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electrotrains

In development - SD card based Multicart

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I've now more or less finished the boot ROM, firmware and VHDL for the multicart. You can now page through the files and change into and back out of directories on the SD card. You can also disable the cartridge and reboot, which means it can be left plugged in all the time to reduce wear and tear.

 

The cartridge supports these cartridge formats:

  • Standard 8K
  • Standard 16K
  • Atarimax 1mbit
  • Atarimax 8mbit
  • XEGS 32-1024k
  • Switchable XEGS 32-1024k
  • Megacart 16-1024k
  • Bounty Bob
  • Williams 64k
  • OSS 16K (034M, 043M, type B)
  • OSS 8K
  • SIC (all sizes)
  • SDX 64K, 128K
  • Diamond 64K
  • Express 64K

Any there any other formats people would desperately want to see supported? The few ones I didn't bother with seemed rather obscure/useless.

 

I think there's enough space in the firmware to support XEX, COM & ATR files in the future, but that might be a job I leave to others... Its easy enough for now to use the atarimax software to turn an XEX into a CAR file then just use that. The!Cart Studio could probably also be used to do the same thing..

 

The next step is to design a final PCB that will fit inside a cartridge shell (with some modifications!). The availability date of the production version of the FPGA I'm using is october, so I'll probably produce the first few using the slightly more expensive ES (Engineering sample) variant of the chip that I've been using up to now.

 

Robin

Edited by electrotrains
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The cartridge supports these cartridge formats:

  • Standard 8K
  • Standard 16K
  • Atarimax 1mbit
  • Atarimax 8mbit
  • XEGS 32-1024k
  • Switchable XEGS 32-1024k
  • Megacart 16-1024k
  • Bounty Bob
  • Williams 64k
  • OSS 16K (034M, 043M, type B)
  • OSS 8K
  • SIC (all sizes)
  • SDX 64K, 128K
  • Diamond 64K
  • Express 64K

Any there any other formats people would desperately want to see supported? The few ones I didn't bother with seemed rather obscure/useless.

 

I wouldn't call it "desperately", but I know there are various cartridges that use the Blizzard 16K format, such as these turbo cassette loaders.

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Thanks MrFish. Having some examples to test helps a lot - I've done a lot of hunting for examples of some of the more obscure cartridge types over the last few days!

 

Looks like a very easy type of cart, so will get it added this weekend.

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Any there any other formats people would desperately want to see supported? The few ones I didn't bother with seemed rather obscure/useless.

 

Robin

Thank you again for supporting "Bounty Bob Strikes Back".

The only other one that I would like to see that is not supported anywhere is MicroCalc.

MicroCalc (Altirra Emulator Only).bin

It is pretty obscure.

 

Thank You,

Doug

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Strange problem - can anybody help?

 

I was testing a few atarimax 8mbit images and found a game that didn't work - Spelunker on the Maxflash Cartridge Studio Demonstration workbook. I think this is a disk based game that has been converted to cartridge using the diskpacker option in the software.

 

On my PAL 130XE (upgraded 65XE) it hangs the first time I select the game from the cartridge menu. Curiously if I turn the machine on and off again, it works when I reselect it. However if I leave the machine powered off for more than a few seconds it doesn't work again.

 

It works fine every time on my 65XE (and an 800XL I got from ebay for testing a couple of days ago).

 

Theres a few other games on this demo cartridge that seem to behave the same way - i.e. not working first time on 130XE, power cycle machine, working second time.

 

I'm guessing this might be something to do with Port B, but not sure.

 

Does anybody else have a PAL 130XE and a Atarimax 8-mbit cartridge they could test this on? Its on the demo workbook that comes with the software.

 

Robin

Edited by electrotrains

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My PAL 130XE seems fine but I see the same issue on my NTSC 1200XL. After a long power off, if I select Spelunker then I get a black screen. Then, if I quickly switch the power off and on it loads ok!

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Playsoft - interesting! That's exactly what I see on my 130XE. Thank you for testing it. Before your post I was slowly coming to the conclusion that there might be a fault in my 130XE (perhaps with my DIY memory upgrade), but looks like its probably fine.

 

Perhaps the atarimax software makes some kind of unsafe assumption about the power on state of the machine that is not consistent across different models? Almost certainly not a problem with my SD cart prototype anyway - so that's a relief.

 

If anybody else is an a position to test, I'd be grateful for a few more reports. I wonder if there is anything I can do in my firmware to fix this problem?

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a quick scout of ebay brings an alternative to CF cards using the existing multicarts:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/High-Speed-SDXC-SDHC-SD-MMC-to-Compact-Flash-CF-Type-I-Card-Reader-Adapter-FT-/321697124225?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item4ae6a48f81

obviously, the "flashing" side of things is not possible, but this is definitely a cheaper short-term option than using the diminishing stocks of CF cards?

