Homebrew Solution: R4DS

R4DS
Slot-1 (All-in-one)
Also needed: MicroSD card
Price: $35-$50
Find it: Gameryeeeah, Real Hot Stuff, Modchip Store

Probably the most popular storage device cart (or at least the most well-known), the R4 is a safe choice for people new to the homebrew community. It's essentially the same as the M3, and just as easy to set up. Also, it's unlikely that you'll ever have to deal with DLDI patching with an R4.

Just follow our directions below or check out our step-by-step picture guide, and you'll be experiencing homebrew in no time.

So you bought the R4DS -- what now?

The R4DS storage device comes with a USB MicroSD card reader/writer and a protective case to hold your cart. As stated above, though, you'll need a MicroSD card. (Note: The R4 is only compatible with MicroSD cards that are 2GB or less.)

Once you have your card, insert it into the USB MicroSD card reader (be careful!). Then, pop the USB reader into your computer's USB port. When prompted by "AutoPlay," click on "Open folder to view files." (Note: If you're not prompted, make sure that your computer is reading your USB drive properly. If it is, just open the drive manually through your "My Computer" folder. If not, there may be a problem with your USB drive or MicroSD card.)

That's easy enough, but how do I set it up for homebrew?

Just go here to download the most recent kernel and the extract the files onto your computer. In the "English" folder there will be four files to copy/paste onto your MicroSD card:
  • _system_ folder
  • moonshl folder
  • _DS_MENU.DAT
  • _DS_MSHL.NDS
So now that your homebrew is set up, how do you actually do stuff?

Congratulations! You've set up your R4, complete with MoonShell. The rest of what you do simply depends on your own needs and wants. If you want homebrew games, make a "Games" folder and put it in the root directory. If you want music, make a "Music" folder; if you want applications (like iPod DS or PictoDrive), make an "Applications" folder, and so on.

Now, get to the downloading


It's nice that you have all these nifty folders, but it's no fun if they're empty -- so go on and add some programs and multimedia! If you have no idea where to start, check out some of our past recommendations by scanning through our homebrew category.

Be careful to check if what you're downloading has special instructions. Some programs (like DSOrganize, for example) might need to be installed into the root directory. Otherwise, just put your homebrew games into your "Games" folder, music files into your "Music" folder, etc.

So you have the programs you want -- now what?


Remove your USB reader from your computer, take out the MicroSD card carefully, put the MicroSD card into the R4 storage cart, and put the R4 storage cart into your DS. Then, turn on your DS. Once it loads, you'll notice a menu that's split into three different sections: Game, Multimedia, and Boot Slot-2.


"Game" (left icon) is where you go to open all .nds files, such as DSOrganize, iPod DS, emulators, and any homebrew games that you've downloaded. Only folders and .nds files will show up here, so don't worry if everything else appears to be missing. "Multimedia" (middle icon) takes you to MoonShell, where you open multimedia files. "Boot Slot-2" (right icon) is what you'd use if you had a GBA expansion pack or other slot-2 device inserted into your DS.

Where can I go to for more in-depth information on the R4DS?

Still confused? Use our step-by-step picture walkthrough to make setting up your R4DS even easier. If you have other questions, though, your best bet would be to visit community sites like GBATemp.net or the (unofficial) R4DS Support Forums.

Features: Built-in media player (MoonShell), skinnable interface, automatic DLDI patching, Slot-2 expansion support, Wi-Fi compatibility, operable with both the touchscreen and buttons/d-pad, constantly updated firmware (available on the R4DS website)
Possible problems: Not as power efficient as a normal DS cart, some programs must go in the root directory, not compatible with MicroSD cards over 2GB (MicroSDHC cards)
Accessories: USB MicroSD card reader/writer, protective case to store the R4 cart
Language support: English, French, and Korean

Jargon flying right over your head? Check out our homebrew glossary for more information!

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This article was originally published on Joystiq.