Atari 8-Bit Computers: Frequently Asked Questions

Archive-name: atari-8-bit/faq Posting-Frequency: 60 days Last-modified: September 20, 1997 Welcome to the comp.sys.atari.8bit newsgroup! Atari 8-Bit Computers Frequently Asked Questions List ___________ _______________ | ///////// | _____________ | ||||||||||| | |___________| | | | ||_______|| | |______/////| |____[---]____| | / _________ \ | |LLLLLLLLLLL| |LLLLLLLLLLL || | LLLLLLLLLLL L | |LLLLLLLLLLL| |LLLLLLLLLLL || | LLLLLLLLLLL L | |__[_____]__| |__[_____]____| |___[_____]_____| 130XE 800XL 800 ___________ __---------__ | ///////// | | / _____ \ | |___________| _____________ | / |_____| \ | |______/////| |____[---]____| | ___________ | |LLLLLLLLLLL| |LLLLLLLLLLL || | ========== =| |LLLLLLLLLLL| |LLLLLLLLLLL || | ========== =| |__[_____]__| |__[_____]____| |___[_____]___| 65XE 600XL 400 ___________ _____________ | ///////// | ___________ | | |___________| |/// / | | | |______/////| |// / | /\___________ |=============| |LLLLLLLLLLL| |/O\ |\/ |LLLLLLLLLLL| | LLLLLLLLLLL | |LLLLLLLLLLL| |-----------| |LLLLLLLLLLL| | LLLLLLLLLLL | |__[_____]__| |____O_O_O_O| |__[_____]__| |___[_____]___| 800XE XE Game System 1200XL Additions/suggestions/comments/corrections are needed! Please send to: Copyright (c) 1992-1997 by Michael D. Current, and others where noted. Feel free to reproduce this file, in whole or in part, so long as the content of that portion reproduced is not modified, and so long as credit is given to this FAQ list or its Maintainer, or the author of that section reproduced when given. This FAQ list is in a constant state of development and comes with no guarantees. If you see any problems, I need to hear from you! Please refer to the latest version of this FAQ list whenever possible! Available via these locations and Usenet FAQ archives everywhere: news:comp.sys.atari.8bit news:comp.answers news:news.answers Or you can always ask me for a copy at ------------------------------ Subject: 0.1) Table of contents 0.1) Table of contents Introduction to the Atari 1.1) What is an Atari 8-bit computer? 1.2) What can I do with an 8-bit Atari? 1.3) What are some of the performance features of the 8-bit Atari? 1.4) What is the internal layout of the 8-bit Atari? Usenet newsgroups 2.1) What is comp.sys.atari.8bit? 2.2) What other Usenet newsgroups cover the 8-bit Atari? E-Mail lists 3.1) What is INFO-ATARI8? 3.2) What is the Classic Computers List? 3.3) What is ATARIPL? 3.4) What is ATARI8-L? Public Domain/Freeware/Shareware Archives 4.1) What is the University of Michigan Archive? 4.2) What is the Boston Archive? 4.3) What is the PVV Archive? 4.4) What is the ClarkNet Archive? 4.5) What is the Gatekeeper's Archive? 4.6) What is the Polish Demo Archive? 4.7) What is the Slovakian Archive? Telnet sites 5.1) What is the Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG? 5.2) What is the National Capital FreeNet Atari Users SIG? 5.3) What is the Victoria Telecommunity Network Atari Users SIG? World Wide Web pages 7.1) What WWW pages support the 8-bit Atari? IRC channels 8.1) What IRC channels discuss the 8-bit Atari? File Formats 9.1) What's this UUEncoding stuff (.uu, .uue files) all about? 9.2) What is an .arc file? 9.3) What are the .DCM, .ATR, and .XFD file formats? 9.4) What are the .XMO and .BIN file formats? File Transfer Solutions 11.1) What are the best terminal emulators available? 11.2) Can I read/write 8-bit Atari disks on an IBM-PC? 11.3) Can I read/write MS-DOS disks on an 8-bit Atari? 11.4) How do I transfer files using a null modem cable? 11.5) What is SIO2PC? 11.6) How can I convert my commercial boot tape into a cassette image file? Peripherals 12.1) What 5.25" floppy disk drives are available? 12.2) How can I use 3.5" floppy disks with my 8-bit Atari? 12.3) What do I need to connect a hard drive to my 8-bit Atari? 12.4) What kinds of monitors can I use with my Atari? General Interest 13.1) What's the best DOS for the Atari? 13.2) What hardware has Atari created in the 8-bit computer line? 13.3) What are the power-supply requirements for my Atari components? 13.4) What are the pinouts for the...? 13.5) What BBS software can be used on the Atari? 13.6) What versions of Atari BASIC or the CTIA/GTIA chip do I have? 13.7) Which versions of the Operating System (OS) are there? 13.8) What games support 4 simultaneous players on the 400/800? 13.9) Why should I disconnect the 810/1050 power supply before connecting or disconnecting SIO cables? 13.10) What is Omnimon? 13.11) What is the difference between NTSC and PAL machines? 13.12) What programming languages are available for the Atari? 13.13) What is the Atari XEP80 Interface Module? Other FAQ Lists for the 8-bit Atari 14.1) What vendors, developers, or publishers support the 8-bit Atari? 14.2) Where is my nearest 8-bit Atari BBS? 14.3) Where is my nearest 8-bit Atari user group? 14.4) I'm new to the Atari. How do I use this thing? 14.5) Can I use an emulator to run my old Atari software on my new computer? 14.6) What hardware upgrades, modifications and add-ons are available? 14.7) What is the HARD-Interlacing-Picture (HIP) format? 14.8) How do I access Usenet, FTP, Gopher, and WWW by e-mail? Reader-suggested topics, unwritten as yet: (volunteers?!) How fast of a modem can my Atari display keep up with? -with Ultraspeed roms? -with XEP-80 -with any particular terminal program Video Upgrades -Adding chroma\lumi to 800XL How can I make my commercial boot disk (cart) into a load file or disk image? What is APE? Why does some European software (especially demos) flicker? ------------------------------ Subject: 1.1) What is an Atari 8-bit computer? 400 800 1200XL 600XL 800XL 65XE 130XE 800XE XE Game System Here is a very condensed history of Atari, centered around their 8-bit computers. 1972 Atari Inc. is formed by Nolan Bushnell, incorporated on Tuesday, June 27. Atari created the first coin-operated arcade video game with the introduction of Pong. The video game industry was launched and has shaped pop culture ever since. 1976 Warner Communications acquires Atari Inc. 1977 Atari launches the Video Computer System (VCS), giving birth to home video game systems. 1978 In December, Atari announces the Atari 400 and 800 personal computers, using the 6502 microprocessor. The Atari 800 was code-named "Colleen"; the 400, "Candy." The following are most of the team who originally designed the 400/800. Credit for providing this information for the FAQ goes to: Doug Neubauer (by way of James Finnegan, ) Jerry Jessop, Scott Emmons, VLSI HARDWARE: Jay Miner - Creator and System architect, VSLI manager Steve Mayer - Also one of the creators - Partner in "Cyan Engineering" Lawrence D. Emmons - Also one of the creators - Partner in "Cyan Engineering" Joe Decuir - ANTIC and system and creator ???A French guy - ANTIC logic designer George McLeod - CTIA and GTIA logic design Doug Neubauer - POKEY logic design Mark Shieu - POKEY chip design Steve Stone - POKEY layout design Steve Smith - Technician for ANTIC and GTIA Delwin Pearson - Technician for POKEY OS PROGRAMMERS: Larry Kaplan David Crane Bob Whitehead Al Miller 1979 The Atari 400 and Atari 800 Home Computers debut at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in early January. Jerry Jessop, writes: "The first official small shipment of the 400/800 was on August 29th 1979. These were hand built pilot run units to Sears that needed to be in stock by Sept. 1 so they could be placed in the big fall catalog. The units were placed in the Sears warehouse and then immediatly returned to Atari after the "in stock" requirment had been meet. The first "real" consumer units were shipped in Nov. of 79 and were 400's to Sears followed very shortly by 800's." These MOS Technology 6502-based systems run at a clock speed of 1.79 MHz, offering 128 colors displayable simultaneously, up to 320x192 graphics resolution and up to 40x24 text resolution in 8 graphics modes and 6 text modes. Video may be displayed either on a composite video monitor in the case of the 800, or on a standard television for both systems. 4 independent sound voices are available through the audio output of the television or monitor, each with a 3 1/2 octave range, plus there is a built-in speaker for key-click and other programmable sounds. The 800 has a second cartridge port and a full-stroke keyboard, while the 400 has a single cartridge port and a membrane keyboard. Each has 4 serial controller ports and an Atari Serial Input/Output port. Originally, both the 400 and 800 were sold with 8K RAM, but later most 800's were sold with 48K and 400's with 16K. Each includes the 10K Atari Operating System in ROM. 1981 November: 400/800's begin shipping with the new GTIA chip in place of CTIA, increasing the palette of simultaneously displayable colors to 256 and adding 3 new graphics modes. CTIA is totally phased out by the end of the year. Jerry Jessop, adds: "The very first proto systems did have the GTIA, but it had some problems and was not released in the consumer version until 1981. The GTIA was completed before the CTIA." 1982 The introduction of the 1200XL in late 1982 marks the single largest advance in the 8-bit Atari system. The 1200XL runs most software and hardware designed for the 800 and 400, but now runs a slightly more advanced 6502C microprocessor, and includes a full 64K RAM. The single cartridge and monitor ports remain, along with 2 controller ports. In addition, the 1200XL includes 4 programmable Function keys and a Help key, built-in diagnostic and graphics demonstration programs, and probably the favorite keyboard of any 8-bit Atari computer. Clicks previously outputted through the built-in speaker are now heard from the television or monitor's speaker. The revised 16K Operating System offers many new features, including an alternate International Character Set. 1983 In 1983 Atari replaced the 1200XL/800/400 line-up with the new 800XL and 600XL. These new machines include most of the features of the 1200XL minus the Function keys and the demo program. But now both the 800XL and 600XL have the Atari BASIC language built-in. In addition, these two systems offer the Parallel Bus Interface (PBI), providing direct memory access to the heart of the computer. The 800XL contains 64K RAM while the 600XL has 16K RAM. 1984 Warner Communications sells Consumer Electronics and Home Computer divisions of Atari Inc. to Tramiel Technologies on Monday, July 2. Atari Corporation is formed by Tramiel Technologies and its products marketed under the Atari brand. (Atari Games Corporation is also formed from the former coin-op division and markets coin-op games under the Atari Games brand. Today Atari Games is an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Midway Games division of WMS Industries. WMS Industries Inc. 3401 N California Ave Chicago IL 60618-5899 USA Midway Games Inc. (a division of WMS) Atari Games Corporation (a subsidiary of Midway Games) ) 1985 The new Atari Corp. delivered on its promise to advance the 8-bit Atari system by replacing the 800XL/600XL with the new 130XE and 65XE in 1985. The 65XE is nearly identical to the 800XL in features, minus the PBI. The 130XE, however, offers 128K RAM, plus the FREDDY chip, supporting the unique (but rarely used) ability for the 6502C and the ANTIC to independently access RAM banks. In addition, the 130XE replaces the PBI port with the Enhanced Cartridge Interface (ECI), continuing the powerful feature of direct memory access. 1987 In a change of marketing strategy, Atari introduced the new XE Game System in 1987. Despite its label, the XEGS is a true 8-bit Atari computer system. It offers the convenience of a detachable keyboard and built-in Missile Command game, while offering 64K RAM and full compatibility with the 65XE. The 800XE, a 130XE with just 64K, was released at some point in eastern Europe. [WHEN???] 1992 Atari officially dropped all remaining support of their 8-bit computer line on January 1, 1992. 