Atarimax Maxflash USB Cartridge Programmer
Maxflash Cartridge Programmer and Cartridge Bus Interface with USB Interface
©2015 Steven J Tucker
Chapter 5: Programming a Cartridge
Attaching your Programmer/Cartridge Set
Note: If you have not already followed the instructions on attaching your programmer for the first time and installing the device drivers, please do so now.
This section does NOT include any instructions on doing the initial setup and driver installation which is required before using your programmer for the first time.
To begin, unplug the USB Cartridge Programmer from the PC. It is possible to 'hot plug' cartridges to the programmer but it is not recommended.
Once disconnected, attach the cartridge you want to access to the programmer label side up, as shown in the photo to the right.
Warning! Attaching a cartridge backwards can potentially damage the cartridge attached or even the USB programmer.
Be extremely careful to never attach a cartridge backwards as programmers or flash cartridges damaged in this manner will not be replaced under warranty.
For best results always take the precaution of unplugging your programmer from the USB bus before attaching your cartridge and verifying the correct cartridge orientation before plugging the set back into the USB bus.
Attach the included USB A-A cable to a free USB port on your PC, and also to the Maxflash USB Cartridge Programmer.
If this is your first time programming a cartridge DO NOT use any kind of USB hub. Attach the programmer directly to your PCs USB port.
If you must use a USB hub please review the known problems and troubleshooting section of the documentation before proceeding.
Within a few seconds the 'PROGRAMMER DISCONNECTED' message seen in the status display should change to 'PROGRAMMER CONNECTED'.
Your programmer is now attached and recognized by the Multi-Cart Studio software.
Live Synchronizing your Cartridge from an open Workbook
If you have not already loaded or created a Workbook, please do so now as the state of this Workbook will be used to program your cartridge.
To begin Synchronization, press the 'Synchronize' button on the main Maxflash Studio application.
Synchronization is normally a fully automatic process and should require no intervention on your part.
The LED in your cartridge will blink slowly during read, erase and write options to indicate it is still working.
Please watch the messages in the Event Log window to see the progress and remaining time required to program your cartridge.
If any errors occur during synchronization they will be displayed in this window, please include these messages with your bug report.
Programming time will depend on the size of the cartridge used and how full the cartridge will be.
Programming a 1mbit cartridge typically takes less than 30 seconds, an 8mbit cartridge up to a few minutes. Cartridges will less content will take less time to program, since the empty spaces are skipped during the cartridge programming process.
During Synchronization the 'Synchronize' button on the main application window will be disabled. Once this button is re-enabled and you see the 'programming complete' message in the Event Log window, it is safe to unplug your programmer from the USB port and remove the attached cartridge.
There is an 'Abort' button provided but you should never use this feature unless you plan on completely re-programming your cartridge. For example it may save you a lot of time by pressing 'Abort' if you were re-programming the entire cart, but realized you made a mistake just after programming started.
Interrupting programming while in progress by pressing Abort or by 'surprise removal' of the programmer from the USB bus will result in your cartridge being left in an intermediate partially programmed or erased state.
Even though you may leave the cartridge in a half-programmed state, you cannot permanently damage the cartridge in any way.
These errors can always be corrected by erasing the cartridge completely and re-programming it from your current Workbook.
Programming a Cartridge from an existing Maxflash ISP (ATR) Programming Image or BIN Image
Before the availability of the USB programmer, the only way to program Maxflash Flash cartridges was to use a large ATR disk image, also known as a Maxflash In System Programming (ISP) image. Sometimes raw Maxflash Cartridge BIN images were also used.
These images are not obsolete and can easily be used with your USB programmer.
To program a flash cartridge from an existing ATR (ISP) Programming Image, select 'Cartridge' from the top menu, then 'Program' then the model of the cartridge you wish to program.
The open file dialog will appear allowing you to select your .ATR or .BIN file to program from.
If imported successfully, the erase/program cycle will be completely automatic. Check the Event Log at the bottom of the screen for programming progress and any error messages
Exporting a Workbook to ISP Programming, CAR or BIN Format
In addition to programming via the USB Programmer, the Maxflash Studio software supports exporting your workbook to the following formats:
To export your open workbook to any of these formats, simply select 'Export' from the 'File' menu at the top of the screen.
These formats are non-editable, so remember to always save your workbook in native Multicart Studio format as well.