Edited by brenski

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I've found those SD adapters not to work with SIDE/SIDE2 and Incognito, mind you. IDE Plus 2.0 seemed OK with them. Someone speculated that the SD adapter doesn't handle ATA 8-bit PIO mode properly.

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pity. as some of the newer ones have dual microSD slots - which would allow for some extra flexibility

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Existing CF multi-carts don't really compare to this project anyway. This is more about getting something on par with "The Cart", which currently only has internal flash storage.

Edited by MrFish

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Brenski,

 

As far as I know, the CF-based cartridges (MyIDE II/SIDE) are more like SIO2D than multicarts. I.e. they let you load files quickly. (but may be wrong - I don't own either of these devices).

 

The project I am working on emulates pretty much all cartridge-based software for the atari - once you select the ROM or CAR file from the SD card its as if the original cartridge was plugged in. So, aside from the time it takes to initially copy the file from SD->SRAM and reboot the atari, its pretty much instant (like a real cartridge).

e.g. space raiders (8k) when selected from the menu loads in a fraction of a second. Bigger cartridges (e.g. an atari max 8mbit one) like Space Harrier take longer (3secs) to initially copy to the SRAM on the board, but it is then instant access like a real bank-switched cartridge.

 

Robin

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As far as I know, the CF-based cartridges (MyIDE II/SIDE) are more like SIO2D than multicarts. I.e. they let you load files quickly. (but may be wrong - I don't own either of these devices).

 

MyIDE I/II has some cartridge support, but it's very limited. I don't think SIDE I/II has any cart support up to this point. As you say, they are all mostly binary file and ATR loaders.

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Perhaps a dumb comment from my side. ... but why not merging forces and work together with people from The!Cart. They clearly do understand compatibility and versatility.

 

Now you have to invent the wheel again.

 

I'd say: any new project needs same compatibility and more to be interesting.

 

A The!cart with SD slot and a decent cart shell, that would be awesome .

 

Good luck with this great project. I hope you can work together with the!cart folks.

 

Oh I now see I was responding to an old post in this thread.

Edited by ProWizard
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ProWizard,

 

I think I've now added support for all the cartridge types supported by The!Cart, plus a few more (i.e. bounty bob, all the OSS varieties). So it should be at least as compatible than any existing solution.

 

However, I'm not sure how much sharing there could usefully be between the two projects - apart from the bank switching logic (which is a small part of the code) the approaches are pretty different...

 

The!Cart has a massive flash ROM, and therefore needs PC/Atari software to manage/flash a large number of ROMS onto the space. Once there the actual cartridge only needs a relatively simple CPLD to provide access for the atari.

 

My SD Cart has a small SRAM, and copies files from the SD card to RAM. This requires a (soft) microprocessor on the cartridge that can do FAT32 and copy the file. But there's no need for the PC or atari software to manage/flash an EEPROM, since there isn't one. You can just use the file manager on your mac/pc/phone to organise files on the SD card.

 

What would be good however is if we could join forces as far as handling XEX, ATRs etc goes....

 

Robin

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Hi,

I see you have support for the Williams 64k Roms.

The!Cart also supports the Williams 64k's, but no support of Williams 32k Roms.

Will there be any support for Williams 32k Roms?

 

Here are some Roms to test if you want to add it.

Williams 32k Roms.zip

 

Thank you,

Doug

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Hi,

I see you have support for the Williams 64k Roms.

The!Cart also supports the Williams 64k's, but no support of Williams 32k Roms.

Will there be any support for Williams 32k Roms?

 

Here are some Roms to test if you want to add it.

Williams 32k Roms.zip

 

Thank you,

Doug

If you put the data of a 32k Williams cart twice in a 64k file it's working on the!cart!

  • Like 1

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Hi,

I see you have support for the Williams 64k Roms.

The!Cart also supports the Williams 64k's, but no support of Williams 32k Roms.

Will there be any support for Williams 32k Roms?

 

Here are some Roms to test if you want to add it.

Williams 32k Roms.zip

 

Thank you,

Doug

If you put the data of a 32k Williams cart twice in a 64k file it's working on the!cart!

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Hi,

I see you have support for the Williams 64k Roms.

The!Cart also supports the Williams 64k's, but no support of Williams 32k Roms.

Will there be any support for Williams 32k Roms?

 

Here are some Roms to test if you want to add it.

Williams 32k Roms.zip

 

Thank you,

Doug

If you put the data of a 32k Williams cart twice in a 64k file it's working on the!cart!

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