Hacking DEAD [Shutdown]DragonInjector - Game Cart Payload Injector (Trinket M0 Clone)

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YigglyPoof

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Cool idea! If I were you, I would get rid of the jig and just install AutoRCM, it would streamline everything.

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MatinatorX

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Cool idea! If I were you, I would get rid of the jig and just install AutoRCM, it would streamline everything. And if you want, PM me the pictures and I'll post em

Jig is optional. AutoRCM is still an option, you can always omit the funny shaped cap and print one that's more to your liking.

Some people have reported problems with AutoRCM and of course you never know what the future holds for the Switch so I like having my options open.
 
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Hey all,

I want to share a project I'm currently working on - a payload injector shaped like a Switch game cart!

As I seem to always forget to bring my phone or dongle with me, and I'm not a big fan of AutoRCM, I started thinking - wouldn't it be great if I could just store my jig and dongle inside my switch? I don't really like the idea of opening my switch and soldering to it for warranty/resale reasons, and my card slot is always empty because, well, we live in the age of digital.


Thus, DragonInjector was born.


This project is based on the open source Trinket M0 and has three main goals:

1) Everything must fit inside the dimensions of a standard Nintendo Switch game cart. This includes the enclosure and RCM Jig.
2) Anything not necessary for the operation of the dongle will be removed for space/power savings. This thing needs to run for weeks on a CR1616. Goodbye LDO, APA-102 LED and always-on power LED!
3) Needs to have a 90's hacker movie name.

I did not want to compromise on usability and convenience, so I deemed the reset button, power switch and status LED as "necessary". The cap for the USB plug will function as the RCM jig. (Or so is the plan.)

Project milestones are as follows:
1) Make schematic/design board with Eagle and Fusion360 - DONE.
2) Order parts and PCB's - DONE.
3) Model enclosure to have exact dimensions and features of Switch game cart - IN PROGRESS.
4) Soldering, programming and testing of board - Waiting on parts.
5) Print the case on my FDM 3D printer. PETG for board enclosure, FLEX for cap/RCM jig.
6) Tweaking. Add cool factor.
7) Final prototype. Splurge for nice SLS enclosure from Shapeways.

So, the board design is done. Let me tell you, fitting everything in a 22mm x 22mm x 2.7mm space while staying within PCB design spec was a royal pain. But now it's done. Parts and PCBs are on their way. Next step is for me to get a cheap game cart from somewhere so I can model all the little features that help it align/click in place/not ruin the slot pins. Should be a few weeks, mostly spent camping my mailbox, before I have a working prototype.

For the few brave souls who want to try this themselves, once I have a working prototype I'll share the gerbers and parts list. If you're not comfortable soldering 0603 resistors by hand you might want to steer clear though. The firmware will be exactly the same as for the Trinket M0, save for some changes for LED stuffs as this one's on PA00 (D0).


More details will follow later. Pictures under the spoiler. The black plastic slab is your basic cart dimensions of 34mm x 23mm x 3.2mm. I do this as a hobby so questions and feedback are welcome!


EDIT: Can't post pictures yet. Or share links. Any help? I have Imgur links at the ready.
That is a really cool idea. Even for those that have retail games, most of us use a pouch and those usually hold 10 or more games, so the dongle with jig would fit in one of the slots designated for cartridges. Also, it would be the smallest dongle/jig yet if you can accomplish it.
 

RHOPKINS13

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First of all, great ideia!! Would be also great if we can understand if the cartridge pins are powered while in RCM. This way, the battery wouldn't be needed at all as it could fetch the 3.3V and GND straight from the cart rails.
So we can inject a payload through the cartrige slot ?

I think y'all are misinterpreting the post. OP's not trying to send the payload through the cartridge slot (at least not yet, that would be an awesome idea if we could!), this is just a dongle that is small enough that it would fit in a Switch game cartridge.

And I think it looks amazing. I would buy this over TX's dongle any day! Sign me up! I want to pre-order!
 

rrocha

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I think y'all are misinterpreting the post. OP's not trying to send the payload through the cartridge slot (at least not yet, that would be an awesome idea if we could!), this is just a dongle that is small enough that it would fit in a Switch game cartridge.

And I think it looks amazing. I would buy this over TX's dongle any day! Sign me up! I want to pre-order!

