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To use the Atari Lynx Cart Programmer Pi-Hat, special software is required. Since the Pi-Hat is meant for use with a Raspberry Pi, its software is built to run in Linux. The software can be used to read all Atari Lynx cartridges and to write/erase compatible flashable cartridges.

Note: Flashable cartridges must be based on the SST39SF010A / SST39SF020A / SST39SF040 CMOS Multi-Purpose Flash chip. Some homebrew cartridge PCBs are too thick to fit the slot connector and will not work (original Alpine Games for example).

Building the Software🕸

The programmer board software source code is available from https://bitbucket.org/atarilynx/lynx. The software is currently in rapid development in the programmer-enhancements branch. No binary distribution is yet available, but building it is easy...

git clone -b programmer-enhancements https://bitbucket.org/atarilynx/lynx.git
cd lynx/contrib/blankcart/programmer
make all

This should build the readcart, writecart and romutil commands. These are explained further below.

Reading Cartridges🕸

To read a cartridge, use the readcart command. It's usage is...

Usage: readcart -a|-bN [-h] [-nohdr] [-swvcc] [-turbo] [-v|-vv] [-i|<romfile>]
-a Automatically determine block size
-bN Manually set block size to N, valid values: 512, 1024, 2048, 1024x2
-h Show this summary and exit
-i Show cart information and exit (implies -a)
-nohdr Do not write the LNX file header to romfile
-swvcc Enable SWVCC to allow reading certain cart types
-turbo Use turbo mode, may produce corrupt dumps
-v Set verbose mode
-vv Set verbose debug mode

Examples:

  • ./readcart -a mycart.lnx
  • ./readcart -b1024 -swvcc -turbo -v mycart.lnx
  • ./readcart -a -turbo -vv mycart.lnx
  • ./readcart -a -nohdr mycart.lyx
  • ./readcart -i

Writing a ROM to a Blank Cartridge🕸

An LNX format ROM can be written to a special programmable cartridge. The writecart command is used for this purpose. This command will check that a compatible flash cart is inserted into the board before trying to write any data. It's usage is:

Usage: writecart [-nc] [-nohdr -bN] [-turbo] [-v|-vv] <romfile>
-bN Manually set block size to N, valid values: 512, 1024, 2048
-h Show this summary and exit
-nc Do not check if flash chip is compatible - use carefully!
-nohdr Treat input ROM as headerless, must provide -bN option
-swvcc Enable SWVCC to allow writing certain cart types
-turbo Use turbo mode, may produce corrupt carts
-v Set verbose mode
-vv Set verbose debug mode

Examples:

  • ./writecart mycart.lnx
  • ./writecart -turbo -vv -b1024 mycart.lnx
  • ./writecart -nohdr mycart.lyx

ROM Utility🕸

There is a ROM utility included that can be used to display information about a ROM, convert LNX to LYX formats (and vice-versa), and to compare ROMs. It's usage is:

Usage: romutil -2lyx|-2lnx|-cmp|-i <romfile> [<romfile2>]
-2lyx Convert LNX ROM romfile to LYX ROM romfile2
-2lnx Convert LYX ROM romfile to LNX ROM romfile2 adding default header
-cmp Compare two ROMs, input can be LNX or LYX files
-h Show this summary and exit
-i Show LNX ROM header information

Examples:

  • ./romutil -i mycart.lnx
  • ./romutil -2lyx mycart.lnx mycart.lyx
  • ./romutil -2lnx mycart.lyx mycart.lnx
  • ./romutil -cmp mycart.lnx mycart.lyx

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