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Where are all the ICD P:R: Connections?


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#1 ACML OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 9, 2018 9:46 PM

I have not seen an ICD P:R: Connection on eBay in a long time.  I like it's small form factor and lack of power supply compared to the 850.  I recently bought an Epson FX-980 dot matrix printer just to be able to print using a P:R: Connection.  It is funny to hear the dot matrix go to work after all these years.  Today's generation have no clue how incredible things like dot matrix printers and modems were in the 80's.  I remember buying a 1200 baud Hayes modem and the salesman telling me that 1200 baud is the fastest you will ever be able to go on a phone line.  There is always the criticism that Atari lacked expansion slots like the Apple II.  It did, but in the end, Atari was way ahead of it's time.  The SIO of 1979 is today's USB.  You can plug anything in and it knows what it is and can talk to your computer. It was the first "plug and play".  Once you bought an 850 or P:R: Connection, your 800 could do what an Apple II could, but the Apple could not say the same.  Up until about the end of 2016, you would see P:R: Connections on eBay, but since 2017, I think I've only seen one.  They aren't as rare as ICD MIOs, but they are getting scarce.  Atari apparently sold a ton of 850s and must have had pallet fulls that they never sold.  I had an 850 back in the early 80's, but now the P:R: Connection seems like the best option.   



#2 David_P OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Apr 9, 2018 9:52 PM

I think Best still has some for sale, as well as B&C - all NOS, as far as I know.



#3 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:34 AM

The 'lore' i remember in the day was the 850 eventually was not readily available from purchase, so that's why ICD moved in to fill the void since Atari never came out with an "XL" version other than the 1030. Maybe cheaper if 850's were still around. But since they were a product later in the 8-bit timeline, maybe a lot of people had already moved on and statistically there's less of them out there. I like the idea of Atari warehouses full of NIB 850's though, totally plausible :)

 

When I was a kid I actually started with a P:R:Connection and a 1200bps modem. (Dad worked for a telco, decent modems were easy to come by hehe). I got to try an 850 years later, and although it functioned identically as far as I could tell, I remember thinking it was huge, ugly, and WTH is there SIO ports on the FRONT :)  I also learned later about the 1-bootstrap per power cycle on the 850, not a problem on the P:R: connection.

 

I recently re-acquired a P:R: Connection, and have a line on another potentially, but they were private deals. and I agree with you , its rare to see ICD stuff in general on e-bay.


Edited by Nezgar, Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:35 AM.


#4 orpheuswaking OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 7:19 AM

Last I checked both B&C and Best were out of P:R units



#5 squonk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:02 AM

The SIO of 1979 is today's USB.

 

More than most people realize:  From https://en.wikipedia.../wiki/Atari_SIO :

 

"SIO's designer, Joe Decuir, credits his work on system as the basis of USB."

 

SIO was a really advanced interface for its time, and it's a real shame that it came out in the era when every computer manufacturer designed all their technology from the ground up so there was no adoption outside the Atari world.  It would be a different world if, say, Commodore and others had decided to adopt SIO as its interface for the Commodore 64 and other PCs of the time.

 

I currently have a P:R: connection (which I bought new from ICD), but I'm currently using an 850 because I prefer the styling.

 



#6 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:09 AM

As part of my IRATA.ONLINE (see website: http:/www.irata.online/) project, I am writing firmware for an ESP32 based device that talks SIO on one end, and provides an internet modem emulation that hooks up to either wifi or ethernet. It will emulate an 850, so will be a drop in replacement, not just for existing terminal programs, but it will also work with the PLATO cartridge, for IRATA.ONLINE.

 

-Thom



#7 squonk OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:28 AM

That sounds like a neat project.  It would be nice to be able to streamline that particular headache.

Can an Atari have multiple 850s?  Anyone using a real 850 for parallel port access might still want that capability (of course, there are also other P: centronics interfaces out there).



#8 tschak909 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:34 AM

Well, there's a shit ton of I/O on the ESP32, we can hang a parallel port off the GPIO, if we wish. It starts to cut into the whole "elegant" solution.

 

-Thom



#9 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:18 AM

Can an Atari have multiple 850s?  Anyone using a real 850 for parallel port access might still want that capability (of course, there are also other P: centronics interfaces out there).

 

If you connected two 850's they would both respond to the same SIO commands and communication would fail. Similar to setting two disk drives as D1:.

 

I don't think it's an option on the 850, but the P:R: connection has an internal jumper to disable the parallel port if needed. This would allow you to use a separate simultaneously connected parallel interface for P: printing. (still just one or the other)

 

Here is the reference from Page 5 of the P:R: Connection manual:

Attached Thumbnails

  • prprinter.jpg


#10 Fox-1 / mnx OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:26 PM

One thing I still want to try some day is changing the R: part of the 850 ROM to, let's say, M:.  Maybe it's possible to use two of those simultaneously that way, however, for me it's more that I can use an 850 (or P:R:) together with the serial R: port of a Black Box.