1996 On July 31, 1996, Atari Corp. became a JTS Corp. subsidiary. J JJJTS Corporation, with headquarters in San Jose, Calif., was founded in 1994 to design, manufacture and supply enhanced-capacity hard disk drives for the notebook and desktop personal computer market.JJJTS offers an innovative line of ultra-slim 3.0-inch disk drives that provide higher capacity and lower cost per megabyte than competitive alternatives in the portable computer market.JJThe president and chief executive officer of JTS, Tom Mitchell, was formerly the president and chief operating officer of Conner Peripherals and co-founder, president and chief operating officer of Seagate Technology. JTS Corporation 166 Baypointe Pkwy San Jose CA 95134-1621 USA Phone: 408-468-1800 Fax: 408-468-1619 Atari Corporation (a JTS subsidiary) ------------------------------ Subject: 1.2) What can I do with an 8-bit Atari? What can you do with an 8-bit Atari computer system? Virtually anything you can do with any other type of computer! Programming? Pascal, C, BASIC, Logo, Pilot, Forth, Lisp, 6502 assembler... Plus powerful unique languages like Action! and QUICK... Word Processing? Try AtariWriter, Letter Perfect, Paperclip, TextPro, Bank Street Writer, 1st EXLent, TurboWord, Cut & Paste, Letter Wizard, Panther, Superscript... Database? Try TurboBase, TurboFile, Synfile, Data Perfect, MicroFiler, MegaFiler, Homebase, Super Data Base 1-2-3, Small Business System... Speadsheet? Look at Syncalc, Visicalc, TurboBase, Calc Magic, Turbo-Calc, SAM Budget... Communications? There's Express!, BobTerm, Kermit-65, Omnicom, VT850, Chameleon, Ice-T, FlickerTerm 80, Term80... Graphics? Print Shop, Newsroom, Blazing Paddles, Video Title Shop, Virtuoso, Movie Maker, News Station, Publishing Pro, Awardware, Page Designer, ChromaCAD, Rambrandt... Music? Virtuoso, Music Studio, Music Construction Set, Songwriter, Electronic Drummer, Music Painter, Music Composer, AtariMusic, MIDI-Track, Digital Music System, Chaos Music Composer... Alternate Operating Systems? There's the Diamond Graphic Operating System; SpartaDOS X, the 64K DOS on a "supercartridge"; the S.A.M. (Screen Aided Management) 80 column Desktop System; the Ultra Speed Plus OS; the TurBoss! High Speed O/S... Hardware? A plethora of upgrades and add-ons are available, realizing improvements in speed, memory, sound, graphics, storage name it! Education? Colorful graphics, exciting sounds and full-screen editing give rise to hundreds of quality educational software titles. Entertainment? The 8-bit Atari has long been famous for thousands of great games. If you want to do something with a computer, chances are you can do it on an 8-bit Atari computer. While slower than today's PC's, the 8-bit Atari is far less costly than any of these, is easier to program at the machine level or alter at the hardware level, and has been documented more thoroughly than any of the newer computing platforms. The relative simplicity in design of the 8-bit Atari also means that many people find the systems more reliable than their modern counterparts. The software for the 8-bit Atari is sometimes more powerful than on any other platform. For example, some Bulliten Board Systems are still run on 8-bit Ataris specifically because the BBS software available can be better than that for any other type of computer. There is a reason for the relative quality of software on the 8-bit Atari. People program commercially for the latest PC's to make money; people program the 8-bit Atari because they want to -- they enjoy producing good software. It takes a team of specialized programmers to develop a major piece of software for those other systems; with the 8-bit Atari, a single person has the chance to learn the entire system, thereby developing greater pride in his programming abilities and his final product. The character of the programmer can shine through. The 8-bit Atari owner can take pride that his/her computer platform was developed years before the IBM PC or Apple Macintosh were even on the drawing boards, but remains as useful today as it was in 1979. For these reasons and more, the 8-bit Atari remains a popular alternative in today's home computer marketplace. ------------------------------ Subject: 1.3) What are the some of the performance features of the 8-bit Atari? Some of this text by (Bill Kendrick). CLOCK SPEED: NTSC machines: 1.78979 MHz PAL machines: 1.773447 MHz SCREEN REFRESH RATE: 60 times per second (Hz) on NTSC Ataris 49.86 Hz on PAL machines ANTIC AND THE DISPLAY LIST: ANTIC CIO/BASIC Display Resolution Number of Mode # Graphics # Type (full screen) Colors --------------------------------------------------------------- 2 0 Char 40 x 24 1 * 3 - Char 40 x 19 1 * 4 12 ++ Char 40 x 24 5 5 13 ++ Char 40 x 12 5 6 1 Char 20 x 24 5 7 2 Char 20 x 12 5 8 3 Map 40 x 24 4 9 4 Map 80 x 48 2 A 5 Map 80 x 48 4 B 6 Map 160 x 96 2 C 14 ++ Map 160 x 192 2 D 7 Map 160 x 96 4 E 15 ++ Map 160 x 192 4 F 8 Map 320 x 192 1 * F 9 + Map 80 x 192 1 ** F 10 + Map 80 x 192 9 F 11 + Map 80 x 192 16 *** * 1 Hue; 2 Luminances ** 1 Hue; 16 Luminances *** 16 Hues; 1 Luminance + require the GTIA chip. 1979-1981 400/800's shipped with CTIA ++ Not available via the BASIC GRAPHICS command in 400/800's. GRAPHICS INDIRECTION (COLOR REGISTERS AND CHARACTER SETS): Nine color registers are available. Each color register holds any of 16 luminances x 16 hues = 256 colors. (Four registers are for player-missile graphics. Character sets of 128 8x8 characters, each with a normal and an inverse video incarnation, are totally redefinable. PLAYER-MISSLE GRAPHICS: Four 8-bit wide, 128 or 256 byte high single color players, and four 2-bit wide, 128 or 256 byte high single color missiles are available. A mode to combine the 4 missiles into a 5th 8-bit wide player is also available, as is a mode to XOR colors or blacken out colors when players overlap (good for making three colors out of two players!) Players and missiles have adjustable priority and collision detection. DISPLAY LIST INTERRUPTS (DLI's): Screen modes can be mixed (by lines) down the screen using the Display List - a program which is executed by the ANTIC graphics chip every screen refresh: All other screen attributes (color, player/missile horizontal position, screen width, player/missile/playfield priority, etc.) can be ajusted at any point down the screen via DLI's. SCROLLING: Fine scrolling (both vertical and horizontal) can be enabled on any line on the screen. SOUND: Four voices of 8-bit pitch-resolution, 4-bit volume-resolution, 8-distortion sound can be produced. 2 voices (1 and 2, and/or 3 and 4) can be combined to make 16-bit pitch-resolution. Also 4-bit volume-only modes can be enabled for digitally sampled sound replay. A fifth "voice" is produced by the internal speaker on Atari 400/800's (for keyclick and buzzer) and in the XL's and XE's this was (fortunately!) rerouted through the normal audio output, and the keyclick can be disabled. ------------------------------ Subject: 1.4) What is the internal layout of the 8-bit Atari? The following text was written by Chris Crawford and appears in De Re Atari (Atari#APX-90008), a book published and copyright by Atari, Inc., 1981-1982. It has been very slightly modified here for generality. "The internal layout of the Atari 8-bit computer is very different from other systems. It of course has a microprocessor (a 6502), RAM, ROM, and a (PIA). However, it also has three special-purpose (LSI) chips known as ANTIC, GTIA, and POKEY. These chips were designed by Atari engineers primarily to take much of the burden of housekeeping off of the 6502, thereby freeing the 6502 to concentrate on computations. While they were at it, they designed a great deal of power into these chips. Each of these chips is almost as big (in terms of silicon area) as a 6502, so the three of them together provide a tremendous amount of power. Mastering the Atari 8-bit computers is primarily a matter of mastering these three chips. ANTIC ("Alpha-Numeric Television Interface Circuit") is a microprocessor dedicated to the television display. It is a true microprocessor; it has an instruction set, a program (called the display list), and data. The display list and the display data are written into RAM by the 6502. ANTIC retrieves this information from RAM using direct memory access (DMA). It processes the higher level instructions in the display list and translates these instructions into a real-time stream of simple instructions to GTIA. CTIA ("Color Television Interface Adapter") / GTIA ("George's Television Interface Adapter") is a television interface chip. ANTIC directly controls most of GTIA's operations, but the 6502 can be programmed to intercede and control some or all of GTIA's functions. GTIA converts the digital commands from ANTIC (or the 6502) into the signal that goes to the television. GTIA also adds some factors of its own, such as color values, player-missle graphics, and collision detection. POKEY is a digital input/output (I/O) chip. It handles such disparate tasks as the serial I/O bus, audio generation, keyboard scan, and random number generation. It also digitizes the resistive paddle inputs and controls maskable interrupt (IRQ) requests from peripherals. All four of these LSI chips function simultaneously. Careful separation of their functions in the design phase has minimized conflicts between the chips. The only hardware level conflict between any two chips in the system occurs when ANTIC needs to use the address and data buses to fetch its display information. To do this, it halts the 6502 and takes control of the buses." The 130XE and XEGS contain a small additional LSI called FREDDY, a RAM address multiplexer. According to (James Bradford), "FREDDY is a type of memory controller. It takes the address and clock from the CPU and multiplexes it with the appropriate timings and signals to use DYNAMIC memory. FREDDY also buffers the system clock crystal and divides it down then feeds that to GTIA. The XEGS has a FREDDY but it doesn't have the extended RAM. Even if it did, you would still need the chip that does the REAL bank switching. It is a small 16-pin chip (Atari/Best Electronics catalog number CO25953: rev9/page 42). It gets RAS from FREDDY, the bank select bits from PIA, A14, A15 and the 6502 halt signal to control which bank of 8 chips RAS goes to. A14 and A15 then go to FREDDY for the address range of the extra memory bank (or normal address range with no bank switching). The ANTIC/6502 select bits in combination with the 6502 halt line, control the switching of the PIA bank number bits to A14/A15 and which bank of memory RAS goes to. Why people say FREDDY does the bank switching is beyond me. An 800XL can look like a 130XE with that 16-pin chip installed (That's right NO FREDDY) and an extra 8 RAM chips." Hardware Arrangement (With thanks to (Peter)) -> +---------------------------------------+ | +------------+ | | | CPU(6502C) | +-------+ | +------------+ <- | I/O- | | | +----------|release| | +-+ | +-------+ | +---------+<- |p| | | | | MMU |-----| | | <-+---------+-|----------+----------+ *-| memory- | |r| *---| PIA | | (trigger)|Controller|====\ | |managment|-----|-+--------| (6520) | |+---------| Ports |====/ | +---------+<- |o| -> | +---------+-|-+ <--> +----------+ | | | | ||| | | | +-----+ |c| | <-+---------+ ||| |(lightpen) | | RAM |<-A/D | | *---| ANTIC | ||| | | *---|8-128|-------|e|----|---|(2nd CPU)|---------------+ | | |Kbyte|->D | | -> | +---------+ ||| +--------------- | +-----+ |s| | || ||| | | | | | <-+---------+-|||--------+(screen) | +-------+ |s| *---| GTIA |-|+| | | | | Atari |<-A | |----|---| /CTIA | | | | +----------+ +-----------+ | | BASIC |------|o| -> | +---------+ | | | | summary |===| modulator | *--|8 Kbyte|->D | | | | | | |connection|===| ^^^^^^^^^ | | | ROM | |r| | <-+---------+ | | | +----------+ +-----------+ | +-------+ | | +---| POKEY |-|-|-+ |(sound) | | | |--------| |-|-|--------+ | | +-------+ |b| -> +---------+ | +----------+ | | |AtariOS|<-A | | | | | | *--|10/16Kb|------|u| +--|----------+ | tv/monitor | | ROM |->D | +----------------- | | | ********** | +-------+ |s| | | | | | | | | | | | | | | +-+ +-+ | | | | | | | | | +--------------*---|------------*---| | | | | | | | | | | +-----------+ +-----------+ +------------+ |ParallelBus| | Cartridge | | Serial | |Interface/ | | Slot | |Input/Output| | Enhanced | | ROM | | (SIO) | | Cartridge | +-----------+ +------------+ | Interface | | | +-----------+ | | | | | - memory expansion -cartridge with - disk drive - Z80 card programs - printer - 80 char card (games , dos ) - modem NOTES * RAM: 400/800:8/16/48K,1200XL/800XL/65XE/800XE/XEGS:64K,600XL:16K,130XE:128K * ROM: 400/800:10K OS, 1200XL:16K OS, all others:16K OS + 8K Atari BASIC * CPU: 400/800:6502, all others:6502C * 800 includes two Cartridge Slots, all others include one * early release 400/800 have CTIA instead of GTIA * 400/800 have 4 Controller Ports, all others have 2 * PBI is on 600XL/800XL only * ECI is on 130XE/800XE only ------------------------------ Subject: 2.1) What is comp.sys.atari.8bit? news:comp.sys.atari.8bit is the unmoderated Usenet newsgroup for discussion about the Atari 8-bit family of computers, including the 400, 800, 1200XL, 600XL, 800XL, 65XE, 130XE, 800XE and the XE Game System! comp.sys.atari.8bit was born around 1986 when the earlier comp.sys.atari newsgroup was split into comp.sys.atari.8bit and Large binary posts do not belong in unmoderated discussion groups like comp.sys.atari.8bit. If you wish to share PD/freeware/shareware, use alt.binaries.atari and alt.binaries.atari.d or upload the software to the University of Michigan Atari Archive. To the best of my knowledge, there is no charter for comp.sys.atari.8bit, presumably because the custom of drafting charters for new newsgroups did not exist at that time. ------------------------------ Subject: 2.2) What other Usenet newsgroups cover the 8-bit Atari? news:comp.sys.atari.advocacy Opinionated discussions about Atari computers. Unmoderated. news:comp.sys.atari.announce Announcements related to Atari computers. Dead newsgroup? Moderated by Yat Siu, news:comp.sys.atari.programmer Programming Atari computers. Unmoderated. Orphan home video game systems. Unmoderated. news:comp.emulators.misc Emulating one kind of computer on another. Unmoderated. news:comp.emulators.announce Announcements related to computer emulators. Moderated by Qualcomm, news:alt.binaries.atari uuencoded software for Atari computers. Unmoderated. news:alt.binaries.atari.d Descriptions/discussions on software posted on alt.binaries.atari. Unmoderated. news:alt.binaries.comp.atari8bit uuencoded software just for the 8-bit Atari. Not widely available. ------------------------------ Subject: 3.1) What is INFO-ATARI8? INFO-ATARI8 is an e-mail list for discussion about the Atari 8-bit family of computers. To subscribe to INFO-ATARI8, send a message to: that says: subscribe info-atari8 INFO-ATARI8 is moderated by mailto:snyder10@MAILHOST.TCS.TULANE.EDU (Mike Todd) INFO-ATARI8 was created on December 9, 1986. ------------------------------ Subject: 3.2) What is the Classic Computers List? The Classic Computers List is a discussion list for people who collect/preserve/restore old computers of any kind. If you would like more info you can find it at . If you don't have access to the web, then send an e-mail to (Bill Whitson, ClassicCmp ListOp). On the web site you'll find information on how to subscribe in addition to the two ClassicCmp FAQs. If you decide to subscribe, please read all three documents first. ------------------------------ Subject: 3.3) What is ATARIPL? From: Wojciech Hartman Date: Saturday, March 15, 1997 3:51 AM I am proud to announce that there is a mailing list "ataripl" for all polish-speaking Atari users and enthusiasts. To subscribe the lists you have to send an email to containing a line "subscribe ataripl". ------------------------------ Subject: 3.4) What is ATARI8-L? To subscribe, you should send the message for with the line: subscribe atari8-l in the body (not the subject) of the message. ------------------------------ Subject: 4.1) What is the University of Michigan Archive? The University of Michigan (UMich) Software Archives hold a huge number of files for many computing platforms, including the Atari 8-bit computers. For more information: Bill Kendrick, (8-bit Atari files) Mickey Boyd, (the entire Atari Archive) Michael Dautermann, (the entire UMich Software Archives) Downloading ----------- There are numerous methods available for downloading files from the UMich Archive. The Archivists request you use these mechanisms in this order of preference: 1) The number one way to get into the UMich archives is via AFS. If you have AFS, all our files are kept in the directory "/afs/". If you have AFS, PLEASE USE IT! Specifically, use: file:///afs/ 2) Gophering to and looking under the "Software Archives" choice. Specifically, use: gopher:// There are also mirror Gopher servers: gopher:// gopher:// gopher:// 3) The WWW interface is fine, at this point. Specifically, use: A mirror web site: 4) FTPing to and looking in the "8bit" subdirectory. Specifically, use: The FTP site is chronically overloaded, but there are several mirror sites which are all updated from the home site regularly: ( <-- RECOMMENDED ) Brief FTP tips: - user name is "anonymous"; password is your e-mail address - Remember to set file type to BINARY when downloading non-text files (.arc, .com, .dcm, etc.) by FTP. 5) E-Mail <-> FTP gateways. See the section of this FAQ list entitled "How can I retrieve files from FTP sites by e-mail?" Uploading --------- General uploading tips: - No uploads may be made to the Archive's mirror sites. - Please also upload a short text file describing what your upload is. You might also suggest what permanent 8bit subdirectory you'd like your file to end up in. - Note that the 8bit/New directory is "write-only." 1) upload via AFS: Just copy files into file:///afs/ 2) upload via FTP: FTP to, cd into "8bit/New", and upload your files. Brief FTP tips: - user name is "anonymous"; password is your e-mail address - Remember to set file type to BINARY when downloading non-text files (.arc, .com, .dcm, etc.) by FTP. 3) upload via E-Mail: Simply uuencode the file and mail it to (Bill Kendrick). ------------------------------ Subject: 4.2) What is the Boston Archive? Here's an 8-bit Atari FTP site located at Boston University. It is maintained by Adam Bryant, . This site seems to have seen no uploads for years, but there are some files here that aren't on any of the other sites. [IS THIS SITE LOST? - 10/13/95] ( ------------------------------ Subject: 4.3) What is the PVV Archive? This is a mid-sized Atari FTP site maintained by (Eyvind Bernhardsen). PVV stands for ProgramVareVerstedet, or The Software Workshop, a student society at the University of Trondheim, Norway. ( Uploads go to /incoming/atari/8bit; Eyvind will move them to the appropriate directory. Please include a readme file with each upload, so people know what they're downloading. ------------------------------ Subject: 4.4) What is the ClarkNet Archive? This smallish 8-bit Atari FTP site is maintained by Kevin Atkinson, . ( Write to Kevin for uploading instructions. A mirror of the ClarkNet Archive, kept by Jason Duerstock: ( ------------------------------ Subject: 4.5) What is the Gatekeeper's Archive? This small FTP site offers most of the resources provided on the Atari 8-Bit Home Page. Kept by (Ivo van Poorten, The Gatekeeper). ( ------------------------------ Subject: 4.6) What is the Polish Demo Archive? It's a place when you can get all Polish (not only) demos (not only) on a Atari 8-bit. If You have any comments, write to: ------------------------------ Subject: 4.7) What is the Slovakian Archive? This FTP site contains some demos, games, utils, zines from all the world. Here you can also find some Slovak or Czech stuff. Contact: (Marco, of GMG) ------------------------------ Subject: 5.1) What is the Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG? Internet access to the Cleveland Free-Net (Cleveland, Ohio, USA): telnet:// or telnet:// or telnet:// Type "go atari" at any menu. Contact: (Atari SIG) ------------------------------ Subject: 5.2) What is the National Capital FreeNet Atari Users SIG? Internet access to the National Capital FreeNet (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada): telnet:// (Type "go atari" at any menu) or gopher:// or Contact: (Jack Kitowicz) or (Blair Dea) ------------------------------ Subject: 5.3) What is the Victoria Telecommunity Network Atari Users SIG? Internet access to the Victoria Telecommunity Network (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada): telnet:// (Type "go atari" at any menu) Contact: (Gordon Hooper) or (Ted Skrecky) ------------------------------ Subject: 7.1) What WWW pages support the 8-bit Atari? This should be a complete list of WWW pages supporting the 8-bit Atari. VENDORS/DEVELOPERS/PUBLISHERS: See my companion vendor/developer list USER GROUPS: Atari Bit Byter User Club e.V. (ABBUC e.V.) Wolfgang Burger, Atari Boise User Group (ABUG) Ron Whittam, Atari Computer Enthusiasts of Columbus (ACEC) Michael Steve, The Atari Exchange of Louisville (AEL) Central Atari Information Network (CAIN) Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG, Edmonton Atari Computer Hobbyists (EACH) Leslie Hartmier, Queensland Atari Computer Enthusiasts (QACE) St. Paul Atari Computer Enthusiasts (SPACE) Michael Current, Toronto Atari Federation (TAF) Stephen Christian, BBS HOME PAGES: Beco Tel Bernard Kok, Atari Inside Marius Diepenhorst, The Last Hope Ryan Goolevitch, OTHER HOME PAGES: The Atari 8-Bit Home Page Ivo van Poorten, Atari 8-bit Resort Marek Tomczyk, Big Atari 8bit Home Page Tomasz Tatar, Some Atari 8-bit Stuff Rob Funk, Atari XL/XE-System ACF Design Team, ATARI XL/XE - Homepage Stefan Lausberg, Tolkien computer games for the Atari 400 Fredrik Ekman, The good old Atari Computers (1978-1985) Sacha Hofer, Beyond ....The Black Stump Atari Page Alternate Reality Homepage Robert Hagenstrom, Reminiscing: 8-Bit Atari Games John V. Goodman, Classic Home Video Games Museum Dennis Brown, La cueva de los 8 bits Mariano Domnguez Molina, Alternate Reality The Classic Role Playing Game Matt Roller, Atari 8-bit Emulator Page Tony Smolar, Atari 8-bit Utilities (emulators/SIO2PC/APE) Preston Crow, BRiTiSH Underground Atari 8-bit Craig Lisowski, Homepage Nyman: Atari 8 bit Peter Nyman, mailto:N94PetNy@Midgard.Liu.Se Atari 8-bit Emulator utilities Ivan Mackintosh, Draco's Atari area Konrad M. Kokoszkiewicz, 8-Bit Atari Emulation and Games David Grieve, Cartridge List for the Classic Atari 800/XL/XE Computers Andrew Krieg, The M*U*L*E Web David L. Tucker, The Digital ANTIC Project Kevin Savetz, TIGHT group - Atari 8-bit stuff Michal Franczak, The Atari 400/800 and OSS Paul Laughton, InfoMan's Atari Page Trevor Holyoak, BKproductions 8bit Power! Will Fisher, Atari Gaming Headquarters Keita Iida, John Hardie & Les Caron, Phoenix Atari Connection John Collins, ATARI XL/XE Computer - Welcome / Willkommen / Bienvenue Ulf Petersen, Classic Video Game High Score List Russ Melanson, Nordic Atari Show (NAS) and Convention Rolf Johansson, Atari 8-Bit Marcus Phillips, Alternate Reality on the Web Sean Noble, Captain Balde's Atari Bookmarks Rich Tietjens, Computer Trading Zone Sean Noble, FM Atari 8bit Info Fred Meijer, The Classics Exchange David Wyn Davies, The Fuji Federation David Schmudde, Planet Irata...World of Atari Tony Cervo, Atari XL/XE Games And Demos Sven Gleich, HeAvEn's Demo-Homepage The Video Game High Score Page Sam Hartmann, Atari 8-bit Projects & Stuff Sidney Cadot, The Atari Prototypes & Vaporwares Site Curt Vendel, Atari Preservation Society (APS) (Dave Bell) Atari 8-bit & Linux (Pavel Machek) Page of all Atarians and M.E.C. Group (Masters of Electric City) Dhor, Atari Technical Information (Trevin Beattie) Ken's Atari 8-Bit Page Ken Siders, Cobra Team Home Page Krzysztof Sieniawski, ------------------------------ Subject: 8.1) What IRC channels discuss the 8-bit Atari? ==> #atari8 - Just for 8-bit Atari users! ==> #rgvc - Classic Games and Systems Collectors. "Rec.Games.Video.Classic" (Chad Wagner) writes: If you have access to a Unix host then you should be able to get to irc by typing irc at your shell prompt and jumping on an EFnet server (,, and joining #atari8. If you are using a host that has a menu system then locate IRC and go there, and join #atari8 (and hope your on EFnet, :). If you are using SLIP/PPP then download a client (for Windows users, download mIRC for Winsock