The Definitive R4DS/M3simply FAQ thread

Discussion in 'R4 DS' started by iamwhoiam, Jan 21, 2007.

Jan 21, 2007
  1. iamwhoiam
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    Member iamwhoiam Honorary R4 Fanboy

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    The FAQ
    Q) Why?
    A)
    Having spent some time on the gbatemp R4 forum since it's first page, I have become increasingly aware of the amount of duplicate threads being started with the same old questions and same old answers. Surprisingly, an FAQ thread hasn't been started and so in an attempt to reduce general forum clutter, here is an FAQ. Hopefully this will answer half the threads in this forum. If there are any further questions, tag them to the end and I'll edit this post.


    The Cards
    Q) Is the R4DS / M3 Simply the best card for running backups on my Nintendo DS?
    A)
    In short, yes. For the following reasons: 100% Backup ROM compatability, one of the cheapest solutions, removable storage media, skinning, ok compatability with frequently updated homebrew.

    Q)Which card is better, R4 or M3 Simply?
    A)
    There is no actual answer since both cards are identical. Any Q&A that applies to the R4, applies to the M3 and vice versa. Factors that may influence your decision will purely be based on price and shipping. People argue that one card has superior firmware updates, whereas the second card has superior reputation. Read onto the question below. For a review of the R4, click here.

    Q) If they are identical, where did they come from?
    A) It is highly likely that R4 manufactures both cards from their factory. They sell their product and M3 rebrands it. There are many sources on these forums from correspondance with both companies that suggest this. Also, the fact that R4 releases firmware first, and M3 follow with the same firmware update a few days later, suggest that M3 are OEM'ing from R4. This might be a reason to persuade people to choose the R4 over the M3, because M3 get their firmware from the original makers, R4.

    Q) Can I use one card's firmware on the other (i.e. run R4 firmware on M3s)?
    A)
    The first generation batch of R4/M3s allowed them to be switched between each other to use each other's firmwares. Documentation on how to do this can be found here. This has been corrected with the latest batch of cards as shown here. However, the language (chinese/english) can still be changed using this method.

    Q) Which is the best place to buy R4 / M3
    A) The link to gbatemp's recommended list is here. Here is another list. There are many others. I will not recommended one distributor over the other, as it's your job to find out the best price/shipping option. Obviously cards that ship from chinese companies will take longer (unless you live in China), and express-mail obviously arrives quicker. If you are after a worldwide distributor with quick shipping and good rep, check divineo.com (note: not necessarily the cheapest). If you need feedback about a particular company use the search function.

    Q) What ROMs are the cards compatible with?
    A)
    The R4/M3s is currently 100% compatible with the "list". There is a memory card specific compatability problem with a select game, but this will be mentioned later under the "Memory" FAQ.

    Q) Will the R4/M3s let me play backups online?
    A)
    Yes. The carts allow connection to Wifi.

    Q) Does download play work?
    A)
    Download play works on most games and fails on others, most notably Nintendo franchise games (Mario, Metroid etc). This is because of the way the original cart's secure part of the ROM is implemented. A R4/M3s download play compatability chart can be found here.

    Q) What homebrew are the cards compatible with?
    A)
    The R4/M3s is compatible with most homebrew who run from .nds format, and do not need to access the file system of the memory card (i.e. specific folders/files on the memory card). However, this issue is being addressed with DLDI patching of most of the frequently updated homebrew available. A homebrew compatability chart can be found here. For a guide on installing specific homebrew, click on this excellent guide.


    Memory
    Q) What type of memory do I need for R4/M3s?
    A)
    MicroSD, aka Transflash. Note: This is smaller than MiniSD. And yes, it really is that small.

    Q) What is the best MicroSD card for the R4/M3s?
    A)
    Toshiba or Kingston-JAP (i.e. made in Japan, model number: SD-C01G) is the most compatible card for R4/M3s if you want to play Castlevania - Portrait Of Ruin. If you dont play it, any other card will work fine with the other 1000+ games on the "list". Sandisk Ultra2's is also likely to work ultra flawlessly with POR, but the price is ultra absurd (double the price of kingston). PNY/Viking also OEM from the same factories that make the kingston silicons, but there's no guarantee that these cards are exactly the same as the kingston ones. There's a chance that the taiwanese cards made by all companies work flawlessly with POR, but like I said, it's only a chance. Or you could buy any MicroSD you want, and buy the original POR game. After all it is only one game (imho, isn't that good), and probably a small glitch in the dumped backup. For a list of POR compatibility click here.
    Important: At the end of the day, the better cards don't guarantee CV:POR compatability, but only increase the likelihood that they will work and this is due to variable manufacturing quality.

