Hacking Pin layout of Switch's game card?

smiba

Member
Newcomer
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
22
Trophies
0
XP
220
Country
Netherlands
Hey everyone,

I'm currently starting a project for fun where I'm going to be reverse engineering the Switch game cards, and most likely develop a re-flashable game card after I've collected enough information about its internal working (and if its even possible).

However, Switch game cards are quite expensive at the moment and I'm honestly quite afraid of breaking my beloved Zelda before I finished it.

Did anyone already made some progress and gathered the pin layout of the game cartridge?

If not, how do I open my game card without breaking the plastic and ruining it?

-Cheers
 
Last edited by smiba,

smiba

Member
Newcomer
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
22
Trophies
0
XP
220
Country
Netherlands
I'd definitely be able to figure out some of the pins by inspecting the switch's cartridge reader itself
The most interesting part are the IO connections though, which are close to impossible to separate from each other even by checking their dataflow with my oscilloscope

I'm most interested in what kind of flash storage is being used and if there are any custom ICs that may make it harder to recreate a custom re-flashable cartridge

Maybe I could setup a small donation pool? 1 2 Switch sounds like the right victim as its probably the cheapest cartridge at the moment (~$40 second hand).
Having a donation pool would really help me deliver information to the community and possibly speed up the creation of flash cards to run homebrew.

Not sure what the rules on this forum are about donations and such, I just joined because I remembered this site being much of use back in my days with the NDS homebrew.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Subtle Demise

smiba

Member
Newcomer
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
22
Trophies
0
XP
220
Country
Netherlands
Yeah my current plan would be to buy a second hand copy of 1, 2, Switch! and use my hot air station to soften the plastic and cut it open.

I can provide:

- (Most likely) a pin out for Switch cartridges
- High resolution pictures of both sides of the PCB
- List of chips used and the values of any resistors and capacitors

I may provide:

A PoC for a Switch flash card able to run homebrew and software if the chips are identifiable

But is there an actual want for this information? I don't feel like blowing $40 on a cartridge if its just wasted haha
As a student every penny saved is appreciated
 

Nezztor

Well-Known Member
Member
Joined
Nov 8, 2016
Messages
488
Trophies
0
XP
1,317
Country
Mexico
Yeah my current plan would be to buy a second hand copy of 1, 2, Switch! and use my hot air station to soften the plastic and cut it open.

I can provide:

- (Most likely) a pin out for Switch cartridges
- High resolution pictures of both sides of the PCB
- List of chips used and the values of any resistors and capacitors

I may provide:

A PoC for a Switch flash card able to run homebrew and software if the chips are identifiable

But is there an actual want for this information? I don't feel like blowing $40 on a cartridge if its just wasted haha
As a student every penny saved is appreciated

All contributions are welcome
 

bennyman123abc

Well-Known Member
Member
GBAtemp Patron
Joined
Mar 21, 2013
Messages
918
Trophies
0
Age
20
Location
Alton, IL
XP
1,073
Country
United States
Yeah my current plan would be to buy a second hand copy of 1, 2, Switch! and use my hot air station to soften the plastic and cut it open.

I can provide:

- (Most likely) a pin out for Switch cartridges
- High resolution pictures of both sides of the PCB
- List of chips used and the values of any resistors and capacitors

I may provide:

A PoC for a Switch flash card able to run homebrew and software if the chips are identifiable

But is there an actual want for this information? I don't feel like blowing $40 on a cartridge if its just wasted haha
As a student every penny saved is appreciated
Whether or not the information is wanted right now does not matter. Someone will want the information in the future (maybe the creator of Sky3DS can step in and make a Switch flashcart with the information provided? ;))
 
  • Like
Reactions: Subtle Demise

Issac

Iᔕᔕᗩᑕ
Supervisor
GBAtemp Patron
Joined
Apr 10, 2004
Messages
7,017
Trophies
0
Location
Sweden
XP
6,239
Country
Sweden
Yeah my current plan would be to buy a second hand copy of 1, 2, Switch! and use my hot air station to soften the plastic and cut it open.

I can provide:

- (Most likely) a pin out for Switch cartridges
- High resolution pictures of both sides of the PCB
- List of chips used and the values of any resistors and capacitors

I may provide:

A PoC for a Switch flash card able to run homebrew and software if the chips are identifiable

But is there an actual want for this information? I don't feel like blowing $40 on a cartridge if its just wasted haha
As a student every penny saved is appreciated

Not to rain on your parade, but even if you were able to make a home made card - you'd still need to be able to run unsigned code (most likely).
If it's worth it though? Well, the information might be useful for someone in the future - and if you don't try you will never learn. So it's either $40 wasted, or $40 invested in your hacking / engineering skills. And possibly $40 invested in the future of hacking the Switch, if someone finds your findings useful.
 

smiba

Member
Newcomer
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
22
Trophies
0
XP
220
Country
Netherlands
Alright, ordered a copy of 1, 2, Switch.

