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DistantStar001

Trouble loading games on a 800xl with a 410 Program Recorder

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I got a 410 recorder I've been trying to load software with on my 800xl using a cassette adapter and an Android tablet with TapDancer.  Unfortunately, all I get is errors (usually ERROR -21) when loading with BASIC (CLOAD, LOAD "C:", ENTER "C:", etc.).  I've also tried holding the "Option-Start" combo, but after a while the machine goes into self-test.  Every so often, it will display a boot error as well.

 

To the best of my (admittedly limited) knowledge the recorder seems to work, but it still has some issues.  Most notably, it can't rewind.  The spindle moves when there is no tape in it, but stops with the slightest resistance.  I know the belt is loose and worn out, but so far I haven't figured out how to get to it.  Still, the thing seems to work, as I've managed to both record and load a small looping BASIC program with it using my 800xl.  

 

I did conduct a few repairs, however.  I've replaced 2 of the 4 belts on it, the large belt for the motor, and another that goes to the counter.  The counter now works as expected, so I think that the other belt is fine for now.   I've also smoothed out a small divot on one of the rubber wheels that had been causing a bit of a knocking sound when it was running.  It hasn't helped any performance wise, but it sounds better now, and no longer makes the knocking noise.

 

I'm primarily working with the "Frogger _ V1.cas" file I found on atarimainia.com.  I've also tried the Ghostbusters file from the same site.  Neither has worked so far.  I've tried boosting the volume with a speaker set and even tried recording the file from TapDancer to a physical cassette using my Texas Instruments Program Recorder.  Both of these methods have proven effective with my Spectrum and ZX81 in the past.  Unfortunately, I'm not having the same luck with my Atari.  

 

So if anyone could tell me what I'm doing wrong here, I'd be very appreciative.

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Error 21 is invalid Basic program, so likely the file is either assembly language (like commercial game) or loaded by ENTER.

 

The clue with stuff that would need ENTER is they alway have long IRG - like 3 seconds tone between each record rather than about 0.25 seconds.

 

OPEN #1,4,0,"C" : GET #1,A : GET #1,B : ? A,B : CL. #1

 

That will dump out the first 2 bytes of a tape file.    Both 0 should mean a Basic program.

Usually 0 for first then another number should be assembler boot program (hold Start) - the second byte is the record count.

 

If it's a couple of numbers equating to ASCII values of numerics (48-57) then good chance it's a LISTed Basic program.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Rybags said:

Error 21 is invalid Basic program, so likely the file is either assembly language (like commercial game) or loaded by ENTER.

 

The clue with stuff that would need ENTER is they alway have long IRG - like 3 seconds tone between each record rather than about 0.25 seconds.

Thanks.  That explains this error with CLOAD.  And it makes sense, since the files I've been are archives of commercial games.  However, using ENTER "C:" is giving me either ERROR- 138 or ERROR- 143.  Also, booting while holding Option-Start is still giving be either BOOT ERROR and/or just putting me into self-test.  Looking into the errors, it seems to be either an IO Error or a load time-out.  From what I've read, this could be due to noise on the tape?  But I'm not sure.  I've used my Texas Instruments to make tapes for my Spectrum, Coco, VIC-20, C64 and Spectrum before, but maybe the Atari is more sensitive?  I know it's not the tape since I've used three different ones, all of which were new-old stock that were still in their wrappers.

 

21 hours ago, Rybags said:

OPEN #1,4,0,"C" : GET #1,A : GET #1,B : ? A,B : CL. #1

Tried this with no luck.  Seems to give me a syntax error at "CL."  I tried it with a , instead of a . and the syntax error was at the end (#1).  

 

I think I read somewhere that a possible trick was to play the tape to a certain point (I believe it was past the initial tone) and trying to load it.  However, so far, that hasn't worked either.  Maybe I'm doing this wrong.  Any ideas?  

 

Also, does anyone have a suggestion for a better test file to use?  I've been sticking with the Frogger and Ghostbuster files mentioned before, but if the issue is the files then maybe someone can recommend a file they've had success with for me to try?

Edited by DistantStar001

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Should be CLOSE instead of CL.

I think CL. is interpreted as CLOAD which we don't want in this case.

 

Error 143 on ENTER "C" likely means it's a short IRG file so not usable by that method.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, Rybags said:

Should be CLOSE instead of CL.

I think CL. is interpreted as CLOAD which we don't want in this case.

 

Error 143 on ENTER "C" likely means it's a short IRG file so not usable by that method.

Tried it again (on both tapes/files), this time with "CLOSE" instead of "CL." and got "0      112" on Ghostbusters and "0    13" on Frogger, which I guess means holding option-start on power-up for both.  Unfortunately, it's still sending me into self-test.  Frogger gives a boot error first, but Ghostbusters just goes straight to self-test.

Edited by DistantStar001
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Record an audio sample of your attempt to load the games and let us hear.  There could be several issues, but since you are using TapDancer -- I think it comes down to the heads being misaligned with your adapter or TapDancer is not playing well.  What source material are you using?

Also, if you replaced the belts, then try a real tape -- first saving something from the Atari, then loading it back.

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6 hours ago, kheller2 said:

Record an audio sample of your attempt to load the games and let us hear.

Working on it.  But having trouble finding the right cable to capture audio from the drive.  I have the equipment/cables somewhere.  Just need to find them.

