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ATR Files, general information for those that don't know

ATR Disk copying

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#1 Scott3555 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:56 AM

For the newbees that come back from the past.  In the 1980s we didn't have such things, otherwise I'd had some.

 

 

ATR files are image files of old Atari self booting single sided disk.

 

What equipment and software is required to make ATR files?

   Usually a SIO2PC cable and required software in necessary.

 

Can a ATR file be used to re-create a workable floppy disk, assuming that we can find some blank disk? YES

 

All of the physical copy protection is removed from the original disk before the ATR is created or the original disk never had any 

physical copy protection schemes.

 

An ATX file is an image of the a disk and any copy protection on the original disk is included in the ATX file. 

   See Farb's responses about ATX files.

 

 

Nov 26, 2015 edit:

*************************  Special thanks to Farb  for the following **********************

 

Scott3555, on 25 Nov 2015 - 5:40 PM, said:

So can a ATX be run from the image file or does it have to be copied to a floppy disk?  I know enough about 

copy protection schemes and the Atari 1050 drive to know that there were many copy protection schemes

that cannot be copied by the standard 1050, therefore we enhansed our drives with the Happy card.

 

Farb's reply:

You can run ATX images with appropriate software or hardware. For example, you can use Steve Tucker's APE program with the VAPI DLL available from Atarimania. I don't know what other software packages have support for it. On the hardware side, SIO2Arduino is the only hardware solution I know of that has support for ATX although it is somewhat limited since it doesn't fully emulate drive timing.

 

 

Is it safe to assume that to write these disk image back to a floppy it requires a Happy 1050 drive to write them?

 

There is no publicly available software that allows writing an ATX with a Happy 1050 that I'm aware of. The only available option I know of is using a SuperCard Pro, a PC floppy drive and phaeron's a8rawconv tool. And even then, that setup will only let you do single-sided disks as the SuperCard Pro doesn't support double-sided disks yet.

 

 

Nobody has mentioned anything about what software to use.  Does it come with the SIO2PC cable?

 

There are quite a few software solutions out there -- the aforementioned APE, AspeQT/RespeQT, SIO2OSX and a number of others. Some are available freely while others must be purchased.

 

I would suggest searching on these forums as there are many threads that talk about these tools. They all have different requirements for type of PC, operating system, etc. Some are more limiting than others and/or may require some technical savviness to get working. I don't believe there's really a "silver bullet" solution.

 

 

************************  end of Farb's enlightening reply   **********************************************

 

I went to the SuperCard Pro website, CBMSTUFF.COM, and there is an update as of September 3, 2015 that says the software for the SuperCard Pro now does the conversation without the need for phaeron's a8rawconv tool.  Is this the "Silver Bullet" solution?  stay tuned...



#2 Scott3555 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:09 AM

I've downloaded about a hundred ATR files and put them on a MyIDE II SD card.

Only about a third will run when I attempt to load them. Am I using the wrong hardware?

 

Do they not run because of copy protection?

 

Do they need to be put back onto a floppy disk in order to work?

 

Is it a game of luck and I'm low on luck?  I downloaded all of them from EMUParadise.com

I  have had better luck with XEX and COM  cartridge type files.



#3 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:27 AM

Hi Scott3555,

 

You can make ATR files of non copy-protected disks using a real Atari drive and an SIO2PC cable/software. Just set it up so there are two drives -- the real drive and a virtual drive with an empty ATR image. Then do a regular DOS disk copy. Alternatively, you can use a "Prosys-style" cable with software that can read/write from an Atari drive directly without the need for the Atari computer to be in the mix.

 

You can use those same techniques to write an ATR file back to a physical floppy.

 

ATR files do not have any copy protection information. Any titles you find in ATR format either never had copy protection or were "cracked" by someone to remove it. ATX files, on the other hand, retain the copy protection information exactly as it was on the original disk.

 

I don't know much about the MyIDE II cart but the website mentions that ATR support is accomplished by "buffering to cartridge SRAM". Perhaps that technique is only effective for certain types of ATR files?

