GameBoy Flashers

Preamble

Following on from Chiptunes and Battered GameBoy, I thought I’d investigate trying to get a LSDJ on the cheap, see DMG music cartridge… and ended up also investigating flashers, as it is probably cheaper to buy a flashable card than trying to source an original LSDj cartridge.

See also

Links

More Reddit threads:

Quick Recommendation Summary

From Which flashcard do I want? Start here!

Slightly longer TL;DR

  • Gameboy/Gameboy Color ROMs on Gameboy/Gameboy Color: Get an Everdrive-GB by krikzz
  • Gameboy Advance ROMs on Gameboy Advance: Get an Everdrive GBA by krikzz
  • Gameboy/Gameboy Color ROMs emulated on Gameboy Advance: Get an EZ-Flash IV 2015, and run Goomba Color Emulator (the Everdrive GBA flashcart also works just as well but is more expensive if you only want to run GB/GBC games)
  • Nintendo DS ROMs on a Nintendo DS/DS Lite/DSi: Get a R4i Gold 3DS RTS by r4ids.cn
  • Gameboy Advance ROMs emulated on Nintendo DS/DS Lite/DSi: Get a SuperCard DSTWO by supercard.sc (it has a special CPU needed for emulation)
  • Gameboy Advance ROMs natively on Nintendo DS/DS Lite: Get a R4i Gold 3DS RTS by r4ids.cn and a EZ 3-in-1 Expansion Pack
  • Gameboy/Gameboy Color ROMs emulated on Nintendo DS/DS Lite/DSi: Get a R4i Gold 3DS RTS by r4ids.cn (or any homebrew-capable card) and run any GBC emulator
  • Nintendo DSi ROMs on Nintendo DSi: Not possible since DSi 1.4.5 update (nobody cares about DSi games)

Flashable Cartridges

Size requirements

Note about LSDj

From DMG music cartridge under the section LSDj:

Note the LSDJ requires a ROM of 4 Mb (prior to version 3.0), or 8 Mb (version 3.0 or greater), and 32 kB RAM (128kB for filesystem), see Backup gear:

The cartridge ROM size should be 8 Mbit (Possibly 4 Mbit if you’re ok with using an old version) This is usually no problem since most carts have more than that. As for RAM you need 32 kbytes to run LSDj, and to be able to use the file system, you need 128 kbytes. Many carts do not have 128 kbytes of RAM, so watch out! Also, some carts do have 128 kbytes of RAM, but do not support acess to all of it at the same time. In this case yo can have four copies of LSDj each with one song, but with no access to file saving.

Note:

  • 8 Mb = 1 MB
  • 4 Mb = 0.5 MB = 512 kB

Note about mGB

/mGB requires only a 32 kB cartridge.

Note about SRAM

1 Mb cartridges:

  • ElCheapoSD
  • EMS
  • Drag n derp
  • Dragon cart
  • BennVenn cheapo LSDj cart does.

EverDrive cartridges do not have 1 Mb.

From EMS 64M Smart Card discontinued

  • The thing is, few USB/SD carts give LSDJ 1 mbit SRAM, which is needed to save multiple projects on a single copy of LSDJ.

    I know you can have multiple mono-project (256 kbit SRAM) LSDJ copies on most carts, but then you can’t copy and paste from one onto another.

     

  • AFAIK, only ever drives don’t give 1mbit. ElCheapoSD do, ems do, drag n derp do, dragon cart do, my cheapo lsdj cart does. It’s more common than not

Flashable cartridge options

Nintendo Power Flash

From GameBoy Power Flash Pc Adapter, £38.99

s-l1600-19

From Power Flash (GameBoy Spiele auf N64 + Cheat Adapter) für Nintendo 64 in OVP, €56.05

s-l1600-21

See also Anyway to use the Nintendo Power ‘flash carts’?

Flash Cartridge images

Flash Boy Cartridge for Game Boy Classic DMG and Color GBC 16Mbit / 256Kb / RTC

s-l500-3

32k Gameboy Flash Cart – CatSkull

Gameboy 32KB Flash Cart (comes with case)

img_5990s1

Gameboy 2MB 32KB FRAM Flash Cart

img_5735_1

From InsideGadgets comparison page:

carts-compare-6

Flash card 16Mbit+256KB+FRAM (although the image shows 16/32Mb)

s-l1600-17

Jack DIY – takes microSD

s-l1600-18.jpg

Everdrive

EverDrive_GB.png

From EverDrive-GB X7

Everdrive GB X7
Everdrive GB X7

From 32M LDSJ Cartridge

Screen Shot 2019-06-09 at 08.35.24.png

From 64M USB CARTRIDGE LOADED WITH ROMS OF YOUR CHOICE E.G. PUSHPIN

21-80-large

The above cartridge is referred to in Yet another Arduinoboy Gameboy and Midi HowTo:

