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New Harmony product: Harmony Encore

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Did you even ask for a replacement before bashing the whole product this way?

 

BTW: Many people seem not to know how to remove a spring loaded MicroSD cart correctly. Instead of pushing, they pull the cart and easily break the tiny mechanics of the slot.

I've used SD cards for over a decade now. I know they push in and push out with a click. This one never did click right out of the package! I have tried several other SD cards in it thinking that it might be the card with no difference. For the price charged I expected better quality- that's all. Very disappointed and as I said cannot recommend to my readers.

 

 

Countless other people never had any issues with the "click" mechanism even after years of daily use. :roll:

 

That said, if he broke it by yanking the SD card instead of pressing down, then it isn't a warranty issue, it's user negligence. Perhaps read the manual next time! :mad:

 

Protip: Most broken stuff can be jury-rigged to make it work again. Masking tape over the card end will keep it from ejecting. :thumbsdown:

I wish I would have gotten "years of daily use" out of this, then I wouldn't be so aggravated. After years of reading online how great these are and then finally getting the money to buy one and it not performing as stated, I can understand the price drop now.

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I can understand that you are disappointed now. But IMO your reactions seem way over the top. And any generalizing about the device is completely unjustified.

 

Calm down and contact the seller, please. If the cart was DOA you will get a replacement for sure.

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I've used SD cards for over a decade now. I know they push in and push out with a click. This one never did click right out of the package! I have tried several other SD cards in it thinking that it might be the card with no difference. For the price charged I expected better quality- that's all. Very disappointed and as I said cannot recommend to my readers.

 

I wish I would have gotten "years of daily use" out of this, then I wouldn't be so aggravated. After years of reading online how great these are and then finally getting the money to buy one and it not performing as stated, I can understand the price drop now.

 

Hmm...sounds like you happened to have received a bad cart, but I'm sure the seller will take care of you.

 

I have two Harmony carts, an original that is several years old (purchased it used from Digital Press store) and a Harmony Encore that's about a year old now. Both work as advertised and I can't tell you how many times I've removed the card to add a new ROM. Just this week, I added the latest WIP's of Wizard of War and Aardvark to each one. :)

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Concur with the others, it's a well made product. If you bought it from Atari Age, you'll get a replacement I'm sure. If you bought it from ebay or something "unofficial" they may have sold you a broken item.

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Concur with the others, it's a well made product. If you bought it from Atari Age, you'll get a replacement I'm sure. If you bought it from ebay or something "unofficial" they may have sold you a broken item.

Came directly from Fred.

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At the risk of getting ripped apart here for asking a tired question, I am new to the Harmony and Harmony Encore scene and am looking to buy one of them, but how many games as of April 2019 can be played in the Encore which cannot be played in the original Harmony cart? Does the Scramble homebrew play in them both?

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At the risk of getting ripped apart here for asking a tired question, I am new to the Harmony and Harmony Encore scene and am looking to buy one of them, but how many games as of April 2019 can be played in the Encore which cannot be played in the original Harmony cart? Does the Scramble homebrew play in them both?

 

I have an original Harmony cart for years and I would like to know which games can only be played with Encore.

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Scramble works on a regular Harmony as does Draconian, Space Rocks, Mappy, Super Cobra, Stay Frosty 2, and all of the other DPC+ and CDF games. There are a handful of games that only work on Encore; to name a few off the top of my head: Zippy, Stella's Stocking, MegaBoy. There are a number of demos that only work on Encore as well.

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Batari. I have a Harmony encore cart that is no longer working. I purchased this roughly 6 months ago. How can I exchange it or get it fixed.

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It's been a long time coming but I finally placed an order for an Encore cart this evening!  I've been saving my Paypal pennies and got the magic amount and I was excited to finally get my order placed!

 

Looking forward to getting this cart and having a blast!  Thanks Batari for continuing to keep these carts available!

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19 minutes ago, fultonbot said:

Hi, just bought an Encore.  Is it compatible with the 7800 like the original Harmony?

Works on my 7800 just fine.

