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About DistantStar001

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    Chopper Commander

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  1. I have an Atari 800XL and recently got a handful of cartridges, including BASIC Computer Language (CXL4002). So I was wondering if there was any difference between the the BASIC on the cartridge and what’s built in on the 800XL?
  2. New question: I ran across THR-80.com and just discovered that the site offers a service to create physical system and utility disks for the Models I, III, 4, and 4P, but they're asking for a donation in return. I have no problem with this, but they didn't specify or even suggest what would be an appropriate donation. So I was wondering if anyone here has taken advantage of this, and if so, how much should I donate to cover their costs? I'm still working on getting the Cassette port to work, but I did read that I was supposed to be using the "SYSTEM" command for machine language cassettes, not "CLOAD"? Honestly, it hasn't made much of a difference as the computer still doesn't seem to be receiving anything from the port. I tried cleaning the contacts on the motherboard a while back, but had no luck. then again, I still haven't had the opportunity to disassemble the computer again since my last post, so it's possible that there is something physical that I've missed. Any ideas what that might be?
  3. I'm still in the process of going through all of is (cleaning and going over the boards). There are two boards behind a metal shield covered in a thin yellow plastic I haven't gotten to yet. So far everything seems to be working right, so I think my problem is probably just a corrupted floppy disk. Unfortunately I don't think there is a way to tell one way and or another without a working disk. So I've turned my attention to the cassette port. I've moved away from the cassette cable I made and am now using a "test cable" (basically, a bout a quarter of an Atari 2600 power cable with two nails soldered to it). I used this on my Cocos before I was able to build a proper cable, so again, I know it works. Since the "test cable" "pins" are free from a din, I can check different combinations of pins to map the port. Unfortunately, so far nothing works? And my computer isn't loading. I've checked continuity on all the pins in the port, now I have to check the connection to the motherboard. There's still intermittent contact (not a full short) between two of the pins, but different pins after cleaning the port. Now it's pins 1 and 5 (the outer two). I still don't know if this is normal, but so far I haven't gotten it to load anything. I figure that I should disconnect it from the motherboard and then check continuity on both ends to see if the issue isn in the cable or the board. Any ideas? Thanks. That explains the error messages I was getting. I actually did try 48k thinking that the message was referring to the RAM, but got the same error. So I tried the approximate disk size (I know I got it wrong). When defaulted, BASIC reports the correct RAM, so this "Memory Size" prompt is just a something I don't understand yet. First TRS-80, so a lot to learn! 🙂
  4. OK. So new issue. I had a bit of a brownout, followed by a total blackout. This happened while the computer was on, and I was again (unsuccessfully) attempting to load an .cas file through the cassette port. I turned it off and unplugged it as soon as I could, but the screen was flickering during the brownout when I got there, and the drive was spinning until I turned it off. After the power was restored (and I was sure it wasn't going to go out again), I plugged back in and turned it on to see if there was any damage. The drives seemed to initialize, but the computer didn't boot. (both drives lit up, but drive 0 kept spinning until I removed the disk or reset into BASIC. Then I entered a simple two line looping program, which worked as expected. In fact, as far as I can tell, everything seems to be working as before. I even tried resetting into BASIC, typing "H" at the "Cass?" prompt, entering 120k at the "Memory Size" prompt, and with a disk, I got the same behavior that I got at power-up. Following the same procedure, I removed the disk, and got the standard "Diskette?" message, when the door is open, and it spins for about a second with the door closed, then stops. So pretty much what it was doing before. It would seem that the drive knows when there's a disk inside, and mechanically, it seems to function. Just to be certain, I did a partial disassembly and observed the drives in action. The read head didn't move much, but then again it appeared to be at track 0, and I've never heard the same knocking sounds that I get out of my Apple or (sometime) Commodore drives, so there's a possibility that that's normal. I also swapped the drives, as Drive one wasn't spinning during the brownout, and is largely inactive since I only have the one disk. When swapped, Drive one behaved exactly like Drive zero, so if there is any damage, my guess would be that it's on the controller card, and not the drives, since even if both drives were damaged, I would seem that both drives suffered the exact same damage. At this point I can only guess what's going on. But my two prevailing theories are that either, A: The brownout caused an under-voltage that damaged either the drives or the controller card, or B: The brownout activated the write function on the drive head, and my one and only disk was corrupted as a result. Any ideas on how I can tell one way or another? Or am I missing something else? Edit: I'm starting to think that it might be the controller card. I just repeated the "H" "120K" test and now it's giving me endless "Read Error in 50095" messages (disk or no disk). Also, there seems to be another part of the error message, I'm not sure what it says since it's going so fast, but I think it's "?SN ?". Any idea what that means?
