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Old 07-21-2008, 08:28 PM
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Solanum Solanum is offline
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Frequently Asked Questions

I've been noticing that the same questions keep appearing over and over on this forum, so here's a central place with answers to all the most common ones. I know there are already a few FAQs like this, but some are out of date, they're split up into multiple threads, and in other subforums that newbies don't read. If you have suggestions for more Q&A's that should be here, let me know.

If your question isn't listed here, before making a new topic you should:
  • Check the latest CycloDS firmware's readme file
  • Read the FAQ forum to see if your question is answered there
  • Read this thread:
  • Do a search of previous forum posts to make sure your question hasn't already been answered

How do I play GBA games on the CycloDS
In order to play GBA games, you will need a Slot 2 (GBA slot) flash cart. The most popular one is the EZ V 3-in-1.You will also need CycloDS firmware 1.4+ and/or the GBA ExpLoader homebrew software. If you have firmware 1.4+, simply enable GBA support through the settings menu, then you can launch GBA roms just like NDS roms if your 3in1 card is inserted. Alternatively you can launch ExpLoader and run games through that.

What is the difference between built-in GBA support and ExpLoader?
ExpLoader has more features. It has support for multiple save files and supports a wider-range of games. Officially, CycloDS's GBA support works with all GBA ROMs that don't use 1mbit save files (like the Pokemon games). However some users have reported save corruption problems with other games as well. You can switch between the two GBA loading options at any time, since the save files are compatible between them. ExpLoader will not back up your save data form the 3in1 to your microSD until the next time you run it after playing a game, so make sure you do that. CycloDS will backup your save data next time you boot up the Cyclo.

What Slot-2 card should I buy?
If you have a CycloDS (which I assume you do if you're here) you probably want an EZ V 3-in-1. It is the cheapest, plays all GBA ROMs which don't require extra hardware features (like Boktai and WarioWare Twisted), includes a rumble pak, and has extra RAM for the Opera browser). It is also the only officially supported card besides Cyclo's own Slot 2 cards (which I believe aren't even in production any more).

What is the difference between the EZ 3in1 normal and Lite versions?
The Lite version is smaller. It is sized to fit flush in with the DS Lite GBA slot (it is the same size as the empty filler cartridge that comes with the DS Lite). The normal 3in1 is a full-sized GBA cart. If you have a DS Phat you need the normal size. If you have a DS Lite you can use either. Inside they have the same hardware, only the size of the casing is difference. The only advantage of the normal over the lite (besides working with Phats) is that you can use it to play games on a real GBA or GBA SP (necessary for multiplayer since DS's don't have GBA link ports). I still recommend the Lite for anyone owning a DS Lite as it is much much nicer than having the cart stick partway out.

What is the difference between the EZ IV Deluxe and the EZ V 3in1
The EZ IV Deluxe is an older model (it is version 4, where as the three in one is version 5, the official name is the EZ V 3-in-1). It has enough RAM to play all GBA games in PSRAM mode, but doesn't include extra RAM for the Opera Browser or a rumble pak. It also costs more. I advise against getting the IV Deluxe, you should by the V 3-in-1.

What is the difference between NOR and PSRAM modes on the 3-in-1?
How is save data stored on the 3-in-1?
PSRAM is temporary memory storage. It is erased when your DS is powered down. This is the default location used by the Cyclo to play games on, as it is very fast to load data to it. The Cyclo will re-load your GBA game data each time you play it to PSRAM. The 3-in-1 only has 16 megabytes of PSRAM, so if you want to play games that are 32 megabytes (like Kingdom Hearts) you need to use NOR. Most games are 16 megabytes or less.

NOR memory is more permanent (solid state memory I believe). The data you load into NOR remains even if you power off your DS. It takes much longer to load a game to NOR, but you do not have to re-load it each time you want to play. You can also use NOR memory for GBA games that have connectivity to DS games. Additionally, if you have a full-size 3-in-1, you can load a game to NOR on your DS, then place the cartridge into a GBA or GBA SP and play it as a normal game. The 3-in-1 has 32 megabytes of NOR, enough to hold any GBA game. If you launch NOR games through a method other than the normal Cyclo menu (like through the official DS firmware, or by playing it in a real GBA) you will need to manually back up the save data to your microSD cart using GBA ExpLoader.

There are separate locations for save data for PSRAM and NOR. If you play a game in NOR, then play one in PSRAM, the save for the NOR game will still be there when you return to NOR mode again. Save data is held in volatile memory that is powered by a small battery (same as real GBA cartridges). If you are having save data corruption issues, your battery might be dead and need to be replaced.

You can switch between PSRAM and NOR modes in GBA ExpLoader using the L and R buttons. You can load a game into NOR through the Cyclo firmware GBA support by holding select when choosing it (otherwise PSRAM is used).

