupted firmware as I had this problem on my other 3DS when booting into EMUNAND but was able to just reboot it back to SYSNAND and create a new EMUNAND partition.

    So back to the blackscreen. I reboot. Nothing, still blackscreen. I take out the SD Card, nothing. At somepoint I formatted the SD card thinking something was corrupt on there, nothing.

    What happened was, I made EMUNAND partion on O3DS #1 but not on #2. I compeltely thought I had done this. The whole time I was just using it in normal Gatewaymode. This causes a brick if there's no EMUNAND partition to write to. As far as I know there's no way to recover from this unless you flash a backup via hardware.

    So I had wisely made nand.bin backsup of all my 3DS and copied them to my HDD and kept a copy on the SD cards just incase I ever needed it. Now to do a hardware mod and get it back on. It took me a few days of research, ordering a new soldering iron since mine had a shitty tip and was too hot and I needed the precision and control for the small pads on the logic board.

    It took a bit of doing and the wires were all labeled and soldered on and taped down. Just needed to get it to blue screen and ready to restore my backup.

    But the damn thing wouldn't mount in windows. I tried to load the NAND.bin in the imager app but it never would detect the 3DS. After trying a few different card readers and taking a break and reading up more I found out the SD card pins to the micro SD slot adapter don't match 1 for 1 on the SD pins and I needed to adjust the CMD wire over one.

    So I plug it in and wait. Viola, it mounts. I'm good to go. Back to disk imager. I load up the imager and do a test read and it works. Now I pick nand.bin and go to write. Error message. This file contains no data... WTF?

    During my previous attempts and being incredibly frustrated, I had loaded nand.bin and "READ" over my backup file and it was now 0 bytes.... Ok no problem I have my backup SD card with nand.bin.. OH WAIT I FORMATTED IT AND NEVER COPIED IT BACK OVER.

    I'm fucked at this point. Recuva and other data recovery apps failed to recover the nand.bin fileon the root of the SD card and on the HDD with the 0 byte file. I'm bricked. At every point in the process I made a fuck up.

    • I didn't ensure emunand partition when updating when in gatewaymode.
    • I formatted my SD backup card with nand.bin
    • I fucked up my wiring on SD hardware mod
    • I overwrote my BACKUP of my BACKUP leading to no backup nand.bin
    Please if you're going to dick around with your 3DS, learn from my mistakes and double and triple check everything you do. Keep 2-3 copies of your nand.bin file in different locations. Cloud storage if you can.

    At least I have my primary 3DS but now the other one is bricked as fuck. Until the day comes they get keys to sign a new firmware for any console, it's just a pile of parts.
     


  2. Ericzander

    Ericzander I used hax to get yellow name

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    Ouch... At least you have a good reaction about it and aren't blaming others. I'm sorry that happened to you man. Maybe you can sell it for parts? Can probably get a good 40 bucks or so on Ebay if you list it as broken.
     
  3. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    I wouldn't say I had a good reaction when I learned both backups were hosed. A lot of swearing, sulking, and having to accept defeat. It was a sure victory that I managed to completely bungle. I was literally jumping for joy when that damn thing mounted in diskimager and then jaw dropping to the floor a few minutes later when no nand.bin file. A roller coaster of emotions and grumpy. I was soooo close and that's what kills me the most. 1 step from the finish line.

    After much reflection though, I've come to accept what went wrong and just wanted to share and hopefully at one person can avoid my situation in the future or learn at least a little something.

    I actually think I'll try a snag a broken 3DS with a working mainboard and do a swap and get this one going again for under 40 bucks. I'm really debating if I should just sink that 40 bucks into an XL or something though. It's just principle at this point and I want to finish what I started and get it back up and going if you know what I mean.
     
  4. Nuzzgok

    Nuzzgok Advanced Member

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    I feel you man, I managed to mix up an emuNAND.bin and my actual NAND.bin the other day, I was also left with a paperweight console. I actually did go ahead and motherboard swap, I'd recommend it if you can get one for cheap.
     
  5. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    If a mod sees this, can you move this post to Flashcards & Customfirmwares as I got the wrong forum and this might be off topic here.

    Thanks.
     
  6. WateredFire19

    WateredFire19 Banned

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    Mario!! Where's ma BAGEL?!?!

    (Sorry i just had to)

    This might help (not my video):
     
  7. Ericzander

    Ericzander I used hax to get yellow name

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    There's a difference? When I backup my NAND using Gateway it only gives me one file.
     
  8. hundshamer

    hundshamer GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    It will not help. That is for fixing the old Gateway bricks.
     
  9. gamesquest1

    gamesquest1 Nabnut

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    nope, that not going to help (is my video :P)

    best hope he has is trying more data recovery tools, lots of them just do a scan for deleted files, try doing a full/deep scan using data recovery tools, and refrain from writing anything else to the HDD/SD where your old nand was stored, try getting a copy of getdataback for fat drives and scan the SD, assuming you havent been writing more stuff to the SD there is a good chance of getting the nand backup
     
  10. hundshamer

    hundshamer GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I wonder what firm his emuNAND was on before trying to update with SBB rom. If it's low enough can he not use that as a NAND backup?
     
  11. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    I used both Recuva and Get Back Data FAT. Nothing on the SD card has been written to, but it won't recover any files from the root. It recovered directories with EXDATA and DCIM folders. But the Root just shows as empty. I've done Deep Scan and nothing. The HDD I'm using can't recover since the file was already overwritten. Even if it's 0Bytes, it just can't find anything to recover. If anyone has any ideas for the SD card I'd love to hear it as it's my only chance here.
     
  12. gamesquest1

    gamesquest1 Nabnut

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    i think most tools probably either use file type detection or filesystem recovery.....if you where lucky the nand backup wouldn't of been fragmented and you could recover it manually by opening the drive in a hex editor and searching for NCSD to indicate the location of the nand.....but this would only work on the assumption the file was all stored together rather than fragmented across the SD

    as hundshamer said it might also be worth checking if your emunand is restoreable to sysnand, but this really depends on what FW you started off on and if you have updated it
     
  13. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    When I used SSB Rom on my EUMAND it was on a 4.5 and it blackscreened there. I never tried updating that one ever again for fear of something going wrong on SYSNAND. I want it clean on 4.5. This is why I was messing with the second one I picked up to try and get it on a newer firmware to play newer games.

    The second one was 6.5 and when doing the update is when it blackscreened. I can still pull data from the bricked console. I assume there was nothing that could be done to edit or decrypt to fix this issue.
     
  14. gamesquest1

    gamesquest1 Nabnut

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    if you still have the SD with emunand on you would be able to extract that using emunand tool and flash it back to sysnand

    https://gbatemp.net/threads/emunand-tool-release-and-support-thread.359239/
     
  15. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    Nope. There was no emunand partition setup on it and that's the card that was formatted. That's where the sysnand.bin backup was after it was dumped with gateway.
     
  16. gamesquest1

    gamesquest1 Nabnut

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    oh ok so no nand backup, no emunand.....so back to data recovery being your only option....what size was the SD card?
     
  17. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    The 2GB one it came with stock.
     
  18. Nuzzgok

    Nuzzgok Advanced Member

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    I can't flash my emuNAND to my sysnand, it just bricks it.
     
  19. Sarthax
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    Sarthax Newbie

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    That's pretty much what happened to me. I was in gateway mode and it flashed to sysnand. I remember reading something about some code or changes being injected into the nand that causes it not to boot and it's not compatible with sysnand.
     
  20. Ericzander

    Ericzander I used hax to get yellow name

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    Okay, how do I extract the sysNAND then?