Dump Nintendo DS Games

By | 15 Mar 2009

Dumping game cartridges is done the same way like dumping savegames.

EZFlash 3in1 method

The only difference here is that you might have to swap the cartridges more often since the Flash memory of the EZFlash 3in1 is only 32 MiB and some games are up to 128 MiB in size.

There’s a nice tutorial with pictures at monroeworld.com.

Here are some estimated times for dumping different sized game cartridges (copied from that page):

Game sizeNumber of passesest. time needed
4 MiB1 pass2min 30sec
8 MiB1 pass3min 15sec
16 MiB1 pass4min 45sec
32 MiB1 pass9min 30sec
64 MiB2 passes14min 15sec
128 MiB4 passes19min 00sec
256 MiB8 passes38min 00sec

Wi-Fi method

Be warned that the Wi-Fi transfer speed is somewhat “limited”. Dumping a 128 MiB game takes almost 2 hours. So make sure your NDS is connected to its power adaptor.

ROM Trimming

Game cartridges have the typical memory ICs in binary sizes (8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 MiB) although the game often doesn’t occupy the whole memory. That means if a game is 35 MiB in size, it is shipped on a 64 MiB cartridge. When dumping, you’ll dump the whole 64 MiB although the last 29 MiB are empty (filled with 0x00). So you can save a lot of space if you trim a ROM down to the real size.

Games which use the WiFi feature mostly store their connection info in this empty space so using the wrong program to trim a ROM will break online capability of games.

A good trimmer is NDSTokyoTrim which can detect WiFi-games and leaves the space for their settings.

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