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Cuttle Cart 2 Discussion Thread

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Mr. Schell has stopped taking pre-orders for the CC2, and even though he did not completely rule out a second run, if demand was high enough, I think its probably too late to get one of the first batch.

 

Wish I had better news for you -- I found out about the project late and got my payment to Mr. Schell on the very last day.  But you never know -- it's such an ingenious device, enough people might clamor for a second run to make that a possibility.

 

I predict that once people start getting their hands on the CC2 and start posting their impressions, that demand for a second run will increase. It'll probably be some time before it happens (if ever), but I would not lose hope just yet. :)

 

..Al

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Are you kidding me!!! Are you kidding me!!!! damn day late and a dollar short again!!!!!!!

 

 

Sigh.

 

guess I should have read the whole post. It's my fault for not staying abreast (I said breast. hee hee) of current atari issues. oh well I'll stay on the cc2 second run bandwaggon.

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Okay, time to revive the original thread.

 

I got mine (#101) working with a few minor setbacks here and there, and the only thing I needed to compile to get it up and running was cc2menugen. I even had a Pokey chip ready (from the hacked up 800XL I got a week ago for five bucks).

 

Actually, before all that I had to burn a new boot ROM and stick it in a 7800, because the one that was most handy had an empty socket, and the only ROM around was my cart dumper ROM configured for dump-only.

 

Anyhow, it works as advertised. I hadn't realized it was going to support the High Score stuff. Maybe I just missed that when reading the original docs. At some point I'm going to have to set up a serial loader so I can develop some code. (I have a Z-80 and a 6809 ICE, but until now still lacked a good solution for the 2600/7800.)

 

All of you who missed out, get in line. This is good enough that I would really be surprised if he couldn't get enough interested people for a second run. I'd even offer to buy a second one as a spare to help support a new production run.

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I got mine (#101) working with a few minor setbacks here and there, and the only thing I needed to compile to get it up and running was cc2menugen.  I even had a Pokey chip ready (from the hacked up 800XL I got a week ago for five bucks).

 

#101? I guess you're referring to the number on the inside of the case. The people who did the case mods did that because I told them that they had to keep them in matched pairs due to their being so many slightly different molds.

 

My initial thought when I read this was where did he get a number? I sure didn't number them. :)

 

Anyhow, it works as advertised.  I hadn't realized it was going to support the High Score stuff.  Maybe I just missed that when reading the original docs.  

 

I'm not sure it made it into the manual. But I do believe that it was on the website list of features. I did add the "Don't use with a High Score Cart" warning to the front of the manual on the CD. I don't think I updated the one on the web though.

 

All of you who missed out, get in line.  This is good enough that I would really be surprised if he couldn't get enough interested people for a second run.  I'd even offer to buy a second one as a spare to help support a new production run.

 

Thanks for the vote of confidence. I'm still interested to see the overall response to the product and how difficult people find the processing of getting everything set up.

 

I had more orders in this batch than for any other single run of my previous products. (Which is why I'll still be shipping stuff next week.) I'm not sure how big the market will be given the total number of carts that have already been produced.

 

I must say that I was pretty suprised at the number of orders given the price point and the fact that the 7800 is not exactly the most prominent/popular of the Atari consoles.

 

Chad

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#101?  I guess you're referring to the number on the inside of the case. The people who did the case mods did that because I told them that they had to keep them in matched pairs due to their being so many slightly different molds.

I was wondering why it was only on the inside of the cart and not on the circuit board.

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...due to their being...

 

Hmm, what's wrong with the sentence above? Didn't notice until I saw it quoted. And to think once upon a time I was an honors English student.

 

Sigh.

 

Chad

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I had more orders in this batch than for any other single run of my previous products.  (Which is why I'll still be shipping stuff next week.)  I'm not sure how big the market will be given the total number of carts that have already been produced.

I used to do the shareware thing back in the days when hardly anyone (including me) had internet. I'll agree that the shipping stuff out thing can get real tiring real fast. Especially after a few years.

 

Anyhow, you should probably wait at least 6-12 months minimum to get enough people jealous before you even start to take requests for another run.

 

I must say that I was pretty suprised at the number of orders given the price point and the fact that the 7800 is not exactly the most prominent/popular of the Atari consoles.

Chad

Yeah, but it basically does EVERYTHING for the 7800 and 2600. It's the ultimate RAMcart. And it takes a 64 meg memory card on a machine made back in the days when even a 5 meg hard drive on a microcomputer was really rare. It's the MMC card that really sets it apart.

