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FlashMe Tutorial (Newbie's Guide)

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#1
Mooney

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v1.61 written for GameCop :thumbsup1: by Mooney
Last Update: May 23, 2007
Updated for: FlashMe v8a

Intro
With the recent release of slot-1 flashcards for the Nintendo DS, slot-2 DS flashcards and GBA flashcarts seem to have been left in the dust. However, I'm sure many people will soon realise one major flaw with slot-1 cards: No GBA games. No GBA games not only means you won't be able to play all your GBA backups on your DS, but it also means that none of the emulators for GBA will work anymore and you'll have to buy another flashcart just for your GBA stuff! Well, just as Dark_AleX's custom firmwares for PSP saved people from owning two PSPs just so they could have homebrew AND play the latest games, there is a little firmware patch for DS known as FlashMe that can solve all your troubles. What FlashMe does is it patches the NDS's firmware so that if there is a GBA or slot-2 flashcart in the DS, it will automatically boot that device into NDS mode, or in human language: It will let you run NDS games from your GBA or slot-2 flashcart. This means that you will only need a GBA or slot-2 flashcart, and nothing else.

Notes
- The latest version of FlashMe reportedly has problems with the DS Link.
- You can install FlashMe from a slot-1 card, but that would be completely useless so I will not cover it.
- Unfortunately, to install FlashMe you will need a method of running NDS homebrew (i.e. PassMe, WifiMe, or NoPass). After FlashMe is installed, however, you will not need any hardware other than your GBA/slot-2 flashcart. Your best bet is to borrow a pass device from a friend or to buy the cheapest possible pass device.
- There is also a *small* chance that an improper installation of FlashMe could brick your DS. If you choose to install FlashMe, you do so at your own risk! Although the chances of this happening are rather slim, you have to be warned.
- Installing FlashMe will technically void your warranty because it requires going inside the DS, but unless the clerks at your local EB Games or Gamestop take the time to remove your DS's battery cover, no one will know... :ph34r: I actually traded in my first DS that I bricked for a brand new one.

Installation
Installation of FlashMe is pretty straightforward, but there are a few choices you'll have to make for yourself.

Required Materials
- A Nintendo DS
- A GBA flashcart (EFA, EZ-Flash 2 PowerStar, etc.) or a slot-2 memory card adapter (M3, SuperCard, etc.)
- One (temporary) pass device/method: Wifime (more info HERE), PassMe (Passme, PassMe 2, PassKey, etc.), or NoPass (Max Media Launcher, PassCard 3, etc.)
- The latest version of FlashMe (at the moment: v8)
- A screwdriver (To remove the battery cover)
- A metal object (To short the SL1)

1. Download FlashMe
Wow, even downloading has choices:
- FlashMe v8.nds
- FlashMe NoAuto v8.nds (This version will only boot the slot-2 device into NDS mode if you hold "Select")
- FlashMe Stealth v8.nds (This version will NOT remove the health warning message)
- FlashMe Stealth NoAuto v8.nds (This version will not remove the health warning and will not autoboot a slot-2 device unless you hold "Select")
- FlashMe v8 SuperCard.nds (This is a version of FlashMe v8 that has been patched with ndsloader.bin so it will work on SuperCards. This version is for SuperCard users ONLY)
Since FlashMe only comes in one flavor (.nds) you do not have to worry about getting the right kind for your flashcart. For instructions on how to make your own SuperCard compatible version of FlashMe, please see the second reply to this post.

2. Set it up
Put FlashMe onto your flashcart the same way you would put any other game on, but make sure of two things:
- FlashMe must be the ONLY game/app on your flashcart.
- If you are using a GBA flashcart that has a GUI, make sure it is disabled. FlashMe must be loaded directly; a GUI would get in the way and FlashMe would not be able to install. You do NOT need to disable the menu of an NDS flashcard.
Now, for FlashMe to be able to completely install, you will have to short the SL1. This means you will have to take off the battery cover and remove the sticker over the SL1, as shown here:
- SL1 on original DS
- SL1 on DS Lite
You will also need a metal object that you will insert into the hole (later), such as a small screwdriver or a paperclip. I found that a toothpick covered in tin foil worked the best for me.

