3DS Homebrew Channel and Custom Firmware

Nintendo has always been very wary about allowing independent and homebrew developers making games for their consoles, and the 3DS is no exception. It’s locked down, and a few 3DS and console hackers have spent years searching for a method that will easily allow anyone to run unsigned code. That day is finally here. The exploit is called NINJHAX, and it allows anyone to install the Homebrew Channel, the repository for everything awesome in the world of 3DS homebrew development.

The latest exploit relies on a bit of code in a retail game – Cubic Ninja – to run unsigned code. This game includes a level editor that allows players to share different levels by QR codes and 3DS’ camera. By carefully crafting one of these QR codes, the 3DS gains the ability to run the Homebrew Channel

If this exploit sounds familiar, you’re right. The most common way to open up a Wii for homebrew development is Smash Stack, an exploit found in Super Smash Bros. Brawl. This exploit also works by modifying custom stages, and opened the door to a wealth of homebrew development for the Wii.

In the video below, [smea] shows off his exploit by starting Cubic Ninja, going to the QR code level editor, then loading up homebrew games. A copy of the game that enables this exploit, Cubic Ninja, is required for this exploit. Last week, you could buy Cubic Ninja for a few dollars on eBay and Amazon. Today, the price has settled around $50, with a few very dumb or very eager people paying up to $300. If you already have the game, you’ll only need to get the homebrew starter kit, generate a QR code, and start installing unsigned code. All the instructions are available on [smeal]‘s site.

Continue reading “3DS Homebrew Channel and Custom Firmware”

Hair Thin Wires Save a 3DS from the Landfill

Broken Nintendo 3DS

[Anton] recently acquired a broken Nintendo 3DS. When the power button was pressed, the device would start booting up only to shut back down after flashing a blue light and making a popping sound. It turns out this problem is pretty common with the 3DS.

[Anton] could have tossed this device into the landfill, but where’s the fun in that?  Instead, he cracked the device open like any self-respecting hacker would. It didn’t take him long to discover two broken flex ribbon cables. [Anton] could have then searched for replacement cables, but his inner hacker told him he could repair this himself. He carefully scraped the insulation off of the broken traces and then soldered on some hair thin wires to bridge the gap.

All that was left to do was to glue the wires securely in place and feed them back through the hinges. This project is a great example of how a little determination and know-how can keep a useful device from the landfill. If you attempt this repair yourself, you may find this 3DS teardown to be a helpful reference. What devices have you been able to save from an untimely demise?

Let there be cake – and video games in one package

Encourage your kids to play with their food by making a cake that looks like a toy. The Nintendo DS lookalike houses some electronics to spruce up the presentation. The upper panel is cardboard covered in frosting to tie it in with the edible lower sections. That cardboard panel hides a couple of LEDs that blink thanks to a blinking Christmas light bulb in series with the diodes. There is also an LCD screen backlight in the form of to CCFL bulbs. The screen is just a still image but that’s okay, you can’t expect an actual video screen to be built into this. Take a look at the clip after the break to see the internals.

We’ve looked in on a few other cake hacks in the past. If you missed them before now’s your chance to revisit the gantry-based frosting dispenser and the turn-table frosting injector with silver-orb detailing. These are some sweet hacks!

Continue reading “Let there be cake – and video games in one package”

Update: Nintendo DS camera control

All of the juicy details needed to control a camera from your Nintendo DS are now available at the Open Camera Control project. This is the descendant of [Steve Chapman's] setup from a few years ago. The system has been polished up and has seen many feature additions. It’s been used in movie production and works with a wide range of cameras.

Start by building your own interface cable using an AVR microcontroller running the Arduino bootloader. Finish up by loading some open source software onto the DS to add a cornucopia of shot options.

[Thanks Pops Macgruder]

Bluetooth cartridge for Nintendo DS

bluetooth-cartridge-nintendo-ds

We’ve received tips from a few different people about a new Bluetooth module that connects as a game cartridge for the Nintendo DS. This is a homebrew solution and not an official Nintendo add-on. The cartridge houses an ATmega168 microcontroller which provides the interface between the DS and a Roving Networks RN-41 bluetooth module.

They’ve provided a schematic for the device but we didn’t see any board artwork or pictures of the internals so you’re on your own for board layout. The libraries needed to use the bluetooth connection with homebrew software are up for download. This should provide a nice way to use the DS with a Bluetooth GPS module, or perhaps as a discrete Bluetooth sniffer and spoofer.

Game Boy Pocket backlight

gameboy

[palmertech] and [Bibin] have both completed backlight projects for the Game Boy Pocket recently. The most difficult part of the transplant is carefully removing the reflective backing on the LCD. After a thorough cleaning, a diffuser and backlight panel were added. [palmertech] used a backlight salvaged from a DS, while [Bibin] built his own using LEDs. You can see his backlight in the video embedded below. There’s a disassembly video too.

Continue reading “Game Boy Pocket backlight”

UK raid seizes 1,800 flash cartridges

dscart

South Wales Police raided a store in Cardiff seizing 1,800 Nintendo DS flash carts. The devices can be used for playing pirated games or running homebrew software. In the UK, the carts are illegal under the Trademarks and Copyright Acts. The 21-year-old suspect had imported the devices and was selling them both online and in-store. He had over 1,000 devices in his home. Many of them packed and ready to ship. Official statements by the Entertainment and Leisure Publishers Association claim that the hardware irreparably damages the DS handhelds.

[via Joystiq]