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Hello all, hoping someone here can give me a bit of advice regarding SD card/compact flash cartridge solutions for an Atari 400 - after years (ok, decades) of wanting to play Lucasarts and Llamasoft games on an Atari 8-bit I finally got hold of an Atari 400. Only to find the membrane keyboard had started to die so I couldn't hold down Start when turning on to load from tape.

 

Got that replaced with a new one from Best Electronics (and in the process also discovered it had had a memory upgrade so it's a bit more capable than a stock one) but still having a fair bit of trouble as need to replace the belts in my xc12 and a spring in my 410p. Just about able to get *some* things loaded on the 410 but it's very hit and miss so think what I could really do with is a cartridge solution to load from disk/tape/cartridge images instead.

 

So, what would you recommend for an Atari 400 (with memory upgrade)? I know the atarimax myide2 isn't an option as borrowed one from a friend, only to find it's XL/XE only. I've seen sd2sio and sdrivemax doohickeys going on eBay but would really rather a cartridge solution instead, does such a thing exist or are they all only for XL/XE systems?

Edited by GigerPunk

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There is the somewhat rare Ultimate Cart for the 400/800 right here......

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Atari-400-800-XL-XE-Ultimate-Cartridge-SD-card-for-loading-ROM-CAR-XEX-/283507144629?oid=283469956161

 

You'll have to provide your own SD card to store the software and download practically the entire catalog from one of the many free sites,

I'd recommend the "Homesoft Collection".

 

I have the sio2sd from Lotharek and can't recommend it enough, it comes with an SD card already packed with software and room to spare, it's also got some

nice drive features to emulate a working disk. Shipping from Poland to the States only took around a week and a half so it wasn't that bad.

Edited by griff3125

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Hmmm, a hundred pounds or so for the cartridge (plus likely get stung by customs, like I did for the replacement keyboard) or closer to fifty for the "biggus dickus" model direct from lotharek, with SD card included, and shouldn't get stung by customs (yet)

 

Well, the sio2sd's certainly looking like the more tempting option now but there has to be a drawback, surely? I mean, I'm assuming it's slower as going via the sio port instead of cartridge, but is that the only thing?

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Well, the sio2sd's certainly looking like the more tempting option now but there has to be a drawback, surely? I mean, I'm assuming it's slower as going via the sio port instead of cartridge, but is that the only thing?

 

The SIO2SD can only load stuff that's available as a file. There are some rare ROMs that use bank switching which the SIO2SD can't emulate. I'd assume that most stuff that can be converted to file/disk format somehow has been converted and is available as a crack. The only exceptions I could think of would be OSS programming languages but I doubt that you plan to do heavy-duty programming on your 400 anyway, even with the new keyboard.

 

Other than that, it's probably the most versatile storage solution around. The "biggus dickus" is nice but not a must have has you can select files through an on-screen menu that boots from the SIO2SD as well.

 

Be aware that even a 48K 400 will only run "classic" software, some of the newer stuff needs 64K. There's plenty to run in 48K, though.

 

I'm not entirely sure, but you might have to solder a cable to the underside of your 400's mainboard in order to use flash carts (might be only for those that are flashed inside your Atari).

 

If you can solder you can also build an SDrive Max from an Arduino Uno and a touchscreen which can be had for about 10-15 USD from aliexpress. This will make file selection a bit more intuitive than on the SIO2SD (although it supports 8+3 only AFAIK).

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If your primary motivation is playing Lucasfilm and Llamasoft games off a near instant load media, the 400 may not be your best choice.

 

You've already fixed a failed membrane keyboard, and it sounds as if that wasn't inexpensive. But now you are limited to 48K of RAM, RF video and many of the cartridge port solutions either wont work on the 400, or wont fit in the cartridge bay with the door closed.

 

As cute as the 400 is, you might be better off looking for an XL or XE machine with more capabilities and fewer limitations.

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The 400 isn't easy to upgrade - with the most important parts of the computer encased in a metal block.

 

The 800XL and 130XE are much easier to upgrade.

