DL9SEC GBA flashcart

(a basic type flashcart for the Gameboy Advance)


Based on the design of Timmy Brolin´s hombrew flashcart i developed a 128MBit basic flashcart without SRAM or EEPROM (see fig. 1).

Why to build such a cart, if there are so many commercial and far better flashcartridges (with SRAM and EEPROM) are available? For me it were the following reasons:

So keep in mind, that this cart is not really cheaper than a commercially available one, but a good starting point for own development...

View of the GBA flashcart
Fig. 1: View of the GBA flashcart


What is on the cart-PCB, can be seen in the schematic (pdf) and the placeplan (pdf). It is the same design, Timmy Brolin used (adress/data-demultiplexing with 74AC191 counters for random and sequential access), except that my cart uses a 128MBit Intel Strata Flash (TE28F128J3C120) and low-voltage single-gate-logic.

If you manage to get the board data (Eagle V4.13 format) on a 1mm (originally 0.8mm) thick PCB, the board fits perfectly in a original cart housing. Mine has a thickness of 1.5mm, so i have to do a bit extra work to get a suitable cart-housing.

As you can see in fig. 2, i used an old folded business card to do the first initiation of the prototype card, to fit properly into the cart-connector of the GBA.

DL9SEC GBA flascart plugged into the GBA
Fig. 2: The flashcart plugged into the GBA SP

Programming the FLASH

If you built a cart, the FLASH on it has to be programmed. What you need is a multiboot cable (e.g. a F2A USB Linker as i use. Maybe other MB-cables will work too...) and the apropriate programming software like Flashmanager V2.42 (local copy as sfx-zip) by Mootan (japanese page).

This neat little shareware supports some multiboot cable types and nearly all available cart- and flash-types. Programming the FLASH is a bit slow but it works absolute reliable. So, don´t forget to donate this japanese guy and register the shareware.

In fig. 3 you can see a screenshot of the PD-game Arkanoid Advance by Yodajr running on my homemade flashcart.

If you have questions about the project, you are invited to contact me (see the Disclaimer).

DL9SEC GBA flascart running Arkanoid
Fig. 3: The PD-game Arkanoid running on the cart