1. marcelbruer

    OP marcelbruer Newbie
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    I am interested in purchasing some bootleg GBA games with the intent of re-flashing another ROM onto them. I already have a flash cart for this purpose but I like the idea of having some dedicated carts for Mother 3 and Pokemon romhacks as well as eventually having a cartridge for a romhack that I am working on. I've spent the last days reading up about it on reddit and GBATemp and it has been done by other people but I have some questions about how to successfully flash my own ROM onto another cartridge.

    The GBALdr method: GBALdr is a homebrew program that allows you to write ROMs onto a GBA cartridge from a DS flash cart. I have the correct flash cart to be able to load it this way, but will this work with a bootleg GBA cart?: www(dot)gamebrew(dot)org/wiki/GBALdr

    The linker method: Older GBA flash carts used a linker cable, which has a USB on one end and a GBC/GBA plug on the other, to write ROMs onto the flashcart through the GBA's link cable port. These cables are apparently hard to come by now but have been used by the guy in this video who flashed his own homemade ROM onto a bootleg copy of Pokemon Sapphire.: www(dot)youtube(dot)com/watch?v=SNm9kNV9rnw

    Even if I can't track down a linker cable, could I possibly cannibalize a USB cable and a GBA link cable and attach the two ends together? If anyone has had success re-flashing bootleg games via these methods or any other please let me know.
     
  2. Biduleman

    Biduleman GBAtemp Regular
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    You can't just splice a USB cable with a Link Cable to flash a game. The GB Link Cable uses a particular Serial protocol and the cable needs to do USB <-> Serial to be able to talk with the GB. Also, the USB driver and software need to be able to talk to the specific chip used to do the USB <-> Serial, so you can't just use any USB <-> Serial cable either.

    BUT! You can use "The Joey", which can read/write to multiple flash carts, including some bootlegs (I have no affiliation with the seller, it's just what's popping up when you google that stuff).
     
  3. migles

    migles All my gbatemp friends are now mods, except for me
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    there is also gbxcart, (also not afliliated, however i do have one of theese) its being constantly updated to support more cards https://www.insidegadgets.com/projects/gbxcart-rw/
    in the manual and in the lists in the website there is info and even pictures of flashcarts that are confirmed to work
     
    Last edited by migles, Apr 24, 2018
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    Buy a real flash cart. Far easier in the long run.

    Bootlegs come in a hundred different flavours. As far as being able to be reprogrammed then some will, some won't, some might with some fiddling. Newer ones have moved away from reflashing the GBA sized EZ 3 in 1s but there are still multiple strains out there from what I can tell.

    There are two classes of such cable
    1) Straight multiboot a la http://reinerziegler.de/GBA/gba.htm#Multiboot
    2) Directly onto the cart itself a la more traditional chip programming methods.

    They are not USB per se either. The little connector block either in the end or where a ferrite might normally be contain a bunch of active electronics. You might be able to get away with a modern USB-serial converter but that is all you.

    But really just buy a flash cart. They are almost cheap enough that you can buy multiple for individual games and print your own boxart if you are of that persuasion.
     
  5. marcelbruer

    OP marcelbruer Newbie
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    I figured it wouldn't be as easy as soldering two cut cords together. I feel like I could accomplish this using the linker and my computer, but the linker cables are hard to find due to being out of production for many years.

    I'm aware of the Joey and BennVenn's products, but first I wanted to see if it was possible for me to flash the ROM using equipment I already have, and if anyone had experience doing so. Has anyone successfully used GBALdr or a similar program to flash a new ROM onto a bootleg reprogrammable GBA cart? If so, how do I identify which bootlegs will be capable of being rewritten?

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    I already have a mini USB flash cart that I use frequently; I wanted to try out this method of purchasing several cheap bootleg carts, finding which ones can be re-flashed, and putting one ROM onto each. I like the idea of having a dedicated cart for each game or romhack so that I can give them away as gifts or just have individual carts for my own collection.
     
  6. marcelbruer

    OP marcelbruer Newbie
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    It looks like the gbxcart reads ROMs and save files but can it write a new ROM to the cart? I use a really great program called GBA Backup Tool to read and write saves onto my existing carts: www(dot)gamebrew(dot)org/wiki/GBA_Backup_Tool

    GBA Backup Tool works through a homebrew program on a slot 1 DS flash cart and can both dump ROMs from the GBA cart onto an SD card as well as read and write .sav files onto the cart, making it excellent for using your legitimate GBA cart save on an emulator and transferring it back and forth. However, it cannot write a ROM onto a cart, which is the functionality that I'm looking for. GBALdr works in a similar fashion except it has the ability to write ROMs.
     
