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Ultimate Cart firmware - Now with XEX loading

ultimate cart multicart xex fpga

74 replies to this topic

#26 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:18 PM

Would a polyfuse on the cart provide additional protection to the atari in the event of a short?

Robin

 

In the case of resettable PTC, someone must check very carefully the specifications of the part, about up to what current he want to protect, and how fast on it is the reaction of PTC. 



#27 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 22, 2016 4:21 PM

Robin, I did not say cause this connector is the only point for a possible short circuit on PCB. 

I have read your construction guide on GitHub, and I know cause this is as use for anyone make the construction by himself, to check for a possible short circuit on the main voltage on PCB, before receiving power.

For this reason I use the  phrase "I did it because although I know why Robin place it there...." on my previous message.

I from my side, I don't want to leave a male connector with power exposed. That was the reason who not included in. If its existence was crucial, (for example the only way to programming the board), then I will place a female one, as you mention on your last message.  ;)  

OKAY.. I got USB Blaster in mail today and flashed my Cartridge and every thing is working good.  That software bundle is annoying as HELL and took two try's to get the Driver software to load.  Probably my fault for just downloading the (LITE) version....  And then I couldn't find the .pof file to add ...  This all might have been just a little easier if the power pins were on the board, but only by 3%.

 

:thumbsup:



#28 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:35 PM

Who is making the Labels for this Cart??  or is it (Do Your Own)..



#29 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 22, 2016 7:19 PM

I just received my board today. Arrived safely from Greece. Thank you Panos!

I have several questions of course. Not sure if this is where to ask them.

1) Which case will work best? Old style Atari "left cartridge metal case"? (I doubt it, looks too dangerous to short out & cutting metal is not fun) Or the newer Atari XE style plastic case? Or perhaps a 3rd party cartridge case shell?

2) What is the largest size (GB) SD card that the board can support? (I want the one that fits every single released cart, disk, & cassette game as well as all known protos, hacks, homebrews, etc.

3) What do I do? As in, I guess like with all other SD carts, I download a file with format & exec commands, and then download a huge rom pack. However, WHERE?! Where do I get both of these things from so I can play TONIGHT!

(and hey, I own almost 150 carts for the 400/800/XL/XE so don't call me a leach)

#30 santosp OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:44 PM

Thank you also for the reply.

 

As for the first question.

http://atariage.com/...-4#entry3443661



#31 electrotrains OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:33 AM

Supergun,

 

Full instructions for the cart (if you didn't receive a printed copy) can be found on github in doc and pdf format. I suggest you read them, then ask any questions:

https://github.com/r...ds/UltimateCart

 

Don't know what you mean about format and exec commands - no need for anything like that.

 

rdea6,

 

I'd initially been sending out labels with the carts I produced, but stopped since inkjet printed labels don't seem very durable.

However, you can download the label from github (above) then print on your own printer.

 

Robin



#32 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 4:45 AM

I just received my board today. Arrived safely from Greece. Thank you Panos!

I have several questions of course. Not sure if this is where to ask them.

1) Which case will work best? Old style Atari "left cartridge metal case"? (I doubt it, looks too dangerous to short out & cutting metal is not fun) Or the newer Atari XE style plastic case? Or perhaps a 3rd party cartridge case shell?

2) What is the largest size (GB) SD card that the board can support? (I want the one that fits every single released cart, disk, & cassette game as well as all known protos, hacks, homebrews, etc.

3) What do I do? As in, I guess like with all other SD carts, I download a file with format & exec commands, and then download a huge rom pack. However, WHERE?! Where do I get both of these things from so I can play TONIGHT!

(and hey, I own almost 150 carts for the 400/800/XL/XE so don't call me a leach)

 

Nobody here is going to call or think you are a Leech!  We are all in to the enjoyment and preservation of the Atari catalogue.  The more people who have copies the more robust and distributed the archive is and the better protected from loss.

