This is the most common and most supported version. It works with a Compact Flash card. Some homebrew applications, especially those built before DLDI, need this one.
Old Compact Flash Version
The oldest version of Supercard has much less support for DS. Compact Flash based.
Types of files that SuperCard can run
- GBA: *.bin ,*.gba (patched with SC rom patcher)
- NES/FC: *.nes
- SEGA SMS / GG: *.sms ,*.gg
- GB: *.gb
- CGB: *.gbc
- PC-Engine: *.pce
- SC Compressed GBA: *.scz (only with older versions of the patching software; newer versions have the option disabled)
- SC Saver: *.sav
- SC Real Time Save: *.sci
- SC Firmware Update file: *.scu
- SC Test file: *.sct
- GBA Video: *.gbm ( Supported via Filmplay.bin )
- GBA Audio: *.gbs ,*.wav ( Supported via Filmplay.bin )
- E-Book: *.txt ( Supported via Filmplay.bin )
- NDS homebrew: *ds.gba renamed to *.nds (Use the Supercard "Magic" homebrew patcher available scmhpb) - no longer necessary as nearly all regular *.nds files are supported now
- 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 and only works with games 32 megabytes (256 megabits) or less in size)
- NDS Saves: *.nds.sav (Created with SC rom patcher)
- And now with the help of MoonShell, it can play dmv and dpg formatted video files, mp3, wav, nsf, spc files, view bmp, jpg and png files, read txt files.
Upgrading the Firmware
The best way to improve game compatibility with DS games is to upgrade both the Supercard's internal firmware and the PC patching software.
In some cases, the firmware update can be tricky. The firmware should be upgraded step-by-step to avoid complications. The order of firmware versions is as follows:
- 1.81 (1.82 for Rumble users)
- 1.85 (18 March 2008)
Hold L+R upon bootup and press A a few times to determine which firmware version you currently have. It's best to upgrade in order, but you can skip a few steps. For instance, it's recommended that from 1.63 you go to 1.7, but from there you can skip all the way to 1.85 safely. In the past, the 1.80 upgrade file was necessary to prevent the built-in emulators from breaking, but this is no longer necessary since this bug was fixed in the 1.83 firmware update. For archival purposes however, the 1.80 upgrade file is mirrored for Supercard CF, Supercard SD and MiniSD, and Supercard Lite (all non-Rumble).
If the upgrade file is a *.bin file, simply place it anywhere on your card and launch it (do NOT patch with the Supercard patcher). If it is an "upgrade.scu" file, place it on the root of your card and it will upgrade when you boot up. After the upgrade, delete the file.
Also known as the "Quick Power Cycle" method, this method of saving should work with GBA Homebrew and certain DS Homebrew (like SNES DS and DS Linux) that can't be save patched normally.
IMPORTANT NOTE: the QPC method does not work properly in firmware 1.7 and newer, but only in DS mode. To ensure that it works correctly, merely reboot into GBA mode instead of DS mode before using the Saver tab as described below. You can alternatively use the DumpSRAM program which is designed to replicate the functionality of the Saver menu. Setup the .ini file and then after rebooting, launch the DumpSRAM.nds file instead of using the Saver tab.
You need a blank .sav file of the same name as the rom file. Generally it only needs to be 64kB, and the easiest way to create one is to copy the "save.sav" file from the patcher software's directory, which is "C:\Program Files\SC" by default. One can also be created by patching any GBA game with the patcher.
To use the .sav for different roms just copy it and rename it accordingly. So for example, for SNES DS you will have the rom file named "SNES DS.nds" so copy the 64 KB "save.sav" file and rename it to "SNES DS.sav"
When you save in the GBA game, homebrew game, or emulated game via the built-in emulators, this will put the save data into the SRAM of the Supercard. The SRAM data is lost shortly after you power off so you need to write the data from the SRAM to the SD/CF Card for permanent storage.
To do that, you cannot use the button combo as you would for GBA games as the homebrew rom has not been run through the Supercard patching utility, so what you do is a QPC (Quick Power Cycle):
- Just turn the console off then immediately turn it back on again. If you use a DS, hold Select as you power on to make sure you go to the GBA version of the firmware, not the DS version. By now, you're in the GBA version of the Supercard menu with the save still present in SRAM.
