TouchPod, Sakura and GBA-saves

Discussion in 'M3 Adapter' started by The Jackal, Apr 17, 2009.

Apr 17, 2009
  1. The Jackal

    The Jackal Newbie

    Hi all!
    I've tried to read as much as possible regarding this scene, I'm new to pretty much everything. I'm currently waiting for my DS Lite and M3 DS REAL Perfect to show up.
    However, I do have some questions I was hoping you veterans could answer.

    First off, are there any differencies in compatibility between TouchPod and Sakura, gamewise (DS/GBA)? My priorities are games and I do not really plan to use my DS for video, music, pictures and what not.

    Second, I've read numerous reports of GBA-roms behaving oddly when it comes to saves; corruption, not being able to save at all, files vanishing etc.
    Is it a known bug? Is it because of the battery in the GBA Expansion, and how (if possible) do I combat/prevent this issue? Loosing saves is never pleasant, so I thought I'd try to check up on the matter before (if) I face the error myself.

    Also from my understanding, keeping the GBA Expansion in the DS drains your battery alot faster, but which battery, the one in the DS or the one in the GBA Expansion?
    And what would happen if the battery inside the GBA Expansion is drained completely? Is it something one should even be concerned about?

    I'd really appreciate your wisdom, since the User Manual provided on the M3-website feels kind of outdated.
    Thanks in advance people.
  2. shadow999

    Newcomer shadow999 Member

    Mar 11, 2009
    Well I do not know everything (I do not own a GBA Expansion. I will get one thou.).

    There are no real differences in compatibility between TouchPod and Sakura. Only thing is that TouchPod is usually updated before Sakura. I do not run homebrew (yet) but I have heard that TouchPod is a lot better with regards to running homebrew applications.

    The reports of the GBA ROM saves behaving weirdly is due to a known bug in Sakura.
    In short, When you play a GBA game, the GBA Expansion has no access to the MicroSD card in the Slot-1 compartment. There is no way to transfer a GBA save to a Slot-1 device when the DS is in 'GBA mode'. So what all GBA Expansions (that I know of) do is that the GBA save is saved in battery backed RAM. When the DS boots again, the M3 Real will check for the GBA Expansion and dump the save file from it to a file on the MicroSD card and associate the save with the last run GBA game.

    Unfortunately in Sakura, the firmware does not check weather a GBA Expansion is present when it boots. If the last game run was a GBA game, it will attempt to dump the save file to a file on the MicroSD card. If the GBA Expansion is missing (the last run game is a GBA game and when you boot the DS again, the GBA Expansion is not in its slot), the firmware will write a blank file as the save for the last run GBA game.

    Basically if you have worked hard playing a game and when you finish you remove your GBA Expansion pack, the save file on the MicroSD card will be corrupted when Sakura boots up (replaced the save file with a blank save) and you loose progress of your game.

    That is what is currently understood as the bug in Sakura. We do not have the source code for the firmware so its not like we can determine exactly 100% what the problem is and how to fix it. It is up to the programmers at the M3 Team to work it out and release a firmware update.

    By the way, if the GBA Expansions battery becomes flat before you dump your GBA save to the MicroSD card, your save will be lost!


    To avoid any GBA saves issues, follow these simple rules:

    1. When you finish playing your GBA game, make sure you boot the DS again with the GBA Expansion still in the DS so that the save file will be dumped to the MicroSD card.

    That's all I can think of at the moment! [​IMG]


    Apparently leaving the GBA Expansion in all the time will drain the DS's battery significantly more quickly.

    I believe if the GBA Expansion is drained completely, there are no real implications.
    Only thing I can think of is that if you have a quick GBA session and the GBA Expansions battery is still pretty much dead when you finish gaming and turn the DS off, the battery within the GBA Expansion may not last long enough before you boot the DS again to save the save file. Basically you will loose your save file.

    That was a purely hypothetical situation. I do not know whether such a situation is likely or even possible.
  3. The Jackal

    The Jackal Newbie

    Gosh, thanks for the great input! You really made an effort, appreciate it [​IMG]

    So basically, TouchPod for playing GBA-roms (as of now) is probably the best bet, because of a bug/problem in Sakura? I prefer compatibility in favour of a smoother GUI (which from my understanding is one of Sakura's advantages).

    And regarding the saves (GBA), a game is never really saved until you boot up the DS AFTER you've played/saved/turned it off? Which in turn would mean that removing the GBA Expansion (after saving in-game; turning off DS) would turn the save at the next reboot into a useless dud? And this is a Sakura-only-bug, or does the savesystem work the same way for TouchPod?

    Hm, the battery inside the GBA Expansion sounds a bit.. worrying. Even though is was a hypothesis.
    I mean, is it possible to change the battery yourself or does it recharge, how does one even know if it's running out of juice?
  4. Golin

    Member Golin GBAtemp Regular

    Feb 28, 2007
    United States
    United States
    Technically all cartridges will run out of juice... the question is how fast will it discharge, how much did it have to begin with, and is the battery faulty. I've heard people replacing batteries in these cartridges, but I've never done it myself.
  5. The Jackal

    The Jackal Newbie

    But the lifetime expectancy (of a healthy battery) is quite high, right? I assume they're measured in years?

    Here's a crazy idea, but would it be absolutely impossible to create a GBA-emulator on the DS? E.g. homebrew?
  6. Alexrose

    Member Alexrose Untitled

    Jan 20, 2009
    United Kingdom
  7. The Jackal

    The Jackal Newbie

    Ah, hehe. Ok, well.. that answered my question, so no further questions regarding that [​IMG]

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