 

In regard what size SD card, I am not sure Electrotrains has specified the maximum size the cart can read.  These days I think you can get 64GB micro-SDs which can be used via a converter case easily.  I myself can only speak to what I have used - which is a 4GB micro-SD in a converter and it ran perfectly.  I am pretty sure you could get the entire cartridge library on there and probably all the commercial titles as *.XEX files as well - although it is wise to arrange them in folders of no more than maybe a hundred each.  As for *.ATR disk images - the UltimateCart will not boot/run those at all.  If you want to work with *.ATR's you realistically need either an SIO2PC paired with RespeQT and a PC or an SIO2SD device, both of which emulate floppy disk drives.  There is also a new loader been made available in the Ultimate1MB BIOS when coupled with a SIDE2 which allows the simple use of *.ATR files - that is a much bigger issue though and there are other, more appropriate threads on which to discuss it.

 

Finally in regards the how of using the UltimateCart - it could not be simpler.  Download your cartridge images or rip your own carts and then convert the resultant *.BIN and *.ROM files in to *.CAR files which contain a descriptive header for the UltimateCart to read.  This is easily done either one by one via Altirra or I believe Electrotrains also has made available a Java script for the job from his GitHub site.  Finally when you have all the cartridge images you want in *.CAR format copy them on to the SD card you are planning to use, bearing in mind what I said about arranging them in folders of a hundred images a piece.  Then just plug the SD card in to the UltimateCart and then the UltimateCart in to the Atari cartridge slot and you are away!  Switch on and the menu will appear on screen allowing you to play or run whatever image you choose.  When you want to change to a different game/app you do not have to power-cycle your whole machine; just press the small reset button on the UltimateCart and then 'System Reset' will boot you back to the menu screen.  Easy.

 

Genuinely, UltimateCart is the best of all the multi-cart cartridge emulators around - it makes them all obsolete.



#33 electrotrains OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:00 AM

A couple of things worth pointing out (should I mention the documentation again ;) ):

 

- SDXC cards are not supported - these use Microsoft's proprietary exFAT file system. This is only very new and very large (>32GB) cards. Its unlikely these will ever be supported, though such cards might work if formatted with FAT32.

 

- There is no need to convert standard 8k, 16k, XEGS (32-128k) or AtariMax 8Mbit ROMs into CAR files, you can simply leave them as ROMs. There is a table in the docs that shows what default type is used depending on the file size. I tried to pick sensible defaults to avoid the need to CAR everything.

 

However, since we have the CAR format, its probably good to use it. (CAR files attach a 16byte header that tells a system what banking scheme the ROM is using). A 64k ROM file could be e.g. XEGS, Bounty Bob format, or serveral others. With a CAR file, there is no uncertainty.

 

Robin



#34 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:04 AM

Who is making the Labels for this Cart??  or is it (Do Your Own)..

 

Maybe someone can convince Albert to make a short run of labels... I've seen the ones he produces and they are excellent.



#35 Supergun OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:40 AM

I see.
A thousand thanks for the detailed responses and information.
And I apologize for being late to the party on this project and repeating old questions.

So let me make sure I have this right.

THE HARDWARE:
Member "Electrotrains" is the actual person who designed & built this board. After doing so, he made it "open source", meaning he shared the concept & design so that anyone in the community could "build their own". Member "SantosP", whom I just purchased the board from, is but one of several who went ahead and built their own. He has also built small runs of them, to sell to other members here.

THE SOFTWARE:
The board itself (well, cartridge after you house it into a shell like most of us did to protect it and make it look nice) displays something like "no SD card present, please insert an SD card and try again" when you plug it into an Atari system. I know this, because I tried it last night. So, in order for the cartridge to "run" or "work" and be of any use, a properly formatted SD card containing the "program" as well as the "rom files" must be inserted into the cartridge.

So, here is where I get lost.
In most cases in my life, I don't want to be given a free fish dinner so that I can eat for one night. I prefer to learn how to fish, so I can eat forever. HOWEVER, in this case, I feel completely different. That was why I bought this thing. After several mediocre Atari computer multi-carts, this was hyped as the best? I thought it was supposed to be easier and more like the Nintendo & Sega SD cartridges? It's too complicated man! Boot Roms? Programming Files? Firmwares? Bug Fixes? I don't know which file or files I'm supposed to download, or in what order, or which revision, or how to arrange them on the card, etc. Now I gotta worry about .rom or .bin or .car (never even heard of that one!) You guys talk "computer jargon" like its a language everyone understands. I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. So, can someone here just put this on a silver platter like they do with the other SD cartridges for other systems? One simple zip file that is 100% complete with everything needed on it that you just download 1 file & put on the card and plug it in and play? Or even if the members here who designed, built, and sold these don't want to do that, can a normal member here who bought one of these and has a fully loaded / fully functioning card post their SD file contents as 1 zip file for download?

