INTRO (REQUIRED READING)
If you randomly found this link while searching around on Google, or you were linked to it from a page or from someone, then maybe you own a DS (be it an original DS "Phat" or a DS Lite) and you've heard of this homebrew stuff, and you'd like to get in on the action. But, there's a lot of keywords, abbreviations, flash carts, and just an overwhelming amount of information and options, and not a lot of context as to what it all means. Well, hopefully this guide can help you make sense of it all. Keep in mind this is not written for the DSi or 3DS, this is a pro-Lites'n'Phats only zone.
To save you some time, here's a few things you should know before you read this guide:
And to peak your interest, here's what you'll be able to do with your DS if you follow this guide!
EQUIPAGE OVERVIEW: FLASH CART
To start, a flash cart of some sort is needed. This is the piece of hardware that is ultimately responsible for running your games, music, and what not. It'll have a microSD card slot, or internal storage, or both, that holds all your files.
So, which flashcart should one get? There is a staggering number to pick from. Some are Slot-1 (meaning they are shaped like a DS cartridge), some really old and outdated ones are Slot-2 (shaped like either a GBA cart, or that squat shape you might have seen before that fits flush with a DS Lite). Also, some of them have multiple versions, with similar names, but with extra letters/numbers/dots/phrases/adjectives/Egyptian hieroglyphics/Mayan symbols attached to the end. What are the differences between versions? Oh, but first, look out, many of those versions are just cheap knock off fakes, or clones, and most of them aren't supported anymore and won't be able to run most programs or ROMs! Oh, hang on, some of those clones work just as good as the original model they're based off. That's not confusing at all! Oh, and you have to pay attention to the physical designs of the carts as well, some have a weak spring in the microSD slot, or are held together by thin plastic tabs, or have bad connectors, or steal your soul and sell it on craigslist. Nearly all of them have their ups and downs, several of them have unique abilities, but outright suck in other categories. Most of the official descriptions or features list are written in engrish, and some outright lie about what they can do, or use terms you have no frame of reference to understand. Oh, and some will even take advantage of that, and boost impressive sounding jargon that seems promising, but is actually just made up lingo that means nothing.
There's not a best flashcart, the same way there's no best console, because it comes down to what you want to get out of it. But I'd be no help at all if I ended on that note, so I'm gonna say, get the Acekard 2i. It gets the job done, it's under 20 bucks, plus this guide won't work with any other flash cart so I'm taking the choice away from you. However, this means you can use this guide as a product review and read over it before you make up your mind, or something like that! The only problem I had with it, is that it has bad connectors, a bump when you're using it and it'll freeze up. Now that sounds kinda awful, but there's this paper trick you can do to fix it, if you buy it and have a problem with it freezing, or your DS not detecting that anything is in Slot-1, follow this guide right here and it'll likely fix it, which is good because other then that one big flaw, the Acekard 2i is real nice! If you can't accept having to do that/chance having to do that, welp, you're shit outta luck, princess.
EQUIPAGE OVERVIEW: SLOT-2 CART
With the Slot-1 flash cart out of the way for now, what is there to put into Slot-2? Since you're using a DS, I'm gonna assume you'd like to be to play .gba ROMs. If not, well, skip on to the next section (or consider getting a DSi/3DS for that matter!). While some other flash carts are specifically designed to be able to emulate .gba ROMs, and there's even a homebrew GBA emulator that can work on our chosen flash cart, it's all far from perfect. So what ya do, rather then emulate, is just use the CPU that's already on your DS Lite, set aside for playing GBA games, ya big dummy! And the way we're gonna do that, is by getting an EZ-Flash 3in1 Expansion Pack. This can load .gba ROMs from your Slot-1 cart, as well as provide extra memory, which is useful for some homebrew games, and also works with the official DS browser, if you happen to know what that is. It also functions as rumble pak, which is always cute. There are other carts available... well, available is too generous a word, I'm not even considering any others almost solely based on the fact that any others are really rare, or really pricey, or discontinued. Unless you have one of these fabled Slot-2 devices already in your possession, or don't mind paying around 100 bucks... well good luck to you, I have never tested or used them, because I'm not made of money! Speaking of which, you might not be either, so if you wanna skip buying this and opt to mess around with a mostly working emulator, keep on reading and skim over mentions of the 3in1, there'll be instructions later on for an alternative and cheaper set up, using that emulator I just mentioned.
