Backup Cartridges to Floppy Disk using the Super Cart (15-30 mins)

Task: Backup Cartridges to Floppy Disk using the Super Cart

Needed: Web browser, Super Cart, Super Cart Program Disk, Super Card Data Disk

Time: 15-30 minutes

Introduction

I previously posted about “The Pill” that could be used to copy cartridges to floppy disk. The only catch was that you needed The Pill cartridge in the Atari 8-bit computer to run any of the backups from disk. This was nice because it prevented copied cartridges from being widely distributed and motivated more people to buy The Pill. We used The Pill back in the day to backup cartridges we rented.

I recently picked up another competing solution for backing cartridges called the Super Cart by Frontrunner. This works exactly the same way. You load their software, insert the cartridge, the ROM gets save to memory and then saved to floppy disk. You can load the ROMs off floppy disk using the Super Cart.

Unfortunately, both The Pill and the Super Cart are pretty hard to track down. Below are the instructions and screenshots so you can see what using this is like.

Super Cart Front
Super Cart Front
Super Cart Top
Super Cart Top

Instructions

Note that I was not able to get this to work with an Atari 800XL. Worked great with an Atari 800 which it was designed for. Should work well with an Atari 400 as well. I did not try an XE.

The original instructions are easy to follow and can be found here on Archive.org as a reference.

Before you begin, you will need to make real floppy disks or prepare ATR files for a floppy emulator such as RespeQT with SIO2PC or FujiNet. The ATR files for the Program Disk and the Data Disk can be found on Atarimania. These are the ones I used. I made real floppies using a 1050 floppy drive and RespeQT as I have previously described.

First, you will need an Atari 400 or 800 for this project. You will also need a small piece of paper or eraser to wedge into the on-off button found to the right of the cartridge slot(s). This allows the cartridge bay door to be left open so you insert cartridges without powering down. You can see this in an image below with a cartridge inserted.

Second, connect an 810 or 1050 floppy drive (or floppy emulator) to your 400/800 and boot the Program Disk. You will see the intro screen shown below.

Super Cart Program Disk Intro Screen
Super Cart Program Disk Intro Screen

Third, hit any key as indicated. This brings up the Super Cart graphic. This seems to be just for fun.

Super Cart Program Disk Graphic Screen
Super Cart Program Disk Graphic Screen

Fourth, hit any key when you are done viewing the Super Cart man. This brings up the insert cartridge screen.

Super Cart Program Disk Insert Cartridge Screen
Super Cart Program Disk Insert Cartridge Screen

Fifth, insert a cartridge as instructed. I was able to successfully backup Space Invaders and Missile Command without trouble.

Cartridge to be Copied in Atari 800
Cartridge to be Copied in Atari 800

Sixth, the software will prompt you to enter a 20 character or less descriptive name for the cartridge.

Super Cart Program Disk Enter Descriptive Name Screen
Super Cart Program Disk Enter Descriptive Name Screen

Seventh, insert the Data Disk, enter the drive number, and enter an 8 character filename. Then press START. You should hear the disk drive start as the backup proceeds. When the backup finishes you will see the screen below indicated the job has completed.

Insert Super Cart Data Disk Screen
Insert Super Cart Data Disk Screen
Super Cart Data Disk Cartridge Saved Screen
Super Cart Data Disk Cartridge Saved Screen

Eighth, you are now ready to boot the backup from disk to see if it worked. Power down the Atari and insert the Super Cart into the left cartridge slot with the switch set left to OFF. Now boot the Data Disk. You should see any cartridges you backed up listed in the menu. Enter the number of the one you want to boot. When finished booting it will tell you to turn ON the Super Cart as shown below. The backup will then be ready to use!

Super Cart Data Disk Boot Menu
Super Cart Data Disk Boot Menu
Super Cart On Off
Super Cart On to Boot Game

Comments

As with The Pill, Super Cart was super easy to use and worked great. Of course, there is no reason to need this now since most software for the Atari is available as ROMs that can be booted using devices such as FujiNet and SIDE3. Regardless, it is always fun to relive the Atari experience as we did it back in the early 1980s. I hope you find one of these and give it a try!