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New Harmony Encore SD cartridge hardware revision is not as good when compared to the original more expensive hardware design that went out of production

 

I was comparing the old Harmony Encore SD cartridge which has the more expensive mini USB port with a spring loaded SD card slot. The reason for the new Harmony Encore SD cartridge hardware design was to maintain the same speed, and quality level while at the same time making the product cheaper in price to be more comparable in price to its competition, like the much cheaper Atari 2600 UnoCart. The Atari 2600 UnoCart sells for $40 and the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge sells for only around $15 more at $54.99 (Or $76.99 plus shipping when optional items are included with the order on the official Harmony website). The new redesigned Harmony Encore has the same specs, uses a lower cost USB chip by switching to a micro USB design. Also a new push-pull SD card slot, which most of the time means better quality then a spring loaded SD card slot (no spring to wear out in a push-pull SD card slot). The printed circuit board was re-engineered for a smaller size that is able to support chips in several different packages (lower priced chips). I was also informed that even though the price is cheaper, the speed of the chips at the very minimum are the same speed as the original Harmony Encore design, and sometimes faster chips are used when compared to the original. I was also informed that the Harmony Encore redesign is also just as reliable as the old design.     

 

However I plan on keeping my old original Harmony Encore SD cartridge since in real world conditions, the old original Harmony Encore SD cartridge outperformed the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge.

 

There are two major problems:

 

(First problem) The first issue is that the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge that I received (using the latest factory installed BIOS 1.06) has compatibly issues while using some models and brands of SDHC cards. For example, the old original Harmony Encore would work with the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC card, but the new hardware revision does not work with the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC card, but instead works with cards like the SanDisk Extreme Plus 32GB SDHC card which is out of production. However this is the first time I have seen a product that is not compatible with a SanDisk 32GB SDHC card.  

 

(Second problem) I could not find a 64 bit USB driver that works for the Harmony Encore’s new micro USB port (unless the port is defective on the cartridge I received, but the port appears to be operational, it’s just Device Manager cannot find a working 64 bit serial driver for the micro USB port). The old original Harmony Encore mini USB port worked fine with the Windows 64 bit driver running under Windows 10 Professional 64 bit edition. Windows Device Manager does not know what to do with the micro USB port, and the old 64 bit driver is not working with the new Harmony Encore SD cartridge I received. If the goal was to redesign the Harmony Encore SD cartridge to be cheaper in price, then I do not understand why the USB port was not completely removed from the product. The product should be firmware upgradable by a SD card just like the Atari 2600 UnoCart product is.

 

I am disappointed with the new redesigned Atari Harmony Encore SD cartridge since under real world conditions I cannot get some high-end name brand SDHC cards to work and I cannot get the new micro USB port to work. Most people would come to the conclusion that the original more expensive Harmony Encore SD cartridge is better quality when compared to the new redesigned version. Or perhaps a future firmware update (new BIOS) might one day make the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge more compatible with name brand SDHC cards and the USB port issue hopefully will be fixed in the future. There is always a possibility that my Harmony Encore SD cartridge is defective, but it appears to be a incompatibly issue with the new redesign and not a defective issue.  

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1 hour ago, HDTV1080P said:

New Harmony Encore SD cartridge hardware revision is not as good when compared to the original more expensive hardware design that went out of production

 

I was comparing the old Harmony Encore SD cartridge which has the more expensive mini USB port with a spring loaded SD card slot. The reason for the new Harmony Encore SD cartridge hardware design was to maintain the same speed, and quality level while at the same time making the product cheaper in price to be more comparable in price to its competition, like the much cheaper Atari 2600 UnoCart. The Atari 2600 UnoCart sells for $40 and the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge sells for only around $15 more at $54.99 (Or $76.99 plus shipping when optional items are included with the order on the official Harmony website). The new redesigned Harmony Encore has the same specs, uses a lower cost USB chip by switching to a micro USB design. Also a new push-pull SD card slot, which most of the time means better quality then a spring loaded SD card slot (no spring to wear out in a push-pull SD card slot). The printed circuit board was re-engineered for a smaller size that is able to support chips in several different packages (lower priced chips). I was also informed that even though the price is cheaper, the speed of the chips at the very minimum are the same speed as the original Harmony Encore design, and sometimes faster chips are used when compared to the original. I was also informed that the Harmony Encore redesign is also just as reliable as the old design.     

