How To Dump GBA ROMs and Saves from GBA Cartidges
Barebones tutorial for using cart_save.gba to dump saves (EEPROM, Flash, and SRAM) from retail GBA carts. Requires a DLDI-compatible slot-2 flashcart with an actual file system. I'm using a Supercard DS (slot 2).
1) Download cart_save.gba from http://chishm.drunkencoders.com/SendSave/ (Direct link = http://chishm.drunkencoders.com/SendSave/cart_save.zip)
2) DLDI-patch it if launching straight from the slot 2 device (if necessary). Otherwise, attempt to launch it via your preferred method.
3) When prompted, hit L to dump a save file from a cart.
4) When prompted, remove your slot 2 card and replace it with the GBA game that contains the save you'd like to dump. It makes no difference if the retail game has an EEPROM, a flash module, or an SRAM module to store the save data.
5) Once the GBA cart is in slot 2, hit A to analyze it. The utility will identify the game, the save module type, and the save's size. This could take anywhere from 1 second to almost a minute.
6) It will then prompt you to switch back to your slot 2 flashcart, then hit A. (**NOTE: Replacing your slot 2 device may cause the system to reboot, see below**)
7) If the system didn't reboot, hit A to prepare for the dump. You'll be prompted to select a folder. If you'd like to dump to the root of your slot 2 (or simply don't have a folder to select), then hit B to write to the slot 2 device. Should take seconds.
8) Shut down and repeat for any other games you'd like to dump.
A very frustrating night, this was. Apparently that card_save.gba application is VERY temperamental. My buddy with the R4 and Supercard DS was trying to get it to work consistently on a DSL, regular DS, and GBA SP, whereas I was struggling with my DSL. What's worse, is that whatever makes it so moody seems to be a hardware issue more than anything. We were trying the same games, and for one of us, the save MIGHT have dumped, but for the other, it never would.
So many of our attempts ended in our systems rebooting themselves in the second to last step of the process. For my part, I attempted to run this dumper in three ways, initially. Autolaunching from the CycloDS using 1.40b2's native GBA support. Launching it via ExpLoader and the EZV 3-in-1 and swapping to the Supercard DS when appropriate. And finally, simply loading the Supercard DS with the executable, removing the the slot 1 card entirely, and forcing the DS into GBA mode (after patching cart_save.gba with SCDS DLDI support).
Ultimately, it made no difference. 19/20 times, the system would reboot in the second to last step. I gave my DS Phat away long ago, so I couldn't check with that, but my buddy with the R4 was having identical issues with both his Phat and his Lite. I decided to switch tactics, and decided to work with this Supercard DS using actual GBA hardware. Since my GBmicro is my most accessible device currently (as I actually still have its charger plugged in here next to my computer desk), I started with that. My buddy, on the other hand, moved on to a GBA SP (mine's drained, and the charger's in a closet somewhere).
He seemed to have more success with his GBA SP, but it was still problematic. On the other hand, I managed to dump something like 25 saves in a row on my GBmicro. Before he turned in, he finally switched to his micro as well, and reported much more success.
Anecdotal evidence? Perhaps, but as far as cart_save.gba is concerned, it seems to have a VERY high success rate using a GBmicro. The 30 or so saves I managed to dump tonight before growing too weary to continue all work just fine on the GBA emulator for my PSP. I have no interest in testing them on my DSL + EZV 3-in-1. Today's dumps included all three kinds of saves, EEPROM, Flash, and SRAM.
Cheers, and good luck!
Nintendo DS Lite (Black, US, firmware v5)
CycloDS Evolution v1.1.5 (Black, new chipset, firmware 1.51)
EZ V 3-in-1 (Black, new chipset)
Sandisk 8GB microSDHC (Class 4)
Sandisk 4GB microSDHC (Class 4)
|backup, dump, dumping, gba games, saves, tutorial|