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 Post subject: Some questions about the A8 carts
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:51 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:43 pm
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I own a USB flashcart for my 5200, the one made by VideogameWiz a few yrs back. On that one, I have special software that came with the cart. I hook up the cart to my PC (I still use Windows 2000) and use the software to take any 16K or 32K image and write it to the cart.

How do these 8Meg and 1Meg carts work for the A8? I am interested in programming games for my new 800XL (starting with 2 HB ports). However, it looks like these are not USB. So how do you program a .bin file into the cartridge?

I see mention of the SIO2PC. Do I need that as well as a 1Meg cart, for example? Or does the cart come with its own software? From what I've read so far, it looks like I'd have to hook up the 800XL itself to the PC, run the SIO2PC, and the 800xl itself writes the cartridge? What am I not understanding here?

Please somebody explain the process for me or direct me to a link where it is layed out. Thanks!

(_)3


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 Post subject: Cart
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 1:47 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 29, 2003 4:37 pm
Posts: 223
Location: Arizona USA
Try this link.. read it all the way to the bottom. and then try the links for more info..

http://www.atarimax.com/flashcart/documentation/

:D
Or down load existing posted maxflash.atr and use SIO2PC cable and software to boot the real atari that has a cartridge ready for flashing, follow on screen prompts..



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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 9:55 am
Posts: 1035
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
Hi,

Yes, you do need an SIO2PC adapter, either serial or USB to program the Maxflash cartridges.

You can find the SIO2PC adapters here:

http://www.atarimax.com/sio2pc/

The cartridges are programmed 'in system', using the Atari 8-bit itself as a programming station. Once they are programmed you can use them like regular cartridges without SIO2PC.

The reason you need the SIO2PC is thats how you get the cartridge binary over from the PC to the Atari for programming.

Programming itself is a very straightforward task, you just load the ATR programming image in drive #1 and boot the Atari from it with the cartridge inserted.

Creating the multi-cart binary is usually where people get hung up. Basically you use the available tools to 'roll' your games into a finished image on the PC, which creates an ATR image for you, then you use that ATR image for programming the cart.

There are two sets of tools available for making cartridge images. The maxflash scripts and original source, and the MakeMenu program by Eric Bacher. Both are GPL open source and available for download from the web site.

If you are just getting started I highly recommend using the Makemenu program first. It has a pretty simple GUI that will let you build a cartridge menu and produce a ready to use ATR programming image with just a few clicks.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.

Steve


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2004 5:01 pm
Posts: 83
Location: Reading UK
For development you could be changing your ROM image much more often than say re-programming a cart with a more fixed compilation image.

Though I think it better to test your ROM binary in the emulator whilst developing until you're happy with it, ultimately you'll want to try it on real hardware and so the SIO2PC approach is fine but you may want to consider a programmer to erase/write the flash directly. This has the slight issue that you're regularly removing and inserting the flash chip into the holders mounted on the cart's board but I find that OK.

After previously having a Willem programmer that didn't work reliably, I replaced this with one from here and this works a treat.

Regards,
Mark


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2008 9:30 pm 

Joined: Sun Oct 12, 2008 7:43 pm
Posts: 2
Thanks to all.

I will probably try to use the Atari800win emulator for most development and then write to the Flash ROM cart every now & then to verify it works the same, and more importantly to verify the colors are correct. Emulation never did get the A8/5200 colors quite right.

Question -- why isn't there a simple USB-driven cart like the ones for the 5200?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:37 pm 
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Location: Cleveland, Ohio
There isn't one made by me because I never really thought people would want to pay the premium for a usb device embedded in every cart.

Steve


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