How do I play Pokemon games which require real time clock features?
You either need to buy a Slot2 card with a real time clock in it (expensive) or patch the game to fake real time save (the clock will only move forward while the game is running). There are only patches for Ruby and Sapphire. No patch exists for Emerald. FireRed and LeafGreen do not use a real time clock.

How to I transfer Pokemon between GBA games and Diamond/Pearl?
If you have a real GBA cart, this works like normal. If you are using a 3in1, you need to patch your D/P ROM. The 3in1 stores save data in a different location than a real cart, so it needs to be patched. Your GBA game needs to be loaded into 3in1's NOR memory. A patched D/P rom will no longer work with real GBA carts. There is no way to make an original D/P cart work with the 3in1.

DS games don't recognize the GBA game I have stored in 3in1's NOR
In order for DS->GBA linkage to work using a 3in1, Rumble support must be disabled (otherwise the Cyclo automatically changes the 3in1 to Rumble mode when starting a DS game).

I am having problems playing GBA games
Built-in GBA support is BETA, so most likely you are trying to play a game that doesn't work correctly with the built-in support. Try using GBA ExpLoader. Make sure you are using the latest version (0.57 at the time of writing this).

Where do I put my NDS games?
My games don't show up on the Cyclo but they do on my computer!
You can put your games anywhere EXCEPT the CycloDS folder. The CycloDS folder is a system folder which is hidden in the Cyclo's file browser, so you cannot see games placed in there. Other hidden folders are the "moonshl" folder and (if your firmware is 1.5+) the SAVES folder.

How do I access the in-game menu?
Press L+R+A+B+X+Y while in-game to open Cyclo's in-game menu. It allows you to return to the main menu, enable slow-motion, and open the Text reader and RTS if you have them enabled.

How do I enable Real Time Save/Load?
Real Time Save is greyed-out in the in-game menu
To enable Real Time Save, hold select when launching your NDS game. It will display a message about RTS support enabled. You will then be able to use RTS for that game. You only need to do this once for each game, after the first time you can just start like normal and RTS will work.
If your Cyclo firmware is lower than 1.5, you also need to enable RTS through the settings menu.

How do I use the in-game Text Reader?
First of all you must have firmware 1.5+. Then, take a text file and name it the same as the game you want it to be for. Eg if you have a file with Job info for Final Fantasy Tactics A2 and your ROM is named FFTA2.nds, name your text file FFTA2.txt. Then place it either in the same directory as your ROM or in the /TEXT directory. The Text Reader option will now be enabled in the in-game menu.

The in-game reader displays only 51 characters on each line. If your text file is wider than that, you will have to manually scroll to read the whole thing. There is a Java app that will re-format files so that they are 51 characters wide here:

How do I back up DS games?
There are two ways to back up DS games from an original cart.
1. Use WiFi to send the game data to your computer. This requires nothing but the Cyclo card and a computer, but is more complicated and very slow. An excellent wifi backup guide is here:
2. Use an EZ 3in1. There is a homebrew backup app that will copy the DS game's data to your EZ3in1 NOR memory, and then copy it back to the Cyclo's SD card. This is much faster than WiFi, but requires an EZ 3in1. An excellent 3in1 backup guide is here:

How do I back up my DS game saves?
Both the WiFi and 3in1 homebrew apps for backing up your DS games also have options for backing up your game saves. See the previous question's answer for more info.

Alternatively there is an app called SavSender which allows you to backup and restore DS save files over WiFi. It uses the Netcat application instead of an FTP server, which I find greatly preferable and easier to use.
If you are running on Windows and prefer graphical applications, a good tutorial is here:
If you are comfortable with the command line, are on Linux or Mac OSX, or need the ability to restore saves back to your original DS cart, a good SavSender tutorial is here:

How do I back up my GBA games and saves?
Backing up GBA games only requires a CycloDS card and a homebrew app. Note that in order to actually play these games through your CycloDS you will need a Slot2 card, such as the EZ 3in1. An excellent GBA backup tutorial is here:

How do I use the Opera browser?
In order to use the Opera browser, you will need an extra RAM pack for Slot2. You will need either the official Nintendo RAM upgrade that comes with the Opera browser, or an EZ 3in1 which includes extra RAM. Once you have either one of these in your Slot2, simply launch Opera like any other DS game and it will work.

I cannot connect to the internet/WFC using the Cyclo
If you are using a homebrew app, you must first set up your internet settings using a DS game which has internet config options. If you have trimmed your apps, try using a a clean ROM. Some older ROM trimmers broke WFC compatibility. If you still have problems, check to make sure that real DS carts work with WFC. If they have problems as well, it is likely your settings are configured incorrectly or a router issue. If real carts connect but the Cyclo cannot, read this thread to see if it fixes your problem:

What is ROM trimming?
DS cards only come in certain sizes (8,16,32,64,128 megabytes). If a game does not use the entire size of the card, the rest of it is filled with empty space. A trimmer removes this extra space. It is not a zipping or compressing algorithm, it simply removes the extra wasted space that all games have. Note that some older ROM trimmers accidentally broke WFC compatibility, I recommend using NDSTokyoTrim. I use it myself and I can guarantee that WFC still works.

