All you need to know about the R4 ds/3ds card

An R4 DS card is an indispensable and classic accessory for Nintendo’s handheld consoles, but not all users know it well. Maybe, you ever heard the R4 3DS, something like that? Here I present another version of R4, the R4 DS card and show you difference between r4 ds and r4 3ds.

What is the R4 DS for?

The R4 DS is a “Slot-1″ card (Nintendo DS Cartridge style) that takes a MicroSD card to store Homebrew apps and Nintendo DS Roms.

The representative R4 DS card is absolutely the R4 revolution for DS: rather the first generation of the DS card, so it’s still named R4 DS.

r4 card

Certainly, the R4 revolution for DS is already very obsolete but it has influenced many successors, such as r4 gold, r4 sdch, r4 3ds and r4i 3ds etc. They have similar titles and similar style design.

How to get started the R4 DS?

So if you have a R4 DS card, what to do to make it work? Before you begin the installation, you still need to get a MicroSD card.

The R4 has no built-in storage for its software, it keeps all the necessary files on the MicroSD card, which facilitates updates and reduces the risk of damage.

The essential system software for the R4 DS is called the Kernel, download the kernel files from the respective official website (the kernel is unique for each console). You can find the site on the R4 DS sticker, or visit the R4 kernel collection.

Here is a general tutorial to install a good kernel for your R4 DS:

  1. Download the last file of the kernel on the official website
  2. Load your MicroSD into the USB drive, plug it into the computer.
  3. Decompress the contents of the kernel folder to the root of the MicroSD card, at the same time, you put the DS ROMs in it.
  4. Eject the MicroSD card from the computer, insert the MicroSD card into the R4, and then insert the R4 card into the DS card.
  5. Start the DS, you can enter the R4 DS menu now.


How to use the R4 DS?

There are 3 icons on the R4 menu, they represent: NDS Apps, Moonshell and Boot Slot-2.

Applications NDS

This section will allow you to browse files on the map for .NDS files that are either Homebrew applications or games in the form of ROM files.


Moonshell is a separate application, and is a part of Homebrew software itself and can be used to view text files, images and mp3s.

Boot Slot-2

This software will start directly on the Slot-2 (Gameboy Advance Cartridge Port).

How to change the skin or the theme of R4?

The R4 DS card allows you to customize the interface of the R4.

r4 menu

You have a simple tutorial here:

  1. Download a skin from one of the sites below.
  2. Decompress the four .bmp files into the _system_ directory on the MicroSD card.
  3. Load R4, press SELECT at main menu to change skins.

The themes of the R4 DS:

The difference between R4 DS and R4 3DS

This is very obvious indeed, the r4 ds is for DS and DSlite consoles, while the R4 3DS is an advanced version of previous, it starts to work also on the 3DS / 2DS / New3DS / New2DS XL. But R4 3DS has retained its compatibility with Nintendo DS, therefore, the r4 3ds can crack almost all models of Nintendo portable consoles but, it is still a DS card that reads only DS,in 2018,what we need is the r4 3ds not the old version of r4 ds.


If you want to play downloaded 3DS games, then a 3DS card is a MUST, like Sky3ds + and Stargate 3DS etc.