Messed up GBA game

I changed the battery on a pokemon emerald cart, and it started giving me issues exactly like this reddit post.
>https://www.reddit.com/r/Gameboy/comments/scu7x9/screen_frozen_and_weird_sounds_coming_off_gba_sp/
After ~15 minutes of play, the thing would freeze, and give a horrible staticy sound until it was shut off.
I thought i bridged the solder points on the chip under the battery, so i desoldered it and checked the continuity of each leg of the chip. No issues. I tried playing the game without the battery installed at all, and the thing would either boot into a white screen, or give the garbled box under the Game Boy logo... i figured its prob because the battery is not there so i put the battery back on, expecting i would atleast get the old results of ~15 mins of play with static/freeze... but now it does not even boot up at all(either white screen or garbled box where it should say nintendo)

Anyone have some ideas?
Pic is of the board without the battery.

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  1. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    you're going to have to test the resistance and capacitance of each little capacitor and resistor first I assume...

  2. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Was it working BEFORE you changed the battery?
    Aside from the saving files thing obviously.
    The battery might actually be giving out too many volts, or affecting the clock somehow.

  3. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    i can't read your gay reddit thread since they're blocking my vpn, and i don't care enough about you or your gay problem to shut it off.
    c5 (top left) doesn't look like it's centered properly on its pads, and the left side might not have good contact. since it's attached directly to the crystal feeding the rtc, it's suspect. maybe just be camera perspective.
    component r10, which i would assume should be a resistor, is actually a capacitor, and also looks like it's not sitting on its pads properly. looks like it's filtering the power supply, and that would be a weird place to shove a resistor, but idk.

  4. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Try holding LB select while you turn it on several times. Also maybe a tin whisker on pin 9 of the chip on the right

    https://gbatemp.net/threads/how-to-reset-the-rtc-in-gba-pokemon-games-after-replacing-the-battery.558620/

  5. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I think I see a solder ball bridging two pins?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      no, thats just the reflection from my camera light.

      I'm thinking its a memory fault and the guy who asked me to do this just didnt tell me he was dealing with this issue before... and maybe thought the battery swap would fix it...
      >https://projectpokemon.org/home/forums/topic/57574-pok%C3%A9mon-emerald-flash-memory-corruption/
      Cause on the few occasions it does boot, the save attempt gives me an error message.

  6. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    I would not be surprised if the memory is corrupted in a way that the GBA can't detect. It's a Game Boy so it's not using anything advanced. Probably some CRC so it's not impossible that it's trying to read the memory thinking it's valid. I figure you might have to find a way to completely reset the memory.

    I don't know much specifically about Game Boy games, just general electronics experience.

  7. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Do you have access to a dumper? I'd dump the ROM and see if there's anything wrong in there. Did you test it yourself before the battery swap?

  8. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    take a sharp pointy object like some tweezers or a tiny screwdriver and poke at each pin on the two larger black chips. you want to try to slide each pin over so that it would touch the pin next to it.
    the pins should not move at all, if they move or start to move when you press them, the solder joint is broken.

    alternatively, just go over each pin with a soldering iron and reflow it.
    depending on the iron, if you have a ts100 or pinecel or similar, a ts-ILS tip is great for this. it is fricking tiny and allows you to easily relflow each pin separately, eliminating any potential bridges or advanced techniques.

  9. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    ESD, especially if humidity is low.

  10. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    New pic, since someone on reddit said the Via near the battery being filled with solder might be the issue. I wicked it out, and still no positive result.
    I noticed that the issue kind of disappears if i leave it alone for a day. Like, after 1 day of sitting, it boots up fine and is playable for maybe 10 minutes.... but then it spazzes out and wont boot up again unless i (presumably) leave it alone again for another day.

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Are you absolutely sure it's not the GBA messing up?

      • 2 months ago
        Anonymous

        Yup. I have tried it on a DS, and 3 different GBAs. All same results(though it seems the 3 GBAs are much more sensitive to it)

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      You need to reset the RTC. It's a t 0 right now and that pisses the game off.

  11. 2 months ago
    Anonymous

    Did you use hot air? That can corrupt the flash memory. Why are the chips wet looking, is that flux?

    • 2 months ago
      Anonymous

      Was probably flux residue from cleaning off the battery pads.

      https://i.imgur.com/6fOHsma.jpg

      New pic, since someone on reddit said the Via near the battery being filled with solder might be the issue. I wicked it out, and still no positive result.
      I noticed that the issue kind of disappears if i leave it alone for a day. Like, after 1 day of sitting, it boots up fine and is playable for maybe 10 minutes.... but then it spazzes out and wont boot up again unless i (presumably) leave it alone again for another day.

      is how it looks now. Everything has been scrubbed down with isopropyl alcohol and a toothbrush.
      No hot air was used, just a soldering iron.

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