Bad Rumble Ram on some M3 DS Real Slot-2 Cartridges…

I have been having sporadic lockups when using my M3 DS Real, and its Rumble Ram pack. I thought there was something wrong with me, or the homebrew needed to be manually DLDI-ed or something like that.

DSOpera will only work for about 1 minute, before the erroneous area of the ram is accessed and the whole thing freezes up. Then the other day I installed DSLinux and while the app was loading the Rumble Ram pack (that I had never heard rumbling before) started rumbling at full volume and the DS *Blitzed* on me. Suffice to say that I freaked out. The DS did not want to start up afterwards and a few minutes later with my heart racing I was searching through my stuff for the receipt – if I even had it sitting around…

Long story short, the DS started up after removing the battery and inserting it again. I now attribute the lockups while using DSOpera and other RAM-needy homebrew to a bad Rumble Ram pack. I have contacted Divineo, asking for an exchange (I’ll update this post when I get the replacement — fingers crossed!).

I have done some extra research and have found that several M3 DS Real Rumble Ram cartridges are in fact not working properly, and they disguise themselves as odd/opportunistic problems. The source of the trouble are memory errors that can be found by running the memtestARM homebrew application. memtestARM reports that the RAM is broken at address 0×8200000 (on my specific cart):

memtestarm-m3-ds-real.gif

The exact problem has been documented by this user, who has exactly the same symptoms, other than his memory is broken at address 0×8400000. The video included in this blog, shows the memory errors, crashes and asynchronous rumbling when certain parts of the ram are accessed.

I went ahead and bought myself an EZ 3-in-1 adapter from RealHotStuff (Newegg for Nintendo DS accessories!), because it has been reported to have the best support for homebrew applications and it also contains Ram and GBA capabilities in the same cart (browser and GBA games need to be patched appropriately — see my DS pages for more details). I immediately tested it with memtestARM and it passed with flying colors:

memtestarm-ez3in1.gif

I should have gotten this from the beginning, since I want to end up with the CycloDS Evolution cart eventually. I am sure that not every Rumble Ram pack is faulty, since there are many reviews that tell of the homebrew applications I mentioned working flawlessly. However, if you’re having similar problems please report this here or in the relevant forums, to save people some trouble trying to figure out whats wrong!

Update:

I just got the replacement M3 DS RAM Slot-2 Cart from Divineo, and alas… IT IS ALSO BROKEN AT THE SAME MEMORY ADDRESS… I’ll be sending it back again and again untill they get it right! (I asked them to test it before sending, but didnt really expect them to do so…)