ElCheapoSD V2.0 user guide

Getting Started:

  • You'll need to format your micro SD card to FAT32. If the option is available, choose the largest Cluster size you can. Larger Clusters = Faster game startup and saving.
  • Make a folder in the root directory called SAVE. All capitals. This is the folder the ElCheapoSD uses for its save states, save games and temporary memory area. It must be present.
  • Add your ROM's and save files. You can place them in folders, or folders within folders, or all just in the root directory.

The ElCheapoSD Operating System:

The OS may seem tricky to use at first, but once you know how its structured it becomes second nature.

The Gameboy has limited memory and limited processing power. Sorting files alphabetically is possible though with say, 100 ROM's in a directory this can take minutes to do. Every time you go to load a ROM. For this reason, Files are listed as they are copied to the SD card. There are utilities to sort them in Windows but I've found simply dragging and dropping an entire folder from your desktop will generally copy them alphabetically anyway.

Upon powering up your gameboy with the cart (and SD) inserted you'll see the ElCheapoSD Splash screen like this:

Pressing A or B will launch the current game that is loaded to the Cart. If no save file exists, It will make this file first, then load it, then reset the gameboy and start the game.

To load a new ROM, or import or export a save file, press Start. If your ROM's are in folders, you'll need to navigate 'inside' the folder. Once in the folder, you can press start again to select GB/GBC/Save importing/Save Exporting or firmware updates. From there you can flash your ROM.

The Button on the cart:

The ElCheapoSD has no internal save battery. Once the power is off, you're save is gone. That is, unless you press and hold this button. It'll backup your save to the SD card to be loaded automatically the next time you power up the cart.

 A single tap on the button will enable save states in supported games. Don't enable save states if you're using LSDJ.

Save States:

Once save states are enabled, You can Hold Select+Down to save a state, or Select+Up to load a state. Not all games support states, almost all the original GB games do, and many GBC games too. It is best to use states when you're in the game. Loading a state from the title screen can be a little unpredictable in some games. Starting the game then loading is much safer.

Importing/Exporting Saves:

If you have been playing a ROM on an emulator, or on another cart, you can import it using the Import Save option to load it into the carts memory. It'll start the game and you should see your save as you left off on your PC or other cart.

Exporting is a little different. It'll rename the system generated file to a filename of your choice, then recreate the original file. This is most handy for LSDJ users who want to back up their work regularly, or swap between save files.


The firmware is under constant development. Any bugs found are fixed and more intuitive software will be generated as time permits. If you find something wrong, contact me and I'll try get a fix out within a few days.