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THE!CART... New 128MB FLASH Cartridge

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@Stephen: Are you the owner of Don't Ask software/hardware ?!? ;-) But Don't Ask did sell software/hardware... ;-)

Nope - not me. I do software, but it's "boring" business stuff that the government uses for large (multi-billion dollar 5 to 10 year) contracts. It did get me on base at Kennedy Space Center in 2013, to witness a launch of a Space X rocket, re-supplying the ISS. I stood next to a Japanese astronaut for the launch. Crazy cool stuff, especially for an overfed long haired leaping gnome such as myself :)

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OK - something must be wrong with my cart. I erased it, and re-burned a somewhat large image (took me HOURS - but I have been watching 3 astronauts return from ISS to earth). Now everything I try to launch gives me a CART error. I will try to get screenshots and more detail tomorrow.

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Thats why I sold my The!Cart and many other flashcarts - I simply do not want to wait 15 minutes for flashing a 4MB flashcart or much much longer for flashing a 128MB flashcart with the A8. With the Ultimate Cart. or UNO Cart. however you can simply use your PC and copy+paste or drag+drop to fill the SD card or micro SD card (filling 4MB then takes a few seconds)...

 

It is okay to flash a 1MBit (128kbyte) flashcart with the A8, it already takes quite long to fill an 8MBit (1MB) flashcart with the A8, everything bigger than that, sorry I do not have the patience to flash it with the A8 (and loading the data from a SIO2xxx device)...

 

A device similar (or equivalent) to an Atarimax USB programmer would be fine or like I already mentioned going the SD/micro-SD card and thus PC route. But it would be great to have an A8 cart with enough onboard (fast) RAM that can load ROM/CAR, XEX and ATR up to 16MB...

 

I do have 64k Ataris, so a cart with 64MB RAM onboard and a 64GB SD/micro-SD card would be the ideal choice... ;-) And a BIOS, errm, firmware that can load ATR, CAR and XEX...

 

Nice to see how people can be different. I dislike the Ultimate Cart and the UNO cart just because of the loading time. I like some large games and I prefer flashing a longer time once over long loading time everytime I have to play a certain game.

 

I own 10 The!Carts and I have a tools/games/demo collection which I really use, play and watch around 32MB. I flashed all the 10 The!Carts overnight during a few days. As soon as I want to update something it is not a matter of reflashing 32MB but only a small part. The flashing-sequence is smart, so it detects which parts of the cart have to be updated and which parts can stay the way they were.

 

Every now and then (once or twice a year) I update the cart which is not a time consuming operation at all.

 

FlashJazzCat did an excellent job on his menu system for the Ultimate cart and the Uno cart, but it still is not as good as the search engine in The!Cart. Besides that, The!Cart has the best ATR support compared to all these other solutions. Games on disk like Cropky and Eckn+ can run easily from The!Cart.

 

I do not want to turn this into a which-cart-is-the-best-thread, but I wanted to emphasize that it is not needed to flash a huge amount of data everytime you want to update something.

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OK - something must be wrong with my cart. I erased it, and re-burned a somewhat large image (took me HOURS - but I have been watching 3 astronauts return from ISS to earth). Now everything I try to launch gives me a CART error. I will try to get screenshots and more detail tomorrow.

I feel dumb now. Yesterday I erased the entire cart end re-flashed it with the "CAR-Correct-Unit-Tests-128MB", so it is returning success for everything. I guess that's good news. But now I have to erase the entire cart and re-program. This will have to wait until tonight.

 

Previously, the cart was programmed with something called "Big Collection". I don't remember where I got it - the file is dated 11/22/2014. All files are XEX. I'm not sure how I can post the ATRs or workbook, as it's around 60MB of content. The xex files work in emulator, but when loaded via The!Cart, I just get dumped back to self-test.

 

Big Collection.txt

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I feel dumb now. Yesterday I erased the entire cart end re-flashed it with the "CAR-Correct-Unit-Tests-128MB", so it is returning success for everything. I guess that's good news. But now I have to erase the entire cart and re-program. This will have to wait until tonight.

 

Previously, the cart was programmed with something called "Big Collection". I don't remember where I got it - the file is dated 11/22/2014. All files are XEX. I'm not sure how I can post the ATRs or workbook, as it's around 60MB of content. The xex files work in emulator, but when loaded via The!Cart, I just get dumped back to self-test.

 

attachicon.gifBig Collection.txt

 

Not sure what exactly you did, but you should not add XEX files directly to The!Cart. Best is to fill 2MegaByte (I never know how to type that... is it 2MB or 2Mb?) MegaCarts or 8Mbit AtariMax carts. .

