The ultimate 'DS Battery Test' thread in the world......

Discussion in 'NDS - Flashcarts and Accessories' started by CannonFoddr, Apr 16, 2011.

  1. CannonFoddr
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    Member CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

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    I did a similar post to this a while back but since not a lot of 'Tempers contributed - so I thought I'll do an update, redo & add a few more tests to make it the '(nearly) Ultimate DS Battery test' thread..
    Old test results can be found at the bottom of this post

    Firstly though
    Disclaimer
    The results I have may not coincide with what you're getting with your own system,
    I did not do the tests under 'Labratory conditons' or in a 'controlled enviroment' & many things can affect battery life

    Background info
    On most tests I used a standard stopwatch to time it, meaning I had to hang around to see WHEN the DS switched off
    These tests were done over a long period of time, since they were mainly done only over the weekends IF I had any spare time
    Because of the charging up/reformatting MSD/draining for each test - I could also only do ~1 test (2 if I was very lucky) a day
    In some cases I also re-done tests [on different days], since some results 'seemed' wrong IMHO - the results shown below are the SHORTEST time recorded
    Since I also have VERY limited resources I only concentrated on the one gaming system - the DSLite. This was so that I could test an extra flashcard (the 'N5')

    All 'Conclusions' mentioned are what I think, based on the results - you may disagree... If you do - well tough !!:P

    If YOU wish to have a go - perhaps on other DS systems/flashcards etc - PLEASE try & keep to the same test 'layout' as I've done so that we can 'compare notes' - thanks

    Test procedure
    In each test:
    • The DSLite was fully charged - As soon as the charger was disconnected, the DS was switched on straight away & the test was started as soon as possible
    • The Stopwatch (where applicable) was started the moment I 'flicked the [power] switch' & stopped when the DS powered down
    • The DSLite was set to 'Full' brightness & the Volume was set to a 'comfortable' level (except for during the 'Sound' tests)
    • The Same microSD card (8Gb Class 2 Sandisk SDHC) was used (wherever applicable) each time
    • The microSD card was re-formatted each time using the 'Panasonic Formatter' - options set to: Full Format/Flash Erase OFF/Format Size Adjustment OFF
    • Only the flashcard's EOS and the required ROM/Homebrew/Files were installed for each test (EOS was installed first each time)
    • Each flashcard/test was done in a random order & not the order shown below - only the test results are grouped/sorted into 'best' to 'worse' order
    Onto the tests........

    Test Group 1 - 'Benchmark Tests'
    This set of tests were done to compare my Second-hand DSLite battery life to the manufacturer stated lifespan

    According to Nintendo specifications, the battery life for the DSLite system on MAX brightness is 5-8hrs

    The DSLite was switched on &....
    • Left on main menu screen (Showing Picochat/Download Play) with NO game card(s) inserted: 5hrs 01mins
    • Left on main menu screen (Showing Picochat/Download Play) with both Slot1 & Slot2 game card(s) inserted (none were started though):5hrs 00min
    (This was to test to see if having game cards left in the slots cause any battery drain)
    • Commercial Slot-1 game (Sonic Rush) started & left in 'Demo mode': 4hrs 53mins
    • 'Download Play' started & left in 'scanning' (so that it used the Wifi) - DS kept open: 3hrs 09mins
    • 'Download Play' started & left in 'scanning' (so that it used the Wifi) - DS kept closed: Not possible - Communications are cut off in sleep mode
    NOTE: When I say that WiFi is 'left in scanning' I mean that it WASN'T playing any WiFi games... it was instead scanning/searching to see if there's anyavaliable wifi around.
    I have read that 'scanning' (or searching for a wifi signal) uses more power than actual data transfers (found during WiFi gaming) & thought that this would be a better indication of 'high drain' activity

    (I also tried a 'Commercial Slot-2 (Sonic Pinball) & left on 'title screen' test but the battery indicator was still green even after 8hrs- so I gave up as I needed to get up early for work the following day)