archives, and I would guess that most SLIP/PPP users -- if they have gotten that far -- are familiar with IRC, :) and select one of the servers and join #atari8. There is many IRC servers on EFnet, chances are the one your on is on EFnet. ------------------------------ Subject: 9.1) What's this UUEncoding stuff (.uu, .uue files) all about? UUEncode/UUdecode is a UNIX utility that will convert a binary file into 100% printable ASCII characters, so that the file may be posted or e-mailed anywhere a text message can go. The 8-bit Atari is perfectly capable of UUEncoding/UUdecoding as well. On the archives: Uudecode 1.2a by John Sangster - very functional. filenames: Archivers/uudecode.bas, Archivers/uudecode.doc Yet Another UU-coder by John Dunning - both decoding/encoding. filename: Archivers/yau.arc, by ??? - "newer, cleaner, easier to use." filename: Utilities/uue.arc Dumas UU-coder by John Dunning filename: Cc65/dumasuu.arc ------------------------------ Subject: 9.2) What is an .arc file? A file with the extender .arc has been archived in a standard manner that is common in the MS-DOS world. This is done to make the file shorter, so it takes up less space on your disk and it takes less time to transfer between computers. The archives contains several 8-bit Atari archivers fully compatible with this standard, including: Super Un-Arc 2.3, Super Arc 2.0 by Bob Puff - highly recommended. filenames: Archivers/superarc.arc - both Super Un-Arc & Super Arc Archivers/suprarc2.arc - Super Arc Archivers/ - Super Un-Arc Archivers/supunarc.uue - Super Un-Arc ------------------------------ Subject: 9.3) What are the .DCM, .ATR, and .XFD file formats? These are all filename extensions used to name files containing entire 8-bit Atari floppy disk images. DCM - Disk Communicator format. Invented by Bob Puff, for his Disk Communicator 3.2 utility. Used when working with native Atari hardware. ATR - Atari disk image format. Invented by Nick Kennedy, for his SIO2PC project. Used when working with non-Atari hardware. XFD - Xformer disk image format. Invented by Emulators Inc, for their ST Xformer emulator. Identical to ATR except without the 16 byte header. Used when working with non-Atari hardware. PRO - APE ProSystem format. Invented by Steven Tucker, for his APE ProSystem device. Used with APE, the Atari Peripheral Emulator. ------------------------------ Subject: 9.4) What are the .XMO and .BIN file formats? XMO stands for XMODEM. The idea was that the file was not plain text, but was a binary file. As a binary file, it had to be downloaded using a file transfer protocol such as XMODEM. The use of ".xmo" as a filename extender was popular once, but has been discouraged for years. BIN - another filename extension sometimes used to designate binary-load files. Like .xmo, use of .bin is discouraged. ------------------------------ Subject: 11.1) What are the best terminal emulators available? Here are some of the more popular PD/freeware/shareware terminal programs available. BobTerm 1.22, shareware by Bob Puff (There's also a 1.23 that's specific to PC XFormer) Emulates: VT52 Text: 40 columns in gr.0; 80 col. w/ XEP80 File Xfer: XMODEM, YMODEM, FMODEM Autodial: Yes Backscroll buffer: No Capture-to-disk: Yes Summary: Feature-filled; excellent for BBSing filename: Telecomm/bterm12.arc Kermit-65 3.7, PD by John R. Dunning Emulates: VT100 Text: 40 columns in gr.0; 80 col. in gr.8; 80 col. w/ XEP80 (sort of) File Xfer: Kermit Autodial: No Backscroll buffer: No Capture-to-disk: No Summary: Excellent VT100 emulation; rock-solid Kermit Xfers filenames: Telecomm/k65v37.arc - latest version Telecomm/k65doc.arc - documentation Telecomm/k65src.arc - source code OmniCom by CDY Consulting Emulates: VT100 Text: 80 columns in gr.8 File Xfer: XMODEM, Kermit Autodial: No Backscroll buffer: No Capture-to-disk: No Summary: Combination VT100, XMODEM, Kermit; buggy at file Xfers filename: Telecomm/omnicom.arc VT850 B1, shareware by Curtis Laser Emulates: VT100/VT102 (plus complete VT220 keymap) Text: 40 columns in gr.0; 80 col. w/ XEP80 File Xfer: None Autodial: No Backscroll buffer: No Capture-to-disk: Yes Summary: Excellent at VT100 on the XEP80; 1200bps top speed filename: Telecomm/vt850b1.arc FlickerTerm 80 v.0.51, freeware by LonerSoft (Clay Halliwell) Emulates: VT100, IBM ANSI Text: 80 column via a special Graphics 0 screen (no hardware req'd) File Xfer: None Autodial: No Backscroll buffer: No Capture-to-disk: No Summary: Fastest and most complete VT100 emulation; readability a minus filename: ????? Ice-T XE v. 2.72 (128K) or Ice-T 1.1 (48K) by Itay Chamiel Emulates: VT100 Text: 80 column via a fast-scrolling graphics 8 screen File Xfer: XMODEM download Autodial: Yes (2.7 XE) or No (1.1) Backscroll buffer: Yes--8 screens (2.7 XE) or One screen (1.1) Capture-to-disk: Yes--up to 16K (2.7 XE) or No (1.1) Summary: Excellent for high-speed VT100 emulation ------------------------------ Subject: 11.2) Can I read/write 8-bit Atari disks on an IBM-PC? There are several programs that allow an MS-DOS system to work with an Atari-format diskette. The following require a DOS and disk drive on the Atari end capable of the SS/DD 180K format: ATARIO by Dave Brandman w/ Kevin White - Reads SS/DD 180K Atari disks. filename: Diskutils/atario21.arc SpartaRead by Oscar Fowler - Reads SS/DD 180K SpartaDOS disks. filename: Diskutils/sr.arc UTIL by Charles Marslett - Reads/Writes SS/DD 180K Atari disks. Use MyUTIL! filename: Diskutils/dskutil.arc (Older versions are contained in pcxfer.arc, util.arc, and ataridsk.arc) MyUTIL by Charles Marslett with Mark Vallevand, and SpartaDOS disk utility by Mark Vallevand filename: Diskutils/ includes best version of UTIL for read/write of SS/DD 180K Atari disks, plus Mark's SpartaDOS disk utility v0.1e to access 180K SpartaDOS disks MyUTIL and the XF551 - tips from ]MyUtil works fine with the XF551. The XF551's speed is 300 rpm (sometimes even ]up to 303 rpm). I've got two XF551s and can read/write disks written on a PC ]with MyUtil on both with no problems. MyUtil even can write to a DS/DD disk, ]for a total of 360 K, BUT: the ATARI disks not only have the bits inverted, ]the second side is also read BACKWARDS respect to PC disks. That is, when ]MyUtil on the PC writes to what it thinks is sector 721, it really is writing ]to sector 1440! Worse, if you take an ATARI disk with a file whose sectors ]get past sector 720, MyUtil will attempt to read the sector 2161-n instead of ]'n', and you'll get a 'truncated record' error. The solution is simply to ]rewrite the code to take into account this (if sec>720 then sec=2161-sec). ]Let me know if you modify this. You don't know how frustrating it is to have ]to use only 180 K of a 360 K disk! I'm going to analyze the source code, but ]I don't know if I will be able to modify it properly. If someone does it ]before, please email me and send me an uuencoded copy or tell me where to get ]it. Here's some advice on using the above utilities from (Hans Breitenlohner): There are two technical obstacles to interchanging disks between DD Atari drives and PC drives. 1. The Atari drive spins slightly slower (288 rpm instead of 300 rpm). If you format a disk on the Atari, then write sectors on the PC, it is possible that the header of the next physical sector will be overwritten, making that sector unreadable. (The next physical sector is usually the current logical sector+2). The solution to this is to format all disks on the PC. (Aside: Does anybody know how this problem is handled on the XF551? Is it also slowed down?) Konrad Kokoszkiewicz, answers: "The XF551 disk drive is not slowed down - these drives are spinning 300 rotations per minute. To prevent troubles with read/write disks formatted and written on normal Atari drives (288 rot/min), the main crystal frequency for the floppy disk controller is 8.333 MHz (not 8 MHz, as in 1050, for example)." 2. If the PC drive is a 1.2M drive there is the additional problem of the track width. The following is generally true in the PC world: - disks written on 360k drives can be read on either drive - blank disk formatted and written on 1.2M drives can be read on either kind - disks written on a 360k drive, and overwritten on a 1.2M drive, can be read reliably only on a 1.2M drive. - disks previously formatted on a 360k drive, or formatted as 1.2MB, and then reformatted on a 1.2M drive to 360k, can be read reliably only on a 1.2M drive. (all this assumes you are using DD media, not HD). Solution: Use a 360k drive if you can. If not, format disks on the Atari for Atari to PC transfers, format truly blank disks on the PC for PC to Atari transfers. Jon D. Melbo, sums it up this way: So a basic rule of themb when sharing 360KB floppies among 360KB & 1.2MB drives is: Never do any writes with a 1.2MB drive to a disk that has been previously written to in a 360KB drive....UNLESS... you only plan on ever using that disk in the 1.2Mb drive from then on out. Of course a disk can be reformated in a particular drive any time for use in that drive. As long as you follow that rule, you can utilize the backwards compatible 360KB modes that most 1.2MB drives offer. While the above work with SS/DD 180K Atari-format disks, the following combination of utilities can be used to work with SS/SD 90K Atari-format disks, and is currently the best bet for reading SS/ED 128K Atari-format disks. AnaDisk 2.07, shareware by Sydex - Reads/Writes "any" 5.25" diskette filenames: Xf2/, Xf2/anadisk.txt Deana by Nate Monson - converts AnaDisk dump files from Atari format filenames: Xf2/, Xf2/deana.txt Explanation --> According to (Preston Crow), "As best as I can figure it out, if your PC drive happens to read FM disks (I'm not sure what the criteria for that is), then you can read single density disks on your PC by dumping the contents to a file with AnaDisk, and then using to convert the dump file into a usable format. For enhanced density disks, Anadisk generally only reads the first portion of each sector, but it demonstrates that it is possible for a PC drive to read enhanced density disks." ------------------------------ Subject: 11.3) Can I read/write MS-DOS disks on an 8-bit Atari? a) Mule by Rick Cortese - Read/Write 180K MS-DOS disks with an Atari 1050 drive or equivalent. Very limited. filenames: Diskutils/mule.arc, Diskutils/mule.exe, Diskutils/mule.txt b) SIO2PC, described elsewhere in this FAQ List (section 11.5), can be used to read/write to a hard drive connected to an MS-DOS system. This can also be a very effective file-transfer solution. c) The XF551 3.5" Upgrades from Computer Software Services (see the companion vendor/developer list) allow the Atari XF551 disk drive to read 720K 3.5" MS-DOS disks. d) The Floppy Board, the add-on to the Black-Box from Computer Software Services (see the companion vendor/developer list), allows both low density (360K 5.25", 720K 3.5"), and, in the case of the Deluxe Version, high density (1.2M 5.25", 1.44M 3.5") external MS-DOS-standard floppy drives to be used on the Atari. A utility is included to read/write MS-DOS formatted floppies in all supported densities. ------------------------------ Subject: 11.4) How do I transfer files using a null modem cable? This section by mailto:cb541@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (James R. Gilbert) A: Simply put, you need a terminal program and an RS 232 port on each computer. The RS 232 ports need to be connected together using a 'null modem cable'. For up to 4800 bps, no flow control lines need be connected. Just cross the transmit and receive lines and join the grounds together. (Transmit is pin #2, receive is pin #3 and ground is pin #7 on the 25-pin port.) The right hand pin on the 'long' side of a female 'D' connector is #1. There are 13 holes on this 'long' side, 12 holes on the 'short' side. The numbers go from #1 on the right to #13 on the left on the 'long' side and from #14 to #25 from right to left on the 'short' side. #25 is closest to being under #13. A male connector is the mirror image of this. Most terminal programs allow a null connection, without a carrier detect. Notably, '850 Express!' does not. A convenient way to make a null modem cable, up to about 30 feet long, is to use two female DB25 connectors and some three or more conductor cable. Using the two DB25 female connectors allows unplugging your modem and plugging in the null modem cable. This also avoids the confusion of the wide variety of serial port jacks on different computers. Almost all computers connect into the modem via a DB25 connection. The SIO port on the Atari cannot be used directly. An 850 Interface Module, P:R:Connection, Multi I/O, Black Box (by Computer Software Services) or similar device that provides an RS232 port must be used. On the Atari, the port is a female DB9. So you need a male DB9 to male DB25 modem cable to connect to your modem. So why not use this cable as your null modem cable as well? For higher speed connections, above about 9600 bps on the 8-bit, you need the flow control lines. You also need a Multi I/O or Black Box, which use the PBI (parallel bus), then you can go higher than 9600 bps. Following are pin assignments for a DB25 pin RS 232 C port. 13 1 o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o 25 14 (Above is female, male is mirror image.) 