3 in 1 Expansion Pack for EZ-Flash V
AKA: 3-in-1, 3 in 1, EZ Expansion Pack, EZ-Flash 3-in-1, EZ-Flash 3 in 1, Expansion Pack
Manufactured by: EZ-Flash
- 1 Variants
- 2 General
- 3 Hardware Features
- 4 Software
- 5 Compatibility
- 6 Review
- 7 Initial Setup
- 8 Frequently asked questions
- 9 Useful links
- 3 in 1 Expansion Pack for EZ-Flash V for DS Lite (White or Black)
- 3 in 1 Expansion Pack for EZ-Flash V for DS (AKA DS "Phat" Version or GBA Size)
The 3 in 1 Expansion Pack is a NDS Slot-2 Cart that works in conjunction with NDS Slot-1 Carts. The device officially attempts to integrate three distinct solutions. First, the device is capable of loading GBA games stored in slot-1 devices in a manner similar to previous slot-2 solutions created by the EZ-flash team. Secondly, the 3 in 1 is a memory expansion pack. Finally, the device is a competing rumble pak expansion for games that support official DS rumble pack. Furthermore, open third-party access to the hardware features have expanded the capability of the Expansion Pack.
The 3 in 1 Expansion Pack for EZ-Flash V can be officially purchased as a bundle with the EZ-Flash V or separately. The product was specifically designed for EZ-Flash V, but users of other slot-1 cards are able to utilize the Expansion Pack.
- 256 Mb (32 MB) of NOR Flash Memory. This type memory is able to retain data without requiring an uninterrupted current. Overall, it takes a few minutes to write data to it. One typical use includes copying over a GBA ROM, therefore allowing the 3 in 1 to act like real GBA cartridge.
- 128 Mb (16 MB) of PSRAM. This memory does not retain data when the power is turned off, but it can be write speeds are much faster than NOR write speeds.
- 4 Mb (512 KB) of battery powered SRAM. The battery is necessary to retain data.
- Programmable embedded "rumble pak" (haptic feedback) device
- GBA Loader:
- GBA ROMs and save data are stored long-term in the Slot-1 device memory
- 128 Mb (16 MB) PSRAM Expansion:
- Extra RAM necessary for programs like DS Opera Web Browser loaded from Slot-1 device.
- Rumble function:
- Works with all official rumble enabled NDS games and homebrew stored in Slot-1 device.
- Rumble can be set to three levels of intensity.
The source code necessary to utilize the key features of the expansion pack is readily available to developers. There have already been many successful solutions for third-party slot-1 carts. Currently, the most popular homebrew software utilize the hardware features for their officially intended uses. Additionally, due to the relatively unspecialized nature of the hardware, many creative uses have already started by homebrew developers.
- GBALdr by Cory1492 - A homebrew application run from the DS that will load games directly to NOR memory, load/save .sav files, and can auto-backup the save data currently on the cart when loading a new game. Due to the fact that it only loads games into NOR memory, it can be painfully slow, taking up to 5 minutes in some cases.
- 3in1 ExpPack Tool by Rudolph - Another homebrew application that runs from the DS. This is by far one of the best loaders available. Just as with GBALdr, it can load games to the 3 in 1. What makes it different than GBALdr is the fact that it can load all ROMS under 16MB directly to the PSRAM on the 3 in 1, making copy time less than a minute in nearly all cases. Additionally, it can load games to NOR memory if they exceed 16MB. Two other features that I find to be unique to this tool is the ability to turn the Rumble Pack on and off (for supported DS games) and the ability to switch the cart over to an Expansion Pack for use with the Opera Browser.
- NDStation by chuckstudios - A very interesting approach to loading ROMs on the 3 in 1. Rather than having a homebrew running on the DS transfer the ROM to the 3 in 1, chuckstudios developed a Windows program (later ported to Linux by dg10050) that packaged the GBA ROM in an .NDS file. This packaged file, when launched from a Slot 1 card, would backup any existing save on the 3 in 1 and load the ROM onto it. The aim of the project is to give things a more integrated and unified feel with your Slot 1 cart. Additionally, you can customize the icon and test your Slot 1 will display when the ROM is selected. Some users have reported white lines in the GBA frame when the frame picture is not present as well as minor graphical glitches. The author says this is due to his caching method, and should be fixed in version 1.2, which is due to be release around the 20th of August. While the project is still in its early stages, it does show a lot of potential and is one to keep an eye on.
- NDS Backup Tool 3in1 by Rudolph - Utilizes the NOR Flash Memory to send or backup save information in an original DS game cartridge. Furthermore, NDS Backup Tool 3in1 can backup original carts as ROMs. DS cartridges that contain images larger than 256 Mb (32MB) are compatible with this tool. The software is sophisticated enough to copy the image in 256 Mb chunks and then rejoin them later in the slot-1 cartridge memory.
The current compatibility of the 3 in 1 with official games is practically complete. The official EZ-Flash V kernel software is capable of integrating of all the hardware features of the 3 in 1 Expansion Pack. The EZ-Flash team does not ensure hardware compatibility with other slot-1 devices. Compatibility with third-party slot-1 carts have been observed to be as good or better than official hardware and software compatibility.