  7. migles

    migles All my gbatemp friends are now mods, except for me
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    yeah i used that homebrew before getting the gbxcart. i still have it in my ds lite because why not
    that homebrew its only for GBA carts and only reads the rom, and deals with read\write saves.
    gba backup tool is not able to write roms into flashcarts


    sorry my english is not great i know, but i think i was clear
    gbxcart CAN WRITE ROMS into compatible carts, there is a list of compatible cards it can write TO in the website and manual with pictures
    hers link for the flashcarts it can write roms to: https://www.insidegadgets.com/projects/gbxcart-rw-flash-cart-support/
    (scroll down for the GBA ones, the first ones are for gbc)

    IIRC that homebrew was used to use with a unique gba flashcart, ez flash 3in1 which is a great card which could fit your purpose
    it will probably not work with other flashcarts
     
    Last edited by migles, Apr 24, 2018
  8. marcelbruer

    OP marcelbruer Newbie
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    Thank you, the gbxcart looks like a good option that's well within my budget. I was interested in ordering the BennVenn Joey, but couldn't justify the price as I probably won't be re-flashing a large number of carts. I'm currently waiting on a couple aftermarket carts to arrive from China and I also plan to go cratedigging for GBA bootlegs at a flea market; when I've got those games I'll open them up and see if their PCBs match the ones that can be flashed on the list you provided. If so, I'll order the gbxcart and we'll be in business; if not, I'll probably just order it anyway and then get a 3in1 or look for other carts that can be re-flashed.

    I've crawled through the GBATemp forums as well as some other sites on this topic and have read that a good number of the bootleg carts that you can find on ebay/wish/aliexpress etc. have the same internals as the 3in1 and I'm hoping that I will be lucky enough to find a bootleg cart that is compatible with GBALdr or GBAExploader. If not, I should at least be able to get my hands on one that can be re-flashed with the gbxcart. The carts I've ordered were inexpensive and are games that I wanted to play anyway (Mother 3 and Pokemon Liquid Crystal), so even if I can't overwrite them there's no real loss there. One of the things I'm wondering is why there isn't a program that works through the DS flash card like GBALdr or GBAExploader that can write to a rewritable cart that isn't the 3in1. Is it a hardware issue that's solved by devices like the Joey and the gbxcart? Is it just a lack of interest in developing hackware for a 15+ year old console?

    I have also looked into the 3in1 which seems like a good option, except it's as pricey as the Joey is and I already have a micro SD flash cart. This is why I was hoping that I could find a bootleg that works with the 3in1 loading programs, in order to get the convenience of loading ROMs into the 3in1 with the price and availability of bootleg carts. Also, I want to play these on a Game Boy Advance so I believe that I need an EZ Flash IV, which seem difficult to find.
     
  9. migles

    migles All my gbatemp friends are now mods, except for me
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    you can also contact alex, the gbxcart maker, for help to write thoose carts, he usually is a very cool person and will probably try to help ya achieving your goal
    i had contacted him in the past and i really enjoyed his replies
     
  10. JS7777

    JS7777 Advanced Member
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    I agree, he is very cool and i've helped him to add different gba botlegs.

    I got 4 botleg games and all for of them are different pcb's and they work perfectly, never add issues while playing, saving or writing. (keep in mind that if a botleg cartridge doesn't have a battery the save will be stored in the rom, you can extract the save but for putting it back in it's quite a complex task so you will need to solder a battery).
     
    Last edited by JS7777, May 4, 2018
  11. IS_Nitro

    IS_Nitro Member
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    How did you figure out the settings for each? Just got some bootlegs in and I can't identify a couple of them.
     
  12. JS7777

    JS7777 Advanced Member
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    Send me some pictures of the botlegs, I will help you out ;)
     
  13. IS_Nitro

    IS_Nitro Member
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    Thanks, here's a imgur with what I've got. The NES 150 in 1 and the Kindom Hearts should work but they don't.

    I just e-mailed Alex the other day and he's taking a look at the Kingdom and NES intel chip carts I've got. Coincidentally there was one unexpected success.

    With a test program I got Crazy Taxi on the Mother 3 euro cart. Nothing else is working but at least the test program is giving me something to feedback to Alex on the other three.
     
    Last edited by IS_Nitro, Apr 20, 2019
  14. JS7777

    JS7777 Advanced Member
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    Hello,

    For the Pokemon emerald and Mother 1+2 try using the 29GL128EHMC option on alex's software.

    For the kingdom hearts and and nes try with the 256L30B option.

    For Mother 3 and mother and The mother 3 fan translation they got a chip that I don't know, a 4455LLZB00

    For the Zelda a link to the past I have no idea since the id had been scrapped off.
     
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