    Conclusion:
    i) Despite being a second hand unit brought from 'Gamestation' IMHO the battery was still in pretty good shape in respect to Nintendo specifications, when it come to game playing
    ii) Using the WiFi (on constant scanning at least) causes a massive drop in battery life - between 1hr 44mins to nearly 2hrs, when we compare it to the other results
    iii) Leaving game cards in the system doesn't cause a massive battery drain


    Test Group 2 - 'Flashcard + ROM'
    This set consisted of running each flashcard that I own running a commercial ROM (Sonic Rush) in 'Demo mode'

    • Ak2i + ROM: 7hrs 13min
    • N5 + ROM: 6hr 04min - NB. This had to use a 2Gb SD (Apacer) card as it couldn't handle SDHC
    • DSTwo + ROM ['Clean' mode]: 6hrs 04min
    • DSTwo + ROM ['Patch' mode]: 5hrs 32min
    • R4iGold + ROM : 4hrs 15min
    • M3iZero + ROM: 3hrs 44min
    Conclusion:
    It does seem as though flashcards do affect battery life, but not necessarly for the worse.. some seem to actually give longer battery life than that of running a commercial game


    Test Group 3 - 'Flashcard + Homebrew'
    This set is the same as above except I used Snailface 'DS Battery Life timer' Homebrew to test for comparison - this meant I could start it up & leave the DS alone without having to 'keep-an-eye' on it with the stopwatch

    Note: I had a lot trouble with v2 of this program on several cards, it kept locking up/freezing
    - Since comparing v2 with v1.1 the time difference is not that much different, I stuck with the v1.1 for these tests as it was the most stable

    • Ak2i + Battery Life timer v1.1: 8hrs 18mins
    • DSTwo + Battery Life timer v1.1: 8hrs 06mins
    • N5 + Battery Life timer v1.1: 6hrs 48mins
    • R4i + Battery Life timer v2: 4hrs 46mins
    (as you can see between this and the result below, the difference between the two test programs is hardly noticeable)
    • R4i + Battery Life timer v1.1: 4hrs 44mins
    • M3iZero + Battery Life timer v1.1 (Using Touchpod): 4hrs 06mins
    • M3iZero + Battery Life timer v1.1 (Using Sakura): 4hrs 00mins
    (Didn't really expect these last 2 to be much different - I was just curious)

    Conclusion:
    i) Homebrew software doesn't seem to cause as much a 'strain' on the battery life (>8hrs for the Ak2i, while a real 'Commercial game' only lasted 4Hrs 53Min),
    ii) The more expensive the card does NOT mean it's has better battery life


    Test Group 4+5 - 'Memory Card/Sound tests'
    It's been suggested that different size/speed memory cards & possible the level of sound, could also affect battery life so the following tests were tried out to test this theory.
    All were tried out on a M3iZero flashcard (the worse offender in tests above) playing a variety of MP3 files (about 32 music tracks), with 'AllRepeat' selected
    - no other Sakura settings were changed meaning that the screensaver kicked in after a period of time (by default)

    The test(s) were first tried with a 2Gb (Apacer) SD card, first at MIN volume (you can't 'turn off' the volume on the DSLite) then at MAX volume (for this I taped over the speakers to muffle it & so not to disturb anyone too much), then I re-tested with a 8Gb (class 4) Sandisk SDHC card, once again at a MIN volume then repeated at MAX
    - The reason for playing MP3 files was so that (In theory) the memory card is accessed each time a song finishes & therefore 'should' cause a bigger drain on the battery

    2Gb Apacer SD card
    • Volume at MIN: 5hrs 47mins
    • Volume at MAX: 5hrs 43mins
    8Gb (class 4) Sandisk SDHC
    • Volume at MIN: 5hrs 49mins
    • Volume at MAX: 5hrs 44mins
    Conclusion:
    i) Volume wise - regardless of the level you have it at, on a DSLite at least, there is little difference in affected battery life - just a few minutes difference
    ii) Memory card wise - once again it make no difference to battery life. They are virtually the same times regardless of the type of card used (If I had a 32Gb class 10 card the story might've been different)
    iii) The m3iZero lasted longer when playing music than it did when running the Homebrew possibly due to the screensaver kicking in - this points to the possibility that the screens cause a bigger drain on the battery


    Test Group 6 - 'DSTwo Specific'
    I've seen many people have claimed that the extra CPU/Memory of the DSTwo drains the battery quicker than a 'normal' flashcard, but offered no 'real' proof that it does
    So I hope this set of tests may prove it.... However, this set of tests was harder to do a proper comparisons since there's no programs that I know of are avaliable as both a NDS file AND a PLG file.