#36 rdea6 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:14 AM

My zip file is to large to up load to the Forum..



#37 electrotrains OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:17 AM

Supergun,

 

Yes, it was me that designed it.

 

I agree that this forum can be overly technical at times, and my plan for this hardware was to make something simple to use.

If my documentation is too technical, then let me know, and I'll try to improve it.

 

All you need is an SD card. There's no need to format it, unless you've done something unusual with it in the past.

 

The Ultimate Cart loads cartridge dumps from the SD card, and lets you play them like you had the original cartridge plugged into your machine.

Cartridge dumps simply need to be downloaded from the internet (e.g. atarimania), then placed on your SD card. Then put the SD card into the cartridge and turn on your atari. Pick the cartridge from the menu.

 

Some cartridge dumps were posted here, if you don't want to look for them yourself:

http://atariage.com/...cart-info-bits/

 

As well as loading cartridge dumps, the hardware can also load XEX files. These are Atari executable files, rather than cartridge dumps.

However, this is a new feature I added recently, so you may need to update your firmware depending on the version santosp used when he built your cart.

 

Hope this helps,

 

Robin



#38 electrotrains OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:10 AM

I've started a new users thread:

http://atariage.com/...t-users-thread/

 

Seems better than having the discussion scattered about the forum, and this thread was really just to announce the beta XEX loader.



#39 ProWizard OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:20 AM

After several mediocre Atari computer multi-carts, this was hyped as the best? 

 

It depends on what one would call the best. I think that using an atari 8bit computer has a learning curve. When you are used to all these previous used multi-carts, and you buy this new Ultimate cart, I think that it is probably the best one can get. But... when you are not so used to that, it might seem to be complicated in a way. The problem is not with this cart, the 'problem' is that there are so many ways people can load games to their atari, and all these ways together are never possible with one single device. 

 

It's always tricky to provide ZIP files with a product, since people who do that, might break ©opyright laws or run into other issues.

 

I have no experience yet with this Ultimate cart, but I think there are lots of excellent solutions around, which I would rather not call mediocore.

 

SIDE2, MyIDE2 both provide an excellent (And rather user friendly) way of putting games on a CF card

AtariMax 1Mbit and 8Mbit multicarts are really easy to use (especially when you use the USB programmer cart)

The 4MB MegaCart, The!Cart, SIC!.... 

 

All fabulous and excellent multi-carts, which I really appreciate.

 

I think it is not right to blame the cart, when things are difficult. Simply ask, and you'll get help... don't forget things are in development, and yes... that means firmware upgrades from time to time.



#40 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:42 PM

I see.
A thousand thanks for the detailed responses and information.
And I apologize for being late to the party on this project and repeating old questions.

So let me make sure I have this right.

THE HARDWARE:
Member "Electrotrains" is the actual person who designed & built this board. After doing so, he made it "open source", meaning he shared the concept & design so that anyone in the community could "build their own". Member "SantosP", whom I just purchased the board from, is but one of several who went ahead and built their own. He has also built small runs of them, to sell to other members here.

THE SOFTWARE:
The board itself (well, cartridge after you house it into a shell like most of us did to protect it and make it look nice) displays something like "no SD card present, please insert an SD card and try again" when you plug it into an Atari system. I know this, because I tried it last night. So, in order for the cartridge to "run" or "work" and be of any use, a properly formatted SD card containing the "program" as well as the "rom files" must be inserted into the cartridge.

So, here is where I get lost.
In most cases in my life, I don't want to be given a free fish dinner so that I can eat for one night. I prefer to learn how to fish, so I can eat forever. HOWEVER, in this case, I feel completely different. That was why I bought this thing. After several mediocre Atari computer multi-carts, this was hyped as the best? I thought it was supposed to be easier and more like the Nintendo & Sega SD cartridges? It's too complicated man! Boot Roms? Programming Files? Firmwares? Bug Fixes? I don't know which file or files I'm supposed to download, or in what order, or which revision, or how to arrange them on the card, etc. Now I gotta worry about .rom or .bin or .car (never even heard of that one!) You guys talk "computer jargon" like its a language everyone understands. I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. So, can someone here just put this on a silver platter like they do with the other SD cartridges for other systems? One simple zip file that is 100% complete with everything needed on it that you just download 1 file & put on the card and plug it in and play? Or even if the members here who designed, built, and sold these don't want to do that, can a normal member here who bought one of these and has a fully loaded / fully functioning card post their SD file contents as 1 zip file for download?