 

The best way to consume ATR files on a real Atari is by using a "drive simulator" that looks like a real disk drive to the Atari. You can do this with the aforementioned SIO2PC cable/software (which requires a PC) or you can use a standalone device like Lotharek's: http://www.lotharek....duct.php?pid=63. If you're technically inclined, you could try building my SIO2Arduino or one of the other variants that are out there: http://whizzosoftware.com/sio2arduino/

 

Hope this info helps.


Edited by Farb, Tue Nov 24, 2015 9:29 AM.


#4 morelenmir OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 12:24 PM

*.ATR documents are 'just' files which contain data images of the sector contents on an arbitrary disk.  They can be copied from real life or - more frequently these days - used to create 'virtual' disks by the many current emulators.  There are also a couple of excellent stand alone pieces of software to create *.ATR images on demand - empty 'disks' which can then be filled and loaded by an emulator.  There are also at least three hardware devices which emulate a physical SIO disk drive for the genuine hardware that use *.ATR files - usually stored on mounted flash media - as if they were genuine disks.

 

On the other hand the 'VAPI' standard or *.ATX file is a 'cloned' 1:1 copy of a genuine disk, usually copy-protected but not always.  These are 100% copies of the source media and very useful indeed, although I do not think any of the mod hardware for the A8's will read them.  'Altirra' will though and at least a couple of the other emulators.



#5 ricortes OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:26 PM

Sometimes it is hard to balance full disclosure without losing clarity. I'll sacrifice accuracy to see if that helps! :)

 

About 1/3 of .ATR run with either BASIC enabled or a BASIC cart. If you don't have a BASIC enabled, they will crash.

About 1/3 of .ATR run with BASIC disabled. If you have BASIC enabled, they will crash.

About 1/3 of .ATR are OS dependent. Something that works on an 800 will not work on an XL/XE.

 

At any one time, it is to be expected that 2/3'd of your .ATRs will not work w/o configuring your machine beforehand. 

 

I try to group my .ATRs by type/configuration needed to run them. For example, just about all from ANTIC magazine need BASIC to enable the menu program *BUT* many of the programs have to be copied to another disk and run w/o BASIC enabled. Easiest to keep these in separate directories or add a label to the file name that gives you a hint.



#6 fujidude OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 1:36 PM

And, for some documentation on the format itself, see this.



#7 kenjennings OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 7:49 PM

A single density sector is 128 bytes.  A double density sector, (or a page in the 6502) is 256 bytes.   So, what is a "paragraph"?



#8 evilmoo OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:04 PM

A single density sector is 128 bytes.  A double density sector, (or a page in the 6502) is 256 bytes.   So, what is a "paragraph"?

 

Old Intel real-mode jargon for a group of 16 bytes.  I'm not sure why they chose to use that word.



#9 fujidude OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:56 PM

x


Edited by fujidude, Tue Nov 24, 2015 8:58 PM.


#10 Scott3555 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Nov 25, 2015 5:40 PM

A ATX file is an image of the a disk and any copy protection on the original disk is included in the ATX file.

 

So can a ATX be run from the image file or does it have to be copied to a floppy disk?  I know enough about 

copy protection schemes and the Atari 1050 drive to know that there were many copy protection schemes

that cannot be copied by the standard 1050, therefore we enhansed our drives with the Happy card.

 

Is it safe to assume that to write these disk image back to a floppy it requires a Happy 1050 drive to write them?

 

Nobody has mentioned anything about what software to use.  Does it come with the SIO2PC cable?

 

As I learn this stuff, I'm going to update the original postings so that others that follow will only have to read the

first posting to get the meat that this forum branch offers.



#11 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Nov 27, 2015 2:13 PM

So can a ATX be run from the image file or does it have to be copied to a floppy disk?  I know enough about 

copy protection schemes and the Atari 1050 drive to know that there were many copy protection schemes

that cannot be copied by the standard 1050, therefore we enhansed our drives with the Happy card.

 

You can run ATX images with appropriate software or hardware. For example, you can use Steve Tucker's APE program with the VAPI DLL available from Atarimania. I don't know what other software packages have support for it. On the hardware side, SIO2Arduino is the only hardware solution I know of that has support for ATX although it is somewhat limited since it doesn't fully emulate drive timing.

