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Checkbook Cartridge #CXL8001


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#26 qix_maniac OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:19 PM

sorry bringing up the checkbook cartridge! it completely derailed the pitfall jones tribute :D but it's one of the few cartridges I've never seen and had to ask!

#27 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:36 PM

I am curious now. As has been mentioned many times - if that is a homebrew label, it's damn nice, and I want to know exactly how it was made.

#28 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:52 PM

It looks real to me. You'd need a real good printer to get those textured vertical lines that most brown cart labels have.

#29 www.atarimania.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:29 PM

Sorry for not believing you in the first place... 'cause I now think you have something of historical importance: one of the first Atari programs ever written!

I checked the FAQ again and look what the timeline says for January 1980: "At the Winter CES in Las Vegas, Atari introduced [...] 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe, Star
Raiders
, Personal Finance (possibly eventually shipped as Personal Financial
Management System
)".

What you have in your hands could actually be a copy made for the CES! Promotional material possibly exists as well, especially if this program was to be the foundation of the ill-fated CXL8xxx series.

Crazy stuff!

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#30 AtariGeezer ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:35 PM

This cart may be the start where Checkbook Plus came from?
(half way down the page, but not from Atari)
http://www.atarimaga...nalFinance.html


Jay

#31 www.atarimania.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:54 PM

Oops... Got a bit carried away as your chips have March 1980 stickers and the CES was in January... but you get the idea.

In any case, it means the title was still being worked on two months later.

How big is the program? 8 or 16K? The first cartridges were all 4 or 8K, right?

Maybe it was shelved because it would have cost too much? Not deemed serious enough if released on cartridge? Eventually considered as a worthy candidate for the disk-based market which hadn't really taken off yet?

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#32 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:26 AM

First half of the 16K image is all $FF so it's an 8K cart, assuming the dump is correct (which it should be).

If the program is disk oriented then it might rule out 16K RAM as being useful which would have lowered the possible market penetration a lot.

Unsure what the first ever 16K ROM was... maybe Donkey Kong?

This mightn't work on a real machine in RAM due to possible protection. Altirra could reveal that fast enough though, but of course if it needs a special disk it might be all for nothing.

#33 beamer320i OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:54 AM

Wow, looks like I was wrong! Please accept my apologies, and congrats on finding/owning possibly one of the rarest 8bit carts ever!

#34 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:08 AM

Attached File  checkbook8.zip   28.39KB   78 downloads

Here's a Disassembly generated by IDA Pro.

There's 40K worth of RAM references, I left them in so that references to RAM locations can be found.

If someone has the time, some reverse-engineering could be possible using this.

With some massaging of the text, it's also fairly easy to generate working source code to plug into whatever Assembler you happen to use.

I think I got all the code bits - there's sections that look like they're just data so I left them alone.

#35 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:22 AM

Messing with the code in Altirra, I got it to ask me:

PLEASE ENTER TODAY'S DATE (M/D/Y)
CHECK NUMBER = ?

I think those lines in the label are actually in the clear top layer and not in the printed layer which means you'd need to laminate the label using the same type of equipment Atari used. I wonder if there's going to be any hint of who authored this software.

#36 Sub(Function(:)) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:23 AM

Also what is the 7400 (quad NAND gate) doing between the 2 ROMs?

Are the 2 ROMs the same size?

I am just wondering if this is an early banked EPROM

#37 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:28 AM

That's probably to provide chip select, allowing the same CS level/s to be used on both Eproms.

For bank-switching you'd have a latch.

#38 Sub(Function(:)) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:30 AM

For bank-switching you'd have a latch.


with two cross coupled nand gates you can latch.

http://en.wikipedia....op_(electronics)

#39 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:35 AM

OK... I guess to be sure we'd want pics of both sides of the board.

But the disassembly I generated seemed to have all the references correct and there's no accesses to the $D5xx area.

#40 Sub(Function(:)) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:41 AM

OK... I guess to be sure we'd want pics of both sides of the board.