Yes, I know that and I think you misunderstood my post: until now, you need a 3V power supply for the trinket. In my case I did it with a CR2032 and OP is suggesting using a CR1616 which is half the size. What I'm suggesting is to use the GND and 3.3V lines from the cartridge slot (in case it still delivers 3.3V while in RCM) to power up the trinket. This way, you'd just insert the trinket cartridge, connect usb to it, and voilá!! :)
 

RHOPKINS13

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Yes, I know that and I think you misunderstood my post: until now, you need a 3V power supply for the trinket. In my case I did it with a CR2032 and OP is suggesting using a CR1616 which is half the size. What I'm suggesting is to use the GND and 3.3V lines from the cartridge slot (in case it still delivers 3.3V while in RCM) to power up the trinket. This way, you'd just insert the trinket cartridge, connect usb to it, and voilá!! :)

Oh that does sound like a good idea! You're right, when I first read your post I assumed when you were talking about powering it from the cartridge rails that you were thinking of sending the payload through the cartridge slot. This makes much more sense.
 

MatinatorX

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Yes, I know that and I think you misunderstood my post: until now, you need a 3V power supply for the trinket. In my case I did it with a CR2032 and OP is suggesting using a CR1616 which is half the size. What I'm suggesting is to use the GND and 3.3V lines from the cartridge slot (in case it still delivers 3.3V while in RCM) to power up the trinket. This way, you'd just insert the trinket cartridge, connect usb to it, and voilá!! :)

I thought about this while I was designing the board, but ultimately decided against it as you would end up needing a cable to go from the injector to the switch USB port (sadly the game cart socket does not break out the USB pins, thus payload injection this way will sadly never happen...) and that cable would never be able to fit into the space freed up by the removal of the battery. The cable would also have to have a non-standard end on the DragonInjector side, as there's no way you could fit the end of a USB cable inside the top of the card slot to plug it in. If you have to remember to bring that cable with you, you might as well opt for one of the larger injector solutions and just bring that.

However, the idea isn't a complete dead-end. I've been doing a lot of research on super capacitors lately, especially after learning the SX dongle uses them. We already know the game card slot has pins for +3.3v and GND. If the slot is energized when the Switch is in RCM mode and it can supply enough current then this would be an ideal excuse to swap the battery for a supercap. Technically, having no power to the game card when in RCM is still plausible, but only for jig users; with AutoRCM, a depleted DragonInjector would leave you with no way to charge it and a Switch that can't boot without a working dongle.

There's unfortunately no public datasheet for the flash chip Nintendo uses for Switch game carts, but a quick search on the manufacturer's site for high capacity flash chips (8gbit or higher) yeilds only 3 models, all of which can pull as much as 30mA. I'd be really surprised if the Switch game carts use less, especially since the chip they're using is 40% larger than the other ones I mentioned above.

Based on some quick fuzzy math, 20-30mA would be enough to charge the cap and power the trinket if I used a 3.3v 0.22F supercap. With sleep mode drawing a paltry 90uA it should last a few days out of the slot if you forget to turn the power off and charging would be under an hour. When I get some more time, I'll rig something up to test for voltage in the card slot during RCM, and if that works I'll see how much current a Switch cart pulls. Currently slimming down the board even more since, after getting my hands on a real cart, I found out the dimensions are actually 21.4mm x 31.2mm x 3.4mm.

And I think it looks amazing. I would buy this over TX's dongle any day! Sign me up! I want to pre-order!
I've been thinking about this a bit too - what to do if there's lots of interest, since the feedback so far has been really positive (thanks everyone!). I know for sure I want to release the gerbers and parts list and maybe the model too for free so that anyone who wants to can make their own. That said, while it's far too early to plan anything, I get that SMD soldering is a rare hobby. So, if this thing turns out well enough I'm open to making more to sell to the community. If I remember right, there's a license for this kind of stuff that allows me to give out the designs and stuff so you can use them for anything short of selling them yourself.
 
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MatinatorX

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Main post updated! Finally finished squishing everything down to fit the new dimensions and got the enclosure modeled. New boards on their way, will order the case bits from Shapeways this week.
 

Asia81

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day one

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

I think y'all are misinterpreting the post. OP's not trying to send the payload through the cartridge slot (at least not yet, that would be an awesome idea if we could!), this is just a dongle that is small enough that it would fit in a Switch game cartridge.

And I think it looks amazing. I would buy this over TX's dongle any day! Sign me up! I want to pre-order!
oh
day one anyways
 
Last edited by Asia81,

Pluupy

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Dang OP that's super smart! You should try to see if you can mass produce these. I bet you'd make the muns. It is so convenient to have it on-hand in the cartridge slot.
 
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Asia81

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That is a really cool idea. Even for those that have retail games, most of us use a pouch and those usually hold 10 or more games, so the dongle with jig would fit in one of the slots designated for cartridges. Also, it would be the smallest dongle/jig yet if you can accomplish it.
:yay:
180723055605954560.jpg
18072305560667306.jpg
 
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