  5. MSX2Cas seems to be going at 2400 bps and there's no option to change that. I was trying to load batlstar.bas with MSX2Cas. But I have now moved on to PlayCAS and am attempting to load Sea Dragon over the headphone jack on my Surface Pro. It is a .cas file, and PlayCAS converted the file to wave and the program recognizes it as a TRS-80 Model 1, III, and 4 cassette. I've checked to make sure that the .wav it generated plays sound over the speaker. It does. However, when played over the cassette cable nothing happens. I did check the port again, and there seems to be some minor continuity between two of the pins on the port. Both have brown wires attached to them, and since this is my first TRS-80, I really don't know if this is correct or the source of my problem? Whatever it is or not, I don't think it's my cable that causes the short as it still works with my Cocos? I just ran a continuity test on my cable and it checks out with no sorts between pins. So I'm going to check one of my Cocos to see if the short exists on their ports. Otherwise, maybe I've found my culprit???
  6. So I've been trying to test my cassette cable loading from an old Android tablet. I've had a lot of success with this on my Commodore datasette using a program called tapDancer, and have even managed to convert .tap files (and others) to physical cassettes with a TI Program Recorder. Sadly this tape deck has a lot of noise on the playback, so I haven't been able to load programs with it directly. But at least it records well, and the tapes it makes load on my C2n. Unfortunately, tapDancer appears to be Commodore only, as I've never been able to get it to load to another make of computer. The new program I found is called MSX2Cas. However, while it seems to recognize .bas files, it won't recognize .cas? (At least not TRS-80 ones in any event) Weird, since the program sat it does, and Cas is literally in the name. I've tried to load a program into my Model III with a "CLOAD" command (tried "CLOADM" too, but the computer doesn't seem to understand that and just gives an error message). The curser disappears (much like an Apple II does with "LOAD"), so I'm guessing that the computer is listening, but after the file finishes playing, nothing happens. It just sits there, giving no indication that a program was received. Eventually, I hit Break and it went bad to its BASIC prompt. So I know it didn't lock up or anything. I checked the jacks on my cable to the pins in the port and everything seems right. Also, I've used this cable successfully with both of my Coco 2s, so I know the cable works (with Cocos anyway). So now I'm wondering if it's my program? Maybe the .bas file is bad? Or maybe because it's a .bas, MSX2Cas doesn't know to tell the computer that the file has finished? Maybe it's the Android? The cable I made has mono jacks, and the headphone jack on my tablet is certainly stereo. I was using a stereo aux cable and cassette adapter with my Commodore files, and I understand that can be a problem sometimes as the contacts don't always line up. In any case, I was hoping someone out there could direct me to an archive with .wav files? Or maybe a program that can convert .cas to .wav? My hope is that I can try to load from another device or computer that isn't so finicky. Maybe my old iMac, since that's what I use with my Cocos. Thanks again, and as always any help or advice is appreciated. 🙂
  7. Excellent! I already made one for my Coco. 🙂 I found one on eBay (cable included), but with shipping it's around $100 US. That's as much as I spent on the computer itself. Honestly, I can't even say if that's a fair price or not since I've never looked into it before, and I haven't found anything to compare it to. I think the PC option is going to be my best bet. The FreHD looks awesome, but it's a little out of my budget right now. And honestly, I can't even find a seller for the HxC (at least not one for a TRS-8). I have a friend who has offered me an old PC, but he's not sure what kind (just not an IBM). It's either a 286 or a 386 and has 5.25 drive. Worst case, it's high density and I'll have to find a 360k to install. The real question is how do I get disk images off of my surface and onto 286/386? I know this is possible on an Apple II, but I think in this case, the idea is to load the program into RAM without executing it, and then saving it to disk. Thank you so much for this!!! Figuring out how to put software onto disk is great and all, but what good is it if I don't have any software! 🙂
  8. Looks to be the case, as there is no 25 pin port on the bottom, just an empty space. The good news is that it does have a floppy controller and two drives. Also, if the badge on the keyboard is to be believed, then it was updated to 48k. The keyboard is going to be a major project, but I was able to get it to do a looping BASIC program (filled the screen with "Hello There!"). No easy task given that the "T", "E", and "Back Arrow" keys are less than responsive. I never really thought about how much I use the T in BASIC programs. However, I have found that their performance has improved with use, so I'm guessing that the switches are salvageable. Also the board isn't warped and I didn't see any broken traces! 🙂 Definitely a big project! But good news! I checked all the capacitors, and aside from the two (filter/safety) caps I replaced, internally everything seems to be good and in excellent shape. 🙂 Thanks. But is it possible that you have any instructions on how to accomplish this (either in DOS or BASIC)? I'm a total noob to this. Additional Question: Is the Cassette cable/port the same as a Coco 2?
