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Albert

Does anyone make new Atari 8-bit cartridge shells?

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Does anyone make new Atari 8-bit cartridge shells? If so, do they work with standard Atari 8-bit PCBs? If not, is there any interest in having cartridge shells made? I'm currently working on having 2600/7800 shells made, and after that project bears fruit, I'm considering having 8-bit shells made.

 

Thanks,

 

..Al

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Hello Albert

 

I talked about it with somebody, but that other person doesn't respond anymore. But I'd be making them, because nobody else is.

 

Will your carts look like Atari carts, like AtariMax carts or like the thin ones often used for games and flash carts? (I'd prefer it, if they would look like they came from Atari. "Pass through" would be an option, but I'm not sure if that's economically feasible)

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

 

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Well,

 

this has been asked here before, but afaik there are only some cart-shells available in eastern europe. BUT the standard 800 and XL Atari cartridge pcb`s (the old 8k and 16k cart pcb`s) do not fit in there (its not the size of the pcb, but the screw is at a wrong place, it sits too high so when using the standard Atari pcb, it would not have contact with the cart-slot). See this topic: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/218233-buil-a-cartridge-time-costs/page-2?hl=cartridges&do=findComment&comment=2972143

 

Besides, I tried to order cart-shells from SOS electronics, but they had only 5 cart-shells available and I wanted 50 or 100 of them...

 

I would like to have cart-shells like the XE ones made in Taiwan, but with some modifications. The thing is, the standard 800 and XL Atari cart pcb`s do fit in these Taiwan cart shells, but alas these cart shells do not have a screw., they have "noses" instead. One should modify them in such a way, that the pcb is held in place with the noses, but the cart-shell itself is closed with a screw on the backside (normally the Atari fuji logo is there, but you cannot use this logo when you produce your own cart-shells anyway)... And the XE cart-shells from Hong Kong use a totally different pcb...

 

Here is a "Taiwan" cart shell:

post-3782-0-60723800-1405373817_thumb.jpg

Edited by CharlieChaplin

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I would make a shell that is similar to the XE carts, but without the notches on the sides, and with an inset AtariAge logo on the back, as opposed to an Atari logo. And I'd probably make them in black. I'd likely use the same size label, as I already have labels that use that same size, and it covers a good portion of the front of the cart (unlike some third-party carts I've seen that use a relatively small label). I would be using a screw, probably under the label as opposed to the back, and I would ensure that it works with Atari-shaped boards (since the boards I'm using also use that pattern).

 

..Al

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Oh, I would not add a pass-through to a cart. Not sure how much of a need there is for such a thing.

 

..Al

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Oh, I would not add a pass-through to a cart. Not sure how much of a need there is for such a thing.

 

..Al

 

Afaik,

just one program really requires a pass-thru cart: SDX. And since SDX can nowadays be found in almost every hardware extension (at least the ones from Poland, like SIDE, SIDE-2, U1MB, IDE+, etc.), I see no need having SDX on a cart... but thats just my opinion.

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Hello Albert

 

Why not make a shell like the one on the left?

 

msg-8917-0-34290900-1397857061.jpg

 

No notches! Nice and smooth!

 

Black is so... aftermarket. Grey looks much nicer, more Atari like! :D

 

You could use an insert that you could take out. Either in the mould or in the shell itself.

 

There's no market yet, because there are no pass through shells.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

 

 

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Hello Charlie

 

Afaik, just one program really requires a pass-thru cart: SDX.

 

Nothing really requires a pass through cartridge. But it's nice to be able to use them. No pass through shells means no pass through carts.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Black is so... aftermarket. Grey looks much nicer, more Atari like! :D

I do agree about the color, and I'm not sold on black. XE/ST gray would work fine as well, I think. I'm not sure about the lip on the XE cart on the left, though, as it makes it impossible to stack the carts (either horizontally or vertically). I'd probably not do that.

 

There's no market yet, because there are no pass through shells.

Getting carts made (at least the traditional way via injection molding) is very expensive. While I could justify getting regular 8-bit shells made, it would be much tougher to do so for pass-through shells.

 

..Al

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Afaik,

just one program really requires a pass-thru cart: SDX. And since SDX can nowadays be found in almost every hardware extension (at least the ones from Poland, like SIDE, SIDE-2, U1MB, IDE+, etc.), I see no need having SDX on a cart... but thats just my opinion.

 

I may be wrong, but I have yet to find a working solution of SDX and Action! (or any of the OSS carts). My current solution is to switch off SDX on my IDE+ and boot off of SD3.2 when I want to use Action!.

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Hello Albert

 

I've heard that the lip is there to prevent the cart from "hanging" on the XE's cartridge port. But the other types of cartridges Atari used (see picture above) don't have the lip, so you could just as well leave it off. If you want to prevent the cart from hanging, maybe you could increase the thickness of the cart, eliminating the need for the lip (and thereby simplifying the design, which makes it easier to make the shells). As a side effect, you'd increase the room inside the cart.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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. I'm not sure about the lip on the XE cart on the left, though, as it makes it impossible to stack the carts (either horizontally or vertically). I'd probably not do that.

 

 

I hate that stupid lip. Why did they ever do that? Just to grip it easier? I see no valid reason for it to exist.

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I hate that stupid lip. Why did they ever do that? Just to grip it easier? I see no valid reason for it to exist.

