Task: Purchase an Atarimax Maxflash Cartridge
Needed: Atarimax Maxflash Cartridge, USB Cartridge Programmer, A to A USB Cable, and Maxflash Studio Software
Time: 30-60 mins
I love the ease of use of cartridges compared to cassette or disk. Fortunately, there are some easy modern ways to get software ROMs from your PC onto a cartridge for play on original hardware using flash-based technology. I purchased an 8MB flash cartridge from Atarimax that allows me to load up multiple ROMs from my PC and then run them on my Atari 800 with selection from a nice menu. I recommend this product although be warned that the owner, Stephen J. Tucker, doesn’t respond to emails. You are on your own if you purchase this. I have seen others complain about his lack of responsiveness. Also, the web page leaves much to be desired. I will post other solutions as I try them.
The first thing to consider is that you need both the Maxflash 8MB Cartridge AND the Maxflash USB Cartridge Programmer Kit. These are sold separately. The flash cartridge is sold for $39.99 while the programmer kit is sold for $59.99. Together these are not cheap and will set you back about $100 plus shipping. You can purchase both from the Atarimax web page. I think it is a good investment if you love to play games and run software on original hardware. You might not want to spend this kind of money if you are more of an emulator person that breaks out the Atari rarely.
Install the Maxflash Cartridge Studio software that ships with the programmer kit. Mine came on a CD-ROM. Run the software.
Plug in the programmer cartridge with the A to A USB cable that ships with the programmer kit. You should see a message in the blue box at the bottom that the programmer is connected.
Download ROMs (e.g. .BIN or .ROM files) and drag and drop the ones you want on your cartridge into the free slots of the software. It should automatically recognize them. See a screenshot of mine below.
Plug your Maxflash cartridge into the programmer with both labels up. Then press the Synchronize Cartridge button on the bottom right part of the software. The software will start programming your flash cartridge. The process of flashing the cartridge is slower than you think. I have 33 ROMs on mine and that took about 10 mins to flash.
Disconnect and run on your Atari!
This process is pretty easy. I found it much easier than the MyIDE-II that is also sold by Atarimax. The nice thing about the MyIDE-II is that it comes with a removable flash card and has some advanced capabilities. I will do a post later about this one.
There is also a 1MB cartridge that they sell for $24.99 if you are trying save a few dollars. This will easily hold 50 or more ROMs.
There are many different threads that mention the Maxflash cartridges on Atari Age. I won’t list them here because there are too many and I couldn’t find one or two with primary information. I suggest doing a search in the Atari 8-bit forum and exploring yourself. This might be useful if you encounter a problem or technical question.