Jump to content
Karl G

Does anyone have an Encore and a Light Sixer?

Recommended Posts

I'm trying to track down an odd issue to see if it is specific to one console/multicart combo, or if it can be replicated by anyone else.

 

Specifically, my game crashed on the Zeropage Homebrew light sixer when loaded with a Harmony Encore. Since then, it has been stable on the same system with an Unocart, and on a different system (a Jr.) with the same Encore cart. On my end, I have had no problems on hardware with an Unocart on my Jr. or on the 7800. To summarize:

 

  • Game on ZPH light sixer and Harmony Encore: unstable
  • Game on same light sixer with Unocart: stable
  • Game on Atari Jr. with same Harmony Encore: stable
  • Game on my Unocart on my Jr. and 7800: stable

 

The only thing I can think to try is to see if there is instability with the combination of an Encore and a light sizer for anyone else, or if it is an isolated issue.

 

Does anyone have this combo of hardware, and be willing to try loading my game? Thanks in advance for any help.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Works on my light sixer; however, it is hit or miss in Stella:

post-3056-0-89300600-1556030624_thumb.png

post-3056-0-91466400-1556030632_thumb.png

post-3056-0-83818300-1556030733_thumb.png

 

post-3056-0-52282300-1556033786_thumb.png

post-3056-0-61024900-1556030639_thumb.png


I have Stella's Developer mode turned on, I suspect you don't. As a developer you really need to turn it on. It'll expose issues that can cause problems on some, but not all, Atari consoles - which is exactly what we're seeing here for ZPH. A common problem is to leave off a # for an immediate mode instruction, such as using LDA $02 when you meant to use LDA #$02.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for trying it out. I have been developing with developer options enabled, actually, and I have caught a number of bugs that way. My posted version isn't my current version since I switched to my own world map because I want to avoid spoilers. I was thinking my last posted version was stable, however. It is possible that I have fixed whatever problems you have encountered in the midst of my development since then. Could I send you my current version privately, perchance? I appreciate your advice and help.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Was waiting for a compile so did some quick tests. Works fine on my light sixer.

 

Works much better in Stella, though still "crashes" on occasion:

post-3056-0-04719100-1556052495_thumb.png

 

post-3056-0-40976900-1556052501_thumb.png

 

post-3056-0-16065400-1556052507_thumb.png

 

post-3056-0-36002100-1556052513_thumb.png

 

What's interesting is I've never seen RWP in the Breakpoint Status box below the TIA ZOOM before. I suspect, but don't know for sure as I don't see it in the online help, that it's for Break on Reads from Write Ports.

 

post-3056-0-91290300-1556052718_thumb.png

 

Based on the different random images being drawn for each crash, I suspect RAM isn't getting initialized. So I typed RESET and stepped scanline by scanline thru the init process and watched as zero-page RAM was initialized (green arrow), but never saw cartridge RAM (purple arrow) get initialized.

 

post-3056-0-47339100-1556053090_thumb.png

 

So the first thing I suggest is to modify your init routine so it also zeros out cartridge RAM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's true that I don't initialize SC RAM, but I also use every byte of it for my tiled display, status bar and message bar, so it all gets written to within the first few frames before it is read from. I can certainly add that as a precaution, though.

 

I'll take a look at the option to break when reading from write ports to see if I can get that to trigger. If you happen to see any steps to reproduce a crash, please let me know. Thanks again for taking a look at it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cartridge RAM definitely appears to be used before it's initialized. Enter the debugger then type:

  • reset
  • frame
  • frame

you'll end up with garbage graphics. Type frame once more and you'll see the expected graphics.

This reminds me of a bug I had in Stay Frosty 2, caused by using a variable for the snowball that wasn't initialized before the first frame of the game screen was drawn. At the time Stella didn't have ARM support, so I recorded my display then stepped thru it frame by frame to figure out what was wrong.

 

post-3056-0-36414800-1556056401_thumb.png

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You were right - I was reading before doing my initial write. I would think that in this case the difference would just be cosmetic if the eye could catch it. I added the initialization to a known value (blank tile for map, and space character for status/text bars).

 

It looks like the debugger option to break when reading from write ports is already enabled. I haven't gotten it to trigger so far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven't gotten it to trigger so far.

 

 

It's not common.

  1. load game
  2. wait for game screen
  3. hit CONTROL-R
  4. goto 2

 

Just did that 30 times and the debugger trapped 4 times.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent. I can get it to trip by the same way. Once I added the RAM init code, I can't any longer. One bug gone, thanks to you. Thanks again. :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If I could hijack this thread to continue on with discussing the issue I have with my Harmony Encore, my RGB Modded Light Sixer and Penult as I think I've stumbled on to something today.

 

I just made a connection between a number of games that I've been having trouble running on my system that all seem to have the same issue:

 

1) Penult (EFSC* 64K)

2) Robot Zed (EF* 64K)

3) Distopia (EFSC* 64K)

4) Abyss of Chernobyl (EFSC* 64K)

5) Zippy the Porcupine (EF* 64K)  <-- EDIT: Added

 

When booting them, I'll see the normal loading screen and then see the 'e' filling up (indicating that it's using the Encore abilities of the cart). The game starts and plays for seconds/minutes, usually with visual glitches but always ends up freezing at some point. The audio will sometimes stick on a tone, the screen will always flicker, sometimes with vertical lines running down the screen and then usually go blank.

