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Atarimax Maxflash USB Cartridge Programmer

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Chapter 7: Known Problems and Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting

Synchronization Failure

Should you experience Programming Failure and need to erase your multi-cart for re-programming, follow these steps.

  1. Detach the cartridge from the Atari 8-bit Computer.
  2. Attach the programmer and cartridge to your PC using the included USB A-A interface cable.
  3. Start the Maxflash Studio software and make sure it indicates 'PROGRAMMER CONNECTED' in the status display.
  4. Create a new blank Workbook by using the 'File' menu, then selecting 'New' from the sub-menu.
  5. Press 'Synchronize' to erase your cartridge using this new blank Workbook.
  6. Complete erasure typically takes less than one minute.
  7. After Synchronization is complete, remove the set from the USB bus and plug the flash cartridge it into your 8-bit computer.
  8. Verify that the cartridge menu does appear.
  9. Detach the cartridge from the Atari 8-bit Computer.
  10. Attach the programmer and cartridge to your PC using the included USB A-A interface cable.
  11. Load the Maxflash Studio workbook you wish to program into the cartridge and press 'Synchronize'.
  12. After programming is complete remove the cartridge from the USB Bus and place it into your 8-bit computer again
  13. Verify the cartridge is now completely functional, if not, return to step #1 or contact me for technical support.

Unrecognized Format or game simply does not work.

The Maxflash Studio software supports importing these formats into a workbook:

If you cannot get your program to import into your workbook, check the event log at the bottom of the screen for any extended error messages that may help indicate why the import failed.

Problems Importing Binary Load Files

Try using the Open Files dialog to load your programs one at a time and hold the 'SHIFT' button on your PC keyboard when pressing the 'Open' button in the Open Files dialog. This will enable verbose error reporting and detailed reporting of EXE load segment structure while importing these files.

These verbose error messages can be very helpful in figuring out why a particular game will not load, so if you are making a support request, try to include these messages with your e-mail. To save these messages to a file, right click anywhere in the event log and select the option to save the log to a file.

Also try adjusting the EXE loader memory and location settings accessed by double clicking on the listing in the live editing window. For more detailed information on these settings see chapter 3 of the documentation.

Problems Importing ATR Disk Images

Remember that your flash cartridge is not a disk drive and that compatibility with ATR disk images meant to be loaded from a disk drive is limited to programs or games that:

  1. Will tolerate a custom OS being loaded in RAM.
  2. Require 48k or less.
  3. Use only 'legal' Atari OS entry points.
  4. Do not attempt to access the disk using custom SIO routines which bypass the OS completely.

Many disk based games fail because they 'initialize' PORTB of the PIA, turning the ROM OS back on, which removes the disk image handler from memory. Some of these titles can be fixed by right clicking on the item in the live ending window and selecting 'Apply PORTB hack' from the 'Hacks' sub-menu.

There are also often multiple versions of the same games available in ATR disk format. Check with other users in the Atarimax Maxflash Discussion Forum if you encounter a difficult to run image. A simple solution or more compatible version of your image may be available.

Problems Importing RAW ROM Images

RAW ROM images are actually a rarity and somewhat difficult to find for the 8-bit computer, since all of these games were long ago 'cracked' and made available in EXE/COM/XEX format.

If you do encounter a genuine unmodified ROM image, remember that only ROM images that are exactly 8192 bytes are supported, since this size matches the bank size used in the Maxflash Flash Multi-Cart hardware.

For best results and availability, always look for the EXE/COM/XEX version of the ROM image and use that.

Known Problems

USB Hubs

All Atari 8-bit cartridges, including Maxflash Flash Multicart are "5 Volt" devices and therefore require full 5v USB voltage to operate correctly.

There is a known problem with some self-powered USB hubs.

These hubs violate USB specification by providing less than 5 volts, typically 3.3 volts or so, on the USB bus, even during 'full power' operation and cause the flash or rom in cartridges to be unreadable or unwritable.

Should you experience problems with Synchronizing, please be sure to plug it directly into the USB port of your PC, or into a externally powered USB hub.

For the sake of easier troubleshooting and installation, never use any USB hub during the driver installation process or your first synchronization.

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