 

However I plan on keeping my old original Harmony Encore SD cartridge since in real world conditions, the old original Harmony Encore SD cartridge outperformed the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge.

 

There are two major problems:

 

(First problem) The first issue is that the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge that I received (using the latest factory installed BIOS 1.06) has compatibly issues while using some models and brands of SDHC cards. For example, the old original Harmony Encore would work with the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC card, but the new hardware revision does not work with the SanDisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC card, but instead works with cards like the SanDisk Extreme Plus 32GB SDHC card which is out of production. However this is the first time I have seen a product that is not compatible with a SanDisk 32GB SDHC card.  

 

(Second problem) I could not find a 64 bit USB driver that works for the Harmony Encore’s new micro USB port (unless the port is defective on the cartridge I received, but the port appears to be operational, it’s just Device Manager cannot find a working 64 bit serial driver for the micro USB port). The old original Harmony Encore mini USB port worked fine with the Windows 64 bit driver running under Windows 10 Professional 64 bit edition. Windows Device Manager does not know what to do with the micro USB port, and the old 64 bit driver is not working with the new Harmony Encore SD cartridge I received. If the goal was to redesign the Harmony Encore SD cartridge to be cheaper in price, then I do not understand why the USB port was not completely removed from the product. The product should be firmware upgradable by a SD card just like the Atari 2600 UnoCart product is.

 

I am disappointed with the new redesigned Atari Harmony Encore SD cartridge since under real world conditions I cannot get some high-end name brand SDHC cards to work and I cannot get the new micro USB port to work. Most people would come to the conclusion that the original more expensive Harmony Encore SD cartridge is better quality when compared to the new redesigned version. Or perhaps a future firmware update (new BIOS) might one day make the new redesigned Harmony Encore SD cartridge more compatible with name brand SDHC cards and the USB port issue hopefully will be fixed in the future. There is always a possibility that my Harmony Encore SD cartridge is defective, but it appears to be a incompatibly issue with the new redesign and not a defective issue.  

I was just sent a link from the Harmony Encore programming team, and I was able to successfully install a new Windows 64 bit driver. So issue number two has been fixed. The new Harmony Encore SD cartridge requires a new 64 bit driver since the old 64 bit driver used for the original design is not compatible.

 

Now the only issue that needs to be solved is the incompatibility with certain brands and models of SD cards that I did not experience on the old more expensive original Harmony Encore SD cartridge. Hopefully this is not a hardware issue with the new SD card slot, and hopefully a future firmware (BIOS) update will fix the issue.

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On 3/10/2021 at 11:36 PM, HDTV1080P said:

I was just sent a link from the Harmony Encore programming team, and I was able to successfully install a new Windows 64 bit driver. So issue number two has been fixed. The new Harmony Encore SD cartridge requires a new 64 bit driver since the old 64 bit driver used for the original design is not compatible.

 

Now the only issue that needs to be solved is the incompatibility with certain brands and models of SD cards that I did not experience on the old more expensive original Harmony Encore SD cartridge. Hopefully this is not a hardware issue with the new SD card slot, and hopefully a future firmware (BIOS) update will fix the issue.

I bought one of the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB UHS-I cards, and I can confirm that one Harmony cart I tried it on had an issue. A Concerto cart, that uses the same SD card slot, did not have an issue, so it has nothing to do with the new slot.

 

From research, this particular product line of SD cards seems to have problems with other consumer devices, such as a Sony digital camera. Why it didn't work with the camera is unknown, but after an analysis today, I have some evidence that this particular SD card is a power hog.

 

In testing, it works on most of the Harmony and all Concerto carts I tried, but only one Harmony cart didn't like it.