    Because of this I had to 'compromise' on this set of tests
    - I used DStwo own 'player' to (hopefully) test the onboard CPU/Memory and a suitable (IMHO) NDS homebrew to play the same/similar file(s) using the DSLite own CPU/Memory

    MP3 file played (on 'loop') using....
    • DS2 'movie player': 4hrs 32min
    (note: both screens turned off while playing)
    • Moonshell2 (Child Zwai edition): 5hrs 25min
    (note: moonshell2 switched off the DS after every 2hrs for some reason - so I had to switch on & restart it each time)


    SNES Emulation (Emulators settings left on default) using:
    • CATSFC Emulator + Super Metroid (demo mode):3hrs 55mins
    • SNEmulDS + Super Metroid (demo mode): 5hrs 55mins
    I WAS going to try & do movie playback tests as well, but the DSTwo's player can't play DPG files (so I couldn't use 'Moonshell2' for playback) & I had trouble trying to play AVI's through 'Tuna-Vids', so this test was scrapped

    Conclusion:
    i) Running DSTwo specific Homebrew (those ending in PLG) definitely drains the battery far quicker than using typical NDS homebrew.
    ii) There is a greater drain when using Emulators (2hrs less compared to playing MP3's which was only ~1hr less) - this could be because of the extra 'work' the onboard CPU has to do


    Test Group 7 - 'Screen brightness'
    Someone suggested tests to see how much different the screen brightness affects battery life. In this set of tests I used a DSTwo, 4Gb [Sandisk] Class 2 MicroSD card + v3 of Snailface's 'Battery Tester'

    The 'Level Nos.' shown match the same 'Levels' on the DSTwo's 'DS_Game' launcher ( 'Start' > 'Settings' > 'Brightness' )
    • Screen brightness set to 'Level 1' (Lowest): 7hrs 30min
    • Screen brightness set to 'Level 2' (Low-Mid) : 6hrs 00min
    • Screen brightness set to 'Level 3' (High-Mid): 4hrs 30min
    • Screen brightness set to 'Level 4' (Highest): 3hrs 35min
    Contributed Test Results
    Warning: Spoilers inside!

    Anyway, that's that !!! - A set of tests checking how much flashcards could affect the DS battery life.
    Hope you find this info useful - 'cos I doubt there ever be another one done (Well - not by me anyway ;))

    And a reminder -
    If anyone does fancy having a go with a different DS/Flashcard etc - could you TRY & keep to the same 'test procedure layout' as above (& remember to post your results) as it'll give a more accurate comparison between system combinations
    Thanks​
    :yaynds:
     
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  2. Sausage Head

    Banned Sausage Head Lord Sausage LXIX

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    I don't think DownloadPlay uses Wi-Fi connection.
     
  3. CannonFoddr
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    Member CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

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    It doesn't - the test was for Battery Drain with the WiFi 'On' and 'Running' - the only way I could think of to do that WITHOUT actually starting a game with Wifi connection was to get the Wifi to constantly 'scan' for 'Download play' as I knew there was virtually no chance of actually finding one.
     
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  4. Heran Bago

    Member Heran Bago Where do puyo come from?

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    Great set of tests, very scientific. It's surprising that some flash carts are actually better for battery life than a normal game.
     
  5. CannonFoddr
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    Member CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

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    I know - that's what suprized me as well...
    & that's why I even repeated tests to double check the results
     
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  6. Ace Overclocked

    Member Ace Overclocked My CPU's hot but my core runs cold.

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    whoa it took a long time didn't it?
    it's weird people say flashcarts drain more power...
     