    Q) How much memory do I need?
    A)
    1 Gigabyte of memory should be enough for 20 ROM backups. If you don't see yourself needing more than this then don't buy it, because the prices increase exponentially after 1Gbyte. Two 1Gbyte cards cost about a third of the price of a single 2Gbyte card

    Q) Where do I buy MicroSD memory from?
    A)
    It is sold in most places that sell normal memory card formats. Recommended online retailers: USA, Newegg; UK, Ebuyer.

    Q) Do I format my MicroSD to FAT16 or FAT32?
    A)
    The preferred option is FAT16 (just called FAT under Windows). FAT16 will run quicker than FAT32. FAT32 allows for larger capacity (over 2Gbytes), but since the largest MicroSD card is currently 2GByte, this isn't a problem.


    Usage
    Q) How do I set up the card?
    A)
    Make sure your MicroSD card is visible in your operating system (via the supplied MicroSD card reader or SD card converter or other methods). Download the most recent firmware / kernel (R4 or M3s). Extract to the root of your MicroSD card (i.e. X:\ , where X is the MicroSD drive letter). Overwrite existing files if need be. Add ROMs to the root folder too. Insert MicroSD card into R4/M3s and boot up the Nintendo DS with the R4/M3s in slot1. The most recent firmware (as of 04/04/07) is 1.08b for R4DS and 1.04B for M3s - but both have the same functionality.

    Q) How do I get cheats working?
    A)
    As of R4 v1.08 Final and M3s v1.04 Final, Action Replay cheat codes are supported. Please read my cheat FAQ.

    Q) How do I get Opera DS Browser working?
    A)
    Firstly, you need one of four things... the original RAM expansion cart that comes with the Opera DS Browser or a slot2 Supercard (not Supercard Rumble) or a slot2 M3 adapter (not "pro" series, but "perfect") or an EZV Expansion Pack. If you have the Supercard or M3, you need to patch the .nds Opera ROM with either this for Supercard or this for M3 adapter. You apply the .ips patch with an IPS patcher. Put the patched ROM on your R4/M3s, and put the RAM Expansion / Supercard / M3 Adapter in your slot2. If you have the EZV Expansion Pack, take a peek at this thread
    If this all seems a bit too much, buy the original Opera DS Browser.

    Q) Do GBA backups work? How do I get GBA backups working?
    A)
    You cannot get GBA backups working with only the R4/M3s device, infact there is no current slot1 solution that allows this to happen. However, if you have the EZV Expansion pack you can run GBA backups in this slot2 device. More information at this thread.

    Q) What does that Red/Green button do on R4/M3s software?
    A)
    Having it on green allows for ROMs to undergo soft-reset, back to the original R4/M3s menu. Pressing A+B+X+Y+L+R will soft reset when in a backup ROM. The soft reset will not work in most homebrew.

    Q) How do I get rid of all those annoying files and folders I dont want?
    A)
    Pressing select on your NDS when you're in the "Games" menu will hide the system files and folders, and also .sav files. You can also hide folders/files that you have added by giving them the "hidden" attribute. To do this in Windows... Right click folder/file; goto Properties; tick "Hidden"; click ok. Your folders/files will now be hidden allong with the default system files.

    Q) What video formats does the R4 support and how do I convert to that format?
    A)
    The R4 runs moonshell as its multimedia player. This player supports .dpg format video which is similar to .mpg. To convert videos to .dpg format, you will need a programme called BatchDPG made by the guys who developed moonshell. There is a tutorial available here with detailed instructions on converting.

    Q) Does the R4/M3s support multiple saves?
    A)
    No. The only way to do it is to have multiple copies of the ROM either a) in different folders or b) with different names, to ensure a different .sav file is created per ROM.

    Q) What save formats does the R4/M3s use?
    A)
    The R4/M3s uses 512kb .SAV files. If you need to use a file with a different format (e.g. dat, dss, sc etc etc) use this tool to convert between them.

    Q) What is a ROM trimmer and how do I use it?
    A)
    R4DS provides a ROM trimmer on their website. It removes the useless data tagged onto the end of most clean dumps of ROMs to fill the remainder of the official cart's memory (at 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 Mbyte intervals). Using a ROM trimmer allows you to reduce the size of the ROM to allow more to be squeezed onto your MicroSD. For batch trimming of ROMs, try DS-X Manager.