1. Protective Ground 12. Select Alternate Rate 2. Transmit Data 15. Transmit Clock (sync) 3. Receive Data 17. Receive clock (sync) 4. RTS (Request to Send) 20. Data Terminal Ready 5. CTS (Clear to Send) 22. Ring indicator 6. Data Set Ready 23. Select Alternate Rate 7. Signal Ground 24. Transmit Clock 8. Carrier Detect A high speed cable would need not only pins 2 and 3 crossed but also pins 4 and 5 as well as 6 and 8. Or better yet, make a true 25 wire, straight through cable and use a commercial null modem. A commercial null modem is just a small device with the correct lines already crossed. (DTE = Data Terminal Equipment, i.e., your computer. DCE = Data Communications Equipment, i.e., your modem.) ------------------------------ Subject: 11.5) What is SIO2PC? Original text by Dave Paterson, SIO2PC is a cable and software combination that lets you use your PC as up to 4 drives for your 8-bit. Drives can be SD, ED, DD or custom sizes up to 16 megs. SIO2PC also lets you redirect the printer output to your PC printer or to a file on the PC. High speed drives are emulated (a la US Doubler). All these functions are transparent at the Atari end; you never notice the difference between SIO2PC and regular drives, except that the SIO2PC drives are faster than any others (except Ramdisks and PBI interface drives). Several different designs for the SIO2PC hardware are floating around. Best contact the author for the latest details. SIO2PC 4.13 is shareware by Nick Kennedy, ------------------------------ Subject: 11.6) How can I convert my commercial boot tape into a cassette image file? (Ernest R. Schreurs) writes: For those of you that like ALL classic Atari software, there is now a way to store all software that has been recorded on cassette tapes on the hard disk of your PC. I have written a program that is similar to the SIO2PC utility written by Nick Kennedy. But this one is intended for use with cassette software. You will need the following items: Any PC equipped with a sound card and about 50 to 100 Megs of free disk space to work with. The sound card should be able to sample sound at a sample rate of 44.100 Hz mono. The sample must be recorded into a .wav file. You need the wav2cas program to convert the .wav file to a .cas file. The .cas file is a digital cassette image file that only contains the data that is on the cassette tape. Once you have that, you can throw away the .wav file. The .cas files are typically 16 to 64K, so they are relatively small. To load cassette files into your Atari (i.e. boot a digital cassette image) you do not need a sound card. You do need a SIO2PC cable or similar device. You also need the cas2sio program. The wav2cas and cas2sio programs should be available from the archives of Umich by now. They have been put together in one zip file, along with the documentation and the 'C' source code. You can download it through the web interface at the URL Note the capital in Emulators and in Peripherals. Thanks to William Kendrick for helping me get it uploaded there! You can also try the gopher stuff: gopher:// Steven Tucker, the author of APE, has added support for this file format as of version 1.15 of APE. It looks real neat, so try that out too! Thanks to Steven for adding a nice user interface for these cassette images. He did a nice job. I am hoping other using are willing to write some programs to get more enjoyment out of this underrated storage medium. My stuff is available totally free for personal use, so I hope you enjoy it. Read the docs about the conditions. Keep those XL's/XE's humming. If you have any questions feel free to E-mail me: ------------------------------ Subject: 12.1) What 5.25" floppy disk drives are available? Major contributors to this section: (Glenn M. Saunders) (Tomasz M. Tatar) (James Bradford) (Konrad M. Kokoszkiewicz) ==> Atari 810 SS SD 19.2Kbps standard ==> Happy 810 SS SD Warp speed ==> Atari 1050 SS SD/ED 19.2Kbps standard ==> Happy 1050 SS SD/ED/DD Warp speed US Doubler/19.2 and 52k. track buffering ==> Cheer-Up 1050 Clone of "Happy" 1050 ==> Super Archiver 1050 SS SD/ED/DD Ultra Speed 50+K ==> Speedy 1050 SS SD/ED/DD 78K mode (European) used w/ Bibo-DOS (Compy Shop) ==> SuperMax 1050 SS SD/ED/DD 19.2k and 52k (ultra speed) by Super Products. Compatiable with SuperDOS and US Doubler ==> Lazer 1050 SS SD/ED/DD Another Happy clone; Compatible w/ US Doubler ==> Atari XF551 SS/DS SD/ED/DD 38K burst mode usable only with SpartaDOS X, SuperDOS 5.1, TurboDOS, DOS XE, and patched SpartaDOS 3.2. XF DS system now considered "standard". ==> CSS XF551 SS/DS SD/ED/DD US Doubler compatible. Updates drive to work better and faster. Also 3.5" upgrade available ==> Percom RFD4x-Sy where: x=0 -> a single-sided drive x=4 -> a double-sided drive y=1 -> a single-drive unit y=2 -> a dual-drive unit ==> Percom AT88-Sy[PD] where: y=1 -> a single-drive unit y=2 -> a dual-drive unit PD -> equipped with a built-in parallel printer port ==> Trak ATD1 SS SD ==> Trak ATD2 SS SD/DD Built in Diagnostics. Track indicator. Write protect switch. Built in parallel printer interface. 2k printer buffer (expandable). Optional Turbo software on Eprom. ==> Trak AT-1 SS SD/DD Slave ==> Indus GT SS SD/ED/DD Synchromesh mode usable with SpartaDOS X and DOSXL only. ==> Astra Double-D? SS/DS SD/DD? standard /LEDs and such ==> Rana 1000 SS SD/ED/DD standard /LEDs and such can format disks on a stand alone basis ==> TOMS 720 double head disk drive, 5.25", with mounted interface Centronics, chips: CPU 8085, WD2797, PIA 8255 (for handle Centronics), 32 KB ROM, 8 KB RAM ROM contains: OS of drive, MYDOS 4.50 and some utilities (copy, format, etc.) ROM is seen by computer as drive D1: (if drive is open), and D3: (when drive has number D1:) or D4: (when drive has number D2:). It makes possible load DOS from ROMdisk during booting system. Formats of disks: - SS/SD - 40 tracks, 18 sects, 128 bytes = 90 KB - SS/ED - 40 tracks, 26 sects, 128 bytes = 130 KB - SS/ED - 40 tracks, 18 sects, 256 bytes = 180 KB - SS/ID - IBM S-9 - 40 tracks, 9 sects, 512 bytes = 180 KB - DS/DD - 40 tracks, 18 sects, 256 bytes = 360 KB - DS/QD - 80 tracks, 18 sects, 256 bytes = 720 KB - DS/ID - IBM D-9 - 40 tracks, 9 sects, 512 bytes = 360 KB Transmition modes: - normal - 19200 bps - Turbo - 70000 bps - Ultra Speed - 70000 bps Also tracks buffering. ==> AS SN-360 double head disk drive, 5.25", CPU 8051, controler WD2797 19200 bps Available formats: - SS/SD - (FM) single sided, single density - 90 KB - SS/ED - (MFM) single sided, enhanced density - 130 KB - SS/DD - (MFM) single sided, double density - 180 KB - DS/DD - (MFM) double sided, double density - 360 KB ==> TOMS 710 (The newest polish disk drive and probably the best one) Similar to TOMS 720, one more format: - double sided, 80 tracks, IBM (720 KB) Transmition modes: - standard 19200 bps - TOMS Turbo (loaded from ROMdisk if drive is open) - 67000 bps - Ultra Speed (QMEG-OS, SpartaDOS) - 67000 bps Also tracks buffering. ROMdisk contain: - MYDOS 4.50 - COPY - INIT - TURBO - turn on/off TOMS Turbo mode - BASIC - turn on/off Atari Basic - AUTORUN.SYS - ramdisk - README Also TOMS Navigator instead of DUP.SYS. It is program similar to Norton Commander on PCs. IBM-ST copier on additional disk. ==> LDW Super 2000 SS SD/ED/DD 19200 bps or 67000 bps CPU Z80A, ROM 4 KB, RAM 256 B. Some difficulties with ED ==> LDW CA2001 SS SD/ED/DD 19200 bps or 38400 bps CPU Z80A, ROM 4 KB, RAM 256 B. Some difficulties with ED ==> LDW CA2002 SS/DS SD/ED/DD 19200 bps, 70000 with SpartaDOS CPU 8040, ROM 4 KB, RAM 256 B ==> Floppy board various Any standard very fast parallel DOS-transparent. Requires Black Box. DS system configurable for XF Percom or ATR style ==> HDI various Any standard very fast SIO? European ==> SWP ATR-8000 Any standard standard except 1.2 meg and unique DS system (HD) nice Z80 CP/M system in which CP/M drive acccess is parallel only thus faster. ==> Atari 1450XLD drives DS SD/ED DD? standard, requires DOS4. unusual DS system Only prototypes exist. ==> KARIN MAXI Double head disk drive 360 KB/5,25" or 720 KB/3,5", controller WD 1772. Available formats: = standard SS/SD 90 KB = standard SS/ED 130 KB = standard SS/DD 180 KB = 'cylindric' DS/DD 360 KB (XF-551 uncompatible) = 'cylindric' DS/QD 720 KB (TOMS-compatible; 720 KB drives only) Any other capabilities depend on a special software. Transmission mode: - parallel: real speed 11.25 kilobytes per second with DOS or 22.5 kilo- bytes per second with special track-copier. Notes: Because of the 1772-registers available in 6502 i/o pages ($D100), the KARIN MAXI drives look full-programmable. Preferred systems: My-DOS, SDX. ==> XFD-601B Double head 360 KB/5,25" disk drive. Controller WD 1772, CPU 8051. Available formats: - standard SS/SD 90 KB - standard SS/ED 130 KB - standard SS/DD 180 KB - standard DS/DD 360 KB (XF-551 compatible) Transmission modes: - normal 19200 bps - Top Drive 1050 70000 bps - Indus GT (synchromesh) 70000 bps (GTSYNC.COM and INDUS.SYS are not necessary; full-compatibel with the SDX) - Ultra Speed 70000 bps (full-compatible with the older SpartaDOS) Notes: Customized sector skew. In fact, the XFD-601B is a original clone of the XF-551. ==> XFD-602B The two XFD-601B drives in the one unit. ------------------------------ Subject: 12.2) How can I use 3.5" floppy disks with my 8-bit Atari? to be written. volunteers? - Amdek - XF551 upgrades (CSS) - Floppy Board (CSS) - Percom drive upgrades ==> Atari XF351 or XC35 3.5" system Unreleased ------------------------------ Subject: 12.3) What do I need to connect a hard drive to my 8-bit Atari? original by (Glenn M. Saunders) For starters, you'll need to obtain one of the following interfaces: ==> Corvus hard drive (10 megabytes) Rare. Fast but still relatively slow I/O, kludge through joystick ports for 800. ==> KPI Hard Disk Drive Interface (formerly Supra) from K-Products ( - Bob Klaas) Some limitations on drive type and size and total number of drives in sys. ==> Multi I/O (MIO) (formerly from ICD) from Fine Tooned Engineering (FTe) ( - Mike Hohman) 256 byter per sector restriction. 256K and 1 meg ramdisk models. Printer and modem, modem will handle 19.2K bps ==> Black Box from Computer Software Services (CSS) ( - Bob Puff) Will handle all SCSI drives. Allows 9 drive access for MYDOS. Currently the only modem interface with CTS/RTS hardware flow control. 