Why my cartridge does not work?

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5875)

Аватар пользователя NYYRIKKI

21-03-2021, 21:42

Every once in a while you end up with a cartridge that just does not work.
The possible problems are:
- the cartridge connector is too dirty.
- there is bad connection / cold solder joint somewhere
- the ROM suffers from bit rot
- the capasitor has dried up
- Cartridge has software compatibility problem
- the cartridge has hardware compatibility problem (such as timing problem when used on subslot)

... but that is already quite a big list to go trough by hand. This program is made to ease up the job, by doing some automatic testing to the hardware and delivers easy to read information about signaling while the cartridge is being read. Since this program has been made on BASIC, it is not very fast, but I hope you don't need to use it very often. I think it should run on any MSX setup, but no much testing has been done.

You can download the BASIC-program here

If the failed cartridge crashes the computer during boot, you will need to prevent it from booting before running this software.
Please check your available options here:
https://www.msx.org/wiki/Copying_cartridge_software

Please note that this is not a 100% perfect test and it can test only the pages where MSX searches the header, but in normal situations it should be enough to point you to correct direction in your hardware debug efforts.

The numbers in parenthesis represent the MSX cartridge port pin numbers that ease up locating the correct pin where to start tracing the problem. The "0v" and "5v" voltages mentioned by software are for reference. They are not measured in any way and represent only snapshot of the situation when the cartridge read happens.

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By Omega

Master (230)

Аватар пользователя Omega

22-03-2021, 16:32

Very nice. I'll try this at some point.
Also useful when building new cartridges.

By Daemos

Paragon (1952)

Аватар пользователя Daemos

22-03-2021, 17:24

Yes I need this!! I sometimes got uber mystery bugs and eventually figured out it was my cartridge port. Some superb cleaning fixed the bug but not without me searching for it in the emulator for days. With tools like this I can first do some prechecking before spending trying to reproduce the bugs for days.

By Alexey

Guardian (3204)

Аватар пользователя Alexey

22-03-2021, 22:15

Good job, man! We need good tools like this one.

But I propose to change messages "Test slot:" to "Input slot number (1-3):" to avoid people waiting for the test results while they have to input the slot number. Same for the "Test page:"-> "Select page to test (1-2):"

By ray2day

Hero (664)

Аватар пользователя ray2day

23-03-2021, 08:21

Nice tool! Thx Nyyrikki! Cool

By NYYRIKKI

Enlighted (5875)

Аватар пользователя NYYRIKKI

23-03-2021, 08:48

Alexey wrote:

Good job, man! We need good tools like this one.

But I propose to change messages "Test slot:" to "Input slot number (1-3):" to avoid people waiting for the test results while they have to input the slot number. Same for the "Test page:"-> "Select page to test (1-2):"

I will consider this if I release updated version, but feel free to modify the code for all your personal needs. (Same goes for everyone else) You may even distribute modified versions as long as you state what things you have added/changed in it and that it is not original version.

I am very much aware that there are tons of things that could be done better, but this tool just popped out of necessity and I just wanted to keep it super simple so that you can easily load it even from cassette to 8KB MSX.

By Alexey

Guardian (3204)

Аватар пользователя Alexey

23-03-2021, 14:20

Maybe a ROM, a CAS and a WAV versions of this tool could be helpful for some people.