 

I am guessing that this particular card is power hungry, as it's an ultra-high-speed card. It's worth mentioning that a UHS-I card will not operate any faster on a Harmony cart, as Harmony runs all SD cards at the same (lower) speed so that even the oldest SD cards will work. Since 2600 games are generally so small, it doesn't matter that much.

 

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8 hours ago, batari said:

I bought one of the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB UHS-I cards, and I can confirm that one Harmony cart I tried it on had an issue. A Concerto cart, that uses the same SD card slot, did not have an issue, so it has nothing to do with the new slot.

 

From research, this particular product line of SD cards seems to have problems with other consumer devices, such as a Sony digital camera. Why it didn't work with the camera is unknown, but after an analysis today, I have some evidence that this particular SD card is a power hog.

 

In testing, it works on most of the Harmony and all Concerto carts I tried, but only one Harmony cart didn't like it.

 

I am guessing that this particular card is power hungry, as it's an ultra-high-speed card. It's worth mentioning that a UHS-I card will not operate any faster on a Harmony cart, as Harmony runs all SD cards at the same (lower) speed so that even the oldest SD cards will work. Since 2600 games are generally so small, it doesn't matter that much.

 

Thanks for the information. I have never had any problems using a Sandisk brand SDHC card on any SD card based cartridge before, or other consumer SD products either. There was hardware changes to the new Harmony Encore cartridge that allows the cartridge to be manufactured and sold at a cheaper price, one of the problems with the new Harmony Encore design is its not compatible with some high-end SDHC cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB model. The old more expensive Harmony Encore works fine with the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB model.

 

Hopefully a firmware update will be coming in the future to fix this issue, if not then the old Harmony Encore hardware design is better since it offers much better SD card compatibility. It’s getting harder to find 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB SDHC cards, since the selection is smaller since the industry is moving to exFAT 64GB to 1TB cards SDXC cards. There is a possibility that in 5 to 10 years SDHC cards up to 32GB in size might be going out of production. In the future only SDXC cards between 32GB to 2TB and SDUC cards between 2TB to 128TB might be the only choices. SDXC and SDUC cards are preformatted as exFAT. My point is in the ideal world a Harmony Enocore firmware update should offer exFAT support, because some SDXC and SDUC cards do not operate properly when re-formatted as FAT32. SDUC cards are only in the lab currently but should be seeing a release soon after 2TB SDXC cards are released (1TB is currently the largest available SDXC card in 2021).   

Edited by HDTV1080P

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5 minutes ago, HDTV1080P said:

Thanks for the information. I have never had any problems using a Sandisk brand SDHC card on any SD based cartridge before, or other consumer product either. There was hardware changes to the new Harmony Encore cartridge that allows the cartridge to be manufactured and sold at a cheaper price, one of those problems with the new Harmony Encore design is its not compatible with some high-end SDHC cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB model. The old more expensive Harmony Encore works fine with the Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB model.

 

Hopefully a firmware update will be coming in the future to fix this issue, if not then the old Harmony Encore hardware design is better since it offers much better SD card compatibility. It’s getting harder to find 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB SDHC cards, since the selection is smaller since the industry is moving to 64GB to 1TB cards SDXC cards. There is a possibility that in 5 to 10 years SDHC cards up to 32GB in size might be going out of production. In the future only SDXC cards between 32GB to 2TB and SDUC cards between 2TB to 128TB might be the only choices. SDXC and SDUC cards are preformatted as exFAT. My point is in the ideal world a Harmony Enocore firmware update should offer exFAT support, because some SDXC and SDUC cards do not operate properly when re-formatted as FAT32. SDUC cards are only in the lab currently but should be seeing a release soon after 2TB SDXC cards are released (1TB is currently the largest available SDXC card in 2021).   

Actually, Harmony has constantly undergone revision over the years. There have been at least 10 versions, probably more, all a little different, and with different part numbers (such as diodes, transistors, voltage regulators, USB chip, memory chips, etc.) Each one is tested and there's almost never an issue.