For the project you need a special cartridge (the grey memory boxes where the games are usually on). You need a cartridge wich can be rewritten with the mGB code (see below), so the gameboy knows what to play when a midi-note comes in.
This was one of the biggest mysteries for me. What do I have to do? Buy a cartridge and a programmer, if yes, which? Build the programmer myself? Build the cartridge itself from scratch with used RAM? It might seem confusing, but in the end, there are only two main cartridges:

Cartridge with mini USB Connector, works like a USB-Memory Stick (Easy)

p1090024-300x225

As seen in the picture above. I would go for this option, but these cartridges are sometimes hard to find. You can google “GB USB Smart Card 64Mbit” to find source or use these:
Flashlinker Shop (german, 40€)
tototek (40$)
jimdo (52$)
Kitch Bent StoreMafipulation (new batches from time to time, but sold out very quickly)
You can also check the chiptune forums from time to time

Cartridges you need a programmer for (hard)

Escecially if you plan to programm lots of cartridges you should think about getting a programmer. There is gorgeous site form Mr. Ziegler with extensive info on this issue.

What is the best cheap, durable flash cart for DMG?

DIY Flashable

You could make your own programmable cartridges using recycled commercial cartridges: GameBoy Cartridge Reader and Writer by Reiner Ziegler

Flashers

Flash Boy should not be confused with FlashBoy.

The Chinese versions of Flash Boy come in two variants, basic (no version number) and version 3.1. The differences seem to be:

  • Basic
    • DMG
    • GBC
  • Version 3.1
    • GBA support
    • Camera support

From a description of the basic, from Flash Boy-Gameboy DMG and Color GBC Cartridge Dumper Flasher memory equipped ROM:

Descriptions:

  • Copy DMG & GBC cartridge ROMs onto your HD, use a device like the EZ-Flash Omega to play your collection
  • Burn ROMs onto Flash memory equipped cartridges like the official Flash Boy cartridges
  • Read & write game saves (RAM) on supporting game cartridges (like Pokemon series)

From a description of version 3.1 from For Flash Boy 3.1 Cyclone GBC/GBA Cartridge Dumper Flasher ROM With USB Cable

Descriptions:

  • Dump ROMS and backup SAVS from both original GBA/GBC cartridges and most third-party GBA/GBC cartridges.
  • Dump images as .bmp format from the Game Boy camera to PC.
  • Write GB/GBC ROMS to original Flash Boy cartridges and some similar MBC5 or FPGA based carts.
  • Write GBA ROMS to “29LV320xxx” series etc. Flash chip based GBA Flash carts.

Suppliers on eBay

Inside gadgets:

Build your own flasher

Apart from the Arduino Shield, Gameboy Cart Shield for Arduino (Discontinued), For building your own I would recommend v1.2 as it contains less parts – Download v1.2, which can only read, Manual link, PDF: Gameboy_Cart_Shield_v1.3_Rev3_Manual.

Parts list

Links

  • v1.3 Rev. 3 (28 May 2016) – Download
    •  Updated GBCartRead to v1.8 Rev 1
  • v1.3 Rev. 2 (21 Mar 2016) – Download
    • Updated GBCartRead to v1.8
  • v1.3 Rev. 1 (17 Feb 2015) – Download
    • Updated GBCartRead to v1.7 Rev 1
  • v1.3 Rev. 1 (17 Feb 2015) – Download
    • Updated GBCartRead to v1.7 Rev 1
  • v1.3 (12 Feb 2015) – Download (for GBCartShield v1.3)
    • Added power circuit/button to switch power on or off to the Gameboy Cartridge, allows you to easily switch between cartridges without needing to unplug your Arduino (thanks to Frode vdM. fvdm1992@yahoo.no for the suggestion)
    • Moved SCK wire from pin 12 to pin 13 for SPI
    • Updated GBCartRead to v1.7
  • v1.2 Rev. 3 (14 November 2014) – Download (for GBCartShield v1.2)
    • Updated GBCartRead to v1.5
  • v1.2 Rev. 2 (21 July 2014) – Download
    • Updated documentation as GBA Game Cart Slot from DX has changed what it looks like
  • v1.2 (3 January 2014) – Download
    • Updated to included LEDs for WR and RD pins
    •  Changed pin 13 to pin A3 as some Arduino’s may have issues with pin 13
    • Corrected issue with VCC not being connected to the 74HC595D VCC
  • v1.1 (2 July 2013) – Download
  • v1.0 (14 March 2013) – Download
    • Initial Release

There is also this excellent series of blogs, again from InsideGadgets:

Build a GameBoy header, Gameboy Cart Adapter, Eagle files: Gameboy-Cart-Adapter-v1.0.zip

gameboy-cart-adapter-v1.0-preview

Top (original image)

gameboy-cart-adapter-v1.0-top

Bottom (original image)

gameboy-cart-adapter-v1.0-bottom

Schematic (original image)

gameboy-cart-adapter-v1.0-schematic

Sync

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