Tutorial  Updated

How to install iQue firmware on a non-iQue DS lite

This guide was built for this this blog entry. Check it out!

How to install iQue firmware on a non-iQue DS lite
This guide also works for installing korean firmware. Please note that there isn't much use to installing korean or iQue firmware, besides being able to brag about having done this mod...
THIS GUIDE WAS WRITTEN FOR DS LITE ONLY!
(this can be done with phat models but the WiFi boards are harder to remove and impossible to find replacement parts for, making this risky if you brick. I can provide assistance below for phats, but please don't ask for a proper guide...)

1678853987003.png

This guide will walk you through turning your america/japan/europe region DS lite into an iQue DS. You will do this by writing to and replacing a flash chip inside the WiFi board. The WiFi board can be removed and replaced with a non-iQue one at any time, restoring your console to “normal” firmware.

Prerequisites:​

- a soldering iron and flux
- a DS lite WiFi board
- a DS cartridge with a 512kb flash save (see this list for compatible donor carts)
- a DS flashcart
- experience working with small electronics

======================================================================

Step 1 - Fixing wireless:​

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. 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 an iQue firmware dump in the hex editor.
5. Select offset 0x2A to 0x1FF on the iQue firmware and paste the data from before.
6. Save the edited iQue firmware to your SD as "ique.sav"

Step 2 - Removing the WiFi board shell:​

Your WiFi board different from the one below? That's okay! See the spoiler below:
There are two main types of DS lite WiFi boards. You may find you have the less common one shown below. If so, skip this section. You'll need to remove all sides of the shell and you'll have to figure out how on your own. I don't own enough of that type to destroy and write up a good way of opening...
1678851094893.png
1678851112027.png
1714200208323.png
1714200219815.png

2. While the solder is molten, gently pry up that corner of the shield until it is no longer making contact with the PCB.
1714200238397.png

3. Work your way around the rest of the corners. Be sure not to lift the shield up too far, otherwise you could pull apart the WiFi board.
4. The shield should just slide off.
1714200254169.png

Step 3 - Removing the WiFi board flash chip:​

Now we will remove the flash chip with the original firmware. This is a delicate process, as there are multiple small capacitors near the chip, so take care not to burn/melt/tear them off.

1. Apply a small amount of flux to the pins of the chip.
2. Insert a small flat tool between the chip and the board, then melt one side of the chip's pins.
1714200498574.png

3. While the solder is molten, lift up the one side of the chip with your tool until it is no longer making contact with the PCB. Do NOT lift it so far that you bend off the pins on the other side.
4. Melt the solder on the other pins and slide the chip off the board.
1714200514205.png

Step 4 - Flashing the iQue firmware:​

We will now flash the iQue firmware to the DS cartridge flash chip. This is done by restoring it as a save file.

1. Open gm9i on your flashcart.
2. Navigate to “ique.sav” and press A. (ique.sav was created in the first section)
3. Select “Restore save (Slot-1)” and press A.
4. gm9i will ask you to eject your flashcart and insert the DS game. Do so now.
5. Press A and wait for the firmware to be loaded.
If you get an error, your DS cart is not 512kb and this guide will not work. Refer to this list for compatible donor carts. If your cart was one of the ones on the list and still did not work, email me at “[email protected]
4. After you’ve successfully flashed the firmware, eject your cartridge.

Step 5 - Removing the DS cartridge flash chip:​

This is done in the exact same way as removing the WiFi board’s save chip. Note that you will have to be more careful depending on your donor cart, as many of the boards are more populated and you’ve got a higher chance of melting something off.

1. Apply a small amount of flux to the pins of the chip.
2. Insert a small flat tool between the chip and the board, then melt one side of the chip's pins.
3. While the solder is molten, lift up the one side of the chip with your tool until it is no longer making contact with the PCB. Do NOT lift it so far that you bend off the pins on the other side.
4. Melt the solder on the other pins and slide the chip off the board.

Step 6 - Attaching the new flash chip to the WiFi board:​

We will now take the 512kb save chip we flashed with iQue firmware and put it in the WiFi board.

1. Start by placing your chip on the WiFi board. It needs the the right way around or it will not work. Most chips will have a small dimple located on the top. This must be facing the top left of the board (see image below for reference)
If your chip does not have this marking, notice how the text is lined up below and try to replicate that.
1714200885968.png

If your board is the different one mentioned before, the dimple will be facing the bottom right, as is shown below:
2x_dimple.png
2. Once your chip is aligned, firmly hold it on the board and solder any one pin.
1714201171963.png

3. Check that all other pins are properly lined up. If they are not, desolder the one pin and try again
4. Solder the remaining pins onto the board

Step 7 - Testing the “iQue” WiFi board​

Before closing the WiFi board, we must check to make sure there are no errors.

