SD load

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Introduction

SDLoad is older way of loading homebrew onto the Nintendo Gamecube, it was originally released in 2005 by Costis.

This method of loading homebrew has mainly been superseded by the use of save-game exploits and mod-chips. However, it is still a functional way of enabling homebrew on a gamecube and unlike save game exploits does not initially require a Nintendo Wii or a previously homebrew enabled game cube to load a save-game exploit onto a memory card. Thus this guide can be followed by anybody who has only a gamecube, SD-card adapter with SD-card and a Datel action replay to get homebrew running on their gamecube.

This guide requires the user to have some basic windows knowledge such as how to launch an administrative command prompt as well as format an SD-Card in the FAT16 filesystem and how to change directories (folders) in the command prompt, how to do this is not covered here but there are many guides already on the internet about how to do both.

Requirements

Hardware

Nintendo Gamecube -> Any version / any region should work.

Datel Action Replay (version 1.14 or below) -> Newer versions of action replay lack the user-code entry screen, if you cannot input codes your action replay disc is too new. The Japanese version of the Action Replay uses a different set of codes to the US / Europe version of the disc so be careful when you are choosing the codes on the code-input screen, the Japanese Pro Action Replay (Karat) disc is in Japanese so unless you have this disc (unlikely) then the standard code should work regardless of console region.

PC with SD CARD Reader.

  • Note: It is a common misconception that the bundled memory card is required for the action replay to work, this is not true, if your disc didn't come with a memory card simply insert any memory card that has some free space into slot 2 before booting the action replay disc and it will automatically create a code database file on the memory card.

SD-Card adapter and SD-card -> The genuine SD-card adapter is long discontinued and commands high prices, you can buy pre-made adapaters like the Wiikey SD Gecko for a few dollars or make your own if you are handy with a soldering iron, there are diagrams online if you wish to try and build one.

SD-Card: The card itself needs to be a NON SDHC card (i.e 2gb or less) and formatted as a FAT16 file system.

  • Smaller SD Cards (sub 64mb) might format as FAT12, you can ensure a FAT16 format on such a card by using the command "format x: /FS: FAT /A:512" from a command prompt (where X: represents the drive letter of your SD card).

Software

Microsoft Windows -> Windows 2000 and later are supported.

sdload.zip -> There are two versions of the software, the original version works with Windows 2000 & XP, the later version which works with newer versions of Windows such as Vista / 7 / 8 / 10. Make sure you download the version appropriate for your system.

Installation

Step 1 [Setting up the SD Card - Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / 10]

This section is for users of Windows Vista / 7 / 8 / 10, if you are running an older OS such as XP or Windows 2000 skip to the Windows XP section.

1. Make sure your PC can access your SD-Card and that it has been freshly formatted as a FAT16 filesystem.

2. Download and extract the sdload.zip (Windows 10 supported version) to a folder on your computer. i.e "c:\sdload"

3. Copy the 2 files sdloader.bin and sdipdata.cfg to the root of your SD card (don't put them in a folder). You can also copy any other DOL (gamecube executable) files you wish to run from your SD Card as this time too, such as SWISS, CleanRip, GCOS, GCMM etc.

3. Open an administrator command prompt and navigate to the directory (folder) where you extracted sdload to, i.e "cd c:\sdload"

4. Run sdpatch without any parameters, i.e "sdpatch", the program will take a few seconds and report a list of connected drives to your computer. i.e.

 Caption                DeviceID            Model                  Partitions  Size
 TOSHIBA THNSN9240GESG  \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE0  TOSHIBA THNSN9240GESG  2           240054796800
 Generic SDC SD Card    \\.\PHYSICALDRIVE1  Generic SDC SD Card    1           8225280

Depending on if you are using a USB card reader or a built in card reader the device might show up as a generic USB device, if you are unsure unplug all external usb drives and memory sticks from the computer.

