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R4i 3DS Card

R4i 3DS Card Menu

  1. What is an R4i 3DS adapter, and why should I get one?
  2. How does an R4i 3DS card work?
  3. What hardware do I need to use an R4i 3DS card?
  4. Step by step installation instructions
  5. Where do I download R4i 3DS software?
  6. Where can I buy an R4i 3DS adapter?
  7. R4i 3DS Frequently Asked Questions

What is an R4i 3DS adapter, and why should I get one?

R4i cards have been around since the Nintendo DSi console was released, as a different card to the original R4 was required to work on the newer consoles. Cards such as the original R4v2 and the R4 SDHC card were fundamentally incompatible in terms of hardware. The original R4 SDHC team decided not to immediately pursue an R4i card, and therefore a different team entirely came along (with the help of the original R4 SDHC team, as several members of that team worked on this project) to create the R4i SDHC card.

When the Nintendo 3DS was released, the R4i team worked on a new card that would also be compatible with the new 3DS console. The R4i SDHC was then renamed the R4i 3DS, which is the card you see for sale today. It is manufactured by the same genuine factory that produced the R4i SDHC, the name has simple been updated.

The R4i 3DS card enables the end user to do a variety of things with their Nintendo DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, or 3DS console via a SLOT-1 solution (the standard Nintendo DS games slot).  As well as playing games, the R4i also enables playing multimedia such as music / MP3 files and video. Reading eBooks, browsing photo albums, and playing custom homebrew applications such as Moonshell are all possible with the R4i adapter.

A micro SD memory slot is on the top of the R4i 3DS, which enables the addition of memory to use the R4i card. Applications, games, and other media are stored on the micro SD card.

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How does an R4i 3DS card work?

The R4i 3DS works by effectively transforming your Nintendo DS, DSi or 3DS console into a proper multimedia machine. It is the exact same size as a traditional Nintendo DS game card, except that it also has a slot on the top of the card to insert a micro SD memory card. As well as playing backup copies of your normal games (useful for not having to take all your games on holiday in their respective boxes all together!), the R4i 3DS can also play movies, music, browse through photos and read eBooks and more, from the comfort of your Nintendo handheld console.

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What hardware do I need to use an R4i 3DS card?

We occasionally get e-mails asking exactly what is required to use an R4i card. See the following checklist below:

  • A Nintendo DS, DS Lite, DSi, or 3DS console
    NDS console – OR –   – OR –  DSi Console  -OR- 3ds console
  • The R4i 3DS adapter card itself in addition to a micro-SD card reader. Note that there are many micro SD card reader designs and the one you get may not be exactly the same as the photo below – this is perfectly fine.

    R4i 3DS R4i SDHC– AND –

  • The actual memory itself – a micro SD card. Most stores that sell the R4i 3DS will also offer these for sale. The smallest size typically sold are either 2GB or 4GB. Most people buy 8GB cards, and for those with a large number of applications, games and music/video, a 16GB card may be used.R4 micro sd – OR –R4 micro sd – OR – R4 micro sd – OR –r4 micro sd
  • As for the question Which Micro SD Card for my R4i 3DS? – we’d recommend using a 2GB or 4GB card for the more casual users who mainly play some games and applications on their R4i adapter, and the 8GB or 16GB micro SD card for those that have a lot of audio and video files, or a very large games collection.

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Step by step installation instructions

Setting up an R4i 3DS card can be somewhat difficult for those buying and using their card for the first time. Following the guide that follows should help with the first steps you take using your new R4i card.

