GameBoy / GameBoy Colour USB Save Game / Rom Backup

Discussion in 'Console Guides' started by InsaneNutter, May 13, 2017.

  1. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review.jpg

    This is a modern way of backing up GameBoy / GameBoy Colour save games, over USB on any modern version of Windows, including Windows 10. You can also dump roms of your GameBoy / GameBoy Colour game cartridges over USB

    Why backup your GameBoy / GameBoy Colour Save Games?

    Most GameBoy cartridges have a small battery inside them with keeps your savegame on the cartridges SRAM. Like ram in your computer when the power source is removed the SRAM looses it contents, this being your save game. At some point the battery powering the SRAM is going to run out of power, wouldn’t it be nice if you could backup your saves to the pc and be able to use them on an emulator or on an Nintendo 3DS virtual console copy of the game?

    What you need:

    This tutorial is for the J.Rodrigo Cart Flasher for GameBoy, this is a home made USB card flasher in a 3D printed case by J.Rodrigo. Think of it as a usb card reader, however for GameBoy and GameBoy Colour cartridges, its even a similar size to a multi card usb card reader as you can see:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review-2.jpg

    You will also need a Micro USB Cable, if you have an Android or Windows mobile phone the USB cable from this should work fine with the J.Rodrigo Cart Flasher for GameBoy

    Software:

    GB Cart Flasher for Windows
    32bit and 64bit CDM Drivers

    On Windows 10 i didn't even require any drivers, i simply connected the Cart Flasher for GameBoy to my PC via my phones Micro USB cable and Windows 10 recognised it and set the drivers up automatically for me, however ive included the drivers above as it's likely you might need them on older versions of Windows.

    Windows 10 recognises the Cart Flasher as a USB Serial Port:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-driver.jpg

    With the Cart Flasher connected via USB simply load up the GB Cart Flasher software and you should see it has recognised the device is connected via USB:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-1.jpg

    Insert the game cartridge you wish to backup a save of or dump a rom of and click "Cart Info", you will see the info about the game cartridge is displayed to the right:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-2.jpg

    Take note of the rom size and ram size displayed to the right, as you will need to set the FLASH and RAM size to the left.

    So in this example the ROM size is 1MB, so this means the FLASH size is 1024KB (1MB = 1024KB) and the RAM size is 32KB:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-3.jpg

    Now we have set the correct FLASH and RAM sizes, we can read or write to the RAM on the GameBoy game cartridge, esentially backing up or restoring our save games.

    Clicking "Read RAM" will backup the savegame on the game cartridge to your PC, you will simply be asked for a file name, then it will be backed up.

    Clicking "Write RAM" will ask you to select a save game on your PC to write to the game cartridge, so you might have a save game you have downloaded from the internet you wish to write to your physical cartridge:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-4.jpg

    This is a pretty quick process only taking a few seconds.

    In addition to backing up your savegame you can also dump a rom of your game cartridge, this is done by simply clicking the "Read FLASH button"

    The time to dump a rom of your game will vary depending on the size of it, a 1MB game took 2 mins 11 seconds to dump and a 2MB game took exactly double the time at 4 mins 22 seconds.

    Now if you have a Flash Cartridge you can also write a rom back to it by clicking "Write Flash" you can't write to a standard game cartridge, it has to be a special Flash Card. You can purchase a 2MB or 4MB Flash Cart from J.Rodrigo also. I don't know if other flash cards will work with the Cart Flasher for GameBoy or not:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-5.jpg

    Finally you can erase a flash cart by clicking "Erase Flash" or erase a save game from any game cartridge by clicking "Erase Ram":

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-6.jpg

    That's all their really is to it, everything is really user friendly.

    To test your save game has dumped ok make sure its named the same as the ROM image
    e.g. Gold.GB and Gold.SAV, only the file extensions should be different.

    Now load the ROM in an emulator, all the saves I’ve dumped work fine in Visual Boy Advance or TGB Dual:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-7.jpg

    As you can see from the above photo my Pokemon Gold save has been dumped from the cartridge and is working perfectly in the emulator Visual Boy Advance.

    You could now even do a GameBoy save transfer to the Nintendo 3DS
    if you happen to have a 3DS capable of running homebrew.

    I hope this has helped you to discover a modern, easy way to backup your GameBoy and GameBoy Colour games using modern hardware and versions of Windows. This is certainly a much easier method than what i recently used to trade some 17 Year Old Pokemon to the new Sun / Moon games.

