Hacking NOR memory failing

profcedar

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Hello, I currently have an EXSEK EZ Flash IV with the latest firmware and a 32 GB card. When I load a game into NOR, it will work at first. Over time, the game will fail and reset the GBA. If enough time passes, it does not load at all from NOR. Is this a known issue? Am I doing something wrong?
 

FAST6191

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No, it should be there until such a time as you delete it. NOR erase times by non erase events should be up in... no idea without looking at a data sheet but decades easily.
Low battery should do nothing here, it is only there to hold a save.

There is no thing you might be doing in the menu that does not say delete from the NOR or format it or write it that will touch the NOR as far as I know. It might be a bug in the loader, or a combination of factors using it (I don't know what they did for the new loaders and the 255 halt fix but I have some suspicions, but you would be the first I have seen.

GBA games are pretty sensitive to random changes too so working, randomly resetting and failing afterwards is an odd path. If you want to try writing to and erasing the NOR several times to see if it is a dodgy sector or something that the cart wants to remap then it would not hurt.

What it might be is power related if there is a short or something, and actually a battery might be a thing here -- I was doing some experiments a while back with a dead battery EZ4 and inserting it during runtime for a cart swap based method of dumping saves I think it was. No battery and the thing reset, some battery/a new battery wired in and the thing was fine. I don't know what NOR power reqs are but it might be more than PSRAM. It is a stretch though.

Otherwise yeah it is probably a fault. If you want to measure the battery then do so (anybody with a multimeter should be able to do it) and if said same person can spot a short or dodgy joint then by all means have a look.

If the above you have done or can not do and you still have the option to get it replaced then do so. Otherwise if the NOR fix came out after the card then try that as it might help.
 

FAST6191

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Yeah the one in the cartridge. You would probably see a change in the light on the SP or DS if you have one of those on the way out.
On writing 256Mbit files then https://ezflash.sosuke.com/download/file.php?id=674
Copy it to your cart and write it to the NOR a few times. That might solve the issue if it is a sector on the way out that the chip needs to reallocate.

The NOR fix I spoke of there was in the later loaders -- some people were having issues with their NOR failing to write the last megabit and it freezing at 255. As this meant mother 3 did not work (most other things trim or can be trimmed) you can imagine the fun that resulted there. The EZteam then released a fix in a loader up for the EZ4 that seemed to sort it. With that said the EZTeam have been seen to play a bit fast and loose with error checking before and that might have happened here, though I don't know what was the cause or the fix for that matter.
 

Gyron_Oldvic

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Hello, I currently have an EXSEK EZ Flash IV with the latest firmware and a 32 GB card. When I load a game into NOR, it will work at first. Over time, the game will fail and reset the GBA. If enough time passes, it does not load at all from NOR. Is this a known issue? Am I doing something wrong?

I made a blank 32mb rom with a GBA header a while back. Try flashing the attached file to NOR. Afterwards, completely erase the NOR rather than just deleting the rom from it, ie. Press 'Start' in the first screen of the 'File Browser', then Press 'A' to format.
 

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profcedar

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It won't even let me format the NOR. When I select format and press A it just loads the next folder, like it can't do any commands on the NOR. I even tried re-flashing the firmware. I can't even write anything new to NOR.

--------------------- MERGED ---------------------------

Yeah the one in the cartridge. You would probably see a change in the light on the SP or DS if you have one of those on the way out.
On writing 256Mbit files then https://ezflash.sosuke.com/download/file.php?id=674
Copy it to your cart and write it to the NOR a few times. That might solve the issue if it is a sector on the way out that the chip needs to reallocate.

The NOR fix I spoke of there was in the later loaders -- some people were having issues with their NOR failing to write the last megabit and it freezing at 255. As this meant mother 3 did not work (most other things trim or can be trimmed) you can imagine the fun that resulted there. The EZteam then released a fix in a loader up for the EZ4 that seemed to sort it. With that said the EZTeam have been seen to play a bit fast and loose with error checking before and that might have happened here, though I don't know what was the cause or the fix for that matter.

What type of change in light? Just to note, I use 1.2 v rechargeable AA batteries. I assume this would not change anything, but I am not sure.
 

FAST6191

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The NOR being completely unresponsive is new, assuming you flashed the current/same firmware you were on (if you went really old it might not support a newer model).

If you are on an original GBA then none. The GBA SP, micro, DS and DS lite (and beyond) have lights which change colours to indicate low battery.

Most AA batteries are 1.5V and 1.2V things have caused issues with some things before, I doubt it is the case here but if you have some nice alkaline batteries available then by all means try them. That said this sounds a bit like you saw a last hurrah of a dying NOR chip, or solder joint leading to it.
 

profcedar

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I flashed the same one 1.77. I am on the original GBA, but with the backlit screen. I have a light, but just for the AA battery status. I will try some Alkalines tomorrow.

Thanks!
 

Gyron_Oldvic

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It won't even let me format the NOR. When I select format and press A it just loads the next folder, like it can't do any commands on the NOR. I even tried re-flashing the firmware. I can't even write anything new to NOR.

Are you pressing 'start' on this screen?

Edit:
I see you are, it just isn't doing anything. What is the message you get when you try to write a game to NOR?

ezivnorformat.jpg
 
Last edited by Gyron_Oldvic,

profcedar

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When I try to write it just erases very quickly and also writes relatively quickly but then nothing shows up in NOR. Just one game that I flashed a while back and gives me the issues I mentioned. If I try to format or erase, then when I press A it just opens the SD Card folder, like as if I never press Select or Start.
 

Gyron_Oldvic

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Try desoldering one leg of the Sram battery for a few minutes. I did this with a misbehaving EZ IV and it fixed it (although it wasn't the same issue). But the kernel does seem to store some kind of config in part of the Sram though, so it may help.
Another this you could try is dropping back to the v1.75 kernel and trying to erase from there (your current game in NOR may end up with a chinese name though).
 

FAST6191

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You should not have to desolder it. Play the cowboy and short it, maybe with a low value resistor if you are scared. Same effect and you end up with a cleared NOR. Most issues solved that way seem to be related to bookmarks, some save stuff most would never encounter and the options for language and save manner.

Also what are you trying to write? Some ROM hacks can have issues, easily solved (others read BE hex is something other than 00, change it back to 00 and you are good).
 

Gyron_Oldvic

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You should not have to desolder it. Play the cowboy and short it, maybe with a low value resistor if you are scared. Same effect and you end up with a cleared NOR. Most issues solved that way seem to be related to bookmarks, some save stuff most would never encounter and the options for language and save manner.

Yeah, that's why I mentioned it was it was a different issue. But anything's worth trying at as he currently has a non-functional NOR. I tried shorting the battery on an EZ IV once using a pair of tweezers, and I wouldn't do it again. The thing wouldn't save at all (even the language and saver options) until the battery was desoldered momentarily. It also said 'Low Sram Battery' on every boot (even though it wasn't). That's why I told him to desolder it rather than shorting it. It only takes a few moments to melt the solder, lift one leg, then resolder it. Long shot I know, but he's buggered for 32mb games at the moment.
 

Romain80200

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Hello,
Maybe you need to try another gba.
On my backlit original gba, I can use the nor of my ez4.
But it work on my sp and my micro.
It's just on my 2 modded gba that the NOR doesn't work.
 

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