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AtariWriter Printer Drivers on Cassette

AtariWriter Cassette Tape

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#1 jnharmon OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:52 PM

Back when the AtariWriter cartridge came out, one of the interesting aspects is that it could be used effectively in cassette based systems.  One limitation of this is that the cartridge came only with drivers for Atari's printers.  On disk based systems, it was possible to use and/or create AtariWriter printer drivers for other printers, which resulting in a AUTORUN.SYS file that could be booted with AtariWriter.

 

I was wondering if it is possible to convert one of these drivers to a bootable cassette to enable cassette based systems to use the drivers.

 

If this is possible, is this the same process as converting any other binary load file to a bootable cassette, or are there other factors involved?

 

Thanks,

 

-Jason


Edited by jnharmon, Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:05 PM.


#2 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Sep 14, 2018 2:59 PM

hmmm anything is possible, go for it!



#3 jnharmon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:24 PM

I was able to get this to work by using a utility to convert the driver's AUTORUN.SYS file to a bootable cassette.  The print driver seems to boot from cassette and work as expected with AtariWriter.

 

The limitation I see is that the driver is about 2000 bytes long but is designed to load at location 8192, which is above DOS.  Since there is no DOS loaded when using cassette, the RAM between MEMLO (normally 1792 with no DOS) and 8192 is wasted, and the free memory in AtariWriter reflects this.

 

My next step is to see if there is any way to relocate the driver into lower memory to free up this wasted 6,400 bytes of RAM.  If AtariWriter expects a fixed entry point for the driver at 8192, this may not be possible without a modified AW ROM.  Will be interesting to see.



#4 _The Doctor__ OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 1:40 PM

nah I think you should be able to move it around... but you may be correct about the rom assuming space for dos as did the driver...



#5 jnharmon OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:28 PM

I'll have to see if the ROM has a fixed JMP or JSR to 8192, or if the driver itself sets an entry vector that AW uses to call it.  Need to brush up on my 6502 assember - to many years of high level languages have clouded my brain.






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