    Some images of the Images of the Cart Flasher for GameBoy:

    gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review-2.jpg gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review-3.jpg gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review-4.jpg gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review-5.jpg gb-cart-flasher-dumper-save-backup-windows10-review-6.jpg

    I think this is a great independently developed product, it's not made by a company or anything, just someone at home with a passion for electronics from what i gather.

    The device is powered via USB and has a green power light, so you know when its on. When you are reading from a cartridge you have a red and blue light which come on to show activity is happening.

    The Cart Flasher for GameBoy is certainly a very nice little device and feels like a quality product. If you are looking for a modern solution to backup GameBoy or GameBoy colour saves i'd certainly recommend it.

    The alternatives require an old PC with a parallel port, running Windows 95 to XP and hardware which has not been manufactured for the last decade now. You can see the old process in my old guide on how to backup GameBoy and GameBoy Colour save games from retail cartridges.

    The Cart Flasher for GameBoy is about as easy as its ever going to get in my opinion.
     

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  2. UnknownRespected

    UnknownRespected Resident

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    It's really too bad that this is being made years too late. At this point the demand is probably a bit low, most people with childhood games would have needed this years ago, but chances are their save files are gone by now and they don't really have an use for this.

    Good price though, hopefully these keep being made (even if on-demand or something) because I'd be interested in having one at some point since GB/C is the only Nintendo handheld for which I can't read/write saves nor dump roms right now.
     
  3. fabio00

    fabio00 Well-Known Member

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    Can someone test something for me?
    I just bought this and it works like a charm but my Pokémon Crystal game name is "PM CRYSTAL BYTE", just worried since I bought the game second handed and I'm a little bit afraid it may not be legit. If someone could see if the game name is the same as mine it would be nice, thanks

    EDIT: Btw I can't load the save on an emulator and then put it back in the cartridge, it gives me a "bad file size" error...
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
  4. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    I don't have my Crystal game to hand at the moment, however the easiest thing to do would be to check the SHA1 of your dump. HashCalc is good for this if your on Windows.

    If its untouched you should have one of the following SHA1 hashes for an English game.

    Crystal English USA / Europe: f4cd194bdee0d04ca4eac29e09b8e4e9d818c133
    Crystal English USA / Europe 1.1: f2f52230b536214ef7c9924f483392993e226cfb
     
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  5. fabio00

    fabio00 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks a lot, it turned out to be v.11 :P
     
  6. Icelordcryo

    Icelordcryo New Member

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    just tried to boot up the ROM image I took from my old Oracle of Seasons cartage, everything seemed to transfer to the PC well enough, but the provided emulator keeps crashing the moment I try to load the ROM image. Any idea what's going on? (Also tried it with PKM Gold with the same result)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  7. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Check the SHA1 of your dump to a known good dump, does your SHA1 match anything? it's possible they could be bad dumps.
     
  8. Icelordcryo

    Icelordcryo New Member

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    how to I check the SHA1? Sorry, don't have any experience with ROMs.
     
  9. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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  10. Icelordcryo

    Icelordcryo New Member

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    Got it working! Was a simple issue of not making the FLASH size big enough in the GB Cart settings.
     
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  11. difad

    difad New Member

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    how you made it working ?
     
  12. Lexi

    Lexi Well-Known Member

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    I think they're referring to the size and settings of the save file. Some games don't seem to care much but others ie pokemon seem to be very very sensitive to it and sometimes wont even run if the settings are incorrect. This is my experience with games on emulators but I think it also lies true with flashcarts. Also I noticed that theres 3 different types of batterys where you buy on the site each one being specific to certain games, that most definitely plays a part too.
     
  13. aquariu

    aquariu New Member

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    Hi, I want t play some GBC games can someone suggest good GBC Emulators for playing on PC, I'm little new at this and any good suggestion or some youtube tutorial would help. Thanks.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020
  14. Lexi

    Lexi Well-Known Member

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    Visual boy advanced and its variations are the most popular gameboy advanced players, it also plays gameboy color games no problem, only thing is its no longer under development so several other people have picked it up and started adding features to it. I want to say the most up to date variation is vba-m but I might be mistaken. Also iirc its no longer possible to get the original vba directly from the person who made it, so there can be a risk getting it elsewhere instead of a variation, most notably some of the rom sites are risky.

    I don't encourage using rom sites to get your roms but if thats how you've decide to do it, and there's no changing your mind, you should avoid using sites that use installers. Installers on these types of sites are notorious for giving malware and pups(potentially unwanted programs).
     
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