Proof that almost all R4i-SDHC/R4iSDHC carts are literally the same carts.

Discussion in 'R4 DS' started by Lilith Valentine, Aug 11, 2018.

  1. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    So on August 10th, 2018, I made a post on the R4i-B9S thread showing that R4i-B9S and R4i-SDHC were both the same cart. @Technicmaster0 pointed out that the other carts used the same parts. Of course I couldn't just sit around with my pile of R4i-SDHC/R4iSDHC not being taken apart and studied. So I took them all apart, studied the chips to the best of my ability, and took pictures of the boards!
    All the carts open to prove that they are all indeed "different" carts
    20180810_233854.
    I am going to post external links instead of uploading the pictures because there's a lot of pictures to go through. I won't provide much commentary until the end.

    R4i-B9S - $15.99 on nds-card.com
    https://mega.nz/#F!d7pQTYYT!kt65jNzp79rk8OXZfVXjIQ

    R4i-SDHC 3DS RTS - $13.99 on nds-card.com
    https://mega.nz/#F!cq4BXaDK!7rGizEFFhtzoWpD7aoh-AA

    R4i Gold Pro 2017 - replaced by the "2018" version, but was bought for $9.99 on nds-card.com
    https://mega.nz/#F!lqpDxIgI!wTpI_7VY5D3BVZGMyFLkHA

    R4i Gold Pro 2018 - $9.99 on nds-card.com
    https://mega.nz/#F!YrI2lQ7b!9V16pLXfDE2eTppqPGhJtg

    R4i RTS LITE 2018 - $13.99 on nds-card.com
    https://mega.nz/#F!J6Ri3AxC!14d3Hois6imhkE_JK4THEQ

    These one all actually use the same boards, same board layout, and the same chips, it's only the board color is different. There is actually no difference in any of these carts, yet they are sold at a verity of prices. This in addition the to fact that they are all using the same kernel and the official kernels all have timebombs build into them. You aren't paying for better chips aren't you aren't paying for more functions, all of these carts use the same parts and all function the same, so honestly I don't know what you are paying for. I know the R4i-B9S you are paying $15.99 for the addition of free software to be pre-installed on it. This of course is despite the fact that you can pay $9.99 for the same cart and flash NTRBoot onto the R4i-Gold Pro via any OFW, so you aren't even getting the benefit of avoiding possible TWL blacklisting.

    This one is slightly different

    R4-SDHC - $7.99 on nds-card.com
    https://mega.nz/#F!oigX0BLD!424g8xS4QZfrWcmk54duyQ
    I actually can't read the chip very well, but it's most likely an older version of the current one that they are using. It's more worth noting that it actually lacks the chip in the in the right hand corner under the microSD card. I am no expert here, but something tells me that that chip is the RTS chip used by later builds of this cart. I included this one because I noticed that they actually kept using the same layout, despite not having that chip. It was interesting enough to me that I felt like sharing it.


    Now how did I take these pictures? I actually had to use the heating light from my iguana's tank to light the area and screw around with positioning to get these pictures.
    20180810_235716.

    Why did you make this thread?
    Because the R4i-SDHC team is literally ripping people off and I can't just sit around doing nothing about it. These are the same carts (minus the last 2) and there's no reason to pay more for a 10$ cart. You aren't getting a better product, you are just getting ripped off.

    Is this about the R4i-SDHC team not sending you your R4i-B9S?
    Yes I am totally pass that still bitter

    So would you recommend buying the cheaper one over the more expensive one?
    I won't advice buying any of these carts. The official kernel has a timebomb built into them and honestly buying these carts is only sending money to a team who's very clearly not even trying to hide the fact that they are just selling the same product for different prices. But if you were to twist my arm, buy either the R4i Gold Pro or the R4-SDHC if you already have a CFW installed. Then use Retro's files to bypass the timebomb. Don't pay more for the same cart and don't use a kernel that is bound to fail in little over a year (in 2019.) If you are still willing to give them money, then give them as little money as possible.

    Why did you buy all of these carts?
    Because I can and I wanted to. I actually bought the R4i Gold Pro back in 2017 as a dedicated GM9 cart, but then ended up buying all the other ones for the sake of future projects. Of course now I can see that these purchases were redundant for project use, but at least now I can help the community know what products to avoid.

    You can actually switch between the firmware versions using NTRBoot to flash your carts
    So you can change your R4i Gold Pro into an R4i-SDHC, with the wifi features and everything. Or you can change your R4i-B9S into an R4i Gold Pro and remove the Wifi features.
     