- With the newest firmware, this is no longer necessary. L+R+A+B+Select+Start will bring you back to the menu without having to QPC.
- Press right on the d-pad to go to the SAVER menu and navigate your SD card for the .sav file and select it by pressing A.
- You will get the prompt: "Do You Save To SD? "
- Select Yes - A
That will write the SRAM data to the .sav file on the SD/CF.
If you see "Do You Load To SD?" instead, it will not work. Make sure you're booting in GBA mode, not DS mode.
If you go to the OPTIONS tab in the Supercard menu you will see 2 checkboxes, the top one is "Auto load saver" and is selected by default. When this option is enabled the Supercard automatically loads the .sav of the same name when you load a rom file. Make sure this is enabled.
Upgrading and Using the Patching Software
Screenshots of the SuperCard patching software
The patcher setup file may simply be downloaded from the official Super Card website. Run the Windows based .exe file to install the software.
Latest Version: SC CF/SD/miniSD/microSD v2.70 (July 4, 2009)
To use the Patching Software:
After installing the patching software, run it. Click "Add" and choose the *.nds file to patch. Set the "Out" (file output) path in the "Options" tab. The default is a file folder called "Out" in the program's file directory (e.g., C:\Program Files\SuperCard\Out\). Copy output files .dsq and .sav along with the original .nds file to the SD card. In most cases, no other DLDI patching will necessary.
As of SC Patcher v2.69, the SuperCard supports 1 of 3 possible ReadCardPatchModes, which should increase the compatibility of the DS Games with the SuperCard. Most Games will run in Mode 1 without problems, also some other may need Mode 2 or Mode 3.
Do NOT set the output directory to the SD/miniSD/microSD card directly. This is known to cause problems. Output to your hard drive and copy over manually.
Patching with Linux
Patching commercial NDS ROMs with Supercard Software works with Linux on x86 based PCs using Wine. To install Wine on a Debian based Linux, open a shell and type sudo apt-get install wine . Then you can run Win32 applications using wine name_of.exe :
- Install the Supercard Software: wine setupmicrosdV256en.exe
- Start the patcher: wine SuperCardmicrosd.exe
This was tested using Ubuntu, Wine 0.9.22 and Supercard Lite Software v2.56.
Music and Movies
The Supercard can use music and movie software for the GBA such as Meteo and GSM Player, though it also contains built-in support for the GBS and GBM sound and movie files normally used by the GBA Movie Player via a "filmplay.gba" file available from the official website. However, the conversion software supplied on the same page is not the right version, and any movies converted with it will have garbage data for video though the audio will come through cleanly. To fix this, you need the 1.3 version of the converting tools, not the 1.22 version from the Supercard site. Use this Wayback Machine archive page to get the installation file for 1.3 and then install it. The installer file actually installs both 1.22 and 1.3, using 1.3 for the GBA movie converter and 1.22 for the NDS Crystal Engine convert. Strangely, if the NDS Crystal Engine program files are missing when you launch the GBA movie converter program, it will re-install them before continuing. Regardless, as long as you launch the right program you should be able to convert movies that play back correctly in the filmplay.gba file from the Supercard site.
Of course, when run in DS mode the Supercard can also run the Moonshell software, which can play back its own converted video files as well as standard *.mp3 files (no conversion needed) and other media files.
When used to play GBA roms, the onboard RAM on the Supercard drains the GBA/DS battery much faster than an original cart, it can cut the battery time in half basically. When playing DS roms they are usually read straight from the CF/SD which should have less impact on the battery life.
Each slot on the DS contains power and ground pins, meaning that power runs through them whenever a cartridge is inserted. To improve battery life with a slot-2 Supercard, ejecting the slot-1 cartridge is a good idea. For DS usage, if using a passthrough device like a [[NoPass], once the Supercard menu loads the passthrough device can be ejected. If the DS system is flashed with FlashMe then the slot may remain empty even when running roms of commercial games. However, this does break sleep mode in commercial games, so simply reinsert any slot-1 cartridge if you need to use sleep mode, but do not eject it again while the game is running, as that causes it to freeze. DS homebrew sleep mode does not rely on the existence of the slot-1 cartridge so it may be left empty the entire time.