Using Atarimax MaxFlash to create an Action! cartridge

Here is a quick tutorial on using Atarimax Maxflash.

I have been wanting to do some Action! programming on the on my Atari 800XL for a little while. To accomplish this I bought Atarimax Maxflash cartridge programmer. This utility enables you to create 1 mbit and 8 mbit cartridges for the Atari 8-bit line. Here is the website documentation: http://atarimax.com/flashcart/documentation/

The utility is comprised of a cartridge programmer and a software interface. Here is the hardware.

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The red device is the cartridge programmer. The programmer attaches to your PC via the white cable. You insert the slotted end of the blank  flash cartridge into the black slotted connector on the red programmer. then attach the white cable to the top of the programmer and then the PC. The attached cartridge and programmer looks thus:

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The clear cartridge is the blank flash cartridge. Notice the USB cable that runs to the PC.

A regression; before I ordered the blank 1mb cartridge I download an Action! image from the Atarimax forum: ( action (maxflash image).atr )  There are many, many more images for games, applications and programming in the forum. check out what’s already there so you won’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’. www.atarimax.com/flashcart/forum/

Now on to the next step. I started the Maxflash software and choose the 1mb cartridge under the programming menu. then I selected the previously downloaded  action (maxflash image).atr .OK, I know this isn’t a very good picture but I’ll go over it.

First thing you do is choose the type of cartridge you plan to flash from the drop down Cartridge menu. I was flashing a 1 mbit cartridge so that is what I chose. There are other types of flash cartridges that can be chosen as well. You can also use the hardware/software to dump cartridges as well.

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FYI: the software works fine on Windows XP to Windows 10.

Here is a demo on using the software: https://youtu.be/SMSBV_QIBLw

He is creating a multi-program cartridge with a menu, but the setup is the same. As you can see, you can test your creation in an emulator before you flash the cartridge.

Next step is to load the image, in my case the Action! Image, from the file menu.

Final step, synchronize cartridge. Since this was going to be the only image on my cartridge I didn’t bother with setting up the menu or text.

Took only a couple of minutes on my old Dell Optiplex. If I ever changed my mind I could erase the cartridge and re-image it.

Tested, it works just like the original.

After I completed the cartrdige I wanted a book to go along with it. So I printed the Action! manual in booklet form and had it bound. I used yellow paper for the cover to give it that original look.

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That’s it. If you don’t count the cost of the original purchase of the Maxflash (about $60) the investment was just $35 ($25 for blank flash cartridge, $10 to create booklet and have bound). Since Action cartridges with manuals are going for almost $100 on eBay that’s a real bargain.

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