1. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    Hello everyone, I'm searching for help because recently I bouht a SuperCard SD (for playing GBA games) and actually I can't play games.
    I've a 2GB micro SD formatted in FAT (16), so normally no problem… I used the Windows program named "Super Card V2.71 for SD Version" and copied the output files (.gba .svi .sav) - every time I add a game in this program, Windows 10 ask me if "srampatch.exe" can make modification to my computer, and I always click "yes".
    When I put the Supercard in my NDS Lite, I have the menu firmware and can select the file I want to play (but when loaded, white screen…)…
    I make a test by pushing L+R while turning on : every thing is ok except the SDRAM.
    Here is the SDRAM error : error 01020255aaaa7812349ae129 (with the same color than on my DS screen).
    So, is there a link between SDRAM error and srampatch.exe, must I chane the proram settings, or the problem is from my sd card ?

    A really big THANKS for your answers ;)
     
  2. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    I would have liked to put a video of my problem, but I can't put a link (even to Google Drive) or even upload an mp4 file ..., even if I don't think it's a great idea (more than 150 views and no feedback, I think I can be desperate ^^' ). IMG_20191219_120759.jpg
     

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  3. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    An old friend just lent me his GBA SP to test the Supercard, and it works perfectly (no sdram error) and it can play the games gba, gb, and nes without any problem. So why doesn't it work on DS Lite?
     
  4. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    Why?

    Even if you get it working I would still not bet on playing too many games. Supercard's GBA efforts are really not great here and probably why you can still find one however long this is after they were last made, and presumably for as cheap as it was.

    Anyway if it works in a GBA but not a DS then chances are either the cart pins or the GBA slot of the DS is dirty or not making good contact. Cleaning cart pins is easy enough (pencil rubber in a pinch, some kind of cleaning solvent that won't leave anything behind if you can), cleaning slots is harder (if you have some non automotive contact cleaner, don't use automotive as it is too harsh, then give it a squirt and insert and remove a game cart/flash cart a whole bunch of times. Some people like to cut a bit of paper and fold it a couple of times to try to force better contact.

    After this we start looking at bad solder joints or actually bad chips.
     
  5. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    No, nothing to do... I've cleaned the readout branches on my DS, but the problem persists. I admit that I probably made a mistake when I chose the linker (I didn't know enough about it), but the problem remains the same... In any case we can exclude the problem of the Windows software. It only remains : the sd card has a problem only on DS (which seems rather unlikely to me) or the Supercard has a problem...
     
  6. DaFixer

    DaFixer Dare to be stupid
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    I used a SuperCard SD long time ago on my DS.
    Back in the day I use it to play DS roms.
    Good times
     
  7. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    The GBA slots of the GBA and DS are not some kind of super close tolerance machining effort and can vary quite a bit (granted it is usually the SP that is loose in my experience but that says nothing about what goes here), as well as get variously dirty depending upon how they are kept/used.

    If all else remains the same then you have eliminated software as a cause and we are back to hardware. It is most likely the pins of either the cart or the thing playing the cart but I can't rule out one of the chips having a bad solder joint but holding it round a different way or angle forces enough contact for it to work -- if you ever had a charger that only works at a certain angle or by holding onto the lead then the same applies to chips at times. There is an outside chance that the power is not enough for it (see the various fun and games the EZFlash Omega and EZ4 had with various screen mods drawing lots of power or rechargeable batteries on the original GBA) but I have never heard of this happening for a GBA supercard (though again nobody really would have used one for it), much less on a DS.
    You can try cleaning again (sometimes it takes more than one try) or you can try folding a bit of paper a few times and putting it between the cart PCB and the cart case to force better contact.
     
  8. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    I have once again washed the pins of my DS Lite, with no change... I also tried to put the cartridge with paper to make sure there's no false contact, but it didn't change the problem. I even tested it with a real game cartridge (Mario VS Donkey Kong) and this one works great.
    I think we should focus more on the sdram error: what does it mean and what is the Supercard testing at this point? Is there a link with the microSD card I put in it?
     
  9. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    While a working original cart means the DS itself is working it does not mean all that much for the flash cart itself, though I will leave it for now as a few cleanings and a bit of folded paper usually does the trick there. I am still curious why it worked on another but again I will skip it.

    The GBA requires considerably fast read and write speeds, and latency as the cart is right there in the main system memory and is treated like it is. Speeds that even modern NAND chips will likely struggle with, never mind those of the late GBA and early DS era, or if you prefer it is a big reason why we never saw GBA emulators on the plain DS take off. Two approaches were used
    1) Bank of NOR memory.
    2) Bank of RAM.