 

If I were to search hard to find a single fault with it, it would be that the bankswitch files are (apparently) raw FPGA programming data, and it's rocket science to make new ones, but that's the way it had to be. And it doesn't have an Ethernet port. :-)

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I own an intellicart and have a Cuttle Cart 2 on order (I paid with PayPal so I guess I'm at the bottom of the shipping list). My question for Chad is: Is there any chance that you'll make an Intellicart 2 which will use an MMC card (like the CC2) instead of the serial port loader that the intellicart uses. I'd cast a vote to see that before a second run of CC2s.

 

Bill

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Just now got my new CC2 up and running! WOW!!! This really is the ultimate Atari product. It's like the entire 7800/2600 game library, a Supercharger, and a High Score Cart all wrapped up into one amazingly compact package. It comes with with extra nice touches like a serial connection and the POKEY chip socket. For me, the ability to play all the rare games and prototypes on real Atari hardware makes the thing well worth the price!

 

As for setup... it was pretty easy! I've only just started and I was able to get a large number of games going using just the Quick Start instructions.

 

Looking forward to years of playing with this amazing device. Thanks so much, Chad!

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Is there any chance that you'll make an Intellicart 2 which will use an MMC card (like the CC2) instead of the serial port loader that the intellicart uses.  I'd cast a vote to see that before a second run of CC2s.  

 

Bill

 

 

Hush your evil mouth!!!!! :_(

I still gotta get a CC2. Lord knows I'm still looking for your damn pizza pan Chad.

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Is there any chance that you'll make an Intellicart 2 which will use an MMC card (like the CC2) instead of the serial port loader that the intellicart uses.  I'd cast a vote to see that before a second run of CC2s.

 

I won't say there is no chance that I will make that, but I'm not currently working on anything along those lines. (Actually, I'm not currently working on any new designs.) Creating something like that would require a whole new design cycle. Creating more CC2s only takes cash flow and manual labor.

 

So the two are not really replacements for one another.

 

Chad

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I've put some updates on my webpage. The first is an updated version of 26QUICK.STR, to fix a certain homebrew lockout problem.

 

The second is an updated vesion of the menu generator that includes more games than before.

 

I've sorted the ROM database so that PAL and NTSC games are separate from one another. However, the current menu generator automatically does a straight alphabetical sort on the menu name entries. Is there anyone other than me who feels it would be nice to have the PAL and NTSC entries separated? If so I can take out the sort routine on the menu generator so that it places files in the order of the ROM database.

 

Let me know if you have a preference.

 

Chad

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If I were to search hard to find a single fault with it, it would be that the bankswitch files are (apparently) raw FPGA programming data, and it's rocket science to make new ones

 

Now, now, it's not rocket science. I lived for 6 years with a rocket scientist, and I know for certain she won't be creating any new bankswitching files in the near future. :D

 

But you're right it's not for everyone. Actually, it may not be for anyone. Unfortunately the specific FPGA I used (the Xilinx Spartan XCS05) is so old that it is not supported by Xilinx's webpack (Xilinx never developed their own synthesis engine for the older parts, and they no longer partner with Synopsis to supply FPGA Express.)

 

I was tempted to use one of the newer parts for this reason, but they are all low voltage parts. They do accept 5 volt inputs, and supply TTL output levels (but not 5V CMOS levels), but I was afraid that they would be too susceptible to being damaged by voltage spikes. (Some of the Atari electronics haven't aged all that well, I've seen a lot of stuff that was definitely out of spec when looking on a scope. No problem for 5V parts, but a little risking with 5V tolerant parts.) So I went for durability over flexibility. I've certainly second guessed myself on this decision a lot though.

 

There is a package from BYU called Electric that can supposedly create EDIF files for Spartan chips from a schematic entry. And Xilinx has made the place and route tools for the Spartan available on their website, which convert EDIF files to configuration files. So if anyone wants to play with these programs it is likely possible that people could create their own bankswitching files. I've been too time constrained to look into this though. (I will provide a VHDL bankswitching sample if anyone is interested in looking into this. This is NOT a begninner level project though.)

 

Chad

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Still really enjoying the CC2 this weekend!

 

I'm simply curious, however, if anyone else is having problems with Supercharger games. My bins work fine in Z26, and are recognized by the menu generating software. But after the CC2 runs them, the screen simply turns orange.

