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Matt_40

making backup copies of cassette games

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I'm getting really interested in getting some old cassette games working, haven't really messed around with old computers (not too much of a computer person) in about 10 years, but I have a bunch and always loved playing games on these things. i have a bunch of games on cassette tape, and I'd like to play the games, but don't want to just use these old tapes til they break.

 

The supercharger for the 2600 hooks up to any tape recorder, and I was asking about this on another forum on here. For what I'm thinking about trying is recording a supercharger tape onto a computer with a usb tape recorder setup, then copy it onto an ipod and play the audio on the ipod with the headphone jack plugged into it.

 

I'm figuring on getting a working 410 drive, I lost the old one I had, and trying to copy whatever games I have on tape via a usb tape recorder. If I could find a place to download any archived files of these games as windows media files I'd be totally happy just making tapes of various games to play on the 400. Not really sure what's been going on recently in terms of the possibility of any of this, so I figure I'll ask people who probably know more than me for help.

 

 

Thanks for any replies, I've been spending a lot of time trying to figure this out

 

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You won't probably get much luck with files archived as media files (.mp3, .wav, .ogg .flac - these take too much space), but there are lot of tape images (.CAS) available around and you can generate windows media files from those and record the signal to tapes. There is the a8cas utility that will generate .WAV from .CAS. If you are looking for GUI, try Turgen System.

 

For similar platforms (C64 and ZX Spectrum), you can also get games in form of tape images and create media files from them with similar utilities.

 

Unfortunately, Atari 8-bit tapes are limited to transfer speed of 600-800 bps. That means loading of medium-sized game can take up to 15 minutes. (C64 and ZX Spectrum are faster and do not have this problem).

Some hardware upgrades were developed to increase the transfer speed up to 6000 bps, but these are rare species outside few European countries (UK, Netherlands, former Czechoslovakia, former GDR, and Poland)

 

Disk drives or modern disk drive replacement devices (SIO2PC, SIO2PCUSB, SDRIVE, SIO2USB, SIDE) are much better option to get back to the 8-bit Atari. Games load in couple of seconds instead of 15 minutes. What is more, some games simply do require a disk drive.

 

So, to conclude my post.

There are means that will allow you to do what you want (a8cas and Turgen System are excellent tape-oriented tools), but be advised that performance of Atari tapes is worse than abysmal (600 - 800 bps). That means very slow for daily use.

Edited by baktra

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You won't probably get much luck with files archived as media files (.mp3, .wav, .ogg .flac - these take too much space), but there are lot of tape images (.CAS) available around and you can generate windows media files from those and record the signal to tapes. There is the a8cas utility that will generate .WAV from .CAS. If you are looking for GUI, try Turgen System.

 

For similar platforms (C64 and ZX Spectrum), you can also get games in form of tape images and create media files from them with similar utilities.

 

Unfortunately, Atari 8-bit tapes are limited to transfer speed of 600-800 bps. That means loading of medium-sized game can take up to 15 minutes. (C64 and ZX Spectrum are faster and do not have this problem).

Some hardware upgrades were developed to increase the transfer speed up to 6000 bps, but these are rare species outside few European countries (UK, Netherlands, former Czechoslovakia, former GDR, and Poland)

 

Disk drives or modern disk drive replacement devices (SIO2PC, SIO2PCUSB, SDRIVE, SIO2USB, SIDE) are much better option to get back to the 8-bit Atari. Games load in couple of seconds instead of 15 minutes. What is more, some games simply do require a disk drive.

 

So, to conclude my post.

There are means that will allow you to do what you want (a8cas and Turgen System are excellent tape-oriented tools), but be advised that performance of Atari tapes is worse than abysmal (600 - 800 bps). That means very slow for daily use.

 

 

I'm not really worried about load times if I can download games online and just burn them to tape. The problem is loading them onto the computer. Any tape drive findable needs new belts, which I guess if it's that simple and that's the main issue i'm going to run into i guess I can deal with.

 

Not sure if there was any way to do an analog to digital conversion into an old atari 8 bit off an audio device like a supercharger hooks up.

