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Pal Atari 400

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I'm just about to take delivery of an Atari 400 computer. I live in a Pal country (UK) but want to know if American cartridges work with this system like NTSC carts work on Pal 2600's (yes I know about the colour differences). It seems there are a lot of carts Stateside but I don't want to buy them if they are incompatible. Advice please.......

Edited by sidney

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i have a few carts sourced from across the pond and they all work fine :)

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Some variants of Bounty Bob Strikes Back have "region encoding" and only work on PAL or NTSC depending on source but I think it's only the tape version?

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PAL Ataris obviously have different screen timing than NTSC machines and there is some software that will work with PAL machines as it takes advantage of the extra time available but when using NTSC software on PAL machines you’ll only have to put up with different (maybe a bit duller) colors and slower speed, unless the programmer checked for PAL machines and provided a speed adjustment. Games using hi-res artifacting for colors will look quite different as well. 

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On 8/27/2019 at 1:20 AM, Rybags said:

Some variants of Bounty Bob Strikes Back have "region encoding" and only work on PAL or NTSC depending on source but I think it's only the tape version?

THe cart version works on PAL and NTSC for sure 

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On 8/26/2019 at 8:19 PM, sidney said:

I'm just about to take delivery of an Atari 400 computer. I live in a Pal country (UK) but want to know if American cartridges work with this system like NTSC carts work on Pal 2600's (yes I know about the colour differences). It seems there are a lot of carts Stateside but I don't want to buy them if they are incompatible. Advice please.......

Consider a RAM upgrade and then using an SIO solution such as SDrive, you will then be able to play a whoule bunch of games 

 

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Thanks for the tips guys....much appreciated, you are a helpful bunch!

My Atari 400 arrived today and I've got Pole Position for it and I've really been enjoying it, I've got Pacman to come!

I have a couple more questions---

1) Is it OK to use Atari 7800 joyads/

Sega Master System and Sega Genesis/Megadrive pads with it?

2) How easy is it to upgrade the memory? 

3) What 400 compatible games would you recommend?

4) How good is it with cassette software?

5) Am I right in thinking that the 400 has a 16k memory?

 

Many Thanks!

 

 

 

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1. Yes you can use 7800 controllers. Yes you can use Sega genesis controllers on A8. Not recommended to push the start button on Sega controllers because that puts +5v dc down the wrong line. Amigas are very sensitive to this, A8 not so much but not recommended.

2. Not too difficult. You'll need to do some basic soldering. See my video here

That's a great RAM upgrade being made today by tf_hh on the forums here.  Link is in that video description.

3. Mostly cart games will run in 16k. Disk drive loading games, I think no. I recently tried and failed with the 400 here. A cartridge emulating multi-cart is my recommendation for 16k machines.

4. Meh. Slow loading but that can work.

5. Correct. A small number of very early 400's likely had 8k from factory.

 

Edited by Sugarland
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Thanks Sugarland, very useful information, much appreciated.

Quality video also--Naturally I subscribed!!

Edited by sidney
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If you had a basic cart you could check to see if its already an upgraded machine, there are a few upgrades out there but AFAIK they all require soldering...If that is not your thing then I'd recommend Flashjazzcat on these forums who does things like that to a professional level.

 

Try to get a disk drive if you can, tapes will work (if they have survived) but its SLOW as Sugarland said. There's always SD Card drives that emulate a drive very well, not too pricey and if you get an SDmax it also emulates the tape drive and is a pretty sweet bit of kit. Then you can get all the game images on the various sites, xfer them to the SD card, pop it in to the SDmax and its all good. (nice price as well) but it depends if you are into having the official hardware so be all retro or you don't mind a bit of nice kit that does the job of two devices (well 9 if you count it emulates 8 disk drives at once)

 

The difference in cost for a tape compared to a disk drive isn't massive..

 

If you expand I'd say at least 64K which will open you up to most games (99.9%)

 

 

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If you go for the - very good, easy to install and professionally made - RAM card by tf_hh, consider getting his SCCC card as well which will give you S-video and composite output. 

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Small adjustment re an upgrade, I wasn't aware until having a look around that although there are some 64K upgrades for the 400 but the maximum actual usable as per normal ram is 48K. The reason I suggested 64K was that some games have been crunched / compacted and many won't run unless there's 64K available BUT its not the end of the world as there's thousands of disk images etc that are untouched and will work very happily on 48K including versions of the games that were crunched after.

 

Been a while since I installed ram upgrades in 400's...

Edited by Mclaneinc

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I’ve got a PAL 400 with both tf_hh’s SCCC and RAM upgrade and it’s a great machine. 

 

The RF modulator started to fail on mine with drifting tuning so I sent it to FJC for a composite mod. I wasn’t happy with the result so I sent it back and Jon removed the mod and installed the SCCC for me. The output is amazing even over composite and looks better than my 800XL via the built in monitor output. 

 

However I was getting random crashes, failed loads over SIO2SD and ‘birdies’. I discussed this at length with Jon and reflowed tons of points on the board for the CPU, RAM, SIO sockets but it didn’t fix it. 

 

I took a gamble and installed tf_hh’s RAM upgrade in place of the other 3rd party 48K upgrade I had installed and all the problems went away. 

 

So that’s a rather long winded way to say tf_hh’s upgrades for the 400 are highly recommended :)

Edited by Tea Party
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Everyone on here has been very helpful so- a big thank you to you all.

I have another query!!----

 

My machine is definitely 16k (did the test!) but I have the soldering skills of a Platypus so I'm loathe to tinker myself.

I have seen a very interesting cartridge on ebay that the seller says works with a 400 and if I can play Pacman, Donkey Kong etc and any other 400 game that I played in my youth then I won't be at all disappointed!

The cart in question is called The Ultimate Cartridge. Is this OK for the 400? and if so is it worth buying? and will I be able to play the above and Bruce Lee??

Edited by sidney

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