Leapster Explorer: UART Boot

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State of Affairs

It looks like UART boot is requiring more than just this modification, the SHADOW configuration needs to be set, by pulling SD[13] high, to enable the correct memory map. Currently all attempts at this have failed. So before attempting this hardware hack, make sure you understand, it will require more work to be done, if its at all possible.

This how-to will show you how to gain UART Boot access to your Explorer. This involves a hardware hack not for the faint of smd soldering skills, or eye sight. There is two connections that need to be made to some pads that are very very tiny, takes some soldering skills, so be prepared. Also being a hardware hack, there is there is a chance of breaking something important, be careful and be warned.

How tiny are the pads? Here is a comparison of a normal resistor vs the pads you will be soldering to.

Leapster Explorer-D6 comparison.jpg

Notice that the width of the pad is the same size as the stripe on the resistor. If you don't feel comfortable soldering something this small, this mod might not be good for you to attempt.

Programs Needed

Serial Port Terminal (hyperterminal, minicom, etc)

Software Needed

A UART enabled Emerald-Boot.bin/Lightning-Boot.bin (work in progress)


DJHI or similar cartridge for access to UART console

Soldering Iron (with very tiny tip)

Wire (very fine gauge)

10K Ohm Resistor


On Explorer

Leapster Explorer-D6 Pull Down.png

D6 Circled there, is the pads you will be working with. Take your 2 pieces of wire and strip a small amount of insulation off one end of each, and solder one to each pad, watch your heat and where the tip is, so as not to destroy the pad or unsolder the resistor next to it. Magnifier would be a good idea here. Then on one of the wires attach the resistor and on the other the switch, then solder the resistor to the switch. Add a dab of hot glue or some other means of strain relief, put back together and you are done. To test, hold down the button, while you turn on your Explorer, nothing should happen. Try it with out holding down the button, to verify your Explorer still works.




Doesn't exist yet, requires modifications to a current boot loader that are yet to be figured out.

Didj examples of UART Booting, should be nearly the same.

UART Boot Didj with Linux

UART Boot Didj with Windows

Under Windows

Under Linux