5. In the example above we can see the SD card is reported to the system as physical drive 1, depending on your system this could be 2 or 3 etc, be sure you are choosing the correct drive and run sdpatch but specify the number you wish to patch, i.e sdpatch 1

  • The software will NOT let you pick drive 0 as this is usually the first installed hard disk but depending on your system and number of hard disks and how the machine is set up to boot it is possible to break your PC by patching the wrong drive if it is set up to boot in some weird way so pay extra care, you can always remove the SD card and run sdpatch again and see which drive disappears from the list to make extra sure.

The program will run and if all went OK it will report that your SD Card is now patched, before removing it from the system double check in file explorer that you are still able to see the files you copied earlier

6. Put the SD-Card into the SD-Card adapter and install it into slot 1, make sure you have a memory card installed in slot 2 and boot up the gamecube and begin the sdload code entry sequence.

Step 1 [Setting up the SD Card - Windows XP / 2000]

This section is for users of Windows XP & 2000, if you are running an newer OS such as Windows 7 or 10 then please follow the section above.

1. Make sure your PC can access your SD-Card and that it has been freshly formatted as a FAT16 filesystem.

2. Download and extract the sdload.zip (original windows XP version) to a folder on your computer. i.e "c:\sdload"

3. Copy the 2 files sdloader.bin and sdipdata.cfg to the root of your SD card (don't put them in a folder). You can also copy any other DOL (gamecube executable) files you wish to run from your SD Card as this time too, such as SWISS, CleanRip, GCOS, GCMM etc. Make a note of what drive your SD card is too, i.e E:

3. Open an administrator command prompt and navigate to the directory (folder) where you extracted sdload to, i.e "cd c:\sdload"

4. Run sdpatch x: where x: represents your SD-Card i.e: sdpatch E:

5. The program will run and if all went OK it will report that your SD Card is now patched, before removing it from the system double check in file explorer that you are still able to see the files you copied earlier.

  • The software will NOT let you pick a non removable drive but depending on your system setup it might be possible to somehow patch an incorrect drive and stop your PC from booting up so take extra care when writing in the letter of your SD Card.

The program will run and if all went OK it will report that your SD Card is now patched, before removing it from the system double check in file explorer that you are still able to see the files you copied earlier

6. Put the SD-Card into the SD-Card adapter and install it into slot 1, make sure you have a memory card installed in slot 2 and boot up the gamecube and begin the sdload code entry sequence.

Step 2 [Action Replay Code Entry]

Providing you have patched your SD Card and copied the appropriate files to it the last step is to create a custom code in the Action Replay to boot up SD Loader, this is a long code and will take around 15 minutes to enter, fortunately it only has to be done once so take your time and verify that all codes have been typed correctly.

1. Select "Action Replay Codes" 2. Select the USA flag (This applies regardless of PAL / NTSC gamecube). 3. Select "Add New Game", call it SDLOAD (use all capital lettters) and push the done key. 4. Enter (m) as the code name (use a small m and use the CAPS button to find the brackets) and push the done key. 5. Enter the following 3 codes, pushing done after each code, once you have entered the final code just push done for a second time and you should get an "updating action replay hardware" message while the codes are saved.

 (m)
 1: 7YPR-RKZZ-MH6W5
 2: D26A-PE4J-1XX2W
 3: ZJHY-B1ZH-6P00G

6. You should now see SDLOAD and Add New Code (your (m) should be visible in green too). Select add new code and this time call the code SDLOAD (all capitals) and like before input the following code, this code is 29 lines so double check before pushing done.

 (SDLOAD)
 1:  AF4H-JPF5-H1B5J
 2:  MVAB-7TQE-ABZPB
 3:  V2CK-QQ1A-Y6P72
 4:  M5N6-CMMH-9EURT
 5:  0JFM-3A6C-VZ6VK
 6:  KYV8-0JGV-0GR1N
 7:  2EGU-HVKF-NDMCN
 8:  7AH0-J9JZ-HHGNJ
 9:  4MHU-G8XT-ZRYCJ
 10: 9474-KF41-8KG34
 11: QMEV-G90N-A8RV0
 12: KD4G-5QHV-74D46
 13: V97K-652Q-Y4TEY
 14: 6M4W-9GPT-E99NG
 15: QPFY-DJAF-E01FV
 16: 2Z6E-P2WY-24WV4
 17: 6NHW-G3NH-HP31Y
 18: A2KF-MCKN-D645J
 19: K5V8-EF9W-7GFQC
 20: XTU3-269T-VH5NE
 21: H9GP-C4PP-6FGF9
 22: HF77-R45C-ZXPDV
 23: 22Y3-D98C-50AJM
 24: WTWZ-EC88-U5ZTV
 25: 36G1-UGDG-J2G84
 26: DUMT-15KR-DXJ8K
 27: JV55-6VF5-2Z02T
 28: D4R8-MVJ5-QGR21
 29: 1G3C-APD7-1CUVD

