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Device to dump GB/GBC games?

Tyree_Cooper

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Anyone with some experience can suggest a GB/GBC dumper that has software support for Windows XP and 7? It's time I dump some of my games.

I've heard that (some) GB games can't be dumped 100% accurately, is this true? Does it have something to do with the presence or absence of MM1134 chip on some games, or with the fact that some boards use globtops instead of visible ROMs?

quick google-fu showed me this

the guide: https://digiex.net/threads/gameboy-gameboy-colour-usb-save-game-rom-backup.15139/

 

Denryu

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I only know that the Cart Flasher for GameBoy by J.Rodrigo is unable to dump MBC2 cartridges such as Kirby's Pinball Land.
 

Tyree_Cooper

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Thanks for the info. So games with "MBC1-B" are compatible right?
 

Pinta77

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I believe the Joey joebags and software can do this if I remember correctly. (The one you shared) I actually have one if you need help
 

speedyink

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I don't know about compatibility, but I've always just used a Transfer Pack and an Everdrive 64 for my Gb games.
 

Tyree_Cooper

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thanks ill have a look, but sanni requires dyi, im looking for a ready to use device with software
 

cta

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> sanni requires dyi
Not necessarily. He's not running a shop but sometimes sells a couple of ready-made units. Can't hurt to just ask him if he has any available.

Though it'll be hard to beat that $21 unit, if all you want to do is the occasional GB(C) dump.
 

Tyree_Cooper

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Just ordered a GBxCart for GB/GBC/GBA @29usd, will test it with a few games when received:)
 

InsaneNutter

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I'll be interested in hearing how you get on with the GBxCart, that seems a nice device also and might actually be the better option depending on your needs :)

I've never had any problems with the J.Rodrigo Cart Flasher for GameBoy you linked to my guide above for. I've mainly used it for the Pokemon games, so hasn't had any extensive testing beyond that though. For GBA games i've always used a DS Lite with the GBA Backup Tool homebrew app.

Certainly nice to see we have a few modern options about now.
 

Tyree_Cooper

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Just received, reading through the manual (here) at this moment, and will try dumping a few games soon.
 

Tyree_Cooper

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Here's a quick & lazy review with no photos.


Price & shipping
I bought the GBxCart RW v1.3 (Micro-USB) for 29 USD + 4.5 USD international shipping. Shipped from Australia in a padded envelope with the device sealed inside an anti-static baggy. That's OK but I was afraid of damage, since it's a small padded envelope with no cardboard support, and the device is easy to damage by weight or bending. Anyway, it was fine when received.

Product overview
It's a small board with a red "initialisation" LED that turns on for a moment when the USB is connected to a PC. Then, by default the green LED of the GBA 3.3V turns on. The board is thick and looks nice, and the Micro-USB plug is tight with my cable (I use an old Kindle cable). The cartridge connectors are tight enough but you may have to plug and unplug a few times until the program reads it correctly. Basically it's like inserting a game inside a console... you know how that is... need to try a few times, clean the connectors, blow on them and try again until it works.
The board has NO casing and there's no option to buy one, so it needs to be handled and stored with care. Would be amazing to have casings available in the future.

Software
The GUI is super simple and includes COM port drivers. Upon connection the board for the first time, you will have to install the drivers manually, which takes a second if you know how to do that from the device manager in Windows. Works great with my Windows 7 x64 configuration.
So you open the GUI, plug a cartridge and connect the USB cable. The green LED is for 3.3V GBA carts, so you will have to click on "GB" in the GUI to select GB/GBC, then press "CONNECT". This will wake up the board and change the LED to red for 5.5 GB/GBC carts.
Now you have to press "READ CART INFO" and make sure that all the specs in the text box are found correctly. If this is not the case, you MUST press "DISCONNECT", remove one end of the USB cable, insert again, and try the process again until it works. That's what the manual says. You don't want to risk damaging your precious GB game right?
If the cart reads correctly, it will show something like this:

Game title: SUPER MARIOLAND
MBC type: MBC1
ROM size: 64KByte (4 banks)
RAM size: None
Header Checksum: OK

If the HEADER CHECKSUM is OK, you can now backup the ROM by pressing READ ROM. You can specify a default folder for ROM file in the GUI.

The GUI allows you to backup game saves, restore game saves, write to flash carts and dump from flash carts. These are function I don't need at the moment, so I haven't tried them.

I dumped 2 Super Mario Land carts which use different ROM types (one is a proper ROM, one is a glop-top). Took several tries to have them read properly, but once it was successful, the dump process worked on first try and the .gb files created worked great with Visual Boy Advance 1.8.0.

What I don't like
I have a single complaint, it's that previous hardware revisions of the product had a physical switch for 3.3/5V, while the latest revision only has coloured LED (green/red), so you must select the voltage in the GUI. It always defaults to GBA so that's a bit annoying, you gotta remember to click GB and then read the cartridge. I believe it saves the developer a few cents to remove the physical switch. ;)

Conclusion
So far it's a great purchase, and does exactly what I wanted it to do. Now, the big question is, are the dumped .gb files exactly perfectly byte per byte the same as the ROM? I can't tell, but I downloaded a few ROM of Super Mario Land from random rom websites, and ran md5checker. They all reported the same checksum as my 2 dumps. Looks good!
 
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Tyree_Cooper

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Does anybody know a GB emulator capable of running MMM01 games? This chip is used in game compilations, like the Taito Variety Pack. I tried VBA and KiGB, they boot the game selection menu, but selecting a game simply reloads the menu.

This is a known issue, but I read that KiGB was able to run these games. Not really.
 

Ice Man

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Have you tried bgb? Or mGBA maybe? Those seem like very accurate and good emulators to me.
 

Tyree_Cooper

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both fail to load the games, they just loop the main menu just like vba and kigb............:(

if anybody cares, i can send him the rom for his checking
 

Tyree_Cooper

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I have a problem with the dumping device I got. All games using the same ROM size have exactly the same file size, so if I have 2 revisions of the same game, I can't quickly tell there's a difference by looking at the file size. Is there an easy way to retrieve the actual game size??

e.g. the dump file for super mario 2 and 3 are both 524,288 kb, obviously that's the rom size, not the actual game size
 

cta

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Those ROM ICs only come in sizes of powers of two, so the unused space gets padded, making that the actual game size*. Thing is, you can't really tell whether it's padding or part of the game, and while usually chop off trailing 0xff or 0x00 bytes works, some games do have issues with that, so it's best to just leave them!

Instead, I recommend you get something that gives you a checksum (like md5sum for example) for a file and compare them that way (put the checksum in the file name to make life easier). That, by the way, would also expose files that are of the same size, but do have differences somewhere in the middle.

* DS games are the one exception that I know of to this rule. Those came with a header telling you how much data there was originally, allowing for safe trimming.
 
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