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Belts are available right here on this site. I use cassettes all the time, love them. Slow load times are not an issue for me either. There are plenty of working 1010's and 410s around.

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Not sure if there was any way to do an analog to digital conversion into an old atari 8 bit off an audio device like a supercharger hooks up.

 

Such device was not commercially available for 8-bit Atari computers, especially not in US

 

There exist

1. An interface (PCB) that allows to connect any audio device to the Atari computer instead of the data recorder. In essence external version of the circuitry present in the data recorder with some modifications.

2. CD-Link interface that also allows to connect any audio device to the Atari computer, and increases transfer speed up to 22000 bd. But this needs a special loader on cartridge.

 

It really shouldn't be a problem to get get 1010, 410, or XC-12 in a decent state. If the belts are worn-out, you can use a cassette adapter temporarily until you have them replaced.

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Such device was not commercially available for 8-bit Atari computers, especially not in US

 

There exist 1. An interface (PCB) that allows to connect any audio device to the Atari computer instead of the data recorder. In essence external version of the circuitry present in the data recorder with some modifications.

 

Actually there was this device from GE, with dual Atari/C64 interface: http://atariage.com/forums/topic/161936-atari-1010-problem/?do=findComment&comment=1995899

 

I'm not sure, but I think the interface wasn't available separately, only sold together with the recorder. But of course you could use the interface with any audio device if you wanted to. I understand it wasn't very popular at the US, and IIRC it wasn't much cheaper than an Atari tape recorder anyway. But seems it has an FCC id.

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It really shouldn't be a problem to get get 1010, 410, or XC-12 in a decent state. If the belts are worn-out, you can use a cassette adapter temporarily until you have them replaced.

 

The 1010 will work with an atari 400 too? Honestly most of the stuff I've found on ebay is "untested" and they think its worth 30 bucks. Then again mostly any problems I've had with tape recorders and old stereos is generally the crappy drive belts. If the atari tape drives are similar I'll just get the cheapest untested one assuming it just needs belts.

 

I have a few tapes I could copy, and I've been told it should work loading them into audacity with a usb recorder and then recording it back onto another tape. If I could get the audio files of the tapes I could just download them and record them to the tape for free, but I'm not having any luck finding the data in an audio format.

Edited by Matt_40

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The 1010 will work with an atari 400 too? Honestly most of the stuff I've found on ebay is "untested" and they think its worth 30 bucks. Then again mostly any problems I've had with tape recorders and old stereos is generally the crappy drive belts. If the atari tape drives are similar I'll just get the cheapest untested one assuming it just needs belts.

 

I have a few tapes I could copy, and I've been told it should work loading them into audacity with a usb recorder and then recording it back onto another tape. If I could get the audio files of the tapes I could just download them and record them to the tape for free, but I'm not having any luck finding the data in an audio format.

 

All program recorders are compatible with old Atari 400. That includes also 1010, XC11, XC12, CA12, XCA12, and PM4401A. Perhaps you can get some of the XC series. The build quality is not as good as 1010's, but these do not require a separate power supply (using the 5V from the SIO connector). Aesthetically speaking, 410 is the best looking companion for Atari 400/800, of course. But these have a kind of a collector's value, therefore 30 bucks and more.

 

Some of them can be available at Allegro.pl for a better price, but you would have to convince the seller to ship to the US and take the shipping cost into account (if you are located in US). 1 USD ~ 4 PLN.

 

And when it comes to belts...

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All program recorders are compatible with old Atari 400. That includes also 1010, XC11, XC12, CA12, XCA12, and PM4401A. Perhaps you can get some of the XC series. The build quality is not as good as 1010's, but these do not require a separate power supply (using the 5V from the SIO connector). Aesthetically speaking, 410 is the best looking companion for Atari 400/800, of course. But these have a kind of a collector's value, therefore 30 bucks and more.

 

Some of them can be available at Allegro.pl for a better price, but you would have to convince the seller to ship to the US and take the shipping cost into account (if you are located in US). 1 USD ~ 4 PLN.