For GBA Movie Player CF users:
Make sure you have the latest of chishm's GBAMP custom firmwares installed (chishm's GBAMP firmware hack page) Then, put flashme.nds onto your CF card, but rename it to _BOOT_MP.NDS and proceed as normal.

3. Run it
If you have any doubts about this, now is the time to turn back. Otherwise, go ahead and run FlashMe. If it loads correctly, you will be presented with a message, which is different on original DSes and Lites.
- Original DS FlashMe message
- DS Lite FlashMe message ( You do not need to worry about this, just press START to continue. NOTE: This might not come up with FlashMe v8, sinc eit includes fixes with the DS Lite)
After you press X B X B, installation will begin. This is where you insert your metal object into the SL1 hole to short it. Make sure you put it straight in and it goes down all the way. Once you get the metal object in place, FlashMe should begin to install (you will see the percentage done going up). If nothing happens, just wiggle your metal object around a bit. If you take your metal object out early or if it loses the connection before you reach 100%, do not panic, and do not shut off your DS! Just move your metal object around till you get it going again. Once installation finishes, you will be presented with this message:
- FlashMe Installation Complete message
Now you can turn off your DS and throw away your pass device; you won't be needing it any time soon!

Features
Now that you have FlashMe installed, here's what you can do:
- Run NDS games from a GBA or slot-2 flashcart: Put as many NDS games as you can fit onto your flashcart and stick it into the slot-2 on your DS. When you turn it on, it will automatically go into NDS mode if you have the flashcart in. If there is nothing in the slot, it will boot to the regular menu.
- Brag to your friends that you don't have to sit through that "health warning" message when you turn your DS on. :thumbsup1:
- Hold SELECT to boot normally (unless you've installed a NoAuto version of FlashMe)

Bugs
1. Sleep mode
Sleep mode is when you close your DS without shutting it off and it goes in to a power saving mode. With FlashMe, this mode does not work properly (The same problem occurs with PassMe and NoPass). However, this problem is easily fixed. You can:
- Put a real DS game into the DS card slot and sleep mode will work fine.
- Buy a Dummy Card for roughly $2 USD and put that into the DS card slot to make sleep mode work.
- Open up the DS and solder a piece of wire between pins 1 (GND) and 7 (IRQ) of the slot-1 socket. This is normally shorted by the contacts inside a DS card, so what you are doing is simulating a card being inserted.

Uninstallation
If, for any reason, you find that you are unsatisfied with FlashMe, or if you need to get rid of it for another purpose, it is possible to uninstall FlashMe.
- NoFlashMe.nds
Uninstallation is not recommended, however, because it removes the failsafe code that can help recover your DS if malware damages the firmware. Install and run this file the same way you would for the original installation file.

Recovery
If malware ever hits your DS and damages your firmware, FlashMe has a recovery feature that can save your DS. Unfortunately, this recovery mode can only be used if FlashMe was already installed on your DS before the malware hit. Here's how to use the recovery mode:

1. Download FlashMe
See the links above to download the latest version of FlashMe.

2. Set it up
- Put flashme.nds onto your slot-1 or slot-2 flashcart the same way you did before (no other files, menu disabled).

3. Run it
- Hold START+SELECT while you turn your DS on.
The DS should now boot directly to GBA mode, where either flashme.nds will automatically run or you can launch it yourself, and reinstall it.

