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christo930

Harmony Encore 2600 Model Compatibility

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Is the Harmony Encore 100% compatible with a 2600 Junior?  How about the 7800?  If not, which 2600 models are 100% compatible?

I tried using the Encore in a Junior and some of the ROMs wouldn't work.  Space Rocks, The End and Frantic (great game) all worked on the 7800, but would not work on the Junior.  Also, I noticed on the 7800, a kind of hourglass came up after selecting the rom, but on the Jr, that hourglass never came up on any of the ROMs, even ones that worked.  The Jr was able to play other DPC+ games. But there were a couple of games that wouldn't run on the 7800, Star Castle Arcade and one other one that I tried whose name I forget.  I have few other 2600 models, but I don't feel like dragging them out unless I know that it will be specifically 100% compatible.

Edited by christo930

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As far as I am aware, is 100% compatible with all variations of Atari 2600s and 7800s that I am aware of, including Jrs. I do test every cart on a Jr before it goes out.

 

Once in a while, though, someone has a console that is slightly out of spec, or something is slightly broken inside but not bad enough that it mostly works. if you are not seeing a spinner at all, that might be a clue. The hourglass (spinning Yin-yang) comes up when it takes more than a certain number of frames to load a game, and loading a DPC+ game should always bring up a spinner due to the load time.

 

How it works is during the spinner phase, the 2600 waits for the Harmony to finish loading the game, but yours may not be waiting for this signal from Harmony, and the only way that can happen is if there is some sort of strangeness going on in the console.

 

As for Star Castle Arcade, that may be a separate issue. I think there are multiple versions of the game out there, one for emulators and another (with .cu extension) for Harmony. I'd make sure you are running the correct one.

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2 hours ago, batari said:

As far as I am aware, is 100% compatible with all variations of Atari 2600s and 7800s that I am aware of, including Jrs. I do test every cart on a Jr before it goes out.

 

Once in a while, though, someone has a console that is slightly out of spec, or something is slightly broken inside but not bad enough that it mostly works. if you are not seeing a spinner at all, that might be a clue. The hourglass (spinning Yin-yang) comes up when it takes more than a certain number of frames to load a game, and loading a DPC+ game should always bring up a spinner due to the load time.

 

How it works is during the spinner phase, the 2600 waits for the Harmony to finish loading the game, but yours may not be waiting for this signal from Harmony, and the only way that can happen is if there is some sort of strangeness going on in the console.

 

As for Star Castle Arcade, that may be a separate issue. I think there are multiple versions of the game out there, one for emulators and another (with .cu extension) for Harmony. I'd make sure you are running the correct one.

I just got it and it was the first time ever using it.   The Junior was able to play some of the games. I think it was only the DPC+ games that wouldn't work.  I never had any problem with the Junior before.  I'll try them again later.  I think I was using the bin file of Star Castle Arcade.  I'll try it again with the .cu one.

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I did some re-testing and I am having the same problem.  But I am not sure I am buying the explanation that my Jr is good enough to run every other cartridge I've ever put in it (including a cuttle cart) but not this one.  The only thing in that sense that makes even a little bit of sense is a power problem. In that maybe the power supply is weak and craps out when trying to power all the circuitry.  I ran Juno first, which is 32k and that worked and when I tried the Star Castle CU ROM, that also worked.  Scramble  Mappy worked and they both use the DPC+ chip and Mappy is 32k. Again the cart didn't do the hourglass ying/yang thing on any of the cartridges.  So far I have only tried on these 2 systems but tomorrow I am going to try a Tele-games heavy sixer, which is what I planned on using in the first place. I just think it's neat to play the newest game on the oldest Atari. yeah, I'm weird like that.

If it would help, I could open the Jr and post what revision the board is.

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What I suspected before is still my best guess. If your console has a strong pull-down effect on one of the lines on the data bus, you may not have issues on many other carts because they are able to overpower it.

 

What Harmony does is run a short wait routine from the console's RAM (the spinner) that displays the spinner if the loading is going to take more than a moment. A 32k game should take long enough that you will see the spinner every time.

 

Once per frame, the RAM wait routine running on the console checks a location in ROM space. Since there should be no devices driving the bus at this location, the data bus on a normally-functioning console should be floating, but Harmony has a pull-up resistor on a data bus line, so the bit here should always be read as 1. Harmony signals the console that it is "done" loading by driving this bit to 0, which ends the wait routine.

 

What I think might be happening, though, is the console itself is driving the bit to 0. This should not happen on a normally-functioning console, unless something is out of spec on the console that is interfering with the data bus. It may not be bad enough to be noticed with most carts.

 

Now, if the wait routine ends early, it sounds like the console should always crash, but oddly enough that is not the case. in some cases the 2600 can run invalid code for an incredibly long amount of time, then when the ROM is loaded and valid code kicks in, it is not unlikely that it will encounter a BRK instruction which in most cases (but not all) will actually boot the game.

 

A pic of the board probably won't matter as honestly this is the first I have heard of an issue just like this one, so I wouldn't really have anything to compare it to. If you wanted to, you could send your Jr to me and I could take a look at it.

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On 5/27/2020 at 2:37 PM, Lauren Tyler said:

What is the difference between the regular cart and Encore?

I have this question also.

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3 minutes ago, edburns said:

I have this question also.

answer at 

 

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