How to reflash a BROKEN PAR cart


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This is about rescueing Pro Action Replay carts (PAR, EMS and compatible) that got corrupted by:

- misusage (inserting or removing while Saturn is on or while a PC connection is present)

- flash error (reflash with wrong firmware or error while reflashing)

Those carts will freeze when starting Saturn, because their flashrom content is destroyed. If the cartridge hardware itself is still okay, then they might be rescued by reflashing the firmware.


There are three ways to reflash a cart:

1) using a PC Commslink connection

2) using a reflash CD

3) do it the professional way with a chip programmer

Now 1) and 2) do only work if the cart is working (e.g. it boots and runs) correct and 3) is no option for most of us.

However, you know that cartridges need to be inserted carefully in order to work. If just plugged in, the PAR cart won't be recognized in most cases (although it's content can be accessed by Saturn programs). So the cart won't boot, allowing a reflash CD to boot (however if Saturn always boots from cart, you can try inserting it when the Saturn is already running).

That's our solution to get 2) working! :banana

How to reflash a broken cart:

1) Put in the broken PAR cart, ensure that it does not boot the cart when turning on the Saturn. If you can't manage this, insert the cart after step 3), when the Saturn is already powered on. You can verify proper cart installation by viewing the firmware content using the Memory Viewer of the Save Game Manager (see below). In it's menu, select "set start" under "dump firmware" and you will see the firmware in a hex viewer. If you can read "SEGA SEGASATURN" and what you see doesn't change when scrolling through the firmware, it's okay. If instead you see only FFFF displayed or the shown stuff changes or flickers when scrolling, it's not installed correct.

2) Download and burn the C4CD 2005, it includes the Save Game Manager, which is used for reflashing the cart.

3) Run the CD in your Saturn, start the Save Game Manager(select with LEFT/RIGHT, run with START) and close help screen with START.

4) Select your firmware of choice (carefully): the CD drive should already be highlighted, move in folder "FIRMWARES" (select with UP/DOWN, open with A) and select an appropriate file (must fit the manufacturer, newset EMS firmwares won't necessarily work on older PAR carts) with UP/DOWN.

5) Open menu with START, select "flash Action Replay" with DOWN/UP and press A. You may be prompted to confirm (with A/C) overwriting cheat codes and save games, depending on the size of the firmware you selected.

6) Then program arflash from ExCyber is started: press START+A+B+C and wait. It may take some dozens of seconds until "writing..." is followed by "writing page..."

7) When "done" appears, your finished. :rockin:

You can't imagine how good it felt reviving my EMS 4M Plus cart whose 4MB RAM extension I need for testing an SNES emu on my Saturn. I initially planned to insert the cart when the Saturn is running, risking another damage.
Originally posted by gameofyou1@Mon, 2006-03-06 @ 05:44 PM


I tried this on my "dead" PAR cartridge & it ressurected it!

[post=144906]Quoted post[/post]​

Cool. I was flashing like crazy recently and have tried it with inserting the cart while Saturn is powered on, too (because it always booted from cart, maybe he "got used to it", hehe).

So I've edited the guide above.

BTW: I could rescue a 2nd cart of mine, too.