I recently ordered a R4 – Revolution for the DS, a homebrew product that fully utilizes the DS hardware. Essentially it allows you to do a lot more with your Nintendo DS, from surfing the web to sending instant messages.
This product is considered a “gray” item, meaning it falls into that gray area of legality. While the product itself is legal, chances are what you plan to do with it isn’t. Yes, you can download DS games for this product (called .nds roms), but do so at your own peril.
Help with R4 Setup
First off, there is no soldering or modification to the DS unit at all. The R4 copies software information from your computer onto a micro SD card; once loaded into the DS, the R4 software boots up instead of the standard Nintendo DS operating system, allowing you to scroll through and launch things contained on the card.
You’ll need to order the R4- Revolution for DS and a micro SD card. I found the R4 on Amazon for about $45 (the price has since gone up to about $50 from Amazon sellers). I ordered a 2 GB micro SD card for about $20, but wish I would have gone with the 4 GB model as my card is now filled. Don’t worry about getting an SD card reader for your PC, a micro SD to USB adapter is included in the R4 package.
Setting up the micro SD card took a little bit of work. Although the included instructions of this Chinese product are labeled “English,” they make absolutely no sense. Don’t even bother trying to decipher the “Engrish;” I’m going to do my best to guide you through the setup process.
First off, you need to search for the latest version of the Moonshell application (Google: “moonshell“). As of writing this, the current version is 1.71. Once Moonshell finishes downloading, connect your micro SD card to your computer then run the included setup.exe file. The program will give a prompt, asking for the micro SD drive letter. Tell the program the correct drive, and you’ll get another menu. This menu sets up Moonshell to work with your R4 unit. Under ROM image make sure only “R4TF R4(DS) – Revolution for DS” is checked, and in configuration files check “moonshell.ini (full) is copied”(click here for an illustrated explanation).
After that, just drag and drop whatever files you want onto the root drive of your micro SD card (if your SD card was your G:\ drive, the root would be G:\) and you’re ready to go . With a couple of add0ns, you can surf the web, use the DS as a planner, watch movies, listen to mp3s, or even create your own app.
I can’t say enough about this product. I like it a lot. I use my DS more now than ever and find it extremely convenient to store all the games I own on one card. Not having to swap or carry those tiny DS cartridges alleviates any fears of me losing one. I’ve even found some games people have created for the DS using the R4.