  • STEP 1 – Buy the R4i 3DS card and micro SD memoryThis is the most obvious first step – obtain the hardware you need to set up! If you haven’t already bought an R4i 3DS card we recommend you visit our Where to Buy R4i 3DS page, where you should find a list of reputable vendors that have earned our quality seal of approval for genuine products and efficient customer service.
  • STEP 2 – Check to make sure you are in possession of all the necessary equipmentBefore you continue, make sure that you have everything you need, which will include:
    • R4i Adapter
    • Micro SD to USB adapter (to plug the R4i into your computer)
    • micro SD memory card
    • computer that is running Windows XP or later
    • Working internet connection
  • STEP 3 – Download the newest R4i 3DS software Now that you have everything you need to set up your new R4i 3DS card, you need to download the latest firmware. The manufacturers are always updating the software, and therefore it’s useful to periodically check in to see if there are any updated R4i firmware downloads available.The official site for the R4i 3DS card is located at– you can click the preceding text for a direct link to the R4i 3DS manufacturer’s website.Once you have downloaded the software, save the ZIP file to somewhere on your computer (usually the desktop is the most visible place). Right click the ZIP file and choose the ‘Extract All’ option. Follow the user prompts, choose the default options and make sure you know where the files inside the ZIP have been extracted to. You should then see the files and folders inside the ZIP file, which is what we’ll be transferring over to your micro SD card in the next step.
  • STEP 4 – Setting up your micro SD card for use with your R4i 3DSInsert the micro SD card into the USB adapter supplied with your R4i card. Then, place the USB adapter into your computer. When using Windows, you will be automatically prompted to choose what to do with the micro SD card when inserted. Simply select “Open folder to view files” or equivalent.

    Now, take the files that you extracted from the ZIP file earlier when you downloaded the R4i 3DS firmware. Select them all, then drag and drop them into the folder window for your micro SD card that popped up when you selected ‘Open folder to view files’. Your micro SD card’s directory should now look like the image below (note: version 1.41b firmware used in the screenshot below, later firmware versions may look a bit different but this is fine).

    And you are now ready to go. Simply add games and multimedia files as you wish onto the micro SD card from this point, then right click on the drive from My Computer and choose “Safely Remove”.You can now place the micro SD card inside the R4i 3DS, and boot it up with your Nintendo console!

  • STEP 5 – Booting up your R4i 3DS cardNow that everything has been set up as in the previous steps above, your R4i adapter should be ready to use! Boot it up in your Nintendo DS / DSi / 3DS console, and the start screen should look something like this (minor variations in theme normal, as sometimes new firmwares for the R4i give different theme backgrounds):

    And you’re good to go!

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Where do I download R4i 3DS software?

In order to make the most of your R4i card, you need to download the latest firmware, which is also known as the software or the kernel. You can download this from the official website at There is also a directory of official websites to download the firmwares from on our Download R4i Firmware page.

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Where can I buy an R4i 3DS adapter?

There are lots of different places online where various R4i cards are available for purchase. We have conducted surveys of many of these online stores to find out who sells genuine cards and where customer service is the best. Check out our Where to Buy R4i page for the results of this survey and the best places to buy from.

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R4i 3DS Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the more commonly asked questions about the R4i 3DS card will go here. This list may grow over time.

  • What is the biggest micro SD memory card size I can use with my R4i adapter?
    The largest theoretical capacity the R4i 3DS can accept is 32GB, although stores very rarely sell memory this big because it’s quite expensive. 8GB tends to be the option most people go for, with 16GB for those with particularly large numbers of games and multimedia they want to use with their R4i.
  • What consoles is the R4i 3DS compatible with?
    The R4i 3DS is compatible with the original Nintendo DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL, and 3DS consoles. However, you must make sure you never automatically update your console’s firmware (known as “System Update” in the settings of your console) because these updates often cause R4i cards to stop working. You should always wait for the R4i team to release patches to make them compatible with new Nintendo updates, before updating your console.
  • I have updated my Nintendo console to the latest firmware and now my R4i card doesn’t work. What can I do?
    Unfortunately it is impossible to reverse a Nintendo console update. Check the official manufacturer’s website to see if there is a patch / fix out for the console update you have just applied. If there is, you can download and update the console (although you’ll need to use a DS Lite / pre-patch DSi or 3DS to apply the patch, you can’t use the same console to apply it). Otherwise, you must be patient and wait until a fix comes out (this typically takes anything from a week to two months), or buy a different card that is compatible. See our Where to Buy R4 page for stores that have other cards for sale that could be compatible with the latest Nintendo console firmwares.

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