But the disassembly I generated seemed to have all the references correct and there's no accesses to the $D5xx area.


I agree, but is there any reason that the banking would be done at $D5xx? If it was some custom system pre-dating super-carts et.al. it could be almost any where, in the cart memory map area.

#41 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:59 AM

It could, but then you'd need decoding for whatever address controls the banking.
And seeing it's an Atari cart, they'd have known full well that $D5xx provides the easy way to do it.

Plus, they look like they're only 24 pin Eproms.

#42 sloopy OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:41 AM

They are plain 2532 EPROM's... the 7400 is needed for CS, as the regular 2332's have select lines that are inverted between two chips... so that two 2332's can be put in identical sockets and one will enable on high, and the other enable on low on the extra CS line... 2532's dont have this, so it needs the 7400 to send seperate enables on the CS lines...

many 8k carts i have seen with 2532/2732 EPROMS use a 7400 for this...

sloopy.

#43 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:45 AM

I agree, but is there any reason that the banking would be done at $D5xx? If it was some custom system pre-dating super-carts et.al. it could be almost any where, in the cart memory map area.


There's a very good reason the banking would be done at D5xx... That's the area that strobes the cartridge port's CCTL line giving you cartridge features with the least add-on hardware. We're obviously looking at a simple cartridge board with 2 4K (2532) EPROM's. Since the Atari cartridge port doesn't have 4K chip selects, there's a 7400 to derive the high chip/low chip signals. It's pretty straightforward.

#44 Sub(Function(:)) OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:01 AM

Yes you are right so about the 24 pins, so the cart is maximum 8K and I can see at least one chip is a 2532. The other seems to be a Texas instruments part.

I think you are correct in that we need to see the other side of the PCB, and also which port pins are connected on the component side.

To me it seems strange to have the extra expense of a logic chip, usually in mass production runs you try and save any cost you can and keep component counts down


OK then I understand and forget the above. I have never seen one of these mixed EPORM type carts before.

Edited by Sub(Function(:)), Sat Feb 18, 2012 8:04 AM.


#45 chrislynn5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:17 AM

Sorry I went offline to get some sleep. Is there anything else I can provide to help determine what it is?

#46 chrislynn5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:19 AM

sorry bringing up the checkbook cartridge! it completely derailed the pitfall jones tribute :D but it's one of the few cartridges I've never seen and had to ask!

I moved it to another topic, and if you didn't bring it up I might have not even been noticed, thanx.When I was laying the carts out for PJ project I thought it was odd that PJ didn't have it nor Atarimania. And the cart looked so good, almost untouched for 30 years.

Edited by chrislynn5, Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:20 AM.


#47 Rybags ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:36 AM

It needs some particular disk or type of disk to work.

If you don't have that, then it's up to someone to do a bit of reverse-engineering to get it working. Chances are it just expects a particular bit of data in a certain sector, the existence of some file, or maybe a file with certain data.

But that's probably just the start. It could be that a bunch of supporting software might be needed for it all to work properly.

#48 Bryan OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:42 AM

I wonder if the plan was to have the cartridge create the work disk, but the project in the cartridge isn't that far along.

#49 bcombee OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:35 AM

Wondering if this might have anything to do with the PRONTO/Chemical Bank trial where they connected 200 Atari 8-bit systems to the bank via modem for online banking. It's described at http://www.atarimaga...1n6/pronto.html, but I've never seen a picture of the cart. There's a screen shot at http://www.atarimani...onto_13693.html, and a related program shown at http://www.atarimani...get_13710.html.

#50 chrislynn5 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:53 AM

More pictures, I carefully opened it up and took apart, then reassembled (trying it in an Atari 800 with mutliple confgireation, no go needs that disk?)/

Attached Thumbnails

  • checkbookclose_ft1.jpg
  • checkbookclose_bk1.jpg
  • checkbookclose _insidecase1.jpg
  • checkbookclose_board1.jpg
  • checkbookclose_boardback1.jpg
  • checkbookclose_chip1.jpg
  • checkbookclose_inside1.jpg





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