Will post results in the upcoming days.

Not to rain on your parade, but even if you were able to make a home made card - you'd still need to be able to run unsigned code (most likely).

Yeah, that's why I listed it as a PoC. I assume there is some kind of protection built in, hopefully someone else will make some progress in cracking it or hopefully there will be some more information out there about how it works and functions
 

rilwal

New Member
Newbie
Joined
Mar 12, 2017
Messages
2
Trophies
0
Age
23
XP
28
Country
New Zealand
Not to rain on your parade, but even if you were able to make a home made card - you'd still need to be able to run unsigned code (most likely).

The whole point of Sky3DS is that it doesn't run any unsigned code, it just emulates what a legit cart would do on an electrical level. This is why Nintendo can't patch it for existing games, and only break it occasionally by physically modifying newer carts. The latest Sky has reprogrammable firmware so even that's only temporary now.
 

MeAndHax

Impolite person with some modding knowledge.
Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
715
Trophies
0
XP
1,939
Country
Germany
Reaaally sketchy

If it would be that easy someone would have already did it... and you seem to have 10 messages?
 

migles

All my gbatemp friends are now mods, except for me
Member
GBAtemp Patron
Joined
Sep 19, 2013
Messages
8,034
Trophies
0
Location
Earth-chan
XP
5,171
Country
China
But is there an actual want for this information? I don't feel like blowing $40 on a cartridge if its just wasted haha
obligaroty comment:
wasting 40 bucks only to make gateway and skyswitch jobs easier, and basically steal your work to their development
 
  • Like
Reactions: Orangy57 and jsa

Distrance

矢澤にこ
Member
Joined
Nov 23, 2008
Messages
1,147
Trophies
0
XP
752
Country
Finland
What's so sketchy about it? He already bought himself 1, 2, Switch and said he will publish his findings?

The part where he has 10 messages is sketchy. After all unless you have at least two thousand posts, you clearly cannot know anything about anything, and even less about hacking or the like.. Because everyone who ever fiddles with hacking consoles is obviously a part of GBATemp community and has thousands of posts in it.

-_-

@MeAndHax That's one of the stupidest things I've read in a while.
 

smileyhead

I like cute stuff.
Member
GBAtemp Patron
Joined
Aug 31, 2015
Messages
4,566
Trophies
0
Age
21
Location
Budakeszi, Hungary
Website
sites.google.com
XP
8,514
Country
Hungary
The part where he has 10 messages is sketchy. After all unless you have at least two thousand posts, you clearly cannot know anything about anything, and even less about hacking or the like.. Because everyone who ever fiddles with hacking consoles is obviously a part of GBATemp community and has thousands of posts in it.
this would not be the first time someone signed up to publish their findings. they could be a lurker for years.
 

Site & Scene News

General chit-chat
Help Users
  • Searinox tempBOT:
    Searinox has left the room.
  • Costello @ Costello:
    filthy europeans
  • Costello @ Costello:
    mighty asians
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    Recovering lost partitions sucks ass
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    Attempting to recover a 2tb worth of movies and this 320 weirdly won't initialize
  • DinohScene @ DinohScene:
    huraay for keeping backups
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    huraay for that backup drive being the issue back up a back up of a
    back ups :teach:
  • DinohScene @ DinohScene:
    if only you could encode the backup in your DNA and carry it with you
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    In 20 years we'll probably have micro sd cards implants in our heads
  • DinohScene @ DinohScene:
    microsd?
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    I'd be okay with getting my brain taken out and replaced with one as long as its not intel or apple
  • DinohScene @ DinohScene:
    shiet get on with the time grampa, we're using picoSD now
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    Only the most important humans will have nvme installed in their head
  • _Shimon @ _Shimon:
    oh shit this exists
  • Arras @ Arras:
    wait this is where the shoutbox went?
  • Adran_Marit @ Adran_Marit:
    What are everyone's
    thoughts on gpu prices atm?
  • Arras @ Arras:
    high
  • Adran_Marit @ Adran_Marit:
    lol yes they are high, mate of mine just got a 1080 for $700 AUD
  • Adran_Marit @ Adran_Marit:
    second hand which is nuts as when the 3070 came out here that's how much it was new at the time
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    I
    f you have tech that can decently run games don't buy anything yet wait a year or two
  • Adran_Marit @ Adran_Marit:
    I just got a core build upgrade, minus gpu due to price, will be running my GTX780 until I can afford an upgrade
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    Prices are up because of bots and
    shortages it'll die down with a year or two
  • Adran_Marit @ Adran_Marit:
    Yeah I imagine there will be a short period where prices are low then the next series will come out and low and behold have high prices again
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    Today's games look just fine at 1080 with decent 60fos unless you have disposable income it's not really worth it
  • kenenthk @ kenenthk:
    Probably won't be that long until theirs 4k capable apus around $400
    kenenthk @ kenenthk: Probably won't be that long until theirs 4k capable apus around $400