7: Select the code SDLOAD and press A to enable it (the code should get a checkbox) and press B to return to the main menu. Some versions of the Action Replay are buggy and disable newly entered codes after a reboot so it is a good idea to browse to the options menu, select update hardware then reboot the system and verify that your SDLOAD code is enabled. To do this after a reboot pick Action Replay Codes, SDLOAD should already be selected, select it with A and make sure the SDLOAD code has a check-mark in it. Press B twice to go back to the main menu and press Start Game, open and close the lid (leaving the action replay disc is fine.) and if all went well after a few seconds you should see the SDLoad screen where you can pick any DOL you wish to run.

Step 3 [Post Installation & Troubleshooting]

Congratulations, if all went well you should be looking at the SDLoad screen and can launch any DOL of your choice. If you have a spare memory card you can use a tool like GCMM to clone your memory card with the Action Replay SDload code on it to another memory card in case of corruption or deletion, this will save you having to input the code again should it get erased. I like to verify that my cloned memory card works by testing it with the Action Replay, some copy tools will copy the Action Replay file across ok but the Action Replay won't recognize the file, you will know if it copied OK as SDLOAD will be the default selected game.

If you didn't get to see the SDload screen then verify the steps above, is your SD Card 2gb or under and non HC? is it formatted as FAT16 and patched with the patch utility? Have you copied the sdloader.bin and the .cfg files to it in the proper place?

If you made your own adapter check the wiring and connections, if you are using a bought adapter some of them are of low quality so try verifying the SD Card is making good contact and the adapter is making good contact with the gamecube memory card slot.

[Note for users of the Japanese Pro Action Replay]

This code is only for those using the Karat branded Pro Action Replay sold in Japan. (it is unlikely but you never know) I'm not sure if this is a datel knock off or sold under licence but it looks very similar apart from all the menus being in Japanese, if your Action Replay is NOT in Japanese then don't use this code or else it won't work. If your Action Replay is the Japanese version then when you come to the code entry sequence use the following codes instead of those above.

 (m)
 1: Q1NP-P0FY-7P4NA
 2: D26A-PE4J-1XX2W
 3: ZJHY-B1ZH-6P00G
 SDLOAD
 1:  9N5B-081B-HF6E3
 2:  MVAB-7TQE-ABZPB
 3:  V2CK-QQ1A-Y6P72
 4:  M5N6-CMMH-9EURT
 5:  0JFM-3A6C-VZ6VK
 6:  KYV8-0JGV-0GR1N
 7:  2EGU-HVKF-NDMCN
 8:  7AH0-J9JZ-HHGNJ
 9:  4MHU-G8XT-ZRYCJ
 10: 9474-KF41-8KG34
 11: QMEV-G90N-A8RV0
 12: KD4G-5QHV-74D46
 13: V97K-652Q-Y4TEY
 14: 6M4W-9GPT-E99NG
 15: QPFY-DJAF-E01FV
 16: 2Z6E-P2WY-24WV4
 17: 6NHW-G3NH-HP31Y
 18: A2KF-MCKN-D645J
 19: K5V8-EF9W-7GFQC
 20: XTU3-269T-VH5NE
 21: H9GP-C4PP-6FGF9
 22: HF77-R45C-ZXPDV
 23: 22Y3-D98C-50AJM
 24: WTWZ-EC88-U5ZTV
 25: 36G1-UGDG-J2G84
 26: DUMT-15KR-DXJ8K
 27: JV55-6VF5-2Z02T
 28: D4R8-MVJ5-QGR21
 29: 1G3C-APD7-1CUVD