Purchase an A8PicoCart for Loading Cartridge ROMs on Your Atari XL and XE 8-Bit Computers (10-15 mins)

Task: Purchase an A8PicoCart for Loading Cartridge ROMs on Your Atari XL and XE 8-Bit Computers

Needed: Web browser, Atari XL or XE

Time: 10-15 minutes

Introduction

There are a wide variety of options for loading software onto your Atari 8-bit computers from SD card devices. Examples include Atarimax Maxflash, SDrive-Max, SIDE3, and FujiNet. Each of these has strengths and weaknesses. For example, the Atarimax device can’t boot ATR files while SDrive-Max, SIDE3, and FujiNet can. Yet another device, the A8PicoCart, is now available, and I decided to give it a try. This device uses a Raspberry Pi Pico clone to manage and deliver cartridge ROMs to the Atari for booting.

A8PicoCart
A8PicoCart

Instructions

You have two options for trying the A8PicoCart. You can build on yourself using instructions on the Github site. I have not tried this yet.

You can purchase an already built A8PicoCart in a nice 3d-printed shell from several sources. I purchased mine on eBay for $33. Mozzwald also sells these for $35. There might be other sellers as well.

I highly recommend reading the A8PicoCart manual provided by Mozzwald first.

The A8PicoCart works well on the Atari XL and XE computers. It is less reliable on the 400 and 800. Simply plug it and boot into the menu. Select your ROM, CAR, or XEX file and hit enter. It is that easy.

You can add or delete files by plugging the device into your PC using a USB-C cable. It will show up in Windows like a USB drive.

You can reset the device by pushing the little black button shown on the front of the cartridge and then by pressing reset on the Atari.

A8PicoCart Menu
A8PicoCart Menu

Comments

Note that the device has very limited support for ATR files. It is really designed to save BASIC files to an ATR but not for booting ATR-based software.

I like the clean and easy menu.

Seems a little easier to use for ROM files that some of the other devices that have more overhead or a steeper learning curve.