The TI-99/4A "Super Cart"... it was one of those MUST HAVE cartridges. (Updated 02/12/2018)
TI-99/4A DOS Classic Computers Retro
The TI-99/4A Super Cart was one of those things Texas Instruments 'SHOULD' have made back in the day, but didn't. So what exactly is a Super Cart and why did we all want one? Read on!
The Super Cartridge is basically an Editor/Assembler cartridge with an additional 8K of RAM that gave us some additional utility, flexibility and ease of use. Some examples:
1) With the ability to store a configurable menu system (like Quikload). We no longer needed to load one program just to load another program. It was a great time saver as it was always right in memory ready to go. If you got a new program, you just updated the menu.
2) (My favorite) was the ability to run 4A DOS.
Interestingly, with the advent of the new FlashROM 99 and FinalGROM99 4A DOS had a brief resurgence.
There are multiple methods for building a Super Cart.
THE 'OLD SKOOL METHOD'
Instructions on the old way to build an 8K Super Cart are at the Mainbyte site:
There is also a 4 bank version (which I never had) :
<< HERE >>
NOTE: You'll also need a double sided 'donor cartridge' like a TI-Invaders or Munchman
If you are unable to make one yourself, keep an eye out on eBay, they've been known to show up from time to time. Better yet, ask in the TI section here on Atari Age, someone may be willing to build one for you.
THE NEW METHOD
(Better in my opinion)
By clicking << HERE >> you can buy a new, modern and ready to go PCB . Of course you'll still need to acquire an old Editor/Assembler module to get the required GROM chip.
One of the most useful programs for the Super Cart (IMHO) was 4A/DOS, which is available
for download below. The ZIP contains copies the documentaion, the cover, and is in the following formats: FIAD, FR99,HFE, DSK & NanoPEB.
I recommend downloading this program and looking at the included PDF of the user's manual. You might find that for a user with only disk drives or a floppy emulator, that this is truly the way to go. You'll be able to swap disks or images on the fly and keep using DOS. 4A/DOS is also compatible with the 80 column mode on the F18A!
EDIT: Attached is a SuperCart resident MENU LOADER called "QUIKLOAD". This program is, in my opinion, the BEST menu loader available for the SuperCart.
UPDATE: A lot has happened in the TI community since this entry was first posted and in the decades since the Supercart had it's "Golden Age". With cartridges like "Extended BASIC 2.7 suite", the FlashROM 99 and the FinalGROM 99 the Supercart has become more of a collectors item and educational project.
NOTE: If you are interested in 4A DOS and downloaded the program from the old link above, please download the new "REV-02" version of my manual below.