 

Since the 850 is set-up to use R1: -> R4: it may also be possible to edit the ROM and change that part to R5: -> R8:  I suppose that can work when the driver is loaded from disk.



#11 manterola OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 12:45 PM

I would love to have an ICD P:R: connection. I have never seen one just pictures, but I have heard about it since I was in school.
But 70 something bucks plus s&h is a little too much.
I have a uds100 that I would like to use, without having to deal with wierd arrangements with the sio2pc. You know, a real RS232 connection.

#12 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:36 PM

Since the 850 is set-up to use R1: -> R4: it may also be possible to edit the ROM and change that part to R5: -> R8:  I suppose that can work when the driver is loaded from disk.

 

In the case of the MIO, I wonder if the PBI R1: handler would override the P:R: Connection handler? Then maybe R1: would go to MIO and R2: would go to the PRC.. (Although, that would use the PRC's R2: which has only XMIT/RCV, no handshake lines)

 

Seeing if the handler could be modified to use different arbitrary R device #'s is an interesting idea.



#13 Stormtrooper of Death OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:54 PM

When I had my own BBS in 1990/1991, I used the P:R: connection for modem communication. Really liked it. Never had a 850 interface.



#14 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:05 PM

Since the 850 is set-up to use R1: -> R4: it may also be possible to edit the ROM and change that part to R5: -> R8:  I suppose that can work when the driver is loaded from disk.

 
A quick look at a hex dump of PRC.SYS for the SIO device ID's for $50 (R1:) or $51 (R2:) found no occurrences of $50 in the file, and 2 probably not related occurrences of $51.. So, not quite that simple. :)



#15 davidcalgary29 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:06 PM

Last I checked both B&C and Best were out of P:R units

 

I bought one from Brad about two months ago...



#16 remowilliams OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 2:24 PM

I know where two of them are, does that help?  :D



#17 DrVenkman OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 3:42 PM

Well, one of them is right there, under the Lantronix MSS100. :) 

 

PR_pic.jpg



#18 Fox-1 / mnx OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:01 PM

 

In the case of the MIO, I wonder if the PBI R1: handler would override the P:R: Connection handler? Then maybe R1: would go to MIO and R2: would go to the PRC.. (Although, that would use the PRC's R2: which has only XMIT/RCV, no handshake lines)

 

Seeing if the handler could be modified to use different arbitrary R device #'s is an interesting idea.

 

Don't know about the MIO but the Black Box redirects all calls to R: (and R1: -> R9:) to it's own serial port (when enabled).  That's why I want to try my luck with changing the 850 R: to M:.

The change from R1: -> R4:  to R5: -> R8: may be useful for non-PBI R: solutions, like multiple 850's (or P:R:, or R:verter).



#19 Nezgar OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:04 PM

Don't know about the MIO but the Black Box redirects all calls to R: (and R1: -> R9:) to it's own serial port (when enabled).

I guess I have a new reason to connect up my MIO again to see if it takes over all the R: ID's like the Black Box or not.



#20 Fox-1 / mnx OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 4:08 PM

I guess I have a new reason to connect up my MIO again to see if it takes over all the R: ID's like the Black Box or not.

I'm pretty sure the MIO will behave the same but unfortunately don't have one to be 100% certain. That's where you come in :-)



#21 Alfred OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:23 PM

I guess I have a new reason to connect up my MIO again to see if it takes over all the R: ID's like the Black Box or not.

 

Both the MIO and the Black Box should take over from any run-time installed driver. SIO gives PBI devices first crack at satisfying the request, and if they do, then any other drivers aren't checked.



#22 adam242 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:45 PM

I know where two of them are, does that help?  :D

 

 

Well, one of them is right there, under the Lantronix MSS100. :)

 

I can assure everyone of another unit having a safe home. Original box and apparently unused.  ;-) 



#23 AtariGeezer ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 5:56 PM

I can account for 4-5 of them :)



#24 Stephen OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:36 PM

Well, one of them is right there, under the Lantronix MSS100. :)

 

attachicon.gifPR_pic.jpg

Damn - I have to get a proper top and back panel made for my 1088XEL.  That just looks too nice!

 

Also, I had no idea the P:R was so rare.  Glad I snatched one up when they were easy to find. I really need to see if I get get on PLATO with my Lantronix + P:R.  Too many projects, too little time.



#25 Tillek OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Apr 10, 2018 6:47 PM

Damn - I have to get a proper top and back panel made for my 1088XEL.  That just looks too nice!

 

Also, I had no idea the P:R was so rare.  Glad I snatched one up when they were easy to find. I really need to see if I get get on PLATO with my Lantronix + P:R.  Too many projects, too little time.

I hear that... Let me know how it works... Though I'd have to get my hands on the PLATO cart.....






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