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THE!CART... New 128MB FLASH Cartridge

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I received my The!Cart last night and it works great. I'm looking to build some workbooks to flash it and was wondering off the process to flash the cartridge. Is it only available to flash the cartridge by using the Atari or can you flash the cartridge with the Maxflash USB flasher and a windows or osx computer? I have a Sio2SD from Lotharek so that is an option if I can't flash it from a modern computer.

See:

http://www.wudsn.com/productions/atari800/thecartstudio/help/TheCartStudio.html#ProgrammingFlashCartridges

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Update:
We have received the quote for new runs of 10. As expected the price per PCB increases due to the smaller number.
Instead of 55 EUR, we are at 60 EUR for the populated PCB. So an increase by 5 EUR.
Plus standard 15 EUR Shell+6EUR shipping (for up to two carts) yields 81 EUR instead of 76 EUR we've had before.

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My The!Cart has arrived last week. I have played with it over the weekend. Works like a charm. I could finally play Space Harrier and watch the Bad Apple demo on my hardware. Thanks, guys! Great work.

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Update:

We have received the quote for new runs of 10. As expected the price per PCB increases due to the smaller number.

Instead of 55 EUR, we are at 60 EUR for the populated PCB. So an increase by 5 EUR.

Plus standard 15 EUR Shell+6EUR shipping (for up to two carts) yields 81 EUR instead of 76 EUR we've had before.

Hi JAC!

People like myself whom have already paid are still good though, right?

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Everybody who is part of the 3rd batch has been sent a corresponding PM with the details yesterday.

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I received my new cart last week but do not have the time to work with it (I buy too many items). Selling for the price I paid in the marketplace.

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3rd run (10 pieces) has been ordered today.

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Is there anyway to order just the case?

Yes, sure. Even though I wonder why you'd do that without a The!Cart :-) Just send a PM.

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Question:

Is there any 1200 XL owner who can confirm if the new V1 shell fits into the side slot?

 

As it turned out Frankie has a 1200 XL and a V1 board. This means it would be the left shell in this post / the shell in this video.

https://youtu.be/PPje-kdMTts?list=PLmzSn5Wy9uF9MyDLecfFn6dBl0lw8kCjQ
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/215811-thecart-new-128mb-flash-cartridge/?p=4074405

 

 

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Question:

Is there any 1200 XL owner who can confirm if the new V1 shell fits into the side slot?

 

 

Both of the shells I've got in the picture above fit in the unmodified cart slot of the 1200XL.

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I have been experiencing in-game crashing when using the!cart with U1MB RAM expansion on my NTSC Chelco 800XL. Was the!cart developed to be compatible with U1MB? I did search this thread and found no definitive answer.

 

If any of you have both a U1MB and the!cart, here are some games to try to replicate the issue:

 

  • Robotron - starting a game, the warp screen to the first battle area stops and bounces you back to the title screen/main menu. Unable to play but doesn't crash either. Using the real cartridge with U1MB this does not happen.
  • Commando 320k - crashes at start of gameplay after about 3 or 5 frames in with the helicopter in the bottom. Don't have the real cart to test that version.
  • Pole Position 1982 version - game crashes very soon after start of actual gameplay. Using the real cartridge with U1MB this does not happen. The crash behaves the same as if pressing the halt button on the!cart.

 

Also it seems like having Sparta Dos enabled is much more problematic but these results are with it disabled. I did a lot of troubleshooting and work to narrow down the issue but not real cause.

 

I've tried different OS ROMs from within the U1MB OS selection option with different results but always there is some issue no matter which OS ROM I use. I've tried OS B/ XL 1.3 and an XEGS OS Rom.

Edited by Sugarland

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Update on this stability issue in the previous post... Very helpful people in another thread said they were not experiencing these issues and that my .car files tested fine on their machines I felt the need to install my second U1MB in another machine. It took several hours since I needed to build (solder) a UAV-D basic kit and then install that, and then install the U1MB. Anyway this issue does not happen on the second machine. the!cart and U1MB are playing together nicely in that 800XL. Robotron, Commando and Pole Position all play perfectly fine!! This second machine is also an NTSC Chelco 800XL.

 

There may be a problem with the first computer. That's my assumption. I will replace chips one by one and see if that fixes the problematic 800XL. It's interesting though that the real cartridge works fine but not the!cart which on the surface seems to eliminate the computer as the cause as far as broken chips anyway... *shrug* I'll report back after more testing. Here was a video I made showing the symptom.

 

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If the entries in the Workbook were actual CAR/ROM files (and not ATRs/XEX), then there should not be any difference to a physical cart.

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Update on the unstable 800XL with U1MB and the!cart. A replacement for the 74LS08 fixed it! I used a new old stock Motorola 74F08N chip. They are cheap on ebay. JAC! I suggest mentioning in your documentation that if a system becomes unstable with the!cart and other upgrades, that replacing the 74LS08 with a better chip (74F08) could fix instability as per this post by mytek.

 

I don't know if it was mentioned, but changing the 74LS08 chip for a 74F08 one often helps when adding upgrades to the system that cause flakeyness. It's a timing issue, with the LS chip being very close to the edge when it comes to speed (as in too slow). Might be worth a try :).