    Supercards opted for 2) like most others towards the end of the GBA (more than about 128 megs of NOR at the time, and even today, makes things rather expensive and 128, or 1024Mbit as they likely would have been branded at the time, was still very expensive back then so most were 32 or 64). However unlike everything else they opted for the really cheap RAM (what they are calling SDRAM here, everything else will likely be PSRAM if you go looking at discussions) that maybe sort of kind of worked for some games, and also tried speed patching their games to work around that a bit, where everything else only had to handle saves and the usual suspects ( http://gbatemp.net/threads/buying-a-gba-flash-cart-in-2013.341203/page-18#post-4756995 ).
    I suspect this is what has either a loose connection or bad trace somewhere, something that a bit of different flex or pressure in another device might have allowed to work (again if you ever had a charger only work if you held it or turned it upside down then same idea, just on the PCB instead). When it does the power on self test it detects something being wrong here and throws an error. I would be surprised if it is an SD card error, especially when it worked in another device, and it would have to be a very odd failure mode for it to happen (say a super fat SD twists the board or something), not to mention you can probably test it by using another SD or maybe seeing what happens if you boot without it.

    If you want to inspect the pins of the chips, or just reflow them if you can handle that, then do that. It is entirely possible something was not soldered properly at the factory or has gone bad in the years since (most solders, especially nice leaded stuff, will creep at room temperature so if the chip was pulling on it in its box for however many years then you can get a bad joint happen). If I had found one on the street I probably wouldn't bother even though I have the tools and capability but if you have just paid good money for it then you do you here.
     
  10. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    So, if I understood correctly, to have a chance to make it work properly, it would be necessary to open the Supercard, squeeze a little the elements to avoid false contacts and maybe even solder again (I have the material)?
     
  11. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    No need to squeeze any internals -- any cracks that have formed are likely tiny and if you reflow the solder it will sort them.
     
  12. TheBigBadBoy

    OP TheBigBadBoy Newbie
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    Good evening, here's some news at last (sorry for the wait). Here's everything I tested:
    First of all, to make sure it's not a firmware problem, I reinstalled the 1.85 firmware by opening the ".bin" file with my GBA SP. No change.
    So I opened the Supercard and looked carefully at the circuitry, nothing really abnormal except maybe the glue in the microSD drive (see pictures). I tried the cartridge by adding some very thin paper in it (without any risk to damage the card), still no change... As the pictures go by, where should I solder a little?
    Finally, maybe my DS Lite has a problem (even though it can read real GBA game cartridges like Mario VS Donkey Kong perfectly), so I'd like to open it but I don't have a triangle screwdriver...
    And then, searching on the net, I clearly find that the EZ flash omega is more attractive and promising (that's why I ordered it, it's coming). We'll also be able to see then if it was a problem with my DS or the Supercard.
    Here it is ^^ IMG_20200111_172454.jpg IMG_20200111_172557_1.jpg IMG_20200111_173053.jpg
     
  13. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer
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    Nice pictures. Normally we get things that a phone of the era the cart was from would probably do better at.

    Anyway second image top chip with Hynix on it
    "The HY57V56820C is a 268,435,456bit CMOS Synchronous DRAM" aka SDRAM according to https://www.alldatasheet.com/view.jsp?Searchword=HY57V56820&mo

    The soldering on it, and various other places (those passives on the same shot for instance, indeed that capacitor right next to the SDRAM chip might well be a dry joint and said capacitor is probably there to help power the chip if it is that fat**), looks less than stellar. Don't know if that is a factory thing or been sitting for a decade thing. If you have the tools then do a reflow on it -- surface mount might look tricky but you can do things like run a molten ball of solder along the pins and then clean the iron and wipe down/away from the pins to sort any shorts you might have caused.
    The row of pins next to the PCB edge looks worse than the other one but do both if you are playing, and also clean up those resistors and capacitors (should just be able to touch the iron and maybe a bit of solder onto the solder joints to have them reflow and make a better connection).

    ** might also be something else on the circuit needed something that big and it is easier to just make everything that size to save having multiple flavours of chip to buy in. Also as long as this was ago it is was not like today where we have nice small chips for next to nothing.

    The battery side of things looks better but I would also take a look at the passives on it (most of all C2, C8, R5 and the one with J476 on top). I don't like the look of one of the pins on the SD slot but not enough that I would go out of my way to reflow it.

    So yeah those passives and the SDRAM chip I would reflow and maybe get a bit more solder on, or clean up. The other chips look OK from that -- the alignment on the lattice chip is not great but it presumably would not get anywhere at all if it did not work.
    Also while I will believe you when you say you cleaned the pins do look and see what the changes are there.
     
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