In every case, GBA ROMs that originally use more than 1 Mbit of save space and/or are larger than 128 Mbit must be written to the NOR flash memory. Otherwise, they can be stored in the more volatile PSRAM. The NDS Browser requires additional patching for unofficial slot-1 carts. The rumble feature is currently only available for NDS games.
Official GBAtemp Review
- Overall: "The build quality is great, it feels very sturdy and the black brushed finish was a good choice. The cart is held together with a single screw on the back. It fits firmly in the GBA slot however it does seem to stick out ever so slightly, so slight it’s hardly worth mentioning. You’ll notice it if you brush your finger over it though."
- GBA: "You can start a GBA game by either hitting the ‘Start GBA game’ button on the DS firmware menu or by pressing R+A when selecting the game in the EZ-V menu. There is no EZ-V GBA loader menu meaning that you can only have one game on the cart at one time. It would be nice if in the future you were allowed to write multiple games to the 256mbit of space. But as it stands it's a simple and effective GBA solution for a slot-1 flash card. The EZTeam come highly recommended with all their GBA ventures and the Expansion Pack is no exception, GBA games run fine and are easy to write and use."
- RAM: "When the Opera DS Browser was released it came with a separate RAM pack which gave the DS that little extra boost to run the application. The Expansion Pack simulates this RAM pack when you use the DS Browser ROM. There is no patching required, just simple drag & drop and the Opera Browser will work fine. Strangely though the Expansion Pack will not work if you use the original DS Browser DS card with it, only the ROM version will work. That being the case there shouldn’t be many people out there that would want to use the original card with the Expansion Pack if they have an EZ-V."
- Rumble: "Rumble is loud, very loud. On full rumble the Expansion Pack is frighteningly loud and completely distracts from the gaming experience. This is in line with the official rumble pack. However you have the ability to select between three different strengths of rumble. Pressing R+L on the EZ-V loader will take you to the menu where you can select between low, medium or high. On low the rumble emits hardly any noise and still has a pleasant sensation when playing games like Elite Beat Agents. Games do not have to be patched for rumble support, that information is stored in the updated savelist file. Only official rumble supported games will use the Expansion Pack as it works just like the official pack."
EZ-Flash V owners may follow the Official EZ-Flash V Quickstart Guide. Other Slot-1 Carts will require a third-party solution.
- One will need a Third-Party Loader in order to load a GBA ROM from a DLDI compatible Slot 1 cart.
- GBA ROMs must be properly patched in order for the 3 in 1 to save to SRAM. Two popular tools are known to do this:
- GBATA - GBATA is the most widely accepted tool to use when SRAM patching GBA ROMs. All you need to do is load up the ROM (click the [...] button), click on the SRAM Patch tab, and click the Patch button. If the button is grayed out, then the ROM does not need to be patched.
- EZ4 Client - EZ4 Client is an alternative to GBATA. While it performs a similar function as GBATA, several users have reported lost save files with roms patched with this program. If you have a GBA ROM that uses a 1mbit save, you must use this program to patch it.
- Once the the GBA roms and the necessary files for the Third-Party Loader are copied over to the slot-1 memory card, follow the instructions of the homebrew loader accordingly
According to the Quickstart Guide and Official GBAtemp review, an updated save list is necessary in order to identify NDS ROMs that support rumble when used in conjunction with the EZ-Flash V. Other Slot-1 Carts will require a third-party solution.
One working third-party solution that enables rumble in other slot-1 carts would be the 3in1 ExpPack Tool by Rudolph.
Frequently asked questions
Where do I put my ROMs?
Unlike alot of Slot 2 solutions out there, the 3 in 1 does not have its own removable storage. This is due to the fact that it was initially designed for use with the EZ-Flash V. ROMs are stored on the removable media or internal storage of your Slot 1 device. Where they are put is determined by which solution you choose from the third-party solutions list.
Can the 3 in 1 only hold 1 GBA ROM at a time?
The 3 in 1 can only hold one ROM in its PSRAM. Any time you want to play a game 16MB or less, you flash it over to the PSRAM on the cartridge using your loader of choice. This is standard with all slot 2 cartridges. Most slot 2s that have firmware (the ones with removable or internal storage have the loader built-in). The only reason people think otherwise is because most Slot 2s have either removable or internal storage for ROMs, homebrew, etc, which the 3 in 1 does not. Please read the initial setup section, it will explain everything perfectly.
Whenever I load up a game, my save is gone! What do I do?
First off, make sure you are SRAM patching your games using one of the two tools listed in the initial setup section. If you are already doing this, make sure you are loading games in either PSRAM or NOR, not both. From what I have seen, most loaders want you to use one or the other for it to work correctly. Check the help files of your loader for more information.
When do I need to patch a GBA ROM in regards to the saving function?
Check to see if the ROM you are trying to patch isn't already using SRAM. Anything already using up to 512kbit (64KiB) SRAM to begin with shouldn't need to be patched at all. GBA games that originally used EEPROM or FLASH, and/or has over 512Kbit, will need to be patched. It has been suggested that 1024Kbit save types have to be patched with EZ4 client since GBATA has not implemented the concept of SRAM bankswitching. GBATA, for example, will not allow the file to be patched if unnecessary.