Your DS does not have any kind of storage medium you can access, so all flash carts have one of their own. The Acekard 2i has a microSD card slot, so your homebrew and ROMs and music and whatnot is stored on a microSD, and then inserted into your flash cart. An important thing to note about your microSD selection, there's classes of cards, Class 2 through 10, in even numbers. Without getting into boring detail, when it comes to flash carts, the class only affects write speed, and price. So, the higher the class, the faster you can make save files (hardly matters because save files are usually really small), and the shorter amount of time you have to wait for your files to transfer over. As expected though, the higher the cost compared to a lower class of the same size capacity. In the end, it's just personal preference, so get whatever pleases you.
The Acekard 2i supports any microSD up to 32 GB, no more though. So how big, or small, should you go? According to wikipiedia, DS games range from 8 to 512 MB. Most DS game ROMs I've seen are 32 or 64 MB, with the bigger RPGs being 128 MB and up, while .gba ROMs only go up to 32 MB. Keep that in mind, along with how many videos and songs you'd wanna store on your SD, when deciding what size to get. Again, personal preference. Or maybe you happen to have a microSD lying around and you're just gonna use that, it's up to you, you're the train conductor on this crazy train ride! Most microSD cards come with an adaptor to make it work as a standard sized SD card, that will allow you to then put it into the appropriate slot in your computer. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, there's a chance your computer might not have a built in SD card reader slot, in that case you'll need to obtain a microSD USB reader in order to connect it to your computer.
Just to clarify, there is other types of microSD sized cards, ones that go above the 32 GB capacity I mentioned earlier, and technically if you mess around and format them properly, you could get them to work, but I can't suggest or guide you through this because I don't have any of these other variants to demo. The one that seems most promising, as well as practical, is the newer SDXC microSD card, that might be able to hold up to 2 TB worth data, but it's new and expensive, and I don't feel comfortable recommending you pick one up for your flash cart until I've gotten my hands on one myself, and have it working first.
Now just so you're all informed and briefed and so that we're both on the same page, there's going to be a lot of downloading coming up, and more often then not, the files will be in a .rar file, so if you can't open a .rar, download WinRAR.
I'll pretend now, that you have all your things, and if you don't, that's okay, play along too. Before you place any files on your card, the first thing you need to do is to get your microSD set to the correct format for what we need it to do. SD Formatter 4.0 is the program that'll do that. Download it, then connect your SD to your computer. For simplicity's sake, make sure there's no other SD cards connected to your computer, you don't wanna go formatting the wrong thing! Run the formatter program, click Option, and then set the format type to 'FULL (OverWrite)', and format size adjustment to 'ON'. 'FULL (OverWrite)' might not work depending on your SD, and if that's the case, just set it to 'FULL (Erase)'. It'll take awhile to finish, so take a smoke/coffee/tea/snack/bathroom break at this point if you want.
Once it's formatted, the very next thing you have to do is load it with firmware. The AKAIO firmware is the best choice available. After downloading it, inside the .rar file, there will be a folder named '__aio' and a file named 'akmenu4.nds', place these in the root of your microSD once it's formatted. Important note, they absolutely must be placed in the root of your SD card in order to operate properly. Your firmware is in place past that! You can read up on all its features and settings, or not, I'll try and use simple-English and keep you on a need-to-know-basis, since I'm guessing you wanna know how to get started sooner rather then later, and not spend hours reading over what exactly each value found in the settings file does.
Speaking of need to know, you know how I said the firmware files needed to be in the root of your microSD? That's 'cause they're important files, but from now on, usually homebrew you wanna run on your DS will let you place the file that runs the homebrew (usually an .nds file) anywhere on the SD card, but still require any folders that came with it in be in the root, usually. Note the abundance of the word usually, check any readme files that come with your programs when in doubt, but following the "keep it in the root" protocol will usually get everything set up without any farther fuss. Usually.
Your flash cart is ready to run on your DS at this point, stick it in and try it out! You're gonna be looking at that AKAIO menu every time you start your DS up, so thankfully there lots of nice themes out there, and several sites that keep a well stocked database of AKAIO themes, or skins, as they're also called. All the skin's files should be placed in an appropriately labelled folder (if they aren't already), and then that folder should be placed in the folder named 'ui', which can be found within the '__aio' folder, which is in the root of your microSD.