 

Here's a video demonstrating some of the behaviour of the above games:

 

Note:

1) Penult actually ran longer than usual and took a while to crash, but it did.

2) Robot Zed was constantly resetting which it shouldn't be doing, it also drew a maze wrong that I was barely able to get past. It eventually crashed though.

3) I couldn't get it to crash this time on Distopia but it normally does. This game has line count issues causing screen jump, sorry for the visuals.

4) Could get through the menu but froze just before the game started.

5) Numerous graphical glitches, game resetting and finally crashing

 

GAMES 1-4: (BE SURE TO SET TO 1080P 60FPS!!)

 

 

GAME 5: (BE SURE TO SET TO 1080P 60FPS!!)

 

 

 

- I don't have any issues with playing any games on the Harmony Encore on my RGB light sixer that don't use the Encore part of the cart.

- All of these games play perfectly with my Harmony Encore Cart in my unmodded Atari Jr. and other unmodded systems

- It doesn't seem to point specifically to the Encore or my Light Sixer specifically but ONLY the combination of the two

 

Does anyone know if the Encore part of the cart uses more power to run games than non-Encore games?

Could it be my RGB mod is sapping *just* enough power that there's not enough left for the Encore?

Does anybody know of other games/demos that use the Encore part of the Harmony Encore?

 

It's driving me crazy.

 

Edited by ZeroPage Homebrew

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just tried out Penult and Robot Zed on my Harmony Encore that is in my Light Sixer.  I do NOT have an RGB mod.  However, I do have a simple composite mod.

 

I did not experience any issues at all.  My power supply is an original 9VDC 500ma.

 

ZPH, I see you mention yours is RGB modded.  Possibly there is a power supply issue and you're not getting enough amps to power your set up?  I would start there.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, chad5200 said:

I just tried out Penult and Robot Zed on my Harmony Encore that is in my Light Sixer.  I do NOT have an RGB mod.  However, I do have a simple composite mod.

 

I did not experience any issues at all.  My power supply is an original 9VDC 500ma.

 

ZPH, I see you mention yours is RGB modded.  Possibly there is a power supply issue and you're not getting enough amps to power your set up?  I would start there.

Thanks for testing @chad5200, and I think you're right, all signs point to power supply at this moment. I think the power required for the RGB board plus the additional power needed for the Encore puts it over the top.

 

I asked the ZPH viewers today on our Twitch livestream and that's the conclusion they came to as well. It was recommended I get a 9V 800mA power supply to test with next.

 

Thanks!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, ZeroPage Homebrew said:

Thanks for testing @chad5200, and I think you're right, all signs point to power supply at this moment. I think the power required for the RGB board plus the additional power needed for the Encore puts it over the top.

 

I asked the ZPH viewers today on our Twitch livestream and that's the conclusion they came to as well. It was recommended I get a 9V 800mA power supply to test with next.

 

Thanks!

I believe the original 2600 voltage regulator is only rated for 500ma. If you think you are hitting that limit, you should replace it with a 1A rated one (if you haven't yet). A cap kit like those sold by Console5 come with a 1A regulator as well.

 

And it can't hurt to also replace the caps if you haven't yet either. Especially the main filter cap if you are suspecting power issues. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I bought a 9A 1000mA power supply today and soldered on a 2.5mm jack on it. It powers the system but sadly it doesn't behave any differently than the original power supply and is still crashing all the 64K games that use the Encore part of the cart.

 

https://leeselectronic.com/en/product/1451.html

 

@nick3092, which of the Console5 cap kits should I get for my light sixer? I'm guessing by 'Early 6-Switch' they mean heavy sixers and not light sixers?

 

Atari 2600 4-Switch / Late 6-switch / Junior :

https://console5.com/store/atari-2600-junior-refresh-cap-kit-new-capacitors-and-more.html
 

Atari 2600 Early 6-Switch Total Refresh Tune-Up & Cap Kit

https://console5.com/store/atari-2600-total-refresh-kit-new-capacitors.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Console5's web site... if you go to the "Atari 2600 (Light Sixer)" page it shows the "ATARI 2600 6-SWITCH, 4-SWITCH, AND JUNIOR TUNE UP REFRESH & CAP KITS - NEW CAPACITORS AND MORE!" kit.

 

https://console5.com/store/cap-kits.html?console_type_revision=181

 

EDIT:  oh dang... then the link there leads to both choices... hmmm....

Edited by chad5200

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/12/2019 at 6:40 PM, ZeroPage Homebrew said:

I bought a 9A 1000mA power supply today and soldered on a 2.5mm jack on it. It powers the system but sadly it doesn't behave any differently than the original power supply and is still crashing all the 64K games that use the Encore part of the cart.

 

https://leeselectronic.com/en/product/1451.html

 

@nick3092, which of the Console5 cap kits should I get for my light sixer? I'm guessing by 'Early 6-Switch' they mean heavy sixers and not light sixers?

 

Atari 2600 4-Switch / Late 6-switch / Junior :

https://console5.com/store/atari-2600-junior-refresh-cap-kit-new-capacitors-and-more.html
 

Atari 2600 Early 6-Switch Total Refresh Tune-Up & Cap Kit

https://console5.com/store/atari-2600-total-refresh-kit-new-capacitors.html

PM me and I'll get another Harmony Encore out to you to try out, so we can at least see if yours has a hardware fault.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...