    Last edited by Lilith Valentine, Sep 5, 2018
  2. exangel

    exangel executioner angel

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  3. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    Not a problem!
    Personally I would love to expand this into previous years to see how far back this goes. I can say that 2017 version of the R4i Gold Pro is the same as the rest of the carts, so I would love to find out if those results are same across all of them from that year. I may actually setup a thread in trading section to see if I can buy some of the older carts from other users to see how deep this rabbit hole goes.
     
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  4. DeadSkullzJr

    DeadSkullzJr GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Yea stay away from all of those R4/R4i flashcarts, you want a good R4i flashcart then get the R4i Gold 3DS Plus. It runs Wood R4 and it doesn't have time bombs!

    I personally collect flashcarts so I wouldn't care if they had time bombs, I would snag them lol.


    You can find them here or here.
     
    Last edited by DeadSkullzJr, Aug 11, 2018
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  5. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    2014-2018 all share the same hardware, previous ones were a bit different (and even supported an unofficial wood version).
    To complete the list a bit: I think that there are at least two other brands with similar hardware: r4i-gold.eu (pcb pics) and r4i-max.com (I don't have any pics of that). But both teams seem to have two different hardware revisions with the same sticker (one works with latest 3ds ver, the other not) which makes it hard to distinguish them.

    You can interchange the kernels for r4i-sdhc.com, r4isdhc.com, r4i-gold.eu and probably r4imax.com cards with the "Touch! Bomberman Land" icon if you flash the cards with a flash backup from the other card. You can even turn a r4i 3DS RTS by r4i-sdhc.com into a card that works with the B9S flasher from r4i-sdhc.com. Here are a few flash backups:
    - r4isdhc.com
    - r4i-sdhc.com (RTS)
    - r4i-sdhc.com (B9S)
    - r4i-gold.eu

    I'd say that the r4i-gold.eu kernel has the fewest features, r4isdhc.com has the second fewest features and the r4i-sdhc.com kernel has the most features.

    It would be cool if someone with a r4imax.com card that has the "Touch! Bomberman Land" icon could make a flash backup.
     
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  6. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    I am a long time flashcart enthusiast and collector and my work with the NDS flashcart community goes way back. I love these little devices, not even for their piracy uses, but for how much I can do with them. I even bought most of these carts just to help Retro with his ysmenu updates, I spent my own money to help the community. I actually have an R4i Gold Plus that I use as my personal daily driver next to DSiMenu++
    That all being said, I still won't personally suggest these carts to anyone. Expect if they really wanted one, then I would still suggest the R4i Gold Pro.
    Thank you for your post! This actually is super helpful and can add to my list of carts that I need to look for to continue this thread. Also this does help narrow down the results that I need to look into, although I will most likely look for carts between those years. I want to see when they started to use this chipset and if there's any real differences in these chips.
    Also I didn't really notice a difference in the features between the r4isdhc and r4i-sdhc carts. Both listed the same features on their official kernels for me. Although maybe my results were skewed because I kept the same "R4iMenu" folder between testing. The only time it was different was with the R4-SDHC where it lacked the RTS.
    Side note, if there's a 2019 version (which there most likely will be) of these carts, I will buy them to check them out.
     
  7. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    You're welcome. The cards between 2014 and 2018 simply have other stickers, I wouldn't waste my money on that. As I said, the chipsets that the current kernel supports is used since 2014. 2013 had a different chipset and is not compatible with flash backups etc. I think that for the r4i-sdhc.com cards only the r4i 3ds rts uses the current chipset, the r4i 3ds v6.1 or how it's called uses another one. Same goes for the r4i-gold.eu card - the r4i-gold.eu v6.1 uses another chipset. The only problem is that a card pre v6.1 used the same sticker as the current one.
    2019 cards will use the same hardware. It's enough to check if the 2019 kernel works on the 2018 card.
    Regarding the feature difference: r4i-sdhc.com has the wifi engine which r4isdhc.com doesn't have. I think that r4i-gold.eu misses RTS or something, it's been a while since I used the card.
     
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  8. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    Fair enough, but if it wasn't obvious that I don't mind wasting money for science. If I can buy them, I don't mind buying them if it can appease my need to know.
    Actually the R4i Dual-Boot makes me wonder if the 2019 version of the carts are going to continue to use the same hardware. Now I don't have a 2017 and below version of this cart, so I don't know if the boot method used is the same across all versions of this cart. If it's not the same, then they actually did change the chipset and there's a possibility that they will bring this change to future carts. The reason I suggest this is because this cart can't use YSMenu, which means I would be forced to be use their Office kernel (even though the kernel isn't working for me and I would love for someone to send me confirmed working kernel.) If that's the case, it would be a logical move because it would prevent users from avoiding the timebomb. This however is pure speculation and something I can only test if I can get my hand on the previous builds of this cart to see what's changed between and of course buy future builds to see if these changes continue.
    I need to check to see if these features are different, which is something I will do later since that will require multiple microSD cards and several hours testing.
     