19.2K ready. ==> SWP ATR-8000 Rare daughterboard for hard drives. I/O is probably fairly slow on this baby and there may be DOS restrictions. ==> IDE Hard Drive Interface from Konrad M. Kokoszkiewicz and Jacek Zuk (see ) o Maximum drive capacity: 16777215 physical blocks on each device. o Maximum number of partitions: 16 o Maximum capacity of a partition: 16777215 logical sectors o Logical sector length: 256 or 512 bytes o Average speed (in kilobytes per second, WDC 130AB drive): - Native mode, sequence of sectors (R): 75 - Emulation mode, sequence of sectors (R): 43 - Emulation mode, back sequence (R): 28 - Emulation mode, random sectors (R): 13 - Emulation mode, same sector (R): 29 - Emulation mode, DOS file (W): 7 - Emulation mode, DOS file (R): 36 o Booting from any partition (on the standard XL OS) o Write protection capability o 8 jumpers to set the device number for the operating system o Sweet 16 compatibility ==> Fine Tooned Engineering Multi I/O II An IDE interface. Released? ==> MSC IDE-Harddisk-Controller created by Steve Birmanns and Matthias Belitz in Germany * real device for the parallel-port of the Atari XL-Series * up to 240 partitions per harddisk supported * emulates D1: until D9: of disk devices (access to 9 partitions at one time) * full bootable from any partition (with standard XL-OS) * write protectition capability * supports master/slave configuration * more than 30 KB/s file access with SPARTA-DOS 3.2 gx (reading) * more than 10 KB/s file access with SPARTA-DOS 3.2 gx (writing) * access of ATAPI-CDROM with additional software ------------------------------ Subject: 12.4) What kinds of monitors can I use with my Atari? In general, you either need a Composite Video monitor, or a standard TV. Television: You'll need a video cable (not detachable on the 400/800), and a TV Switch Box. Used with VHF Channel 2 or 3. Monitor: The 8-bit Atari produces a color Composite Video signal, plus separate chroma (color) and luminance (brightness) signals which the best composite video monitors can take advantage of. Popular examples of such monitors include the Commodore 1702 and 1804 (and many others). The pinout of the Monitor port is in the pinout section of this FAQ list. Gotcha's: -the 400 and North American 600XL lack a monitor port entirely. They can only be used with a TV. -the 800XL lacks separate chroma/lumi (can be added via hardware modification) -the XE Game System provides an RCA-style jack in place of the Monitor port; so it provides Composite Video but lacks separate chroma\lumi signals -the XEP80 Interface Module produces a monochrome Composite Video signal via an RCA-style jack. This higher-resolution signal produces crisp, clear 80 column text on 80-column monochrome composite video monitors. (Brent Buescher, Jr.) writes: "The best monitor for an Atari 8 bit that is readily available today would be a television with an S-video input---these tend to be large and high-quality, so the s-video input is the deciding factor there. You'll have to build the cable yourself, and if you have an XL you'll want to do the Super Video upgrade that Ben Poehland published in Atari Classics a few years ago---this puts the chroma signal back on the pin that it should be and cleans up the video signal enormously. It's really more of a fix than an upgrade. I use a commodore split-video monitor. They work great and are cheap-to-reasonable when you can find them." Jerry Jessop, explains why French Ataris produce fewer colors: "I will tell you why it only has monochrome out, because it's SECAM and a SECAM GTIA was never produced. The PAL GTIA is used in France and the Lum outputs are run into an onboard encoder to produce a "psudo" color depending on the Luminance output, composite only. This is why a SECAM VCS or 800 has nowhere near the same number of colors (16) availible as a PAL or NTSC unit (256). The FGTIA was never completed as the market size did not warrant the expense. The largest SECAM market is not France but the Soviet Union (former) and in 80-84 sales of these items there were not possible." ------------------------------ Subject: 13.1) What's the best DOS for the Atari? This is a matter of opinion, but general consensus is that all 8-bit Atari users should treat themselves to either MYDOS or SpartaDOS to appreciate the power of the system. Either MYDOS or SpartaDOS will work with almost any disk drive, up to 8 drives or hard disk partitions, and ramdisk. MYDOS is modelled after Atari DOS 2.0S/2.5, but provides subdirectory and hard-drive support. MYDOS 4.53 is freeware from Wordmark Systems (Charles Marslett and Bob Puff). There are two versions of MYDOS 4.53, one uses 3 digit sector numbers where possible, known as 4.53/3; the other, known as 4.53/4, uses 4 digits minimum. Complete documentation about the disk formats and commands, as well as the source code, is available. SpartaDOS is a completely different command-line DOS modelled after MS-DOS, though it is perfectly capable of reading all Atari DOS and MYDOS disks. SpartaDOS 3.2g is disk-based; SpartaDOS X 4.22 is cartridge-based and includes many additional features. SpartaDOS is available from Fine Tooned Engineering (see companion vendor/developer list). SpartaDOS 3.3a and 3.3b were rewritten by Stephen J. Carden for use with BBS Express PRO!. It is recommended that all 8-bit Atari users own at least DOS 2.5 for complete compatibility with existing software, and then choose either SpartaDOS or MYDOS as they see fit. DOS 2.5, MYDOS and SpartaDOS are all available on the archives. filenames: Os/dos25.arc (DOS 2.5) Fte/fte32g.arc (SpartaDOS 3.2) Os/mydos453.dcm (MYDOS - latest version) Os/mydos45m.arc (MYDOS - latest complete doc's) Any other versions of DOS all 8-bit Atari users should be aware of?? ------------------------------ Subject: 13.2) What hardware has Atari created in the 8-bit computer line? Computers: 400 Home Computer (1979) 8/16K, membrane keyboard, 400/800 OS 800 Home Computer (1979) 8/16/48K, two cartridge slots, 400/800 OS 1200XL Home Computer (1982) 64K, early XL OS, F1-F4 keys, 4 LEDs 600XL Home Computer (1983) 16K, BASIC, PBI, XL OS 800XL Home Computer (1983) 64K, BASIC, PBI, XL OS 65XE Personal Computer (1985) same as 800XL minus PBI 130XE Personal Computer(1985) same as 65XE with 128K plus ECI 800XE Personal Computer(1987?)same as 130XE but 64K. Mostly eastern Europe. XE Game System (1987) same as 65XE plus Missile Command, detach keybd Peripherals: 410 Program Recorder -Japan and Hong Kong versions. 410a - Taiwan version 810 Disk Drive -SS/SD 90K with DOS 1 or DOS 2.0S,MPI&Tandon vers. 820 40-Column Printer - 822 Thermal Printer -40 col. 825 80-Column Printer -req. 850 830 Acoustic Modem -300 baud req. 850, with Telelink I software 835 Direct Connect Modem -300 baud, with Telelink II software 850 Interface Module -4 9-pin serial, 1 15-pin parallel ports, beige & black metal versions 1010 Program Recorder -Sanyo and Chelco versions 1020 Color Printer -40 col.(80 by command) print/plot in 4 colors 1025 80-Column Printer -7-pin dot matrix 1027 Letter-Quality Printer-80 col. letter quality =Mann-Tally Riteman LQ 1029 Printer -7-pin dot matrix, same as Commodore MPS-801 1030 Direct Connect Modem -300 baud, with ModemLink software. 2 SIO ports 1050 Disk Drive -SS/ED 128K with DOS 3 or DOS 2.5 1064 -64K RAM module for 600XL XC11 Program Recorder XC12 Program Recorder XM301 Modem -300 baud, w/ XE Term software. Permanent SIO cable XMM801 Printer -80 col. Ribbon: Mannesman/Tally MS80 XDM121 Printer -80 col.letter quality. Ribbon: Silver Reed CF130 XF551 Disk Drive -DS/DD 360K with DOS XE XEP80 Interface Module -80 col. video display and DB25 parallel port SX212 Modem -1200 baud, rarely with SX-Express! package Atari 8-bit vaporware computers: (note some are more vaporous than others) 800D (Developers Bus System) 600 600XL, all black case 1000 Sweet 16 Project, lower end model. Became the 1200XL 1000-X Sweet 16 Project, higher end model. Became the 1200XL 1200 1200XL internally, many slight cosmetic differences 1200XLS 1200XL Show prototype, top-mounted cartridge slot 800XLF late 800XL with a redesigned motherboard, plus the FREDDY chip 1250XLD Earlier name for the 1450XLD 1400XL 800XL plus modem, speech synth.(looks like a 1200XL) 1450XL 1400XL plus room for 2 internal 5.25" floppy drives 1450XLD 1400XL plus 5.25" floppy drive 1600XL ???? 65XEP 65XE plus 3.5" floppy drive, 5" green monitor 65XEM 65XE plus AMIE/AMY sound chip Atari 8-bit vaporware peripherals:(note some are more vaporous than others) 815 Dual Disk Drive -2 x SS/DD 180K with DOS 2.0D 1055 -a 1050 (SS/ED) with a 3.5" mechanism 1060 CP/M Add-On Module -Z-80 CPU, 64K RAM, CP/M 2.2 OS, 80 column display 1090 XL Expansion System-5 PBI slots, CP/M/MS-DOS/Apple II compatible XM128 -12" green monitor w/ built-in 80-column card XC1411 -composite 14" color monitor XF521 -5.25" floppy drive - 1050 compatible, in XE style XF351 -a 3.5" drive. XC35 -an XF551 with a 3.5" mechanism XTM201 -non-impact printer XTC201 -non-impact color printer ------------------------------ Subject: 13.3) What are the power-supply requirements for my Atari components? Thanks to Matthias Belitz, for the European data in this section. I need more international help! As with the rest of this FAQ list, please let me know if any of this information conflicts with the units you have. The most important information is the voltage (in volts) required, and whether you need a transformer (AC output) or an adapter (DC output). The power (in watts) and current (in amperes) specifications of the original equipment as presented here should be regarded as minimum values. Higher-than-specified power and current capacities are entirely usable, and often preferable because such supplies run cooler and last longer. Relevant law of physics: Power (in watts) = current (in amps) * voltage (in volts) N O R T H A M E R I C A: INPUT = 115-120 V AC, 50/60Hz ======================== 9 V AC 5.4 VA (600 mA) Atari#CO62195 transformer: 1030 9 V AC ???? VA (??? A) Atari#CO61516 transformer: 1010 9 V AC 15.3 VA (1.7 A) Atari#CO14319 transformer: 400,800,822,850,1010,1200XL 9 V AC 18 VA (2.0 A) Atari#CA014748 transformer: 400,800,810,822,850,1010,1200XL 9 V AC 18 VA (2.0 A) Atari#CA016804 transformer: 400,800,810,822,850,1010,1200XL 9 V AC 31 VA (3.4 A) Atari#CO17945 transformer: 400,800,810,822,850,1010,1200XL,1020,1050,XF551 9 V AC 50 VA (5.6 A) Atari#CA017964 transformer: 400,800,810,822,850,1010,1200XL,1020,1050,XF551 9.5 V AC 40 VA (4.2 A) Atari#CO61636 transformer: 1027,1090XL 24 V AC 3.6 VA (150 mA) Atari#CA016751 transformer: 830 5 V DC 1.0 A (5.0 W) Atari#CO70042 adapter: 65XE,XE Game System 5 V DC 1.5 A (7.5 W) Atari#CO61982 adapter: 600XL,800XL,65XE,130XE,XE Game System 5 V DC 1.5 A (7.5 W) Atari#CA024814 adapter: 600XL,800XL,65XE,130XE,XE Games System 5 V DC ??? A (??? W) Atari#CO81982 adapter: XL/XE 6 V DC 300 mA (1.8 W) Atari#??????? adapter: "410P" (vaporware) 9 V DC 200 mA (1.8 W) adapter: MPP1000C (the modem from MPP, interfaces via a joystick port) 9 V DC 500 mA (4.5 W) Atari#CO16353 adapter: XEP80,SX212,2600 9 V DC 500 mA (4.5 W) Atari#CA014034 adapter: XEP80,SX212,2600 9.3 V DC 1.93 A (18 W) Atari#CO18187 adapter: Indus GT,5200 11.5 V DC 1.95 A (22 W) Atari#CA019141 adapter: Indus GT,5200 5 V / 12 V DC 1.1 A (5.5 W / 13.2 W) Atari#CO62297/DV1450 adapter: 1400XL,1450XLD E U R O P E (and elsewhere?) INPUT = 220 V AC, 50 Hz ============================= 5 V DC 1,8 A, #CO61763-107: 800XL 5 V DC 1,5 A (7,5 W) #CO61763-34 : 800XL (U.K., 240 V AC in) 5 V DC 1.5 A (7.5 W) #CO61763-11 : 65XE,800XL,800XE two ones with the same part number, but different cases and different input Values :#1, 65XE (Poland, made in Taiwan), Input 22 VA #2, 800XL, Input 26 VA 9 V AC 27 VA (3.0 A) CO60592-34 : 1050 9V AC 0,5 A, CO#61516 : 1010 9,3V AC, 1,66 A CO# (not printed), FW 6799: 800 These draw their power from the SIO +5 V: XM301 (60 mA),XC12,ICD/FTe P:R:Connection Draws power from the 600XL PBI: 1064 These have built-in power supplies (plug directly into the wall): 410,815,820,825,1025,1029,XMM801,XDM121 The power supply requirements for the following are still needed: ??? V DC ???? A (???? W) Atari#CA060535 adapter: 835 XC11 program recorder (no brick needed -> internal or SIO source?) OTHER: The ICD/FTe Multi I/O (MIO), all versions, can use both AC and DC supplies. But stick to voltages of at least 6.2-7.2 V. ------------------------------ Subject: 13.4) What are the pinouts for the...? Serial I/O (SIO) Port (all machines): 2 4 6 8 10 12 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 1. Clock Input 8. Motor Control 2. Clock Output 9. Proceed 3. Data Input 10. +5V/Ready 4. Ground 11. Audio Input 5. Data Output 12. +12V (400,800 only. 1400XL/1450XLD?) 6. Ground 13. Interrupt 7. Command Cartridge Slot ("Left" slot on all machines; "Right" slot on 800 only): A B C D E F H J K L M N P R S 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 1. ~S4(Left) R/~W