How to Fix an R4 Card Time Bomb

R4 card time bomb

If you own an R4 card for your Nintendo DS or 3DS and have encountered the dreaded “time bomb” issue, you’re not alone. The R4 time bomb problem is a common frustration for users, as it limits the functionality of the card after a specific date. Fortunately, there are ways to address this issue and continue enjoying your gaming experience without any interruptions. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to fix the R4 card time bomb problem.

Understanding the R4 Time Bomb

The R4 time bomb is essentially a limitation imposed by some R4 card manufacturers to prevent users from using their cards beyond a certain date. When this date is reached, the card becomes unusable, rendering it ineffective for playing games or using homebrew applications.

Why Does the Time Bomb Exist?

Manufacturers claim that the time bomb is intended to prevent piracy and protect intellectual property rights. However, many users find it more of an inconvenience than a solution.

The Consequences

Once the time bomb date is reached, you’ll encounter error messages when trying to use your R4 card. This can be frustrating, especially if you’ve invested in a collection of games.

Is It Legal?

The legality of the time bomb varies by region and jurisdiction. While some argue that it falls into a legal gray area, it’s essential to check your local laws and regulations.


Now, let’s explore the steps to fix the R4 card time bomb issue and regain full access to your games and applications.

1. Update Your Firmware

Many R4 cards have released firmware updates that remove the time bomb feature. Visit the official website of your R4 card manufacturer and look for the latest firmware update for your card model. Download and install it according to the provided instructions.

2. Use Custom Firmware

Some users have developed custom firmware that eliminates the time bomb. Research online forums and communities dedicated to R4 cards to find custom firmware for your specific card model. Well for this R4i-SDHC 3DS RTS card, if there is no firmware 1.85b (bomb time 2024/9/3) update from, you could run custom YSMenu custom firmware as primary kernel which is maintained by RetroGameFan.

Custom YSMenu Firmware for R4 3DS Card without Timebomb

Custom Firmware without R4 Timebomb

3. Time Reset

If you can’t find updated firmware or custom firmware, you can try a temporary fix by resetting your device’s date and time settings. Set the date on your Nintendo DS or 3DS back to a date before the time bomb activates. For example, You could set the date before 2024-Sept-3rd for firmware 1.85b of R4 3DS card. Keep in mind that this is not a permanent solution and may require periodic adjustments.

4. Consider Alternatives

If all else fails, consider switching to an alternative flashcart or homebrew solution that doesn’t employ a time bomb feature. Be sure to research the compatibility of alternative solutions with your gaming console before making a switch.


Dealing with the R4 card time bomb issue can be frustrating, but there are ways to overcome it and continue enjoying your gaming experience. Whether you choose to update your firmware, explore custom firmware options, perform time resets, or switch to an alternative solution, remember to do your research and proceed with caution. Be aware of the legal implications in your region and always prioritize responsible and legal use of your gaming devices.

With these steps, you can regain control over your R4 card and continue to enjoy gaming without the limitations imposed by the time bomb.


  1. Is it legal to use custom firmware to remove the R4 time bomb?
    The legality of custom firmware varies by region and jurisdiction. It’s essential to research and understand your local laws before using custom firmware.
  2. Will updating the firmware remove all my saved games and files?
    Firmware updates typically do not affect saved games and files. However, it’s a good practice to back up your data before performing any updates or modifications.
  3. Can I still play online with my R4 card after removing the time bomb?
    Online play with an R4 card can be risky, as it may lead to bans from online services. It’s advisable to use your R4 card for offline gaming and homebrew applications.
  4. Are there any risks associated with using custom firmware?
    Using custom firmware can carry risks, such as bricking your gaming console if not installed correctly. Follow installation instructions carefully and proceed at your own risk.
  5. What alternatives are available for playing games on my Nintendo DS or 3DS without an R4 card?
    There are other legitimate options, such as purchasing games from the official Nintendo eShop or using authorized flashcarts that do not employ time bomb features.

Remember to stay informed and make informed choices when dealing with the R4 card time bomb issue to ensure a hassle-free gaming experience.

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