At any point now, you can put your ROMs and songs and so forth on to your SD. If you'd like, you can sort your files with folders, like, maybe make one named "DS Games" and put your .nds ROMs in it, as well as a "Music" folder for your songs, you get the idea! Do that and give it a test drive, get use to the layout of everything. Speaking of layout, to use those any new themes you might have gotten, while you're using your DS, press start and select 'System Options', then browse through the 'Interface Theme' selector to find your desired skin.
Now is the time to mess around with that 3in1 cart. Unless you don't want to use one, in that case, see the next section for details.
Even though AKAIO can detect a 3in1 cart if you have one in, and it'll let you run .gba ROMs without anything more, the games will often encounter a slew of problems. No worries, what you do is ignore that, and use a program called GBA ExpLoader.
The downside is that this means that figuring out how to properly play .gba ROMs requires more steps, one of which is learning what a few phrases mean or refer too. There's three that will be used when discussing the 3in1 cart, PSRAM, SRAM, and NOR. SRAM, basically, is a battery powered chip that holds your save data when playing .gba ROMs. PSRAM and NOR are two different ways to play your .gba ROMs. PSRAM can be used to play games up to 16 MB, while NOR can play all ROM file sizes, up to 32 MB.
With this new knowledge, it's time to find out exactly what 3in1 cart version you ended up with (assuming you already have the cart, and assume with me here even if you don't).
What we're gonna do, is download a .rar containing two versions of a program, called GBA ExpLoader. Sure enough, peaking inside the .rar file will reveal two .nds files, 'GBA_ExpLoader_58b' and 'GBA_ExpLoader_058b0.nds', place one of them at random (or both), and the 'GBA_ExpLoader.ini' file, on to your microSD card in the same place. Then, with your 3in1 cart inserted, boot up your flash cart, run the GBA ExpLoader program, look at the top of the screen, and read the text up there. After 'GBA ExpLoader', in brackets it'll say either '3in1', 'new3in1', or '3in1pls'. If you have a '3in1pls' cart, then the right version to use is 0.58b0. Otherwise, use the 0.58b version of the program. With that out of the way, you can read the readme to find out how to use it exactly, or you could just bumble around and read the on-screen text, most of it is self-explanatory and simple. If you keep in mind the protips I gave ya about PSRAM, SRAM, and NOR, you might be able to get away without even looking at the readme!
If you're having some trouble getting saves to work, it might be that your cart was shipped with a dead battery, 'cause that can happen sometimes. If that's the case, you can return the cart and ask for a replacement from wherever you bought it. Or if you're comfortable opening the cart and replacing the battery yourself, there's a pretty simple no solder battery replacement guide you could check out!
Past that, if you have a problem with getting your .gba ROM to work, there's a lot of things that could be wrong with it. It may be that that ROM is known to need to be patched with an .isp file for it to work, or it may need to be trimmed, or SRAM patched, or maybe you need a translation because you can't read Japanese, or any number of other problems that involve a lot of reading and learning and research. I'd like to cover all those kinds of problems with a flow chart of some sort, but there's so many factors that even if I laid everything out, there would still be lots of room for errors, so these problems are best dealt with on a case-per-case bases. Consult Google, or sign up and post on the GBAtemp forums and see if people there can help you.
If you decide to not bother with a 3in1, then we'll be using a program called gbaemu4DS, as the name reveals, a GBA emulator for the DS. It's far from perfect, but it's pretty impressive from a technical standpoint. It's still being worked on by the creator, but progress is a slow process. Download the .zip file, and place the contained 'ichflyr4igold.gbaemu' and '__rpg' folders in the root of your microSD. The 'patch.pat' file, and the 'hbmenu.nds' file can go anywhere.
When you first run the hbmenu.nds file on your DS, it'll immediately refer to the contents of your microSD as being fat, so, extremely rude. When you select a .gba ROM, the program will ask you how it should go about running it. If it's the first time playing your selected ROM, you'll wanna just keep pressing A to choose the default selections, especially if you have no idea what any of these selections mean. Depending on what game you're trying to play, that might be enough. If not, it's trial and error time, but there are several settings you'll wanna try first. On the 2nd to last screen, the one that lists "advirqsound, advirq, advirqsoundsc, newirq", yeah that one, 'advirq' is the next setting to try. As the name implies, there will be no sound coming from the game, but it really helps with compatibility the majority of the time. If it doesn't work, try the other settings on that page, then try out some of the other settings on the other pages. Don't wanna blindly bumble around? There's a YouTube video by the creator of the emulator that explains the settings (turn annotations on!). Past that, if you keep getting crashes at a specific point in the game, try holding X at that part and see if that helps at all, or, remember that 'patch.pat' file? Try selecting it, and selecting to use it as a 'patch' before you select your ROM, that might also do something. If this is all fruitless, there's a chance you just can't run that game properly. You can ask for help on its GBAtemp forum thread, but there might not be anything you can do about it.