late(Right) A. RD4(Left) B02(Right) 2. A3 B. GND 3. A2 C. A4 4. A1 D. A5 5. A0 E. A6 6. D4 F. A7 7. D5 H. A8 8. D2 J. A9 9. D1 K. A12 10. D0 L. D3 11. D6 M. D7 12. ~S5(Left) ~S4(Right) N. A11 13. +5V P. A10 14. RD5(Left) RD4(Right) R. R/~W 15. ~CCTL S. B02 Enhanced Cartridge Interface (ECI) (130XE and 800XE only): A B C D E F H 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 A. Reserved 1. ~EXSEL B. ~IRQ 2. ~RST C. ~HALT 3. ~D1XX D. A13 4. ~MPD E. A14 5. Audio F. A15 6. ~REF H. GND 7. +5V Monitor Jack (all but 400, North American 600XL, XE Game System): 3 1 5 4 2 1. Composite Luminance (not on North American 600XL's) 2. Ground 3. Audio Output 4. Composite Video 5. Composite Chroma (not on 800XL,1200XL; grounded on 600XL) Power Adapter Plug (all but 400,800,1200XL,1400XL,1450XLD): 7 6 3 1 5 4 2 1. +5V 2. Shield 3. Ground 4. +5V 5. Ground 6. +5V 7. Ground Controller Port (4 on 400/800, 2 on all others): 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 1. (Joystick) Forward Input 2. (Joystick) Back Input 3. (Joystick) Left Input 4. (Joystick) Right Input 5. B Potentiometer Input 6. Trigger Input / Light Pen Input. Port 4 only on 400 7. +5V 8. Ground 9. A Potentiometer Input Parallel Bus Interface (PBI) (600XL and 800XL only): 1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23 25 27 29 31 33 35 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 1. GND ground 2. External select 3. A0 Address output 4. A1 5. A2 6. A3 7. A4 8. A5 9. A6 10. GND 11. A7 12. A8 13. A9 14. A10 15. A11 16. A12 17. A13 18. A14 19. GND 20. A15 21. D0 Data (bidirectional) 22. D1 23. D2 24. D3 25. D4 26. D5 27. D6 28. D7 29. GND 30. GND 31. Phase 2 clock output 32. GND 33. NC Reserved 34. Reset output 35. (IRQ) Interrupt request 36. Ready input 37. NC 38. External decoder output 39. NC 40. Refresh output 41. Column address output 42. GND 43. Math pack disable input 44. Row addr strobe 45. GND 46. Latch read/write out 47. NC (+5V on 600XL only) 48. NC (+5V on 600XL only, used to power 1064) 49. Audio input 50. GND R1: Serial port DB9P (850 Interface Module): 5 4 3 2 1 ____________________________ 9 8 7 6 / DB25P 1. DTR - Data Terminal Ready (out) + 20 2. CRX - Signal (carrier) Detect (in) + 8 3. XMT - Transmitted Data (out) + 2 4. RCV - Received Data (in) + 3 5. GND - Signal Ground + 7 6. DSR - Data Set Ready (in) + 6 7. RTS - Request to Send (out) + 4 8. CTS - Clear to Send (in) + 5 No connection to shield + Frame - to the shield wire R2: Serial port (850 Interface Module): 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 1. DTR 3. Send Data 4. Receive Data 5. Signal Ground 6. DSR R3: Serial port (850 Interface Module): 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 1. DTR 3. Send Data 4. Receive 5. Signal Ground 7. RTS 8. -8 Volts R4: Serial port (850 Interface Module): 5 4 3 2 1 9 8 7 6 1. Send Data + 3. Send Data - 7. Receive Data + 9. Receive Data - (20 mA) P: Parallel port (850 Interface Module) DB15P: 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 ____________________________ 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 / 36 pin Centronics (male) 1. Data Strobe + 1 2. D0 + 2 3. D1 + 3 4. D2 + 4 5. D3 + 5 6. D4 + 6 7. D5 + 7 8. D6 + 8 9. Data Pull up (+5v) + 10. - + 11. Ground + 16 12. Fault + 32 13. Busy + 11 14. - + 15. D7 + 9 No connection to shield + Frame - to the shield wire P: Parallel port (XEP80 Interface Module): 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 1. Strobe 2-9. Parallel Data 10. Not Used 11. Busy 12-17. Not Used 18-25. Ground ------------------------------ Subject: 13.5) What BBS software can be used on the Atari? This section mostly by (Winston Smith) o A.M.I.S. BBS -- The A.C.E. Message Information Service. This BBS was written in BASIC by the Atari Computer Enthusiasts computer club (was it the Michigan chapter?). It included designs for a ring-detector. You needed a sector editor and had to allocate message space by hand, hex byte by hex byte. o FoReM BBS -- Friends of Rickey Moose BBS. At the time, there were a lot of BBSes around called things such as "FORUM-80" and "BULLET-80", ergo the name. FoReM BBS was the first truly RBBS-like BBS for the ATARI 8-bit. It was programmed in BASIC and was somewhat crashy. I think that this is the great-grandparent of the FOREM-XE BBSes that survive today. Matt Singer, writes: FoReM BBS derived from an early AMIS. When multiple message areas were added the name was extended to FoReM 26M. Then, When OSS released BASIC XL the program was rehacked and called FoReM XL... Bill Dorsey wrote most of the Assembler routines (where is he now?). o ABBCS -- The ANTIC Bulletin Board Construction Set. The user design of the ABBCS was very good. It sported features such as intra-line editors. Unfortunately, the coding of the ABBCS was really poor. You could practically blow on your keyboard and crash this BBS. The BBS would sometimes crash several times a day. o NITE-LITE BBS -- Paul Swanson's BBS with RAM disk. Paul Swanson was a programmer from the Boston, Massachusetts, USA, area. I'm not sure whether his BBS for the Atari 8-bit has been placed into the public domain or not. This BBS was the first to support a RAMdisk, which Paul Swanson called a "V:" device for "virtual disk". This BBS was written in Atari BASIC and required a joystick hardware "dongle" device. This was notable as being one of the first Atari 8-BIT BBSes that could actually go for a week without having to be rebooted. Pointers to the message base were kept in an Atari "very long string" (for which Atari BASIC is famous). The BBS would only have problems (for the most part) if this string became corrupted. o ATKEEP -- An Atari 8-bit version of CITADEL BBS. I believe that AT-KEEP, like FOREM-XE, requires the use of the commercial BASIC XE cartridge to run. This BBS program was very popular around Louisiana, USA, from what I understand. o Benton's SMART BBS -- BBS written in BASIC by Marco Benton. This program is written entirely in BASIC. It expects to be running under a SpartaDOS environment. This was a problem until very recently, when the disk-based version of SpartaDOS was re-released as shareware. This BBS program uses a "modem clock string" rather than an R-Time 8 cartridge in order to retrieve the current time. It also comes with an Atari BASIC game door called "Sabotage". o FOREM-XE -- FOREM using BASIC XE. This version of FOREM BBS requires the commercial BASIC XE cartridge in order to run. It is in the public domain and can import and export messages from the Atari PRO! BBS EXPRESS-NET (7-bit text only, control ATASCII graphics are reserved for message data-structure bytes). FOREM-XE BBS is still currently in use as we speak, and may be reached via the PRO! EXPRESS-NET as long as the cross-networking "transnet" is still in effect. o The BBS Express -- PRO! BBS demo program. This is the public domain version of EXPRESS!-BBS, which is the Keith Ledbetter companion project of the EXPRESS!-TERM terminal program of days gone by. I am not familiar with this program. I think that it is written in Action! and only supports XMODEM Checksum transfers. I have never called or seen this program demonstrated. o OASIS JUNIOR III -- OASIS BBS demo program. OASIS JUNIOR III is the --ALL MACHINE LANGUAGE-- demo version of the OASIS BBS program. OASIS is very crash-resistant and comes with a "dial out" screen so that the Sysop can use the BBS as a terminal program to call and fetch files without having to bring the BBS down and reload a terminal program. OASIS supports "Door programs" which it refers to as "OASIS PAL modules". This OASIS demo module comes with an excellent message system. The OASIS file system is one of the most complicated that I have ever seen. It consists of "file libraries" with suites of "file types". There is quite a bit of overhead involved in performing a download (which may be a good thing, as it discourages file hogs). There is a commercial version of OASIS called "OASIS IV" that performs networking. There was an OASIS network between Boston, Massachusets, USA and Murfreesboro(SP?), Tennessee, USA. Occasionally word of the OASIS IV developers reaches the network from New Zealand or Canada. o Frank Walters BBS -- I know nothing about this BBS except that Frank Walters wrote it. o Carina BBS -- a product of Shadow Software. See the Vendor list. o BBS Express! Professional -- a product of K-Products. See Vendor List. o OASIS IV -- a product of ??? ------------------------------ Subject: 13.6) What versions of Atari BASIC or the CTIA/GTIA chip do I have? Atari BASIC: At the READY prompt, enter "? PEEK(43234)" If the result is: You have Revision: 162 A 96 B 234 C Freddy Offenga, adds: there's another good answer (IMO): You can also take a look at the part numbers on the IC's inside your Atari and compare them with the numbers from the following table: Part# Version ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ CO12402 + CO14502 A CO60302A B CO24947A C CTIA or GTIA installed? In BASIC, type POKE 623,64 [RETURN] and if the screen blackens, you have the GTIA chip. If it stays blue, you have the old CTIA chip. By the way, apparently no CTIA-equipped Ataris were shipped to Europe. ------------------------------ Subject: 13.7) Which versions of the Operating System (OS) are there? This section written by Freddy Offenga, The following Operating Systems exist for the Atari 8-bit: Rev. System(s) Models Size Part Nr(s) ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A NTSC 400/800 10kB CO12499B, CO14599B, 12399B (*) A PAL 400/800 10kB CO15199, CO15299, CO12399B B NTSC 400/800 10kB (?) B PAL 400/800 10kB (?) (*) 1 A NTSC/PAL 1200XL 16kB CO60616A, CO60617A 1 B NTSC/PAL 1200XL 16kB CO60616B, CO60617B (?) (*) 1 NTSC/PAL 600XL 16kB CO62024 2 NTSC/PAL XL/XE 16kB CO61598B 3 NTSC/PAL XE 16kB C300717 4 NTSC/PAL XEGS 16kB C101687 (?) more information or confirmation required (*) these versions should exist, although I've not seen them. If you have one (or more?) of these, please contact me. NOTE: The 400/800 O.S's consist of three ROMs (two 4kB and one 2kB). ------------------------------ Subject: 13.8) What games support 4 simultaneous players on the 400/800? The following games support 4 player head-to-head play. Remember, only the 400 and 800 computer models sport 4 controller ports. Asteroids, Basketball, Breakout, Dandy, M.U.L.E., Maze War, Silicon Warrior, Survivor. Thanks to (Jeff M Lodoen) for initial info. ------------------------------ Subject: 13.9) Why should I disconnect the 810/1050 power supply before connecting or disconnecting SIO cables? Rich Mier writes: You've been plugging and unplugging the SIO cable with the 1050 power pack plugged in, right? That's a no-no. Most of the time it's Okay, but about 1 in 10, 20 times, it will blow out 'U-1'. It's a CA/LM 3086 I.C. at the right, rear of the main board. A 14 pin DIL chip. Actually it is an array of 5 transistors. Unplug the power pack from the 1050, then unplug the SIO cable. Power can be ON on the CPU. The problem has to do with the secondary winding of the Power Pack. Remember, the problem only occurs 1 out of 10 - 20 times that you do it, not all the time. It doesn't really matter if the 1050 Transformer has power on or off, it 'Might' happen if plugged into the 1050. It is really bad on 810's. One thing, if the system has been turned off for, oh say, 5 - 10 minutes it won't matter. By then all the capacitors should be bled(sc?) to 0 volts. ------------------------------ Subject: 13.10) What is Omnimon? --This section was written by Scott Charles, Omnimon is a add in board for the Atari 400/800 series of computers and a replacement OS chip for the xl/xe series of computers. The original Omnimon board fit onto the OS board in the 800 series and had a switch attached to it to disable the board. The 400 series required you to bend the circuit board into a right angle for it to fit inside the 400's case. (It was designed to do this.). The Xl/Xe version replaces the OS Rom chip inside the computer with one that contains the Omnimon code, and a revised OS to make the XL more compatible (no translator disks needed). Omnimon itself is a machine language monitor residing from $C000-$CFFF, with a few