1. Plug the WiFi board into the DS lite
2. Boot the console and test the following:
  1. Does it turn on?
  2. Can it run games (DS and GBA)?
  3. Do multiplayer games connect?
  4. Does the touchscreen work? (note: you will need to calibrate the touchscreen the first time you use the firmware)
3. If any of the above tests failed, stop following the guide and please reply to this thread with your issue or contact me at [email protected]
4. If all tests passed, please continue.

Step 8 - Reassembling the WiFi board (optional)​

We will finish off by placing the metal shield back of the WiFi board. While optional, this is recommended to keep your WiFi board safe.

1. Line up the metal shield on the WiFi board and solder one pin down.
2. Check that everything is lined up, and adjust if needed.
3. Solder the remaining pins.
4. Celebrate, ‘cause you’re done! Welcome to your new iQue DS lite.

Notes for using the iQue firmware:​

- The touch screen will need to be calibrated after flashing, so don’t worry if the touch screen isn’t working properly at the start
- Some tools like fwManager will fail when flashing iQue firmware. Do not edit the firmware afterwards unless you are willing to risk bricking the WiFi board!

Thanks to…​

- xp, for showing me how to fix wireless
- ufo, for this silly idea
- Scarlett Haze, for finding a list of donor carts
- this random blog, for showing that WiFi board flash chips are compatible with cartridge saves
 
Last edited by rvtr,

rvtr

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rvtr

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Are there any benefits to the iQue firmware over stock firmware or FlashMe v8, or is this mod more of just a flex?
Mostly just a flex. There's the benefit of everything being in chinese, and also being able to run iQue games... not that you can't just change a single byte in a 256kb firmware to get past that restriction.
 

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IQue firmware I think isn't the only firmware using 512KB size. South Korean DS consoles apparently use one too judging from the archived firmware dumps I found. Not sure what benefit you'd get from using this for that as I'm not sure there's any notable difference with Korean firmware besides Korean being the default language. (unlike iQue though I think you could still select English/other languages in settings. Though not sure which language Korean replaced but English is still an available language on that firmware)

Better yet you could buy a South Korean DS for this conversion. Won't need any hardware mod to flash iQue to it since it already has a 512KB chipped Wifi board. All you'd need is this program to flash it natively to the console:

https://github.com/CTurt/CFW-Suite/tree/master/fwManager
(no compiled build for this. You'll have to do that yourself)

That's the only thing I've found that can flash custom firmware directly in a manner similar to the flashme installers.

At the very least you could use this to convert iQue DS to standard units without hardware modding. I can't forsee why you can't since the 256Kb firmwares will work fine on iQue firmware boards. (just maybe need to make sure to resize the 256KB firmware dump to have the second 256KB block contain dummy data....)
 
Last edited by Apache Thunder,
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moon_rabbit

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Are there any benefits to the iQue firmware over stock firmware or FlashMe v8, or is this mod more of just a flex?

I have several Japanese DS lite and wanted to replace them with Korean firmware.
I also have a few Korean DS lite, but I haven't taken them apart.
On the Korean DS lite, the Italian language has been changed to Korean.
 

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scheme_SPI45.jpg


45 series pin.jpg



I tried it today and it worked.

Just a few tips

aliexpress.com/item/1005005034769839.html
ds lite network card 1pcs - 0.23$
aliexpress.com/item/1005004535661601.html
LE25FW403ATT 5pcs - 4.92$

Get an LE25FW403A or M45PE40.
network card,
CH341A programmer,
sop8 board(Usually included when buying ch341a),
several dupont cables,
breadboard,
neoprogrammer(You can find it on Google).

Caution.
Never plug it directly into the CH341A.


M45PE40 and LE25FW403A have the pin configuration of the spi 45 series, so you have to connect them manually.
I connected them with the dupont cables as shown in the first picture.

After running neoprogrammer, you can select the M45PE40 and write the firmware.
You can't select LE25FW403A from neoprogrammer.
However, there is no problem because the commands are compatible.

This is possible without using DS cartridge.

DS LITE may have a version of the network card that is completely covered with shield.
It is recommended to buy it because you can preserve your existing network card.
I bought 10 network cards and received 6 half covered cards.
 
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