Coming soon
- Checking your DS's firmware and choosing a compatible pass device (This will be included in a guide I am writing on NDS flashcarts) Buyer's Guide is now up, read it HERE.
- Any corrections or additions I might make

Sources
- home.comcast.net/%7Eolimar/flashme
- wiki.pocketheaven.com/FlashMe
- en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FlashMe
- www.dspassme.com
- www.scdev.org

#2
Mooney

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Added a few things:
- Uninstallation of FlashMe
- Recovery Mode
- A few minute changes

#3
Mooney

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Added a patched version of FlashMe for SuperCard users.

How to make your own FlashMe for SuperCard:

1. Download flashme.nds and ndsloader.bin
2. Put flashme.nds and ndsloader.bin into C:\nds
3. Go to Start > Run and type "cmd"
4. Enter this command:
copy /b c:\nds\ndsloader.bin + c:\nds\flashme.nds c:\nds\flashme_patched.nds
That should generate a new file in C:\nds named flashme_patched.nds which you can now use on your SuperCard!

#4
Derek

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Your links to the downloads for the FlashMe file itself are broken.

Do you know of a current place to find a safe, official version of the file?

#5
Mooney

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Your links to the downloads for the FlashMe file itself are broken.

Do you know of a current place to find a safe, official version of the file?

Ah, good catch. I've fixed the links (Yes, I know, but Rapidshare was the only place I felt like using).

You can get FlashMe (safely) from the PocketHeaven Wiki or here, or the official page.

Official FlashMe Download Page

#6
Mooney

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FlashMe v8 released! I've updated most of the download links and I'll be doing more updates and edits throughout the day.

#7
jamouq

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Hi All :banghead:

Thanks for the great newbie tutorial, but there is one thing I'm confused about:

- Unfortunately, to install FlashMe you will need a method of running NDS homebrew (i.e. PassMe, WifiMe, or NoPass). After FlashMe is installed, however, you will not need any hardware other than your GBA/slot-2 flashcart. Your best bet is to borrow a pass device from a friend or to buy the cheapest possible pass device.


Having this card in slot1 is required to step through the rest of the FlashMe proccess?

Edit: Arf, I didn't realize that I posted a reply nested under another reply... not used to boards setup like this. =x

Edited by jamouq, 03 May 2007 - 12:38 AM.


#8
Mooney

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Hi All :banghead:

Thanks for the great newbie tutorial, but there is one thing I'm confused about:

- Unfortunately, to install FlashMe you will need a method of running NDS homebrew (i.e. PassMe, WifiMe, or NoPass). After FlashMe is installed, however, you will not need any hardware other than your GBA/slot-2 flashcart. Your best bet is to borrow a pass device from a friend or to buy the cheapest possible pass device.


Having this card in slot1 is required to step through the rest of the FlashMe proccess?

Edit: Arf, I didn't realize that I posted a reply nested under another reply... not used to boards setup like this. =x

You will have to have a PassMe/NoPass card in slot-1 to run and install FlashMe. Once it is installed, however, you will no longer need one.

#9
jamouq

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Thanks! One more question:

Are .nds files the files that are loaded through the supercard gui? Or do they have to be run through some kind of program to get them into the right state. I looked at my girlfriends flash card (someone modded her ds for her a while ago, and I'm doing my own now) and she had .nds (most ~256k) and .nds.dsq files (15+ megs).

All the backups I see available for download come in .nds format, though. I haven't seen any of these .dsq's anywhere...

Sorry if that is hard to read...

Thanks again for the help.

Edited by jamouq, 03 May 2007 - 04:04 AM.


#10
Mooney

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I found this on the PHWiki:

Types of files that SuperCard can run
# NDS Roms: *.nds.dsq (patched with SC rom patcher + PassMe type device, executes from SD/CF card)
# NDS Roms: *.nds.dsi (patched with SC rom patcher + PassMe type device, loads into Supercard RAM before executing)

So I'm assuming what you would do is download an .nds file, and use the patching software to convert it to .nds.dsq or nds.dsi.

#11
fantasista girl

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is FLashMe like a memorycard that you can save? im really wondering how to save in NDS emu




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