variations. It was designed in 1981 by David C. Young (who also wrote Cartcopy, a copier for the right slot of the 800) of CDY Consulting in Texas. The first software revision of Omnimon had a few basic commands and was only 4K long, only for the 400/800. The second revision required the addition of a bank select switch, and was 8K long. Since it was addressed by the 400/800 as 4K, when you needed to use the code in the other bank, all the text on the screen flips upside down, you flip the switch and hit any key. The Xl and Xe versions of Omnimon do their bank selecting through the normal XL port for this function, so it is seamless. So what can you use Omnimon for? Its main claim to fame is its ability to interupt any running program by pressing and holding the SELECT-OPTION-RESET keys. Depending on the sequence you press determines what kind of warm boot the Atari does. SELECT+RESET does NO warm boot, preserving the stack and flag values of the 6502. OPTION+RESET allows a warm boot (as if you had just pressed RESET) and interupts the vector at $C (initialation vector). I think you can see where we are going with this - Omnimon was developed as a machine language developer's tool, much in the same way that the Happy modification was developed for legitimate backups. I.E. far more people use both products for software piracy. If you have an Omnimon! in your machine and you try to boot up an Electronic Arts program, for example, you will get a message that says "REMOVE ROM AT $C000", and the program hangs. (Hence,the need for the disable switch on the 400/800 version. There is no way to disable the xl/xe version, just switch it to an alternative OS.) The 400/800 version, since the disable switch just deselects the mapping of Omnimon to $c000 area, can be switched on and off at will. I myself did not know what Omnimon was used for until I was using a sector editor on a program called Pharaoh's Pyramid, from Master Control Software. On it is a sector that reads, "REMOVE OMNIMON YOU DIRTY PIRATE". This got me to thinking, what does that mean? After about 5 months of playing around with the Omnimon board, I figured out how to use it to pirate software. In fact, it can be used to make most boot disks into binary files, and remove copy protection from countless more. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, I can safely say that Omnimon hastened the demise of the Atari 8 bit computer by 2-3 years, because of its power. ------------------------------ Subject: 13.11) What is the difference between NTSC and PAL machines? Wayne Booth, writes: The differences with PAL and NTSC have to do with the number of lines displayed on the screen and whether they are using 50 or 60 Hertz. If I remember correctly, I believe PAL has 625 lines/screen and they refresh the screen 50 times a second doing 1/2 the lines each refresh so they effectively repaint the screen 25 times a second. NTSC is 525 lines/screen with a 60 times a second refresh - again only half the lines each refresh so a 30 times a second frame rate. This would change the amount of time available during vertical sync pulse, and the number of lines that need to be redrawn each time. ------------------------------ Subject: 13.12) What programming languages are available for the Atari? Revision : 1.0 Date.... : 4/20/1997 ============================================================== !!!! This section is under construction - HELP WANTED !!!! -------------------------------------------------------------- The goal is to give information about all available languages for the Atari 8-bit computer. This information will include; title, last version, author, date and a short description. It would also be nice to know how to get it and where to get more information (like reference cards, reviews and such). Some resources: - The Multi-lingual Atari, Analog magazine 45, August 1986 - Assembler Interchange Format, Project description Version 2.2, 2-2-1997, Freddy Offenga If you like to help or if you've something to add already, just contact me. There's still a lot work to be done.... Freddy Offenga, email-to: ============================================================== There are quite a lot! To get some structure in this section it's divided into the following catagories; a) ASSEMBLER b) BASIC c) C d) PASCAL e) LISP f) FORTH g) PILOT h) LOGO i) All the rest [D] = available on disk [C] = available on cartridge a) ASSEMBLER - 130XE+ Makro Assembler v2.2, 1992 (Torsten Karwoth) [D] Two pass 6502 assembler/editor. Supports extra RAM. Highly compatible with Atmas II. - Alfasm, Version 1.0, 1990 (Jeff Williams) [D] Supports 65816 instructions (for the Turbo-816 upgrade from DataQue Software). This assember is also known as the Turbo-Assembler/16. - Atari Assembler/Editor, 1981 (Atari) [C] Two pass 6502 assembler/editor. - Atari Macro Assembler, 1981 (Atari) [D] Two pass 6502 assembler/editor. - Atmas II Makroassembler, 1985 (Peter Finzel, Hofacker) [D] Macro assembler with integrated editor and monitor. - Bibo Assembler, 1986 (Compy-shop) [D] - Datasm/65 assembler, Version 2.0, 1981 (DataSoft) [D] Two-pass 6502 assembler. - EASMD, Version 1.0, 1981 (OSS) [D] - MAC/65 Macro Assembler, 1982 (OSS) [D/C] Two pass macro assembler/editor. - MAE, 1996 [D] Supports 6502 and 65816 mnemonics. - Nasm65 assembler, 1992 (Nat!) [D] Highly portable cross assembler (written in C). Initially made for the Atari ST. Highly compatible with MAC/65. - PC-65 Assembler, Version 1.0 beta, 1996 (Jan Feenstra) [D] Two pass 6502 cross assembler for the PC. The source format is highly compatible with the ST-65 assembler. - Synassembler, 1982 (Steve Hales, Synapse Soft) [D] Two pass 6502 assembler. - ST-65 Assembler, 1991 (A. Stauffenberg, F.Offenga) [D] A cross assembler for the Atari ST (written in 68000 asm). b) BASIC - Advan BASIC Compiler (Advan Language Designs) - Atari 800 Basic, Version 1.0, 1981 (Microsoft) [D] - Atari BASIC, Rev.C, 1983 (Atari) [C] - Atari Microsoft BASIC II (Atari) [C] - BASIC A+, Version 3.05, 1981 (OSS) [D] - BASIC XL (OSS) [C] - BASIC XE, 1985 (OSS) [C] - Turbo Basic XL (Frank Ostrowski, Happy Computer) [D] Interpreter, Version 1.5, 1985 Compiler, Version 1.1, 1985 c) C - ACE C (John Palevich & Ralph Walden) [D] This is a newer version of 'Deep Blue C'. - C/65, Tiny C (OSS) - C65 - CC65, 1989 (John R. Dunning) [D] This public domain package includes; compiler, linker, assembler and object librarian. - CC8 - Deep Blue C, Version 1.2, 1982 (John Palevich, APX) [D] Drawn from Ron Cain's public domain C-compiler. - DVC C, Version 1.01, 1985 (Ralph E. Walden) [D] - LightSpeed C, Version 1.08, 1986 (Clearstar Softechnology) [D] d) PASCAL - Atari Pascal, Version 1.0, 1982 (APX-20102) [D] - Draper Pascal, Version 1.5, 1983 (Norm Draper) [D] - Kyan Pascal, 1986 (Kyan Software) [D] Package includes; compiler, linker and assembler. e) LISP - INTER-LISP/65, Version 2.1, 1981 [D] (Special Software Systems, DataSoft) f) FORTH - ValForth (Valpar International) - Extended fig-Forth (APX-20029) - fig-Forth, Version 1.1 [D] - fun-Forth (APX-20146) - Grafik-FORTH - QS Forth (Quality Software) g) PILOT - Atari PILOT, 1980 (Atari) [C] h) LOGO - Atari LOGO, 1983 (LCSI, Atari) [C] i) All the rest - Action!, 1983 (OSS) [D/C] - Quick, Version 2.0, 1990 (Raindorf Soft) [D] ------------------------------ Subject: 13.13) What is the Atari XEP80 Interface Module? This section written by: (Thomas Raukamp) Since the development of the Atari 8-bit line of computers in 1979, users wanted better text displays than the default 40x24. There has been some attempts to satisfy this need, like the Austin-Franklin board or the Ace 80/80xl cartridge. For more informations about these modifications read The Atari 8-bit Hardware Upgrade FAQ from David A. Paterson. The Atari XEP80 Interface Module is Atari's entry to the 80 column field. It lets a XL, XE, 400 or 800 computer system display a full 80 columns across your monitor screen. The XEP80 provides a 256-character wide by 25-line display window. Up to 80 characters are displayed horizontally at once, and you can scroll horizontally all the way to the 256th character, depending on the application you're running. The XEP80 is connected to your system via a joystick port. The XEP80 Module interprets commands from the computer for screen display or output to a printer. The module is supplied with an industry-standard 8-bit parallel port so you can connect a parallel printer to your Atari 8-bit (I even use a HP LaserJet IV on my 130XE ;) ). All programs that use the standard screen call (E:) should be compatible with the XEP80 Module. The software provided by Atari supports a 320x200 graphics mode - this mode only support direct bit images. Note that you can't use all of the standard graphic capabilities of the Atari anymore. Although Atari recommends a monochrome monitor for usage with the XEP80, it runs fine with any type of composite monitor. The output looks great on my Commodore 1084 for example. Along with the module comes a software-package containing an AUTORUN.SYS file, which is the XEP80 handler. If you want to use the module with an application that is compatible with the XEP80, which has it's own AUTORUN.SYS file, you can append the application's AUTORUN.SYS on the module's AUTORUN.SYS. ------------------------------ Subject: 14.1) What vendors, developers, or publishers support the 8-bit Atari? See the "Atari 8-Bit Computers Vendors and Developers List." Available via these locations and Usenet FAQ archives everywhere: news:comp.sys.atari.8bit news:comp.answers news:news.answers Or you can always ask me for a copy at ------------------------------ Subject: 14.2) Where is my nearest 8-bit Atari BBS? InfoMan (Trevor Holyoak), maintains a list called "Atari 8bit Support BBS's." ------------------------------ Subject: 14.3) Where is my nearest 8-bit Atari user group? Rich Tietjens, maintains an Atari computer user group list at: ------------------------------ Subject: 14.4) I'm new to the Atari. How do I use this thing? "The Unofficial Atari 8-bit New User, Emulator Help FAQ" is maintained by (Bill Kendrick). Bill and his FAQ are excellent sources for information on basic usage of the 8-bit Atari, and for information on the 8-bit Atari emulators which run on other computing platforms. If you would like a text-only version you can send e-mail to: with the following as the subject: send emulator faq Note that the "better" version (which the text version is based on) is: ------------------------------ Subject: 14.5) Can I use an emulator to run my old Atari software on my new computer? "The Unofficial Atari 8-bit New User, Emulator Help FAQ" is maintained by (Bill Kendrick). Bill and his FAQ are excellent sources for information on basic usage of the 8-bit Atari, and for information on the 8-bit Atari emulators which run on other computing platforms. If you would like a text-only version you can send e-mail to: with the following as the subject: send emulator faq Note that the "better" version (which the text version is based on) is: ------------------------------ Subject: 14.6) What hardware upgrades, modifications and add-ons are available? The Atari 8-bit Hardware Upgrade, Modification and Add-On FAQ is maintained by David A. Paterson, or see: ------------------------------ Subject: 14.7) What is the HARD-Interlacing-Picture (HIP) format? HIP is a new method to displaing pictures on small atari... HIP stands for HARD-Interlacing-Picture and was found by Members of HARD Software, Hungary in June, July 1996... It enables to display 160 x 240 Pixels with 30 shades without nearly all flickering (depends on the source-picture you use)... HARD stands not for HARD or HEAVY Interlacing, just for the inventors... For more information, see the HIP-FAQ, located at: or contact HeAvEn at ------------------------------ Subject: 14.8) How do I access Usenet, FTP, Gopher, and WWW by e-mail? The Accessing the Internet by E-Mail FAQ is maintained by "Doctor Bob" Rankin, or see: =================================================================== End of atari-8-bit/faq ===================================================================
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