Discussion of game backup, reproduction, burning, and ripping. Covers ROM backup, cartridge reproduction, optical disc ripping, burning, and storage. Focus on archival purposes and not deceptive selling.
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GBA game/save back up using Nintendo Wii

by opa Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:45 pm

Many thanks to the software author "FIX94".

[this guide is a work in progress as I test the other features of the utility]

Back up your GBA games/saves using a Nintendo Wii

In researching game archival methods I stumbled across this useful program that allows you to dump your GBA roms, save files, and GBA system BIOS using a Nintendo Wii. This is not necessarily the best/fastest method to back up your GBA content but it is the cheapest if you already have the required equipment laying around in your collection.

Required materials:
    Modded Wii (with GameCube ports)
    GameCube controller
    GBA-to-GameCube Link Cable
    GBA system

Step 1: Prepare your SD card

Installation is pretty much the same as installing any other Wii emulators or utilities.
Download the latest version of the GBA dumper here. Unzip the file and rename “linkcabledump_wii.dol” to “boot.dol” so your Wii can recognize it. Put the file in its own folder. Name it something like “gba dumper” or whatever helps you recognize it. Your SD card directory should look like this:
Code: Select all
apps -> gba dumper -> boot.dol

Step 2: Connections

Connect your GameCube controller into controller port one. You use it to operate commands on the program.
In port two, connect your GBA using a GC-to-GBA link cable. Do not have a game inserted yet.
With your SD card back in your Wii, boot the HomeBrew Channel and launch the program. If you don't already have the GBA turned on, do so now or when the on-screen prompt tells you to. The program will send some data to the GBA.

Step 3: Extract content

Now you just follow on-screen instructions to extract whatever you want. Do note that transferring over a link cable is not the speediest method. Some of the larger games could take over twenty minutes to dump. Files get placed in a new folder labelled "dumps" on your sd card root.
*If you get an error message saying it cannot detect the game, your cart may need to be cleaned. I ran into this with a couple of games and cleaning the carts fixed the connection.

What I've tested
-backing up licensed carts
-backing up saves
-save restoration
-save clearing [not recommended]
-bios dump (seems to have worked okay)

What I still need to test
-bootleg/unlicensed carts


Third-party cables - I've read comments that people using unofficial GCN-to-GBA cables have difficulties with getting the utility to work. I only have an official cable so I cannot test that.

Closing the program - I've found that the only way to quit the program is to hold the Wii's power button until it shuts off. Whenever you're done with all your tasks just do that to quit.

Clearing saves "works"(?) - When I tried clearing a save on a cart the program gave no indication that anything happened. It appeared to have frozen so I powered off the Wii. I checked the cart and the save was gone. I had already backed up my save successfully so just to double-check I tried to restore the save and it worked fine.
All that being said to say: I probably wouldn't bother using this to clear saves. Most games have a data management option in the in-game menu anyway. Just use that.

Bad dump - if a rom isn't working in your emulator/flash cart it may be a bad dump. Just redump the game and it may resolve the issue. However, before you extract the game again be sure you delete the old rom from the "dumps" folder in your SD root. The program won't dump a game if its rom is already present in the dumps folder.

One more note: In the zip folder you will notice a .dol for a GameCube version of this software. I don't have experience with GC mods or homebrew so I am just writing a guide for the Wii version.
Last edited by opa on Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:35 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: GBA game/save back up using Nintendo Wii

by Ziggy587 Sun Jun 30, 2019 8:51 pm

Awesome! Thanks for posting this. I'll have to give it a try since I already have the GBA-GCN link cable.

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Re: GBA game/save back up using Nintendo Wii

by nightrnr Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:53 am

This is really neat! Just posting so I can find it easier later.

I think there was a day to do this with a DS as well, but I may be mistaken. Wii sounds more versatile though.

Not sure what I'd want to back up though. I often just start over anyways.

Wonders of it works with GB/GBC...
...just another lost soul...
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Re: GBA game/save back up using Nintendo Wii

by opa Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:15 am

I think most DS flash carts have a similar function.

As for GB/GBC:
https://github.com/FIX94/gba-link-cable-dumper/issues/4 wrote:this is technically not doable sadly, as soon as you insert a gb game into a gba via a hardware switch it'll restart into gb mode and also change the voltage given to the cart so it can actually be read so even if you were to remove that hardware switch you couldnt read it anyways because of the voltage differences and because of actually no interface available to read them (its exclusive to gba reading).

I think we're stuck using something else for GB/GBC games.
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Re: GBA game/save back up using Nintendo Wii

by opa Sat Nov 02, 2019 6:38 pm

A short update: I've tested everything but dumping a bootleg cart. I'm assuming it would work provided the rom is okay and not too janky. If anybody wants to test that out and let me know if it works I'd be interested in hearing about it. Overall this is an okay method to back up gba data. A lot of wires will be strung across the floor but it works. lol
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