  9. Just figured out BASIC! Holding "Break" during startup, then "Enter" when it asks for cassette until it asks "Memory Size?", "Enter" again, then it gave me a BASIC prompt! Also the dimming seems to have gone away for the moment. Maybe the capacitors needed to charge after being idol for the past who knows how long?
  10. So I replaced the safety caps (took a while since I had to practically take the whole thing apart to get at the cap that blew), switched it on and so far it seems to be working as it did before. However, the screen seems to dim periodically. So I'm guessing that further recaps will be necessary. I can also safely say that I am not the first to open this thing, as there appears to be a screw missing on the lower disk drive (screen side), and the hole for the screw on the upper drive (case side) is stripped. No biggie. I'm sure this thing has had a long full career. So there should be a few blemishes and such. It boots, and seems to work, and that's what matters! Thanks! I just signed up and am having fun exploring! Tried this, sadly no luck. It just rebooted the computer to the same blank screen? Thank you for this! I checked out his site, and right away I saw the name badges! Didn't see the key switches, but then, I guess I have to email him for those. Also, thank you for the warning! That would have been awful!! Is it possible to dismantle the switches to clean them? And if possible, what about using some conductive paint on the carbon pads? I've done this on a Commodore 64 once and had great results. Also, I did manage to get the "Back Arrow", "T", "/?", and "Enter" to work, but I had to apply a fair amount of pressure and wiggle the key side-to-side to get it to respond. Sadly these appear to be the 4 legged variety, but thanks for the offer. I did try this, but all it did was ask for a cassette? Absolutely the drives need to be taken apart, but weirdly, the high pitched grinding is gone. No idea why? I'm guessing that I'm going to need some sort of adapter for the cable as the only ports are the cassette, and three edge connectors on the bottom. the good news is that the original owner was kind enough to write "Printer" in sharpie next to the one closest to the power cord, so at least I know where to plug it in.
  11. I just got a TRS-80 (Trash-80, not Coco) Model III, and I have some questions. It is in somewhat rough shape, but, cosmetically, the case is intact, with a few scratches and wear marks. The nameplate between the disk drives is missing. Also missing is the ",<" keycap and the stem to the switch is broken off. Which leads to my first question: Where do I get a replacement switch? If it helps, the original owner left a note in the keyboard identifying the part number as AS-7567. I suppose question two is: Where can I get a new keycap? Operationally, I really can't say much, as it failed its smoke test just as I was writing this. Nothing serious, one of those notorious yellow safety caps blew out with a fizzle and a lot of bad-smelling smoke. However, the computer itself was still going when without a problem when I turned it off. Still, I think I'll replace them (there's another that seems fine, but why risk it) before I power it up again. On power-up, the computer did boot from the lower floppy drive (marked "Drive 0") and loaded the TRSDOS system disk that came with it. However, the drive makes a loud high-pitched grinding noise when in use. Question three: Will lubricating the drive fix this? So far, I haven't tested the upper drive ("Drive 1"), but it does light up, and DOS recognizes that the drive is there. On the keyboard, the following keys are nonfunctional: "E", "T", "Back Arrow", "S", "C", "V", "B", ".>", "/?" and the "Enter" key on the main keyboard (however, the one on the numeric pad does work). The "Up Arrow" and "Down Arrow" keys cannot happen confirmed. I'm assuming that some alcohol or contact cleaner might bring these keys back? When powered on without a floppy in Drive 0, all I get is a blank screen (no BASIC prompt). Honestly, I wasn't sure if this machine even has BASIC, but Google seemed to suggest that it should. Which leads me to my fourth question: Does this even have BASIC? No big deal if it doesn't, but I'd like to know. Maybe there's some sort of key combo or something to get there? My last questions are: How do I get software off the internet and on to disk for this thing? But obviously, I need to get it fully working first. Also, What software and accessories would you recommend? Can't wait to see what this thing can do! That's it for now, thanks for reading, and any help would be appreciated. 🙂 One last question: Where can I find a replacement name badge? I'd like it to proudly display it's "TRS-80 MODEL III" badge again!