 

The very latest Harmony revision is from only two weeks ago. From my testing, only this latest revision of Harmony cart from this most recent batch a couple of weeks ago doesn't like this particular model of SD card. All carts I have tested from before this batch two weeks ago work with the card.

 

I put together several of these carts from this latest batch tonight and I now have two that don't like this SD card. And apparently, you have one as well.

 

The good news is that I have managed to make both of these carts work with this particular SD card by swapping out a single part on the board.

 

For the rest of the boards in this revision, I will swap out that part just to be on the safe side, to be sure there aren't other cards out there that the latest carts won't like. Also, I will get a replacement cart out to you that has this part swapped out, so you can be sure it supports all of your SD cards.

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I have been in communication with the Harmony team. I have been informed that they just developed a new version of the Harmony Encore SD cartridge that uses slightly different hardware that offers 100% compatibility with Sandisk brands of SDHC cards including the high-end Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC model that did not work with some older versions of the Harmony Encore SD cartridges. All future Harmony Encore SD cartridges will be shipped with the latest hardware design that offers 100% compatibility with high-end cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro.

 

I just placed a order for the latest Harmony Encore SD cartridge, and if the new design offers 100% compatibility with high-end SDHC cards then this issue has been fixed. Once I get the cartridge and have the opportunity to test the new design, I will post my results. Therefore, this might now be a non issue with Harmony Encore SD cartridges having some incompatibility issues with certain brands and models of SDHC cards.

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1 hour ago, HDTV1080P said:

Thanks for the information. ...

IMO you are exaggerate things a bit here.

 

Please remember that this is only a hobby and no professional business. Everybody included is doing his best, but we do not have the resources of companies. So if a homebrew hardware (or software) has some flaws, this should be reported. But IMO it should not result into general questioning a product. Unless there are really major problems of course. But even that should be handled reasonably.

 

Just my two cents.

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This is slightly off-topic, but where may I post or send a message to receive an answer about the Concerto Cart I reserved on 12-27-20? I've messaged @batari but have not hear anything. I know it takes time to put these together and I'm not in a hurry at all. I'm just curious if it's getting close or not to me to place my actual order. I really look forward to this! I already have my Encore and love it!

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8 hours ago, HDTV1080P said:

I have been in communication with the Harmony team. I have been informed that they just developed a new version of the Harmony Encore SD cartridge that uses slightly different hardware that offers 100% compatibility with Sandisk brands of SDHC cards including the high-end Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB SDHC model that did not work with some older versions of the Harmony Encore SD cartridges. All future Harmony Encore SD cartridges will be shipped with the latest hardware design that offers 100% compatibility with high-end cards like the Sandisk Extreme Pro.

 

I just placed a order for the latest Harmony Encore SD cartridge, and if the new design offers 100% compatibility with high-end SDHC cards then this issue has been fixed. Once I get the cartridge and have the opportunity to test the new design, I will post my results. Therefore, this might now be a non issue with Harmony Encore SD cartridges having some incompatibility issues with certain brands and models of SDHC cards.

Oh boy, I cannot wait for the latest batch of Super Duper Harmony Encore Wafer Drives to show up on eBay for $199.99!!!

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2 hours ago, garycimera1968 said:

This is slightly off-topic, but where may I post or send a message to receive an answer about the Concerto Cart I reserved on 12-27-20? I've messaged @batari but have not hear anything. I know it takes time to put these together and I'm not in a hurry at all. I'm just curious if it's getting close or not to me to place my actual order. I really look forward to this! I already have my Encore and love it!

Thanks for posting. I did not know the Concero Cartridge even existed. I see it is out of stock and was on sale for $89. The Concerto Cartridge has a built in Harmony Encore capability so one can play both Atari 7800 rom’s and Atari 2600 roms from one cartridge. That is a real bargain for $89 to support both the Atari 7800 and Atari 2600 roms from one cartridge.

 

Maybe some more will come in stock in the future.

https://erstwhile-technologies-7800.square.site/product/concerto-cartridge/1

Edited by HDTV1080P

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