 

Is it safe to assume that to write these disk image back to a floppy it requires a Happy 1050 drive to write them?

 

 

There is no publicly available software that allows writing an ATX with a Happy 1050 that I'm aware of. The only available option I know of is using a SuperCard Pro, a PC floppy drive and phaeron's a8rawconv tool. And even then, that setup will only let you do single-sided disks as the SuperCard Pro doesn't support double-sided disks yet.

 

Nobody has mentioned anything about what software to use.  Does it come with the SIO2PC cable?

 

 

There are quite a few software solutions out there -- the aforementioned APE, AspeQT/RespeQT, SIO2OSX and a number of others. Some are available freely while others must be purchased.

 

I would suggest searching on these forums as there are many threads that talk about these tools. They all have different requirements for type of PC, operating system, etc. Some are more limiting than others and/or may require some technical savviness to get working. I don't believe there's really a "silver bullet" solution.



#12 Scott3555 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:45 AM

I don't believe there's really a "silver bullet" solution.

 

Hey Farb,

 

Thanks for the very informative reply!!!

 

Have you looked on the CBMSTUFF.COM site lately under the a8 forums?  There is a post dated September 3, 2015 that says the new software update does it all.  Any comments?  

 

I noticed that there was a user named Farb on that site in the a8 forum and I assume that you and he are the same person.  Therefore from what I read there, I know that at one time you were using a SuperCard Pro trying to work with the ATX files.  Do you still have it?  Still use it?

 

Do you think I took the wrong street ordering up a couple of Happy clone boards?  I ordered them primarily to get my new 1050 drives to working with double density disk.  Back in the 80's with disk protection that was the best way to go.



#13 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Nov 28, 2015 10:22 AM

Have you looked on the CBMSTUFF.COM site lately under the a8 forums?  There is a post dated September 3, 2015 that says the new software update does it all.  Any comments?  

 

Yes, that post is referring to phaeron's excellent a8rawconv tool. It integrates very well with the SuperCard Pro and is probably the closest thing we have to a fully integrated solution. However, you can only use the SuperCard Pro for single-sided disks (or double-sided disks that have 2 index holes). There is currently no support for double-sided disks with one index hole, so called "flippy disks", so I still use a Kryoflux with a8rawconv for those. Unfortunately, the majority of double-sided disks out there are of the flippy variety. To make matters worse, on dual-platform flippy disks (e.g. C64 + Atari), the Atari side is usually side B.

 

I noticed that there was a user named Farb on that site in the a8 forum and I assume that you and he are the same person.  Therefore from what I read there, I know that at one time you were using a SuperCard Pro trying to work with the ATX files.  Do you still have it?  Still use it?

 

Yes, they are one in the same Farb :-) I've worked with Jim to help improve the SuperCard Pro software but, unfortunately, that product hasn't seen any public updates in quite a while.

 

Do you think I took the wrong street ordering up a couple of Happy clone boards?  I ordered them primarily to get my new 1050 drives to working with double density disk.  Back in the 80's with disk protection that was the best way to go.

 

 

If double density is your primary purpose then I assume a Happy clone board will work great. It's just not currently a viable solution for creating ATX files.



#14 JimDrew OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:50 AM

Um... SuperCard Pro has always supported double-sided disks without having two index holes.  Just flip the disk over and turn off the index sensor requirement.  A8RawConv should be able to do this automatically.  The SuperCard Pro hardware will read the backside of the disk without a reference to the index mark (which isn't used on 8 bit Atari disks anyways).  Just read 2 revs and parse the data.


Edited by JimDrew, Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:52 AM.


#15 Farb OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2015 1:14 PM

Thanks for the clarification, Jim.

How do you turn off the index sensor requirement in the SuperCard Pro software?


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#16 JimDrew OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 22, 2015 2:55 PM

You can do it from the pull-down menu.  Drive Settings-->Index Sensor--->  (READ and WRITE have their own individual settings for REQUIRED and IGNORE).







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