 

And when it comes to belts...

 

 

Good to know, the 410 and 1010 seem to be the easiest to find.

 

My last thing to figure out, is how to get the files recorded back onto cassettes. I have plenty of blank ones to spare.

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Good to know, the 410 and 1010 seem to be the easiest to find.

 

My last thing to figure out, is how to get the files recorded back onto cassettes. I have plenty of blank ones to spare.

 

As always, you have multiple choices.

For Atari, there are

  • Disk to cassette copiers (such as Nudmehi Boot Cassette Maker), or other similar utilities. You can leverage your disk drive replacement for the task.
  • Cassette to cassette copiers, such as CASDUP. You can also leverage your disk drive replacement. SIO2PC-like devices can emulate a data recorder with appropriate software. Another option is a cassette adapter.

Or you can do it a "recording studio way" - it is my preferred option when creating cassettes for sale

  • Recording WAV/MP3/OGG/FLAC files created with PC to an ordinary cassette recorder. Both professional tape decks or cheap mono portable cassette recorders will do the job if in good working condition. Just remember that when using a stereo setup, record the data to the right channel. Atari cassette recorders use both channels. The right channel is dedicated to data, the left channel is dedicated to music or voice over. When loading times are about 15 minutes, music can help to fight the boredom ;) . The Audacity software can help a lot, as well as shntool.
  • The only devices I would avoid are the most recent cheap boomboxes with cassette deck, especially those having only a permanent magnet instead of true erase head.

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As always, you have multiple choices.

For Atari, there are

  • Disk to cassette copiers (such as Nudmehi Boot Cassette Maker), or other similar utilities. You can leverage your disk drive replacement for the task.
  • Cassette to cassette copiers, such as CASDUP. You can also leverage your disk drive replacement. SIO2PC-like devices can emulate a data recorder with appropriate software. Another option is a cassette adapter.

Or you can do it a "recording studio way" - it is my preferred option when creating cassettes for sale

  • Recording WAV/MP3/OGG/FLAC files created with PC to an ordinary cassette recorder. Both professional tape decks or cheap mono portable cassette recorders will do the job if in good working condition. Just remember that when using a stereo setup, record the data to the right channel. Atari cassette recorders use both channels. The right channel is dedicated to data, the left channel is dedicated to music or voice over. When loading times are about 15 minutes, music can help to fight the boredom ;) . The Audacity software can help a lot, as well as shntool.
  • The only devices I would avoid are the most recent cheap boomboxes with cassette deck, especially those having only a permanent magnet instead of true erase head.

 

If I record it with a mono recorder it will still play? I'm planning on trying with audacity and just using a recorder with a usb interface to record the WMV file.

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If you are going to use a mono recorder to create your Atari tapes, it will work, of course.

You will just have to give up the left channel with music or voice-over and record only the data.

 

You can try this mono file.

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If you are going to use a mono recorder to create your Atari tapes, it will work, of course.

You will just have to give up the left channel with music or voice-over and record only the data.

 

You can try this mono file.

Thanks a lot for the help, I'll let you know how this goes.

 

I get that there are definitely more modern ways of doing this, if I can download games to cassettes and load them into the old atari 400 I'd figure it would be pretty cool.

 

 

I'm gonna try different ways of copying tapes once I'm sure I have one way figured out (copying them in various boom boxes and seeing how well they work.) I'll post updates if you're interested.

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Thanks a lot for the help, I'll let you know how this goes.

 

I get that there are definitely more modern ways of doing this, if I can download games to cassettes and load them into the old atari 400 I'd figure it would be pretty cool.

 

 

I'm gonna try different ways of copying tapes once I'm sure I have one way figured out (copying them in various boom boxes and seeing how well they work.) I'll post updates if you're interested.

 

Well, there is not much to say but Good Luck with your efforts (and a lot of patience).

 

Please consider sharing your success or horror story including the names of tools and devices you will use in the end . As I belong to a seemingly small group of creators of cassette-oriented utilities, I would most certainly appreciate any feedback (either positive or negative, of course).

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