But hey, chances are you'll get something you want running, so when that happens, you'll likely want to know how saves work. When you save your game, after you see your save complete message, press Y. Bam, your game is saved. To load your save, select it, and select to use it as a 'savefile', then select its associated game.
No piece of video game ROM-reading hardware or software could be considered literate without a built in cheat feature, and when it comes to DS games, our firmware doesn't stutter, and remembers to bite its consonants. Inside the '__aio' folder (which is in the root of your microSD) is a folder named 'cheat', and inside it is a file, 'usrcheat.dat'. This will likely be outdated, and not have cheats for newer games. To update it, download a program called Usrcheat Downloader. Extract the .exe file, install it and run it on your computer, and it will notify you when there's new cheats available for downloading, and let you download the latest .dat file. Replace your old usrcheat file with this new one, and you're done! Do this every time there's an update if you wanna keep your cheats as topical as possible.
HOW TO: USE CHEAT CODES IN GBA GAMES
So, you might recall a clever analogy about cheats and ROMs and literacy. Keeping with that analogy, cheats for .gba ROMs are written in a foreign language, and our set up recognizes some words and mostly knows how to pronounce them, but really needs to keep checking Google translations every 30 seconds. Okay I'm dropping that analogy, the joke isn't funny anymore, whatever, here's what we do, there's a handy program called GBAATM, and what it does is, it'll let allow you to patch a .gba ROM with a .cht file containing several cheats for that ROM, or if you have a compatible Gameshark cheat code (or several) already on your screen or written down or wherever, you can input them without the need for a .cht file. If you however, do have a need for a .cht file, here's pretty much all of them!
Run the .exe on your computer, and at the top of the window to the right, there's a little button with an ellipsis on it, to the far left of it, the label 'GBA Game' can be seen. Click the ellipsis button, and navigate through your computer until you find the .gba ROM you're looking for. Right under the ellipsis, there's another ellipsis button, with the far left label saying 'Save As'. Click this new ellipsis button, then choose where the patched game will be saved to and what it'll be called. This will let you type in a new name for your patched ROM, so that if you need a clean copy of it in case anything goes wrong, you didn't save over the original file. From there, leave everything on the default selections, and skip ahead to the text box labelled 'Cheat codes'. To make this real easy to explain, download that cheat database, and extract the .cht file that corresponds to your chosen .gba ROM. Click the 'Load cheat file' button under the text box, navigate to the .cht file you extracted, and open it. What this does is fill the text box with the cheats that are in the .cht file. Now, if you find any other cheats online, enter them so that they appear in the same format the cheats are presented to you, when you load them from a .cht file. Once you're done, click the 'Patch Game!" button, and then put your patched .gba file on your microSD card, and you're good to go!
Okay, now that we got all that silly video game stuff out of the way, it's time to move on to NOT video games, the main attraction! If you want to turn your DS Lite into an MP3 player, it will be, admittedly, slightly finicky, but compared an iPod, it has longer battery life, significantly more space, drag-and-drop to load music vs DRM hoops to jump through- oh yeah but, you know what, it can't play fuckin' Angry Birds, so yeah, Apple all the way clearly. ...anyway, the program to do that is Moonshell, a multimedia player that can also read txt files and images, and now isn't that just quaint! I had a lot of trouble with this program at first, but after testing I found that version 1.6 is the best to use for Acekard 2i. In fact it's one of the few that work at all, the others being just some of the earliest builds.
Open the .rar, place the folder to your computer, connect your microSD card to your computer, then run the Setup file. It'll ask you to select what drive the microSD is in. After you pick which one it's in, you should see a window with all kinds of text and tickboxes and goodness, what does it all mean? Well, fret not! I barely know, but I know how I got mine to work, and that's all that matters! In the box labelled "ROM image", it'll list a bunch of old flash carts, and there'll be a button labelled "All clear". Click it to save yourself some time, then click the box next to the text "MPCF GBA Movie Player (Compact Flash)", then click setup. That'll put the files you need on to your SD. You might be saying "wait, that name doesn't seem to correlate with anything I've learned so far!" You're right! Homebrew technology is a finicky and confusing poppycock kybosh, especially when you start mix old or outdated software with newer hardware. But who cares, because now you're almost ready to play music and videos! Almost.