 

Also important to know is that the atari part of The!Cart has changed over time. There is a chance that the first time you run the newly flashed cart, you have to enter The!Cart setup menu by pressing Escape and set the right bank and enable AutoStart (or something like that). In my The!Cart (which has been flashed somewhere early 2017) I see software version 2014-04-07 ... unfortunately I am not sure what the right setting is to enter there. Jac! might be able to help here....

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Yes, starting XEX directly is not yet possible. The menu may allow adding (because it's planned/WIP), that why you end up crashing for now if you try.

Sorry for that. For now the AtariMax XEX loader is probably the best around. The!Cart menu can still display entries as individual entries then.

 

>I see software version 2014-04-07

Yes, that is the most recent Atari/Flasher part from hias. If you manged to flash before, you should not have any trouble.

That part is automatically updated as part of the regular flashing.

 

And yes, I do have ideas for USB flashing, but it's a long way to go :-)

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Wow - what a major asshat! I wrote 2728 items to the cart, and it's the only format it can't handle. Then I confuse a test image for one full of games, and read a pass result as a fail. Damn man - I am really sorry for complaining earlier. Sad thing is, I am not new to this machine. Had one since 1982.

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The!Cart Studio version 2017-10-03 released

 

With The!Cart Studio version 2017-10-03 and later you can load cartridge (CAR) files of up to 512k directly from the built-in MyPicoDos 4.06T menu into the RAM of The!Cart. This works without The!Cart Studio and without flashing. Loading supports high speed SIO from any drive. It allows for quickly testing new cartridge files on the real hardware. A very helpful feature especially for developers of new cartridge based software.

 

 

Most content types supported by The!Cart require an alignment to certain bank positions. For example a 32k ROM file must be aligned to a 4*8K bank size position. With the latest version of The!Cart Studio, XEX and ATR files no longer require this alignment. By triggering the reassignment of the banks you can gain larger sequences of free banks. This allows you to add larger cartridge files again, even if The!Cart is rather filled already.

 

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Here's a dumb question. How do I get the new features onto the cart? Do I just load up my old workbook, recreate the images, and let it do a quick burn, the same as if I had added a new file to the image?

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How do I get the new features onto the cart? Do I just load up my old workbook, recreate the images, and let it do a quick burn, the same as if I had added a new file to the image?

Correct. And unless you use the "Reassign Banks...", it'll only flash the first few banks with the new menu software.

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Hello,

 

i am sorry for the long time to start the 2nd run, but it will come soon!

 

Meanwhile i have a 32MB THE!CART 4sale on ebay:

http://www.ebay.de/itm/ATARI-XL-XE-THE-CART-Modul-/152150142395?hash=item236cdaedbb:g:6L8AAOSweWVXdVqg

 

regards,

Wolfram.

 

 

No sign of Wolfram since this post?

I was interested in the latest version too.

 

Oh well.

 

Jim

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I talked to Wolfram again today, because I also'd like to see this go forward.

He'll contact the manufacturer to get an estimated price for The!Cart V2 this week.

And I'll take over the administrative process of handling the requests.

I know it's going to be a nightmare, but hey... :-)

 

So if you are interested, please PM to me with subject "The!Cart V2 - <your AA user name>".

All further communication will take place via PM then.

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PM sent for 3 more carts when available.

These carts really "inspire" me about my 8-bit.

Great hardware and software to play with.

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Status Update on The!Cart V2:

  • Planned Run: 100 Pieces
  • Contacts and complete PCB will be gold plated.
  • Memory Size: 128 MB
  • Populated Board without (!) Shell: 55 EUR
  • Shipping: 6 EUR national & international, large letter for up to 2 carts with shell, very reliable, no tracking ID
  • Shell: 3D Print model offered for free to print it yourself. We offer printed shells as shown below also for 15 EUR. The PCB does not fit into standard Atari shells!
  • The V2 board is functionally identical to the V1 board. But the board and shell are a little smaller, so the lid of an Atari 800 can finally be closed correctly.
  • Detailed description of the features and comparison with other storage solutions can be found at
    http://www.wudsn.com/index.php/productions-atari800/tools/thecart

If you are interested, please PM to me with subject "The!Cart V2 - <your AA user name>".
All further communication will take place via PM then.

 

thecart-shell-v1-02.jpg

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I had made an inquiry about purchasing TheCart! about two years ago but am afraid that I'm going to have to back out now. In that time, my SIO2PC cable has stopped functioning and its producer has not resopnded to emails asking for assistance, so I would be unable to actually flash TheCart! on my Atari. Unfortunate but I ended up going with another multicart instead because of this problem. Good luck with the new run.

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Here is something I've put together with "The!Cart"

It's a work in progress. Try it with the Altirra Emulator.

I still have a third of the cartridge left for more games.

 

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