  9. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    I think that you simply got a faulty flashcart that doesn't work. Maybe they didn't solder the MicroSD slot properly or something.
    It doesn't make much sense to spend money for the development of a new flashcart these days. The market is stagnating. Heck, even Supercard already vanished.
     
  10. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    I am not sure if it is or isn't broken. Everything about the cart is different from the others. It doesn't use the same hardware, nor the same header. I will probe more at it tonight and possibly buy another one to see if this just a messed up cart.
     
  11. gudenau

    gudenau Largely ignored

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    Interesting that they use COBs, I would not have thought these where that high volume!

    Edit:
    After looking at some of the pictures for a moment it looks like the chips that actually do anything could be different, but it is unlikely given how similar these all are. If anything there might be some changes to make them a little cheaper or something, but without taking a look at the dies I don't think we can really figure this out. The "normal" chips just appear to be for storage or other misc functions, based on the traces and not looking up what the parts are mind you.

    Might be fun to get a few of these, rip the blobs off and get nice die shots.
     
    Last edited by gudenau, Aug 11, 2018
  12. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Aah I looked at the pics and I know it. The card is from r4isdhc.com.cn and not from r4isdhc.com! They are another manufacturer! It's a rebrand of the ace3ds plus (+ the pcb looks like that). They have an unofficial wood kernel.
     
  13. MaxNuker

    MaxNuker GBATemp's Official Shinigami Substitute

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    I actually got a R4 SDHC Adapter (ebay listing name) and funny enough, it's a legit r4isdhc.com gold pro (got it for like 3$ or something lol).

    Used it to get NTRBoot into my 3DS and then reflashed back with the backup from 3ds hacks guide and it worked both times.

    No need to even pay 9.99$ for one.
     
  14. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    You see that actually makes sense. The reason I clumped it in there is because I didn't think much about the .cn at the end. I just thought it was their Chinese site and it doesn't help that the same cart is literally listed on their site
    Screenshot 2018-08-11 at 19.00.16.

    That's kind of ironic that I spent so many years avoiding the Ace3DS, only to have a clone fall into my collection by pure happenstance.

    Edit: With this knowledge in mind, I went and found the "official" kernel for it. Played around with the Wood R4 they slapped together for a few minutes, then got bored of it. Now the cart is my dedicated GM9 cart because I no other use for it.
     
    Last edited by Lilith Valentine, Aug 12, 2018
  15. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    I would like to add that this wasn't my idea and was already mentioned beforehand. I just got around to testing this and sharing my results
    So I did a thing that I thought was interesting. So @Technicmaster0 was right that the cheaper carts lacked the Wifi engine. Well I decided to see if I could change that and I did change that (͠≖ ͜ʖ͠≖)
    I dumped the firmware from my R4i-B9S and restored it to my R4i Gold Pro 2017. Low and behold, it no longer wanted to boot with the R4iSDHC kernel. Now it boots from the R4i-SDHC kernel and has the wifi engine. I then flashed the same firmware to the R4i RTS LITE and now it's an R4i-SDHC. Finally because all good things come in 3, I did it to my R4i Gold Pro 2018. Guess what? It's an R4i-SDHC cart now ( ‾ ʖ̫ ‾)
    If you really want an R4i-SDHC, but think $13.99 or worse, $15.99, is just too much. Then just buy an R4i Gold Pro and use NTRBoot flasher to flash this firmware to it.
     

    Attached Files:

  16. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Why are you so mad about ace3ds?

    That's the reason why I linked the flash backups in my first post here.
     
  17. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    They are actually the main reason why YWG closed off the source code for Wood R4. Wood R4 used to open source, but some teams like the Ace3DS team were modifying the source for their cart and ignoring the license Wood R4 was under. So YWG closed off the source and only opened it to the R4i Gold team. Since then I've been salty towards the carts that caused this.
    I was so excited about the idea of flashing my Gold Pro to an SDHC, that I actually forgot about that post, lol
     
  18. Technicmaster0

    Technicmaster0 GBAtemp Psycho!

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    Are you sure that they modified the kernel? I've never seen any new features etc. from cards that use the wood kernel unofficially.
     
  19. Lilith Valentine
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    Lilith Valentine GBATemp's Wolf-husky™ Embrace yourself

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    They modified the kernel to work on their cart. They simply just ignored his request to not do that. It's more or less, he made it open source for the community and not for commercial use and they ignored this and started porting Wood R4 to their cart.
     
    Last edited by Lilith Valentine, Aug 12, 2018
  20. kikongokiller

    kikongokiller GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    This was a really nice read! Proper and thorough as an investigation should be.
     
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