 

Another option is running the Altirra emulator on a Windows computer, along with a USB Atari joystick. The Atari 800 Best Game Pack pinned near the top of this forum is a good place to start.

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Crazily, the "biggus dickus" model is cheaper than a standard one so I figure I may as well go for that one. I'm not planning on doing anything particularly fancy other than just playing some of the classic games so as long as it'll let me do that I'll be happy.

 

And yeah, I know the 400's pretty limited compared to other models but it's all I have at the moment (as far as 8-bit Atari *computers* go, anyway, I do also have a 2600, 7800, ST, Jaguar & Lynx, and lots of other non-Atari systems) so I'll make the most of it for now - I'm perfectly happy slumming it with RF and a friend who's currently in hospital has a lot of happy memories of the 400 in particular so am keen to revisit it on his behalf on my YouTube channel so he can relive some happy memories, while I enjoy some classics for the first time (Battlezone for example is great, loved that!)

 

Obviously, if I ever come across an XL or XE within my price range I'll grab it and can then hopefully continue to use the same sio2sd on that and explore what that's like. But in the meantime I'm more than happy to enjoy seeing what the 400 can do - any suggestions for some classics to try once I'm done with Attack of the mutant camels and The Eidolon?

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An option could be to use Atarimax 8mbit carts - and get the programmer kit, so as to burn files to them. Probably not the cheaper option.

I only tested an Atari 400 with a 8mbit game (that uses bank switching) this way. You just need a confirmation that the menu driven games

work fine too with Atari 400/800 machines.

That you use a PC to burn files to the carts via the programmer kit. It's not hard to do, once you know how to do it via the menu system.

You don't have to search for individual games - but merely go to the Atarimax forum and download a workbook, someone else has compiled already.

You can check to see if the games you want - are in some collection already?

 

Harvey

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Crazily, the "biggus dickus" model is cheaper than a standard one so I figure I may as well go for that one. I'm not planning on doing anything particularly fancy other than just playing some of the classic games so as long as it'll let me do that I'll be happy.

 

And yeah, I know the 400's pretty limited compared to other models but it's all I have at the moment (as far as 8-bit Atari *computers* go, anyway, I do also have a 2600, 7800, ST, Jaguar & Lynx, and lots of other non-Atari systems) so I'll make the most of it for now - I'm perfectly happy slumming it with RF and a friend who's currently in hospital has a lot of happy memories of the 400 in particular so am keen to revisit it on his behalf on my YouTube channel so he can relive some happy memories, while I enjoy some classics for the first time (Battlezone for example is great, loved that!)

 

Obviously, if I ever come across an XL or XE within my price range I'll grab it and can then hopefully continue to use the same sio2sd on that and explore what that's like. But in the meantime I'm more than happy to enjoy seeing what the 400 can do - any suggestions for some classics to try once I'm done with Attack of the mutant camels and The Eidolon?

Any SIO2SD will do what you need. And the 400 is one of the sharpest looking Ataris with it‘s space-age edges and angles!

 

There are lots of threads around here and tastes differ, so the following are my personal favorites:

 

Star Raiders (the ‚killer app‘ for the System)

Shamus, or even better Shamus+

M.U.L.E.

Archon

Miner 2049er

Picnic Paranoia

River Raid

Nautilus

Slime

Pharaoh‘s Curse

Rainbow Walker

Ballblazer

Of course any arcade port of games you like,

Qix being my favorite

Pengo

Blue Max

There are great versions of Scramble and Time Pilot available now but I‘m not sure if they run on 48K.

Frogger Threedeep

Galahad and the holy grail (like VCS adventure)

Flip and Flop

 

I certainly missed some gems that didn‘t come to mind. Atarimania has most stuff with user scores, a8.fandal.cz is a no-frills database with pretty much everything.

 

To me part of the fan of Atari 8-bit gaming is the large number of games that kinda ripped off some other game‘s idea and improved or mashed it with other concepts.

 

Have fun! (And get yourself a good joystick like a competition pro or TAC-2. If you want to stick to Atari joysticks Best Electronics sells repair/upgrade kits and whole upgraded sticks.)

 

 

Gesendet von iPhone mit Tapatalk

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