 

This isn't really a big deal as I do have a real Supercharger and the Stella CD. I was just curious if anyone else was having a problem making this paticular CC2 feature work.

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Still really enjoying the CC2 this weekend!

 

I'm simply curious, however, if anyone else is having problems with Supercharger games.  My bins work fine in Z26, and are recognized by the menu generating software.  But after the CC2 runs them, the screen simply turns orange.  

 

This isn't really a big deal as I do have a real Supercharger and the Stella CD.  I was just curious if anyone else was having a problem making this paticular CC2 feature work.

 

I haven't had any Supercharger game problems like that with my CC2. Is there a particular game you are having issues with?

 

Mitch

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Is there a particular game you are having issues with?

 

Unfortunately, all my Supercharger bins have the same issue.

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All my supercharger bins work great. :)

 

I do have a problem with thrust (v1.2) running with errors in the playfield. (walls show up where they aren't supposed to, and move around when scrolling)

 

I will try to get a newer version and see if it does the same thing.

 

EDIT- All I had to do was put F6BANK0 on the startup file instaid of 78BIOS. :)

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I'm working with sdamon to try and find the problem. I can't reproduce it on my end.

 

Chad

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A quick note to advise that I saw the CC2 in action this weekend at the NWCGE event in Seattle and it was VERY impressive! All the games load quickly and smoothly, and the menu system was great. Please add my name to the list for the next round of orders - thanks!

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Ok, I feel really stupid, but how do you run the menu generator? I've tried it on my personal ROMs and it can't find any matches. I have a directory S:A7800, put all the ROMs in it, as well as the menu generator. I run cc2menugen.exe, and I just get a bunch of lines like "No match for file WATERSKI.A78.". I've redownloaded a few ROMs off this site to compare and it does the same thing.

 

Do you need to do anything special on the command line?

 

(I've tried both the original and the updated menu generator)

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Do you have CC2ROMDB.TXT in the same directory? Move all your games back out of the GAMES subdirectory (or second mistake: they won't get into the menu files!), make sure CC2ROMDB.TXT is there, then try again. Then copy the resulting GAMES subdirectory along with MENU.TXT and MENU.CC2 to your memory card.

 

I made both of these mistakes when trying to get mine working.

 

Note that if you want to add games later, you will want to add them to MENU.TXT and run the menu converter on that instead of cc2menugen. Or you can use cc2menugen, merge the MENU.TXT files, and then run the menu converter. It would be a good idea to rename your master MENU.TXT to something else so that it won't get overwritten by cc2menugen.

 

Hmmm... I'm trying to compile the "Linux" menu converter, and the damn thing is written using C++ I/O, but named with a .c extension. With GCC, I have to rename it first.

 

mv CC2LinuxMenuConvSrc.c CC2LinuxMenuConvSrc.cpp

gcc CC2LinuxMenuConvSrc.cpp /usr/lib/libstdc++.a -o cc2menuconv

strip cc2menuconv

cp cc2menuconv ~/bin



(cd to directory with MENU.TXT)



cc2menuconv MENU.TXT MENU.CC2

EDIT: added "strip" command to cut executable size from 700K to 350K. Ain't C++ great? Only 250-300K just to use cout.

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I also noticed this issue. I only have a problem with 7800 roms. They have the a78 extension and I downloaded all the 7800 roms from atariage. All my 2600 Roms work perfect, but I noticed that the menugenerator ignored all my 7800 rom images.

 

Perhaps I am experienceing a brain fart or something. I tried renaming them to BIN files with no luck. i also downloaded the new files from the CC2 website which did not help my situation.

 

I am sure I am doing something wrong.

 

Thanks guys,

 

Mike

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The Atari 7800 ROM problem is simple, but not obvious. This one really should have made it into the manual if it didn't already.

 

You have to use plain .BIN files, not .A78 files. .A78 files are modified for emulator use (they contain an extra header). You can get the files you need from Mitch's website (Atari7800.org I think).

 

I'm sure Mitch will come along and provide a better link.

 

Chad

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I also noticed this issue.  I only have a problem with 7800 roms.  They have the a78 extension and I downloaded all the 7800 roms from atariage.  All my 2600 Roms work perfect, but I noticed that the menugenerator ignored all my 7800 rom images.

That's because the menu generator doesn't work with .a78 images. You need .bin images.

 

http://www.atari7800.org/bin.htm

 

I suppose the menu generator could be updated to work with .a78 images, but the fact is that right now it doesn't.

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