Note that some trimmers change the name of the file (to be like game-trim.nds or similar). If you already have saves for this game, you will have to change either the .nds or .sav file name so that they both match.

You can find links to several trimming programs in the Third-party Software section of this forum. For Windows, I recommend NDSTokyoTrim (it also works on Linux/Mac through Wine/Darwine). If you're on a Mac, you can use my own iCyclo app to trim NDS games.

CycloDS should support zipped rom files!
This is extremely impractical. Unzipping files with the DS's slow processor would take an extremely long time, and you would not save very much file space. Trim your ROMs, and if that's not enough, buy a bigger SD card.

How do I use cheats?
Download the latest CycloDS cheat file from Name it user.evoCheats and place it in the CycloDS folder on your SD card. Then enable cheats from the Cyclo settings menu. The Cyclo will now prompt you for cheats to use when launching games. To easily get cheat code updates, use the EvoCheatUp homebrew app or the CycloEdit Professional Windows app or my own iCyclo Mac OSX app.

To make your own cheats, see this thread:

How do I add skins?
Create a directory named skin or skins inside the CycloDS directory on your card. Download skins from or the Skins subforum. Unzip them and place them in your skin directory. You can then change your skin from the CycloDS settings menu.

You may also want to check out CycloEdit Professional (for Windows) or iCyclo (for Mac) both of which contain some skin management tools.

How do I make a CycloDS skin?
See this thread:

Can I run emulators on the DS?
See this thread:

Can I return to the CycloDS menu after launching a GBA game?
CycloDS should allow soft-resetting/in-game menu for GBA games
It is impossible to return to the CycloDS menu after changing to GBA mode without powering on and off your DS. This is not a limitation of the Cyclo firmware, it is a hardware restriction of the DS that can not be circumvented without modifying the hardware.

How can I quickly launch the last game I played?
If you hold L+R while the Cyclo is booting up (the loading bar and Cyclo logo are being displayed), the Cyclo will automatically relaunch the last file you executed again. This works on initial startup and after choosing "Return to Main Menu" from the in-game menu.

Certain games do not play correctly for me
Make sure you have the latest stable firmware, available from the website. Instructions on how to install it are included in the file. All games should be working with the latest release. The only exception I know of is that Castlevania: Portrait of Ruin experiences some issues if you have a slower microSD card.

How do I disable the Health and Safety warning screen?
There are two ways to do this.
1. Remove any games/cards from your DS. Enable DS game auto-boot through the official DS firmware menu. Then remove your DS's battery for several seconds. Put it back in and boot up your DS. It will bring you to an initial setting screen where you can enter some options such as your name and the current time and date. DO NOT PRESS A AT THE END TO SAVE AND REBOOT. Once you get to the last prompt, instead of pressing A to save your settings and turn off the DS, simply power off your DS manually. Your settings will now be saved, but the DS will not realize you have completed the initial settings screen and return you to it on power-up now. However it will remember your auto-boot setting, so if you have a CycoDS card in it will load that immediately, bypassing the Health and Safety warning screen. The downside is you can no longer access DS Download Play and Pictochat, and cannot easily change your name/date settings. You CAN still launch GBA games through the Boot from Slot 2 menu item in the Cyclo settings menu.

2. Flash your DS firmware with FlashMe. This is a modified version of the DS firmware, that is virtually identical to the official one except it skips the Health and Safety screen and adds a firmware recovery feature in case malicious homebrew messes with your firmware and bricks your DS (although this is very rare and unlikely). The downside is that you may end up bricking your DS during the flashing process if you do something incorrectly. Further information on FlashMe can be found in this thread:

How do I install Moonshell
Get the official Moonshell for CycloDS release from the website. Unzip the file, it should make a "moonshl" directory. Place this in the root of your card (so if your card is the F drive, it should become F:/moonshl).

The moonshell download is a .rar archive file. Rar files are similar to Zip files. You will need a rar extraction program. If you are on Windows, you can get WinRar here: Linux and Mac OS X should natively include Rar unarchivers (although for Mac I recommend The Unarchiver over the built-in program:

How do I play videos on the CycloDS?
You can play videos through the Moonshell application (see previous question). You then need to convert your videos to DPG format. See this thread:

What is the "root" of a card?
Root refers to the base directory of a drive. On Windows for example, if your card is the F drive, then F:/ is your root directory (what you see initially when you click on the F drive in Explorer). On Mac it's the directory you first see when double clicking a mounted drive icon. If you're using Linux I assume you know what root is

I've heard some microSD cards are better than others. Which should I buy?
See this post:
iCyclo - CycloDS config editor, game and skin manager, and file trimmer for Mac OSX

Last edited by Solanum; 11-16-2008 at 12:43 AM.
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