    Q) Does the R4/M3s support sleep mode?
    A)
    The cards do support sleep mode for games that support it (99% of all games?!). Obviously, sleep mode doesn't work in wifi mode etc.

    Q) How come I can't read PDF ebooks on my R4DS/M3s?
    A)
    There is currently no homebrew application that enables PDF files to be read on the NDS. The eBook functionality of the latest R4DS/M3s firmware only support TXT file ebooks.

    Q) Is there a single unified program to manage everything on my R4/M3s?
    a)
    Yes, check out R4 Commander. Also available with M3 Simply skins.

    Skinning GUI

    Q) How do I change appearance of the interface?
    A)
    The R4/M3s supports skinning. This is achievable by editing the 4 bitmap images located in the theme (see 2 questions down for expansion on "themes") folders in the _system_ folder of the MicroSD. They have to be 256*192 pixels and saved in 24bit colour depth bitmaps. If you want to create your own skin, there is a skin template available here. Alternatively download a skin...

    Q) Where can I download skins for R4/M3s?
    A)
    There is an excellent site Mavis R4 Skins provided by one of gbatemp's forum members for hosting R4 skins. You can upload your owns skins here too. Failing that, click on gbatemp's massive R4 skin thread. It is recommended to use mavis's site for uploading skins to this thread as there is no downtime/registering/popup ads. Please note that R4/M3s skins are compatible with one another as they run the same firmware and interface.

    Q) Why are there differently numbered theme folders?
    A)
    The latest firmware allows you to have 12 theme folders, each containing a different skin. You can set your device to either a) automatically alternate skins each month or b) manually select one of the 12 skins. To do this, goto the main menu and press 'select'. There is no need to have all 12 theme folders if they are manually chosen.

    Q) I can't find the _system_ folder?!
    A)
    If there is no _system_ folder, try creating one in the root folder of your MicroSD (i.e. X:\ _system_ where X is your MicroSD drive letter) or update to the latest firmware or both. Only 1.05 R4 and 1.01 M3s firmwares onward support skinning.

    Q) How do I change the icon placements?
    A)
    You can't because the icons are in a predefined area. Changing the skin only changes the background beneath this area.

    Q) How do I change the font colour? How do I hide the font?
    A)
    The latest firmware allows various colours to be changed, including the font. Each theme folder requires a special file named "theme.ini". The editing of the colours in theme.ini takes this format:

    Code:
    [About]
    
    ; Title of theme
    Title=R4 example theme
    ; Author of theme
    Author=R4 team
    ; Date of Creation
    Date=04/04/2007
    
    [Color]
    
    ; Language version
    Color00=xxxxxx
    ; Selection border
    Color01=xxxxxx
    ; Kernel version
    Color02=xxxxxx
    ; Menu option
    Color03=xxxxxx
    ; Time/date
    Color04=xxxxxx
    ; Game menu titlebar text
    Color05=xxxxxx
    ; Filenames
    Color06=xxxxxx
    ; Folder names
    Color07=xxxxxx
    ; Selected item text
    Color08=xxxxxx
    ; Selected item background
    Color09=xxxxxx
    ; Scrollbar
    Color10=xxxxxx
    ; Lower screen - File date
    Color11=xxxxxx
    ; Lower screen - Full file name
    Color12=xxxxxx
    ...where xxxxxx is the colour code in hexadecimal HTML format.


    Other

    Q) I have a suggestion, who do I contact?
    A)
    You could try posting on the official R4 forums or contact M3 and hope they notice your request.

    Q) OMG, my MicroSD card / USB MicroSD card reader just blew up!
    A)
    There are some problems with a certain batch of MicroSD card readers included with the R4/M3s package. It affects about 10% of all bundled card readers. Therefore it is highly recommended to buy and use an alternative card reader. They can be had for about £5. However, newer batches of R4 / M3s come bundled with a more reliable card reader.

    Q) OMG, my MicroSD spring loader doesn't work anymore!
    A)
    This is also a problem which affects a worryingly high proportion of cards. The only solution is either to purchase a new R4/M3s or try and get a refund from the original supplier.







    edit [#5] [30/01/07] - Usage (updated firmware download links)
    edit [#6] [04/04/07] - Usage, Memory, Skinning
    edit [#7] [06/04/07] - Usage
    edit [#8] [10/04/07] - Usage
     


  2. 111111111

    Member 111111111 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Actually, it is toshiba that manufactures them - kingston oem them from toshiba (as well as from taiwanese manufacturers).

