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I've noticed much confusion about this topic. Here's a few facts from personal experience or other people on this site:

  • The internal battery's only function is to track time, so it does not prevent saving if it runs dry.
  • If the internal battery runs dry, a message announcing so will appear every time the game is started.
  • There's no Berry Glitch in Emerald.

Here are my further questions:

  • Does replacing the battery affect the save file?
  • If time-based events aren't occurring but no message is displaying about the internal battery running dry, what is my problem? How do I fix it?
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2 Answers

2 votes
Best answer

So I found this tutorial that replaces the battery and from the screenshot he implies the game save is unaffected. It requires a few custom tools and breaking sadder connections so it is rather involved. http://imgur.com/a/pSq8B

Liability statement: I recommend getting an action replay and saving your game state to it. Then if the save does die you can restore it.

That said I doubt you will lose your save data. Data that is stored with a battery (like the original zelda 2 nes game) Are stored with a technology called CMOS that requires a small amount of power to keep it's registers stored values alive. However game boy advance cartridges use flash (or one of it's archaic predecessors) that store data permanently by "programming" a memory chip. They do not require power to run. A power surge would cause the rest of the cartridge to fry before it would erase the data. And as the power of the battery is so very small it will not surge.

All that said if you don't want to front for an action replay your probably safe to go ahead and attempt to replace the battery without losing your save file. Worst case here your replacement battery doesn't work and you still can't user time based elements. Which are mostly listed in the other answer so I'll let that answer speak to that item.

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this was the exact same tutorial that shiny hunter luna linked me to.
0 votes

There is no way to fix it here are the things you can't do
1 go to mirage island
2 plant Barry's
3 go to shoal cave high tide
4 get frustration
5 get Barry's from old lady
6 go to roof top sale
7 buy more than one lottery ticket

Source my sapphire cartridge

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"Barry's" :l
I already looked this all up on Bulbapedia. I won't select your answer because it doesn't completely answer my questions. As for me, Shoal Cave is stuck on high tide, so I can't catch snorunt.