My guess is the same as Mathy's, that it was done to keep the cart level when inserted into an XE system (where the cartridge port is in the back). This really isn't a big issue, though, unless you have a stack of carts hanging out the back. Like an SDX cart, R-Time 8 Cart, and another plugged into that--and, yes, back in the day, I had a stack of three carts hanging out the back of a 130XE for a BBS I was running.

 

..Al

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Isn't there some shape that would be "universal' to all machines? There so many that do not fit well, or at all, in a 1200, some are to high for a 400/800, Some do not go deep enough for a XEGS.

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Isn't there some shape that would be "universal' to all machines? There so many that do not fit well, or at all, in a 1200, some are to high for a 400/800, Some do not go deep enough for a XEGS.

That's an interesting issue and a good question. I'd obviously want any new shell to fit in as many machines as possible. It would be helpful to know if there are any designs (Atari or third-party) that work well in all these machines.

 

..Al

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Hello guys

 

As you can see, all three types of cart shells Atari used, have practically the same dimensions. Differences are less then a millimeter, I guess.

 

msg-8917-0-31814800-1397857064.jpg

 

msg-8917-0-47450800-1397857065.jpg

 

msg-8917-0-70108800-1397857068.jpg

 

That's not counting the lip.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Hello guys

 

The (elusive) Atarimax shells have fit perfectly in every machine I've tried them in (i.e. all the 8-bits).

 

But we'd need to ask Steve if we can use his design first. And if you're gonna do that, why not ask if you can buy some of his shells? Steve's carts might fit, but they don't say "Atari" like the lipped-cart (even if we leave the lip off).

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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But we'd need to ask Steve if we can use his design first. And if you're gonna do that, why not ask if you can buy some of his shells? Steve's carts might fit, but they don't say "Atari" like the lipped-cart (even if we leave the lip off).

I've spoken to Steve before about buying shells. His shells don't fit standard Atari boards, and the price was a bit high for what I wanted to pay. I would design a new shell from scratch, but I'd investigate which shells fit all the Atari systems with the least issues, and use the measurements that work the best. Prototypes would be made to ensure proper fitment of shells in systems, as well as boards within the shells. This is what I'm doing with the 2600/7800 shells at the moment.

 

..Al

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The (elusive) Atarimax shells have fit perfectly in every machine I've tried them in (i.e. all the 8-bits).

 

There are several people making carts other then AtariMax, perhaps they can help. Also I think Best has a lot of Brown empty carts. He might be willing to do a bulk discount, but you would have ask him very nicely. B&C perhaps?

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Hello Albert

 

Why go top all the hassle? The lipped-shell is fine. It probably fits in all the Atari's this forum is dedicated to, looks nice, is easy to make (no ribs, rounded edges), Atari boards will fit (since the shell design is "made by Atari" too), it's easy on the eyes, ... do I have to go on. :D

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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It may be a feature-creep or two, too far, but it may benefit to extend the length just a bit longer, if the proportions don't look too out of sort. Maybe long enough to stick another IC width-wise on a board, within the case. Or enough space to stick that piggy-back connector, even if there isn't provision made for an opening. Of course, if the cart is made in three parts,. with an end panel that can be popped off, if desired....

 

Super-crazy suggestions:

 

 

And if you're going to do that, perhaps widen it out past the area where the cartridge port makes its' connection with the machine. Keep it short enough where it will fit into an 400/800 and also constrain the width where it will fit in those sockets. That would give a maximum size criteria to work with. Of course, it starts to not look like the classic simple box shape of ancient computer lore. ;)

Edited by AtariNerd

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Hello KLund1

 

I'm not sure what number Albert is thinking about, but I can not imagine Best of B&C having anywhere near as many as you'd have made if you had a special production run. The die is way more expansive then the plastic.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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Hello AtariNerd

 

"Longer" probably means it will not fit inside the 400/800

"Wider" probably means it will not fit inside the 1200XL

Making it "standard width" where it would be inside the computer and wider where it sticks out, makes the more complicated to make the die. "More complicated" means "more money".

 

What might be an option, would be to redesign the lipped-shell such, that both halves for the shell are the same. In that case, you'd only need to grab any two shell halves and screw them together to have a complete shell. (This of course does not increase the space inside the shell)

 

I too had the idea of making the cart in such a way, that you could take out a small panel at the top. This panel should be very simple ("simple" means "easier to produce" means "less cost"). Take two shell halves, leave out the top panel, and you can use the shell for a pass through cart. Take one shell half, put the top panel in, place the second shell half on top of the first two parts and you have a normal cart. The removable top panel would also be nice for when you want to install a switch or something in the top. You could assemble the cart without the top panel, measure where you'd need to drill the hole for the switch(es), LED(s), connector(s), drill the hole(s), take the shells apart, insert the drilled top panel and reassemble the cart. And if your drill slips or you made an error while measuring, you only have to replace the panel.

 

Sincerely

 

Mathy

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It's unlikely I would do anything too creative with the shells, such as having a removable top piece. Depending on what you do with the design, you can make the molds considerably more expensive than they really need to be. I have all the 8-bit systems handy, so I can test and tweak the design as need be to make sure a new shell works in all of them. I doubt the shell will have more room than Atari's shells. Not sure what color I'd use, although I do like the idea of using gray shells for the 8-bit.

 

..Al

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