Now, to get music to run properly, your song files have to be compatible with Moonshell. If there's certain odd characters or symbols in an MP3 file's artist/track number/title/etc. field, or album artwork attached to the file that's an unsupported format, the player might display nothing but a black screen/freeze up for several minutes/play the track at half speed/yodel a demonic hymn hailing the arrival of the Dark Prince/crash and mention an overflow error, it just doesn't know what to do with itself! To fix this, you need to clear all this data, with the help of a program called Mp3tag.
Now what I'm going to do is instruct you how to blank and clear all the metadata attached to the songs. Chances are, more then half of them have incorrect album art, typos, and I'm willing to bet you've thought something to the effect of "geez I hate looking at that MuchDance album cover every time I play The Rockafeller Skank", so nothing of value is gonna be lost today. On the off chance you really like your metadata, or always wanted it to be correct, mess around with the program and get it to do what you want, and then just remember to manually remove or substitute the star character that's in your Lucky Star OSTs, or that the infinity symbol in that one Aphrodite's Child song, or what have you!
Download the program and start it, then at the top of the window, click File > Change Dictionary, and navigate to either your My Music folder equivalent, or a folder of just a select few songs you want to load on to your DS, then hit Select Folder. Once it populates the list, at the top of the window, click Edit > Select all files. Around the left squadron of the window, there will be drop down lists labelled Title, Artist, Album, and so on. Set all of them to <blank> to clear them of their troublesome characters, then click File > Save tag. Next, again at the top of the window, click Actions > Actions (Quick), select Remove fields from the drop down menu in the dialogue box that appears, click OK, then type in PICTURE in the following dialogue box's text field, then click OK, let it do its thing, then File > Save tag again. Hopefully no confusing error messages popped up during all this, and if any did, well, hopefully they were only moderately confusing.
That'll do it for now, but after you've blanked everything, your media player of choice likely is trying to do you a solid and update the metadata of your songs from time to time. Somewhere in the options, something to the effect of "Retrieve additional information from the Internet" will be the culprit, or at least, that's what it'll be labelled as in some versions of Windows Media Player. Hopefully if you use something else, you're familiar enough with it to be able to navigate to this option and disable it on your own or with the help of Google. I'm sorry, most-likely-random-stranger on the Internet, I can predict and inform you on only so much, I don't know your computer's setup!
And that's nearly it for your music! Nearly! Chances are, your song library is made up of lots of different file formats. Sadly this older version of Moonshell we're using can only work with .mp3 files. As for the rest of your non-MP3s, you'll have to convert them, if you wanna play them on your DS. There's lots of ways to do this, and if you don't already have a program that can do it, try Pazera Free Audio Extractor. After installing it, run it, then drag and drop your not-MP3s into the program's window. By default, the output format is set to MP3, so after that, click the CONVERT button, and when it finishes converting all your songs, the now-MP3 copies are ready to be played!
You're so close to being able to play all your songs on your DS, that you can practically hear it! Practically! If you have more then 256 songs, or any other file, for that matter, Moonshell will only display 256. If you have more then 256 but less then 768 (if you do have more then 768, fret not, the paragraph after this one will help you), you can poke this little blue circle in a square in the top left corner of the screen to bring up an options menu. One of the items on this menu is Customize. Poking that will bring up global settings. One such global setting is "Max. file count", with the number 256 shown by default, with minus and plus buttons flanking it. Within this screen you can change the value from 64 up to 768, in increments of 64. Change it to whatever you need, then click the X in the top right corner, then select "Save and power-off", but don't bother with anything that mentions "soft-reset", that'll save your changes, but cause Moonshell to crash, because Moonshell doesn't like our flash cart very much. Fortunately that's the only noticeable incompatibly with the Acekard 2i that I've found (strangely, it can sometimes be used as a debugging method, I don't fully understand it, but in the error log it displays when it crashes, it will list a song's filename, and usually that song has metadata containing bad characters? I-I don't, know).
