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Atari 1010 Program Recorder

1010 Program Recorder Fix

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#1 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:01 AM

Ok so I bought an Atari 1010 Program Recorder for my Atari 400. I hooked it up, typed in a short program and did CSAVE. It seemed to work, the tape turned and computer made the correct noises. I then rewound the tape and did CLOAD. Unfortunately all I got was Error 138.

I tried this several times with different tapes; I even opened a brand new tape, with the same result. I put the recorded tape into an old boom box to see if the program was actually recorded, and the sounds coming out of the speakers did not seem right (but I am not an expert). They were only coming out of the right speaker and were low in volume and were not exactly the same as what came out of the computer when saving. However I read that the Atari Program Recorded somehow records thing a bit differently then what I would have seen on say a Commodore or Timex, so I am not sure if that is the problem

My question is what can I do to make this thing work, are there any standard fixes/tests that I can do to make this Program Recorder work. My first instinct is to clean the head, but where do you get a tape head cleaner in 2012 :)

#2 deathtrappomegranate OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:06 AM

The data is only recorded on one stereo channel, so it's normal for the sound to be heard on only one speaker.

Cleaning the heads is definitely step one. I use isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip, and it seems to work pretty well.

#3 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:12 AM

The data is only recorded on one stereo channel, so it's normal for the sound to be heard on only one speaker.

Cleaning the heads is definitely step one. I use isopropyl alcohol and a Q-tip, and it seems to work pretty well.


Can you tell me what commercial product is isopropyl alcohol, its not rubbing alcohol is it?

#4 deathtrappomegranate OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:21 AM

Can you tell me what commercial product is isopropyl alcohol, its not rubbing alcohol is it?


Rubbing alcohol is generally either ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, although it sometimes contains additives depending on the brand and formulation.

As long as the product is mostly isopropyl alcohol (also known as isopropanol) it should be fine.

#5 russg OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:31 AM

Ok so I bought an Atari 1010 Program Recorder for my Atari 400. I hooked it up, typed in a short program and did CSAVE. It seemed to work, the tape turned and computer made the correct noises. I then rewound the tape and did CLOAD. Unfortunately all I got was Error 138.

I tried this several times with different tapes; I even opened a brand new tape, with the same result. I put the recorded tape into an old boom box to see if the program was actually recorded, and the sounds coming out of the speakers did not seem right (but I am not an expert). They were only coming out of the right speaker and were low in volume and were not exactly the same as what came out of the computer when saving. However I read that the Atari Program Recorded somehow records thing a bit differently then what I would have seen on say a Commodore or Timex, so I am not sure if that is the problem

My question is what can I do to make this thing work, are there any standard fixes/tests that I can do to make this Program Recorder work. My first instinct is to clean the head, but where do you get a tape head cleaner in 2012 :)

Sounds like you're not 'cueing' the tape correctly. ERROR 138 is device time out, you are rewinding the tape all the way and there's too much header before the data. Fast forward
beyond the tape header and some into the brown tape, but not after the data starts, you can read the tape counter and make several tries at cueing the tape. When your CSAVE,
the tape needs to be beyond the header, so watch the counter as it is SAVING and see where the data starts, then rewind and fast forward to just one or two units before where
you saw the data start. Since you are getting good sounds, it probably isn't a bad 1010. You can tell when you've cued the tape correctly, it makes strong sounds, if it hasn't
been cued correctly you get 'weak' blubbering sounds.

Edited by russg, Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:44 AM.


#6 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:46 AM

Video head cleaner... as in the stuff you used to pump into the VHS head cleaning tapes.

Probably harder to find these days, generally priced around $4-$7 for a small bottle.

#7 JohnBuell OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 12:35 PM

I don't know if they'll ship everywhere, but RadioShack still carries audio cassette cleaners.

#8 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:07 PM

Sounds like you're not 'cueing' the tape correctly. ERROR 138 is device time out, you are rewinding the tape all the way and there's too much header before the data. Fast forward
beyond the tape header and some into the brown tape, but not after the data starts, you can read the tape counter and make several tries at cueing the tape. When your CSAVE,
the tape needs to be beyond the header, so watch the counter as it is SAVING and see where the data starts, then rewind and fast forward to just one or two units before where
you saw the data start. Since you are getting good sounds, it probably isn't a bad 1010. You can tell when you've cued the tape correctly, it makes strong sounds, if it hasn't
been cued correctly you get 'weak' blubbering sounds.


I will look into this but I am fairly sure the tape was queued up correctly, I finger wound it to the start of the tape each time.

#9 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 4:09 PM

Video head cleaner... as in the stuff you used to pump into the VHS head cleaning tapes.

Probably harder to find these days, generally priced around $4-$7 for a small bottle.

