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Jan 28, 2008

R4 DS Hardware Compatibility Issues

Yesterday my sister got her so call "R4" card for her Nintendo  DS. It is basically an adaptor for micro SD card to the Nintendo DS game slot. (hmm... I am thinking about interface and adaptor design pattern).

Anyhow, thing should look very simple, my sister's friend uploaded some nds files (games) to the micro SD and she tries to run it. First we saw “硬件版本不兼容”.

This basically translated as "Hardware version not compatibles". So, what's going on???

Why does it display a Chinese Error message?

First, the NDS is brought in North America from a legitimate store. It's default NDS rom is in English. 2nd, the loaded R4 kernel is in English.

After trying a different version of English Kernel, and reload the firmware file by formatting the SD, same error message pop ups. So I decided to try the simplified Chinese kernel, which can be download here. Just look for the v1.15 link for those who can't read Chinese.

Finally, that fixes the problem.

It turns out that the NDS hardware has regional specification (i.e. not all NDS sold in the world has the same hardware). If it has different version, I can see why, but regional difference, I don't really get it. Especially when your NDS runs with an English UI.

Here is the explanation that I got from a Chinese site:

Q:启动的时候显示“硬件版本不兼容” w!RK\Q�  
A:R4 的硬件是分区域的:中文版(含简中版和繁中版)、英文版、日文版等,相应的内核也分中文版(含简中版和繁中版)、英文版、日文版等,内核版本必须和硬件版本一致(中文版硬件可以使用“简体中文版”和“繁体中文版”内核),否则会显示“硬件版本不兼容”。 (C{#O&j[V  

Basically it tells you that you need the proper R4 regional version kernel to run on your NDS.

In conclusion, the first thing R4 kernel should fix up is have its kernel support multiple regional hardware. 2nd, it should allow the user to pick its own regional UI (like English, or Chinese interface). Also it should come with a better error description than just a simple "hardware incompatibility issue" message, not sure if this is a Nintendo's message or R4 message. It looks like it is NDS internal error message since I uploaded English R4 Kernel and it display a Chinese error message. I guess that the manufacturing ("intentional or intentional") uses different region hardware to build the NDS, either to save money, or time. The result is that when you buy NDS, you may end up with hardware that have different regional specification than the market region.


Anonymous said...

I have a problem with my R4 card it says that there is no xxx.boot missing can you help me with this. Its my god sons and he is kinda upset ever since we changed some games around did we delete something.
Fuzz you can email me at finefuzz@yahoo.com

Dicky said...


I haven't update my R4's software for a long time, so I am not sure what you did casues the error you are getting. However, you can definitely try download the new R4 firmware from http://www.r4ds.cn/download/r4_v1.18_kernel.html and see if this fixes your problem.

Also, I heard that R4 does not work with the new NDSi (the one with 2 webcams on NDS). I find a post related to the error "No boot.xxx", and recommend to download a firmware from http://www.itouchds.com/downloads.php. This is probably another home made OS, but the website claims that it works for NDSi. iTouchds uses the same princple as R4, meaning you can uses the same adaptor from the R4 and replace it with iTouchds OS.

Ref: http://www.dcemu.co.uk/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=118065

Hope this help.

http://www.webservices4india.com said...

get information on r4 ds and r4 dsi and thanks for nice post.

michale said...

I like this product of R4 and i would like see it's more screenshots and details.
And if i like i will definitely purchase it.

nintendo ds r4

Dicky said...

Be careful! R4 has been banned in some countries. It violets digital media right.

You can easily google screenshots for R4 runs in DS. For example:


Martina said...

I have read so many articles about the R4 card and they give good response.Your views on the kernel is nice to get attention for the developers.
usb kabel