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Atarimax 5200 128-in-1 USB Flash Cartridge

Atari 5200 Flash Multi-Cart with USB Interface

©2010 Steven J Tucker

Chapter 5: Known Problems and Troubleshooting


Synchronization Failure

Should you experience Synchronization Failure and need to erase your multi-cart for re-programming, follow these steps.

  1. Detach the cartridge from the Atari 5200 Game Console.
  2. Attach the cartridge to your PC using the included USB A-A interface cable.
  3. Start the Multi-Cart Studio software and make sure it indicates 'CARTRIDGE CONNECTED' in the status display.
  4. Create a new blank Workbook by using the 'File' menu, then selecting 'New' from the sub-menu.
  5. Press 'Synchronize' to erase your cartridge using this new blank Workbook.
  6. Complete erasure typically takes around one minute.
  7. After Synchronization is complete, remove the cartridge from the USB bus and plug it into your 5200 Game Console.
  8. Verify that the cartridge menu does appear and that all entries except the 'Self Test #128' are blank.
  9. Remove the cartridge from the game console and re-attach it to the PC.
  10. Load the Multi-Cart Studio workbook you wish to program into the cartridge and press 'Synchronize'.
  11. After programming is complete remove the cartridge from the USB Bus and place it into your 5200 Game Console
  12. Verify the cartridge is now completely functional, if not, return to step #1 or contact me for technical support.

Unreconized ROM Image Format or game simply does not work.

The Atari 5200 Multi-Cart Studio supports the following ROM Image formats as raw binary images:

This is every ROM Image available for the Atari 5200 with the exception of one bank switched game, Bounty Bob Strikes Back, and one recently released bank switched 8-bit conversion, M.U.L.E., which isnt publically available as of this writing.

When adding a 16k ROM Image, the Multi-Cart Studio software will consult its internal MD5 database to see if it already knows the correct ROM type.

If it cannot recogize the 16k ROM Image automatically, you will be prompted to select either 'One Chip' or 'Two Chip' as the ROM Image type. The software will suggest a type based on a code trace analysis, but this is not gaurenteed to be accurate.

If the game fails to play after synchronizing your cartridge, try adding the ROM Image again and selecting the other type.

Even though nearly every ROM Image is supported, there are plenty of rom images floating around that are broken, or have been converted to some other format, like Atari800 '.car' images.

If you encounter a ROM Image that does not work, please look around for a good working copy of the raw binary ROM Image, or include the ROM Image in your bug report so I can test it and see whats wrong.

There are also many ROM Images that are the correct size and type, but simply do not work.

Many of these broken or corrupted ROM Images are already in the MD5 database and will be added to the menu with the annotation 'Known BAD'.

Do not expect these images to function when selected from the on-screen menu, they have been pre-tested and known to be no good.

Known Problems

USB Hubs

The Atari 5200 USB Flash Multi-Cart is a "5 Volt" device and therefore requires full USB voltage to be programmed correctly.

There is a known problem experienced by some beta testers with a few self-powered USB hubs.

These hubs violate USB specification by providing less than 5 volts, typically 3.5 volts or so, on the USB bus, even during 'full power' operation and cause the Multi-Cart to fail various programming operations.

Should you experience problems with Synchronizing your multi-cart, please be sure to plug it directly into the USB port of your PC, or into a externally powered USB hub.

If your hub seems to work fine with the Multi-Cart then it is perfectly safe to use it, in fact many hubs that contain a built in transaction translator will actually increase the speed of programming the cartridge.

For the sake of easier troubleshooting and installation, never use any USB hub during the driver installation process or your first synchronization.

Menu Colors

Currently the top and bottom line menu colors in the 'Live Preview' do not display the actual colors that will be seen when using the cartridge in the Atari.

This is a currently unimplemented feature and will appear in a future revision of the Multi-Cart Studio software.

For now, just be sure to pick colors from the top row in the GTIA color selector. This color will be mixed with the background color to create a gradient.


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