I don't know if they'll ship everywhere, but RadioShack still carries audio cassette cleaners.


I found some isopropyl alcohol solution at a dollar store. I will try it tonight with a qtip and let you know how it went.

#10 Joey Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 5:57 PM

you might want to check the tape belts too, if they are dry rotted, the drive won't work reliably, or even at all depending on how bad they are.

#11 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 6:47 PM

Dumb question - have you tried playing a known good audio tape in the 1010? That would at least tell you if it can move the tape at a steady speed.

#12 russg OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:45 PM

Dumb question - have you tried playing a known good audio tape in the 1010? That would at least tell you if it can move the tape at a steady speed.


POKE 54018,52 turns motor on with PLAY pushed. You can listen to an audio tape and tell if the 1010 is turning correctly. Aged belts are common.

#13 rost OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 12:50 AM

Dumb question too - have you wind the tape to the "brown" tape bevore recording?

#14 Rybags OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:01 AM

Not really. When saving there's about twice the needed amount of leader tone produced. You only really need to advance if the tape has a really long clear section.

#15 walter_J64bit OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Apr 15, 2012 1:57 PM

I've seen that ERROR 138 before the tapedrive is dead! :(

#16 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012 3:19 PM

I tried cleaning the head, no luck. Any other advice?

#17 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012 4:30 PM

you might want to check the tape belts too, if they are dry rotted, the drive won't work reliably, or even at all depending on how bad they are.


Do you know of any instructions on how to do this correctly?

#18 Joey Z OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Apr 18, 2012 5:35 PM

you might want to check the tape belts too, if they are dry rotted, the drive won't work reliably, or even at all depending on how bad they are.


Do you know of any instructions on how to do this correctly?

there's not really anything specific (and I also don't own a 1010 to walk you through it). the easiest way is to play an audio tape like some other people have suggested and if it plays right, then the belts are fine. otherwise you can open the 1010 up and look at the belts inside and see if they are loose or slip when the drive runs. if they do, your belts are bad

#19 firestorm OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2012 1:46 AM

I will help you. Please tell me what Atari 1010 you got? With orange or silver label?

#20 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Apr 19, 2012 8:59 AM

I will help you. Please tell me what Atari 1010 you got? With orange or silver label?


Great thanks, I will first play a regular tape to see if the sound produced is correct and then reply back with result and type of 1010

#21 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:25 AM

I will help you. Please tell me what Atari 1010 you got? With orange or silver label?


I have a silver label version.

#22 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:26 AM


you might want to check the tape belts too, if they are dry rotted, the drive won't work reliably, or even at all depending on how bad they are.


Do you know of any instructions on how to do this correctly?

there's not really anything specific (and I also don't own a 1010 to walk you through it). the easiest way is to play an audio tape like some other people have suggested and if it plays right, then the belts are fine. otherwise you can open the 1010 up and look at the belts inside and see if they are loose or slip when the drive runs. if they do, your belts are bad


I tried playing a music audio tape this morning, no sound came out (although I get sound when I play a program recorder tape), maybe I did something wrong. I just did CLOAD/Enter and pressed play. The tape turned but no music.

#23 firestorm OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:29 AM

OK, on Atari Data recorders right channel is for data, left one for audio. You said that you heard something playing program cassette so data channel should be fine. Have you got second SIO cable to try with?
As it was said usual problem with data recorder is drive belt. After years of storage drive belt is deformed but many times I managed to fix it. What you have to do is to remove drive belt from Atari 1010 and put it into a pot of boiling water. I found out that it helps to reshape it. I don't have Atari 1010 with silver label to show you how to do it but you can open yours 1010 and take a photo so I can tell you what to do next.
This is my Atari 1010.
Posted Image

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#24 Ogien OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:43 PM

OK, on Atari Data recorders right channel is for data, left one for audio. You said that you heard something playing program cassette so data channel should be fine. Have you got second SIO cable to try with?
As it was said usual problem with data recorder is drive belt. After years of storage drive belt is deformed but many times I managed to fix it. What you have to do is to remove drive belt from Atari 1010 and put it into a pot of boiling water. I found out that it helps to reshape it. I don't have Atari 1010 with silver label to show you how to do it but you can open yours 1010 and take a photo so I can tell you what to do next.
This is my Atari 1010.


Thanks for your help, I think I should be able to take the recorder apart and remove/boil the belt. However I am wondering if I put in a stereo music tape in and do CLOAD/ENTER should I not hear 1 channel of the music? All I hear are like thumping noises.

Edited by Ogien, Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:22 PM.


#25 firestorm OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:10 PM

Yes you should hear music. What I'm thinking is that SIO cable might be faulty. Silver label Atari 1010 is picking up a lot of interference, is lacking proper screening and this is maybe the reason for thumping. Is hard to say.





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