 

All you do is copy a *.car or in certain circumstances a *.ROM on to an SD card, plug that SD card in to the UltimateCart and you're away.  That's all there is to it.  I don't think I can say it any clearer than that.

 

It sounds to me like you might be having trouble grasping what *.CAR/*.ROM/*.BIN files are - they are simply how the data that is inside a retail cartridge is stored on your computer- an 'image' of the contents of a cartridge.



#41 mulcmu OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:29 PM

Agreed, and thanks for making me think about it.
I've just ordered a batch of 2x1 female headers from ebay for any future boards I make.

Would a polyfuse on the cart provide additional protection to the atari in the event of a short?

Robin

 

These eFuse look pretty interesting.  The marketing info looks like it would protect Atari from a short on the Ultimate Cart and the Ultimate Cart from an Atari over volt supply.

 

http://www.mouser.co...tps25200-efuse/



#42 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:44 PM

 

These eFuse look pretty interesting.  The marketing info looks like it would protect Atari from a short on the Ultimate Cart and the Ultimate Cart from an Atari over volt supply.

 

http://www.mouser.co...tps25200-efuse/

Welcome to AtariAge, fellow Pittsburgher. :)



#43 mulcmu OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Feb 29, 2016 8:11 PM

Thanks.  I recently got my childhood Atari 800xl out of storage and hooked up.  I was glad to find such an active Atari forum!



#44 looney bin jim OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 1, 2016 2:40 AM

Wow! I personally love my cart and I believe it's operation couldn't be any easier....


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

#45 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Mar 1, 2016 3:38 AM

I don't have one but there's some interest...

 

Given a cart that can load then emulate the existing banking schemes, no reason why an ATR can't be thrown into a 64K or bigger Rom image.

Various methods could be used, one of which is running a Ram-based OS and patching the disk interface vector such that reads are redirected to come from the emulated Rom which itself is emulating the ATR.

Multiple disk games comes to mind too - in such cases a larger emulated Rom like 512K or 1 Meg, then provide a hotkey to let the user choose among the included images.



#46 IntrepidErie OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:58 PM

Got an Ultimate Cart from Brewing Academy off eBay. Got a 16 GB class 10 SD card for it and put an assortment of ROM and CAR files on it at root. When I fire up my Atari 800XL (upgrades: s-video, 2-ch audio, 256K rambo xl), the Ultimate Cart banner shows, but no files listed, just an empty menu.
 
I know it recognizes the SD, cause I can fire it up without the card and it displays "no card inserted".
 
Cannot get help from Brewing Acadeny, since they just point to the http://atari8.co.uk/...e-sd-multicart/site.
 
I open up the cart and the PCB board inside is the green one with an atari logo on it, not the purple board marked "xl/xe multicart electrotrans '15" seen in pics at that site, so mine may be older. I think simply updating the menu/loader may take care of it. According to that site, I can just get an updated menu/loader file called _boot.rom that I put at root of SD card, and that may fix it. But I cannot seem to find that file. There are also files at https://github.com/r...ds/UltimateCart, but I do not see a _boot.rom file.
 
This thread discusses getting a USB blaster and Quartus 15.1 programmer, instead of replacing _boot.rom.
 
Any help appreciated, and if I can get it working, I will update this thread.


#47 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:25 PM

What format is on the card?  I think only the various FAT file systems are recognized.  Not even sure if exFAT is recognized.


Edited by JR>, Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:05 PM.


#48 IntrepidErie OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:08 PM

Yep, its FAT, its a basic PNY class 10 card.



#49 JR> OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 16, 2018 10:14 PM

You might try reformatting it with the 'official' formater. Sometimes that helps.

 

https://www.sdcard.o...ds/formatter_4/



#50 Kyle22 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2018 6:14 PM

I just put my card in a Windows machine and format FAT32.
Works every time for me.





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