  12. Yes, but the disk images are coupled with a program called Instadisk (or at least I think that's what it's called, it's been awhile). As such, they don't boot as games or disks on their own. Instead the computer will load the Instadisk program, then depending on the version you're playing, Instadisk will automatically format and write the attached disk image to floppy. From there, you can reboot your computer from your new floppy. I've never used C2T, but for ADTPro, you need two connections to make use of the cassette ports (both in and out). Once loaded on the Apple II, the program will need to communicate with the host computer. Unlike Instadisk, which is strictly out go (from file host to the Apple II), ADTPro has to send signals back to the host to request disk images or file catalogs. This can be a problem for some newer computers that use a single jack for both mic and headphones (if this is your case, you'll need a breakout cable separating the mic from the headphone). If that's not the case for you, the sound settings can also be a problem. You need to make sure that your host computer is listening to the mic port and not defaulted to the internal one instead. I remember my Mac not doing this automatically. Adjusting the volume and sensitivity of the mic port also helped. Also make sure that you've silenced any audio alerts, as your Apple II will interpret them as data. I only mention this because I remember it taking me a long time to work out all the kinks in ADTPro. Despite how easy their videos make it look, there's still a bit of a learning curve. If it helps, I remember that actually bootstrapping my Apple II from ADTPro (as opposed to loading from floppy) helped a lot in working out all of the out going settings. Also, http://asciiexpress.net hosts a game server as well (http://asciiexpress.net/gameserver/). Like the disk server, the files are archived in .wav format and can be saved to your hard drive. However, unlike the disk server, these games boot instantly after loading, and if you like, will work from a cassette as well! (no Instadisk or writing to floppy) Also, there's lots of Arcade Titles to choose from!!
  13. Sadly no. Atari Joysticks are digital, Apple are analog. Also the plugs on an Apple joystick (16 or 9 pin) are male, while Atari sticks have female. I understand that you can make an adapter, but I've never used one.
  14. It's hard to tell from the picture. The monitor might be a little yellow, but the computer and the DuoDisk seem right on. The original Apple ][ and early //e's were actually painted that same yellowish-beige color. It really does look amazing! For hardware: I'd recommend getting a Super Serial Card (SSC). It's not strictly necessary, as you can get away with the cassette ports, but if you want to get software off the internet and on to floppy, then it really speeds things up. Also a 25 to 9 pin serial cable and 9 pin to usb serial adapter to go along with the SSC. A CH joystick. The fire button on the top makes it a little more intuitive for me compared to the Apple branded ones. Lastly, a decent set of Apple branded paddles. I've seen some of the off brands, and they just don't seem as good. Also, it doesn't matter if the joystick or paddles have a 16 or 9 pin interface, the //e has both. As for software: ADTPro! Along with the SSC and cables I mentioned, this is the program that is going to allow you to get whatever software you want from the internet. http://apple2online.com has a great archive of Apple II software to choose from. Oh, and The Oregon Trail. You really haven't had the full Apple II experience until you've died of dysentery on The Oregon Trail!
  15. Yes I connected the it to the //e for testing, but I also measured the voltages from the connector as well. Thank you for this. It’s actually been a big help. I'm guessing that the SCR is the little thing that looks like a 7805 voltage regulator (but is not). If I replace it, do you think that will solve the problem? Or is it another component causing it to malfunction? Can a flaky capacitor cause these kind of issues when in contact with ground? Like I said, this thing is fine when isolated from ground. I’m just not sure why, but it is. I probably could fix it reliably by by removing whatever screws are making contact with ground, thus isolating it completely, but I’d still have a faulty component in my PSU that could cause future problems.
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