  7. Snailface

    Member Snailface My frothing demand for 3ds homebrew is increasing

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    I've updated my battery life timer app if anybody wants to do their own tests. It's more accurate than before and more compatible with different memory cards.
    (the crazy looking visual effects (flickering black bars too) are normal -- I promise)

    http://filetrip.net/f24838-DS-Battery-Life-Timer-3-0.html

    I would love to see what the 3ds results are! (too scared to try myself, don't trust Nintendo [​IMG])
     
  8. awssk8er

    Member awssk8er GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Well, some do.

    The DSTwo does because of the addition CPU or whatever it is. I guess that iEvo and the iPlayer do the same. It's not a huge difference.
     
  9. Terminator02

    Member Terminator02 ヽ( 。 ヮ゚)ノ

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    the dstwo lasted over 30 minutes longer than the commercial cart

    only the r4igold and m3izero reduced the battery life when playing commercial games

    Edit: also, very nice work cannon, must of taken u at least a week [​IMG], i'm gonna bookmark this
     
  10. awssk8er

    Member awssk8er GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Really? I didn't really look at the test in this thread, but from other tests, I've heard it's shorter. I noticed a difference my self too.

    I'm going to check out his results.
     
  11. Snailface

    Member Snailface My frothing demand for 3ds homebrew is increasing

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    Sorry people, I uploaded a file that gave black screens. It's fixed now. Correct file uploaded.
     
  12. CannonFoddr
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    Member CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

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    And the rest [​IMG] ...

    Let's work this out and see shall we [​IMG] ....
    • > There's 26 'tests' shown in the thread - totalling ~5Days 8Hr 30min
      > Of those 26 tests - I think I'd repeated ~8 to check the results or because of 'problems' (I know I definately did 'Test group 3' twice because first time round BatteryTest v2 kept freezing on me).
      So lets say we'll take the LOWEST 8 times for the 'benefit of the doubt' - that totals to ~1day 4hrs 10min
      > On top of these - it took/takes ~3-4hours to recharge the DSLite after each test
      Once again we'll take the LOWEST time. So there's 26 {main tests} + 8 {re-tests} = 34 tests in total x 3hrs {charge time} = 102hrs = 4days 6hrs
    Add all these together & we have a grand total of at least 10days 18hrs 40mins (slightly longer than a week [​IMG] I think - Terminator )

    BUT since I could only do these tests (mainly) during weekends - that means I must've started these tests over 5 weeks ago
    (and to prove the point - the Text document I'd set up to record all the results in was 'Created: 5th March 2011,12:04pm' according to Windows)
     
  13. Terminator02

    Member Terminator02 ヽ( 。 ヮ゚)ノ

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    that's some dedication [​IMG]
     
  14. Elnef

    Newcomer Elnef Member

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    Awesome job!!!

    I´m really surprised with the results.

    I always thinks the flash carts draim more than comercial games. In special the DStwo. But it´s better than que others like M3izero or R4i.

    PD: Fantastic Acekard2i result.

    PD2: I would like see this test about a 3DS.
     
  15. CannonFoddr
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    Member CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

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  16. Okami Wolfen

    Member Okami Wolfen GBAtemp Regular

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    Awesome thread. I thought of doing this once, but never had the time (or patience).
     
  17. ChaosZero816

    Member ChaosZero816 Temp's Official Random Member

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    Never knew that the battery life can be affected on the flashcart you are using.

    Another point for the Acekard team.
     
  18. Snailface

    Member Snailface My frothing demand for 3ds homebrew is increasing

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    The differences are even more dramatic when the brightness is turned down. Here are my test results using the lowest brightness with my app:
    Warning: Spoilers inside!
     
  19. hullo8d

    Member hullo8d GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    CannonFoddr, would you mind running a test of the DSTWO in clean mode?
     
  20. CannonFoddr
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    Member CannonFoddr Regular GBATemp Lurker

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    Well - I did say I was most probably not do any more battery tests for a while (& I totally forgot about the DSTwo 'clean' mode - I've never used it), but you'll have to wait a while though (In theory ~5-6hrs from now [12:10pm UK time]) , need to recharge the DSLite & set up the memory card, then do the test (hopefully I don't get called away to do anything else today since I'll have to use the stopwatch)
     

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