 

Removing the U1MB and using only the!cart in this machine exhibited no problems but when using both combined it was unstable. Also using the U1MB and the real Atari cartridge there was no crashing.

Edited by Sugarland
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Thanks, I've added it to the FAQ!

 

Regading batch #3: Wolfram received the notification that the PCBs are on the way to him. Will take 1 week probably.

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I finally got a chance to try the!Cart and it is absolutely awesome. Quick question, what does the favorites do? Are you able to view just your favorites from within the menu? If so, how do you do this?

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I finally got a chance to try the!Cart and it is absolutely awesome. Quick question, what does the favorites do? Are you able to view just your favorites from within the menu? If so, how do you do this?

Current it has no function yet. The idea is to display the entries marked as favorites when no search term has been entered yet. It's somewhere on the todo list.

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Current it has no function yet. The idea is to display the entries marked as favorites when no search term has been entered yet. It's somewhere on the todo list.

 

If possible, can it display your favorites when you press some keyboard button? For example if you press the select or options key it will switch between general search and favorites?

 

Edited by killersquirel

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For example if you press the select or options key it will switch between general search and favorites?

 

 

There won't be a separate key. The favourites will be displayed as long as no search term was specified.

 

They will exist in parallel to the "Genres" classification which you an already use not to create a tab "Favourites" which you can select via LEFT/RIGHT.

That's also why I consider other features on my list more important.

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tomorrow 27. august there will be carts shipped to:

Missouri 63301, FL33076, PA15214, CA92584, Canada, Sweden and Germany Neuwied.

 

Thank you for buying & waiting.

 

Does anybody has good ideas to make THE!CART even better?

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Does anybody has good ideas to make THE!CART even better?

 

I don't have one, maybe some things are already done...:

  • SD card version with directory reading, I find an obstacle to use a dedicated software to load roms. It should be easy and straight to install a new game or to make changes. An external software should be used only for a special general configuration.
  • XEX loads
  • ATR loads & writes. Full compatibility. Writing ability optional, selected by each user.
  • CAS loads (?)
  • The google like search is excellent as well as the horizontal menus.
  • Easy firmware update and support, like the AVGCart that's improving compatibility like a rocket.
  • A menu with editable header and footer, like the CAR files in Maxflash Cartridge Studio. Font, size and color selection, I think that's important, for example I don't like the grey colors in the AVGCart, but I like the Ultimate Cart menu and its title and the ability to be edited, and its underlines.
  • "Splash Screen": option of auto-launch a Rasta Converter xex screen for some seconds when turning on, then return to the main menu.
  • And improving the presentation video with its features, the screen is too small. All relevant documentation and updates should be in the first post.
Edited by tane
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Thanks for your feedback. See some replies below:

  • SD card version with directory reading, I find an obstacle to use a dedicated software to load roms. It should be easy and straight to install a new game or to make changes. An external software should be used only for a special general configuration.
    A: The!Cart is designed as ROM emulation and ROMs are different from ATR/XEX. Adding the additional information about the correct cardridge type, patches etc. is essential and you don't get the by just putting a file on a disk. Also adding additional classifcation like the genres and favorites requires an editor anyway. And with the Studio, AspectQt and the incremental built-in flasher together, adding an entry takes not much more time than saving on a classical disk would.
  • XEX loads:
    A: Already possible via putting them into Maxflash Studio today which has tons of options to tweak XEX loading. Direct XEX load is planned.
  • ATR loads & writes. Full compatibility. Writing ability optional, selected by each user.
    A: Not planned. Write compability would require so much RAM for the driver that it would conflict with probaly 100% of the software. If you really want to work with ATRs that way, you are far better of with a real SIO/emulation device like Sio2PC/SIO2SD. Because that has no additional footprint in the RAM and you have direct access to the ATRs via the host file system.
  • CAS loads (?)
    A: The CAS format is intended for SIO-like emulation of the cassette and not really suitable for loading from anything else. If you really have something you have as CAS, please check the Homesoft page for the ATR version. Or PM the file. Cracking it and turning it into a proper ROM is most likely faster for me to do anyway :-)
  • The google like search is excellent as well as the horizontal menus.
    A: Thanks :-)
  • Easy firmware update and support, like the AVGCart that's improving compatibility like a rocket.
    A: The firmware update is automatically part of the flash process today.
  • A menu with editable header and footer, like the CAR files in Maxflash Cartridge Studio. Font, size and color selection, I think that's important, for example I don't like the grey colors in the AVGCart, but I like the Ultimate Cart menu and its title and the ability to be edited, and its underlines.
    A: Header is editable. Footer is used for the status display. The menu system is actually built in a modular way, so the logic is separate from the visualization. I didn't want to put took much menu editing stuff into the studio itself. But I doub't I'll invest more there for now.
  • "Splash Screen": option of auto-launch a Rasta Converter xex screen for some seconds when turning on, then return to the main menu.
    A: Is already on the wish list
  • And improving the presentation video with its features, the screen is too small.
    A: Good point.
  • All relevant documentation and updates should be in the first post.
    A: That is really a very good point. I've asked mega_hz to check if he can do that.

 

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