Now, if you have much more then 768 files in a single dictionary, when your microSD is connected to your computer, open the folder named 'moonshl', then open an .ini file contained within, also named 'moonshl'. This file oversees the global settings. Try not to mess up anything here, a single misplaced semicolon or bracket can break everything! Not that it really matters, if that happens, you can just reinstall Moonshell and try again. Scroll until you find the "FileMaxCount" setting, numbered 1.7. There's comments on each setting (comments are preceded by a semicolon) to explain its use, this one bearing the warning "Don't change this value if you are not absolutely sure of what you are doing!" Under said warning, (with no semicolon preceding it) is the setting itself, which will read "FileMaxCount=256", unless you've already changed the value to something else on that Customize screen I mentioned earlier, then the value will reflect said change. Change it to whatever you need, I myself have had no problem changing it to 1344 (I kept the number divisible by 64) in order to display all my 1288 songs. I suspect that at some point increasing it might cause slowdown or crashing, but I lack further songs to test the upper limit!
Something else to keep in mind is that if you've increased the file max count to accommodate the girth of your music library, trying to change any other setting via the Customize screen will force the max file count to set itself to 768. If this happens, you'll have to manually edit the .ini file. Strangely enough, if you view it on the computer, the value will still be whatever you set it to before, so there's nothing to change and save upon first glance, which caused a lot of confusion for me. Pretending you've set FileMaxCount to 1344, do something to the effect of changing it to 1345, saving the .int file, then immediately changing it back to 1344 and saving again.
HOW TO: PLAY VIDEOS WITH YOUR MOONSHELL
Next up is the much less bothersome video playback instructions! Moonshell pretty much only plays .dpg video files, a custom video format used just for the DS. Included in the .rar along with copy of Moonshell is a useful converter, in a folder named "dpgtools121" (wow such an elegant name A+ gr8 job). Inside this folder are several programs, one of them called "dpgenc", open it, then drag and drop the video you wanna watch on your DS where it says to drop it, anywhere near the "Please never drop the format that cannot correspond", while keeping in mind to never drop some obscure file type that cannot correspond. Look, I know you have an inner rebel but please, don't, think of the example you'd be setting for the children if you did something like that!
Other then dpgenc, which I just realized probably stands for .dpg English Converter, is dpginfo, which will display info about your converted videos, dpgshow, which is a .dpg player for your computer, and dpgsplit, that seems to extract the audio from a .dpg video. What a helpful little toolbox, if only they had of included tools like that for music! Ohhhh weeelllllll.
NOW BUYER'S REMORSE WON'T BE A THING THAT HAPPENS
Assuming you've read everything preceding this, you're well informed, and possibly reading this to find out where you should buy your apparatuses. If that's the case, then here we goooooooo~!
Acekard 2i: There's not a great chance of find this in a local store, and if you do, there's a great chance it's a knock off, or just over priced. Or both! Be careful buying from any random store online as well for the same reason. Fortunately, the acekard team's website has a list of official distributors, so I'd start my search there. Mind the dead links, there's a few of them in there.
EZ-Flash 3in1 Expansion Pack: Remember all that crap about multiple versions? Retailers often provide no way to tell the difference between any of them. There's four different models that are squat shape, so they fit flush with a DS Lite and won't fit in a Phat, and just one model that's shaped like a GBA cart, and it'll fit in a Phat and a Lite, but stick out the bottom of a Lite. I pretty sure all of them also come in either black or white. Don't try and guess what one you'll be getting based on the stock photo, it won't help you. Now that doesn't sound too great, but fortunately, it's only a matter of aesthetics in the end. If you really want or need a certain kind or colour, contact the distributor ahead of time and ask what their current stock is. Again, be careful where ya buy, no official reseller list this time, so if you want this, shop smart and buy your flash cart and a 3in1 at the same time from the same site.
microSD card: You've probably seen these in stores before, and might even own one or more already, so this shouldn't be as hard to obtain as the other items. When browsing your options, look for microSD cards labelled SDSC or SDHC, I can't recommend ones labelled anything else (such as SDXC), having never been able to test them myself. Past that, brand, speed class, all up to you. Again, if your computer doesn't have an SD slot on it, make sure you get some kind of USB adaptor for it. You might notice that most flash cart distributors will offer to conveniently bundle and ship an SD card along with your flash cart for an added cost, but this is a much more expensive and overpriced way to save you some time, keep in mind. It'd be much cheaper to buy your SD card separately.
REEXAMINATION OF LINKSSolving Acekard contact issues - A guide detailing the 'paper trick', to be used if your DS freezes up with just a little bump.