    Getting a Toshiba guarantees a SD-C01G. With kingston it can be a gamble (but if you check before you buy you should be fine).
     
  3. iamwhoiam
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    Member iamwhoiam Honorary R4 Fanboy

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    yeah but Kingston get the high quality batch. pny viking etc, low quality... I don't know what batches toshiba use for themselves but the kingston cards are more abudant ayways, so that doesn't really change the answer. i'll rephrase it though =]
     
  4. 111111111

    Member 111111111 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Indeed, I said the same thing in another thread a few days ago.

    I'd definitely get the Kingston or Toshiba out of all the brands though (kingston offer lifetime warranty, tosh 5-10yrs depending on country).

    picstop have toshiba 1gb for £12.90 delivered or kingston (japan atm, always wise to ask first though) 1gb for £13.90 delivered if anyone is interested.
     
  5. iamwhoiam
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    Member iamwhoiam Honorary R4 Fanboy

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    and this factory is the bain of your POR woes:
    [​IMG]
    ...haha =]

    edit: and according to wikipedia:
    "Senator John Heinz, the late former husband of Teresa Heinz-Kerry said "What Toshiba and Kongsberg did was ransom the security of the United States for $517 million."
    ...this regarding the fact that Toshiba sold CNC milling machines to USSR to produce quieter submarine propellors!
     
  6. HDW

    Newcomer HDW Advanced Member

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    So, should Toshiba be the same as Kingston Japan or will the Ultra II be ok? I'm getting it for my birthday, so cost doesn't matter that much..
     
  7. 111111111

    Member 111111111 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Fantastic, another reason to buy toshiba (and their oem'd) products.

    I'd far rather support a company that sold to the russians (I don't like communists much but they are preferable to capitalists [​IMG] ) than a company such as IBM that helped the nazi's slaughter millions of people in the 1930 and 1940's.
     
  8. Sinkhead

    Former Staff Sinkhead yay p1ngpong.

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    Can I just say, I got this email from Vincent (R4 sales team)
     
  9. 111111111

    Member 111111111 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Thats the card reader I got in an r4 last week. Works fine.

    My little plastic cart case was blue rather than turquoise though - and had a strap rather than a keychain.
     
  10. Nestea80

    Member Nestea80 GBAtemp Fan

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    I got the exact same package as you. The blue case with a strap, and the same MicroSD reader. I got mine JUST when the new batch came through. This was about 2 weeks ago.
     
  11. Russ Meter

    Newcomer Russ Meter Newbie

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    someone should sticky this.
     
  12. BoneMonkey

    Banned BoneMonkey The cheese stash is a lie.

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    i ordered from diveno dec 21 and got my order 4 weeks later I DO NOT RECOMEND THIS SITE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  13. iamwhoiam
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    Member iamwhoiam Honorary R4 Fanboy

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    you got it from .cn on normal ($5) shipping right?
     
  14. Harsky

    Member Harsky Madmin

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    So I thought I might as well bite the bullet and get the R4 from Bamboogaming. has anyone else ordered the Kingston 1gb MicroSD on their site as well and is it good? Hey, I figured it's gotta be better than ordering one form ebay and finding out that it breaks on me.
     
  15. 111111111

    Member 111111111 GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    http://www.picstop.co.uk/ have the kingston (japan) for £12.90 and the toshiba for £11.90. Postage is only £1.
     
  16. 4saken

    Member 4saken Retired Ace Attorney

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    I have a question.

    Does the Official Nintendo Rumble Pak work with the R4, and with all the games that should be supported. Also, does the Ewin Rumble Pak work like the Nintendo Rumble Pak, with exactly the same support?

    Cheers
     
  17. BoneMonkey

    Banned BoneMonkey The cheese stash is a lie.

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    if the game suports rumble pak then yes
     
  18. 4saken

    Member 4saken Retired Ace Attorney

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    Awesome [​IMG]

    So now I'm tossing between waiting for an eWin Ram Pack, or getting an eWin Rumble Pak since they work the same as the Nintendo one.

    I'll probably get the Rumble, seeing as I heard from an official Nintendo statement that games will not use the RAM pack. I'll try shed some light on this later.
     
  19. bollocks

    Member bollocks GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Dane-Elec MicroSD cards are Toshiba also, they seem to be quite reasonably priced.
     
  20. other

    Member other GBAtemp Regular

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    How can you tell if the Kingston microSD is made in Japan or Taiwan? I don't have one, so I would want to know what to look for when I go to a store. A picture says more than a thousand words. [​IMG]
     

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