The Nintendo Switch is a powerful portable gaming device with its Nvidia Tegra X1 SoC. It has four ARM Cortex A57 cores maxing out at 2 GHz. To top it off, it has 256 CUDA cores at 768 MHz and 4 GB RAM! Other than running Nintendo Switch games, it would probably run emulators perfectly! That’s where Team Xecuter’s SX Gear, Hekate and Lakka comes into the picture.
Lakka is a Linux OS for Nintendo Switch. The best part? Lakka comes pre-baked with RetroArch UI. Yes, this is the same combination on my RetroPie that I built awhile back.
I picked up the SX Gear for S$30.00 off Carousell. It retails for US$27.95 on most online stores. Team Xecuter has another product called the SX Pro that does pretty much the same thing.
What is SX Gear?
The SX Gear is a nice little package that makes it easy for one to take advantage of the Tegra X1 bootROM bug.
The SX Gear comes with the jig to start the Nintendo Switch in USB recovery mode (RCM) and the USB-C device to inject exploits (Fusée Gelée) into the Nintendo Switch’s SRAM for further arbitrary code execution.
Why the SX Gear by Team Xecuter instead of the others?
No doubt there are other ways to take advantage of Nintendo Switch’s exploit. For example, through a computer, Android device or other portable injectors (i.e. ns-atmosphere)
I chose the SX Gear mainly for its size, design and colour. To top it off, it is a generic loader that supports various payloads.
- Tiny package. It is roughly the size of Nintendo Switch’s game cartridges. It is thicker though.
- Design. Unlike other portable injectors, the SX Gear is using supercapacitors to power itself up instead of LiPo batteries. That explains its small package.
- Color. It is red and matches the Nintendo Switch’s Red Joy-Con!
The other neat trick is that it charges itself through the Nintendo Switch’s USB-C port.
Unboxing the Team Xecuter’s SX Gear
Within the SX Gear package, you will find the following:
- Team Xecuter’s SX Gear;
- Jig (for shorting pin 7 and 10 on Nintendo Switch’s right Joy-Con rail); and
- Micro USB charging cable.
Taking a closer look at the SX Gear
The SX Gear’s built is mainly plastic. It does feel solid and doesn’t seems like it will crack open if you accidentally dropped it.
On this end of the SX Gear is the USB-C male connector that goes into the Nintendo Switch’s port. It does not feel overly tight or loose when inserted. It has a tactile click and feels snug when inserted.
At the bottom of the XS Gear is the female microUSB port for charging it up when it is low on power. Behind the dash symbol (on the left of the XS Gear in the above picture) is the status indicator. It will light up in green when the supercapacitors are fully charged.
A look at the jig
First of all, the pins on the jig are springy. This is a good consideration as it shouldn’t bend, or wear out, the pins on the Nintendo Switch as much as the jigs with stiff pins. There are 3D printed jigs with pins made of solid 24 AWG or paper clips out there. If I were you, I would skip them as they risks wearing out the pins on the Nintendo Switch. Jigs are replaceable for a low cost while Nintendo Switches aren’t.
Secondly, having a notch on the jig is a plus as it makes it easy to slide in or out of the Joy-Con rail.
What’s next with the SX Gear?
I will be experimenting with Hekate and Lakka. Time to figure out the 2-stage boot process. Hopefully it will replace the my Raspberry Pi (running RetroPie) in the near future.
In the mean time, I will need to get a decent sized micro SD card which either the Samsung EVO Plus or SanDisk 400GB micro SD should work well. Point to note is that the micro SD card should be formatted as FAT32 with MBR (instead of GPT) with cluster size of 32KB (32768 bytes).
Wish me luck!