Pin layout of Switch's game card?

Discussion in 'Switch - Hacking & Homebrew' started by smiba, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. smiba
    OP

    smiba Member

    Newcomer
    22
    96
    Mar 11, 2017
    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, Mar 11, 2017
    iAqua, Acelogic and Alkéryn like this.
  2. JackMacWindows

    JackMacWindows Member

    Newcomer
    41
    20
    Jan 16, 2016
    United States
    The point of the card is that it is unopenable. Just finish Zelda, and then break it open :D
     
  3. Ericjwg

    Ericjwg GBAtemp Psycho!

    Member
    3,045
    806
    Jul 2, 2015
    Canada
    i thought sky3ds is a re-flashable "genuine" game card:ph34r:
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  4. smiba
    OP

    smiba Member

    Newcomer
    22
    96
    Mar 11, 2017
    Netherlands
    Ah for real? Too bad, I'll see.

    Oh oops, I'm too used to writing about 3DS'es haha.

    Edited, I meant the Switch of course!
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  5. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    23,698
    9,567
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    If a cart is too valuable to sacrifice to the cause can't you figure out the pinouts from the switch whcih is more readily pulled apart? Power, ground and any save lines should be easy enough to figure out.
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  6. smiba
    OP

    smiba Member

    Newcomer
    22
    96
    Mar 11, 2017
    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.
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  7. A Plus Ric
    This message by A Plus Ric has been removed from public view by Issac, Mar 12, 2017, Reason: Unnecessary.
    Mar 11, 2017
  8. Alkéryn

    Alkéryn Moon Dweller ~

    Member
    1,528
    1,920
    Mar 15, 2015
    France
    Albategnius, Moon
    I would break it open
    option 1 : just buy the cheapest switch game, or take a reselled used one
    but you might have some sucess with an hot air gun and a cutter
     
    Last edited by Alkéryn, Mar 11, 2017
  9. smiba
    OP

    smiba Member

    Newcomer
    22
    96
    Mar 11, 2017
    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
     
  10. Nezztor

    Nezztor Advanced Member

    Newcomer
    87
    30
    Nov 8, 2016
    Mexico
    All contributions are welcome
     
  11. xile6

    xile6 GBAtemp Maniac

    Member
    1,195
    307
    Jan 15, 2006
    United States
    Real hacker gotta get dirty.

    Crack open your game and do some leg work.
     
    Eurasiam and tyrran like this.
  12. bennyman123abc

    bennyman123abc Master of the Script Kiddies

    Member
    669
    298
    Mar 21, 2013
    United States
    Training some more Script Kiddies
    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? ;))
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  13. Issac

    Issac I

    Global Moderator
    GBAtemp Patron
    Issac is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    5,363
    2,641
    Apr 10, 2004
    Sweden
    Sweden
    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.
     
  14. smiba
    OP

    smiba Member

    Newcomer
    22
    96
    Mar 11, 2017
    Netherlands
    Alright, ordered a copy of 1, 2, Switch.

    Will post results in the upcoming days.

    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
     
  15. rilwal

    rilwal Newbie

    Newcomer
    2
    7
    Mar 12, 2017
    New Zealand
    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.
     
    nobody231 and Subtle Demise like this.
  16. MeAndHax

    MeAndHax GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    265
    157
    Feb 7, 2017
    United States
    Reaaally sketchy

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

    DarkenedMatter GBAtemp Advanced Fan

    Member
    512
    423
    Jul 26, 2013
    United States
    What's so sketchy about it? He already bought himself 1, 2, Switch and said he will publish his findings?
     
    Subtle Demise likes this.
  18. migles

    migles Mei the sexiest bae

    Member
    GBAtemp Patron
    migles is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    6,983
    4,701
    Sep 19, 2013
    Saint Kitts and Nevis
    my dad works for nintendo.
    obligaroty comment:
    wasting 40 bucks only to make gateway and skyswitch jobs easier, and basically steal your work to their development
     
    Orangy57 and jsa like this.
  19. Distrance

    Distrance 矢澤にこ

    Member
    1,146
    426
    Nov 23, 2008
    Finland
    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.
     
  20. rilwal

    rilwal Newbie

    Newcomer
    2
    7
    Mar 12, 2017
    New Zealand
    He's trying to scam us by doing research with his own money and sharing the findings! I fall for this one every time -_-
     
    nobody231, Millsy, Orangy57 and 2 others like this.
  21. smileyhead

    smileyhead Vinesauce is my favourite anime.

    Member
    2,801
    6,322
    Aug 31, 2015
    Hungary
    Hungary
    this would not be the first time someone signed up to publish their findings. they could be a lurker for years.
     
    julialy, Orangy57 and Subtle Demise like this.