Leapster Explorer: How To Make a NAND Cartridge

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Introduction

This tutorial documents the steps to follow in order to replace a Leapster Explorer cartridge's One-Time-Programmable memory chip with a rewritable NAND memory chip, create UBIFS partition/volume and mount the volume in Linux.

Requirements

Leapster Explorer game cartridge.

NAND chip - a 512MB chip was used for this tutorial (2 GB max)

Soldering equipment

Strongly recommended: A microscope or similar high-powered magnifier.


Hardware Instructions

  1. Open the plastic casing, remove the PCB, and Desolder the OTP part from the PCB
  2. Clean the OTP pads on the PCB using solder wick
  3. Apply solder paste to the nand pads, and apply soldering iron on pads to melt solder; the surface tension will draw the solder onto the pads. Clean up excess.
  4. Place nand onto board on the soldered pads and align the dot with the upper left. (A dot of 'fun-tack' putty underneath the NAND is useful to help keep the part in place)
  5. Solder one corner pin on each side to tack the NAND down by melting the solder on the pad
  6. Melt the solder on the other pins to fully solder the nand in place
  7. Use a continuity checker DMM to verify good contact between the pads and NAND pins. (repair joints as necessary)
  8. Desolder R4 and R5 and resolder them as pullups on the alternate pads.

Software Instructions

Make sure CartManager is running

CartManager &

Insert the cart and format the Nand with ubi

ubiformat /dev/mtd10 -s 512

Attach the ubifs partition

ubiattach /dev/ubi_ctrl -m 10 -O 2048 -d 2

Create a ubifs volume

ubimkvol /dev/ubi2 -N Cartridge -s 490MiB

Mount the drive

mount -t ubifs ubi2:Cartridge /LF/Cart