 

6 hours ago, kheller2 said:

I think it comes down to the heads being misaligned with your adapter or TapDancer is not playing well ... try a real tape -- first saving something from the Atari, then loading it back.

Done this.  The drive successfully saved and loaded a 3 line looping BASIC program without a problem.

 

6 hours ago, kheller2 said:

What source material are you using?

The .cas archives of what I believe to be the commercial versions of Frogger and Ghostbusters from atarimainia.com.  I tried both using a cassette adaptor and saving them to actual cassettes.  Both give the same issues mentioned above.

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You have to position the tape right as well.

Too much leader and it can have problems, too little and it'll ignore the start of the file.

 

From memory it's about 6 seconds after starting that it simply ignores everything then about 10 seconds further until it times out, so it can be easy to get wrong.

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8 hours ago, DistantStar001 said:

Working on it.  But having trouble finding the right cable to capture audio from the drive.  I have the equipment/cables somewhere.  Just need to find them.

 

Done this.  The drive successfully saved and loaded a 3 line looping BASIC program without a problem.

 

The .cas archives of what I believe to be the commercial versions of Frogger and Ghostbusters from atarimainia.com.  I tried both using a cassette adaptor and saving them to actual cassettes.  Both give the same issues mentioned above.

I want to hear the sounds of the Atari through your TV speaker or what not when loading (use your phone to capture audio).
I’m assuming you converted the cas files back to wav with a8cas or the like. 

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5 hours ago, kheller2 said:

I want to hear the sounds of the Atari through your TV speaker or what not when loading (use your phone to capture audio).
I’m assuming you converted the cas files back to wav with a8cas or the like. 

Extracted Audio 01.aiff

Hopefully this works.  The load method used was Option-Start.  The file was Frogger recorded to an actual tape using my TI Program recorder off of TapDancer on an ASUS MeMo tablet.  It gave a boot error and then went into self-test.

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9 hours ago, Rybags said:

You have to position the tape right as well.

Too much leader and it can have problems, too little and it'll ignore the start of the file.

I used to always manually wind the tape leader in until you see the join of the leader and tape and use it from there

 

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49 minutes ago, TGB1718 said:

I used to always manually wind the tape leader in until you see the join of the leader and tape and use it from there

 

I've tried that.  Sadly, no luck so far.  The thing is, the leader seems to make no difference when I reload the BASIC test tape?

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4 hours ago, DistantStar001 said:

Extracted Audio 01.aiff 10.22 MB · 4 downloads

Hopefully this works.  The load method used was Option-Start.  The file was Frogger recorded to an actual tape using my TI Program recorder off of TapDancer on an ASUS MeMo tablet.  It gave a boot error and then went into self-test.

Okay its been a few decades since I've loaded tape, but that sounds off to me.    I wonder if the CAS conversion is failing.  Another method would be to convert it using a tool like this to record to tape:

But you have to get your levels correct as well.  Since you can save and reload to plain tape from BASIC, you could hear the proper levels that the audio should be stored as.  I'm assuming no one else here has used TapDancer.  There are a lot of variables here: the speed of the TI, the speed of the 410, the speed and proper extraction of the CAS in TapDancer, the leader time etc.  Sorry I don't have a better answer, maybe someone else can chime in.

 

You could also go the other way: save a basic file, save the wav, convert to CAS and then play it back through TapDancer.  It could also be that some of the cas files have copy protection on them that some tools can not convert back to wav properly.

 

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19 hours ago, kheller2 said:

You could also go the other way: save a basic file, save the wav, convert to CAS and then play it back through TapDancer.  It could also be that some of the cas files have copy protection on them that some tools can not convert back to wav properly.

 

Any recommended software for this?  Or an alternative to TapDance?  I tried both cas2wav and a8cas, but Windows 10 won't let me use the first, and the second just crashes.   I haven't been able to get them to work through Wine either.  

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, baktra said:

A few hints from me:

I am attaching a .cas file with test program that works with any 8-bit Atari computer. Boot with START+OPTION, or even with START.

Recommended reading for recording tapes: https://sourceforge.net/p/turgen/wiki/Recording your first tape/

Instead of TapDancer, you can try CAS2Audio.

test16k.cas 6.58 kB · 2 downloads

Thank you!!!!  CAS2Audio made all the difference!  I've managed to load several cas files through it and even record to real tapes with my TI Recorder!!!   :-D

 

Off topic, but do you think it would work for a TRS-80 Model III?

Edited by DistantStar001
Additional Question

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use the Turgen system for tape files. A lot more reliable and it outputs straight to audio too

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1 hour ago, DistantStar001 said:

Thank you!!!!  CAS2Audio made all the difference!  I've managed to load several cas files through it and even record to real tapes with my TI Recorder!!!   :-D

 

Off topic, but do you think it would work for a TRS-80 Model III?

The answer is no. The .CAS files for TRS-80 are not the same as .CAS files for 8-bit Atari. And I intend to keep CAS2Audio to be Atari-only (to avoid becoming a small monstrosity as the TapDancer is). But the signal generator engine of CAS2Audio is flexible, so the project can be theoretically forked and adapted for TRS-80 .CAS files.

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I'd never heard of TapDancer or CAS2Audio until chancing on this thread and am now intrigued about how these two work. I presume that you need some connection between your Android and the target machine - or do you?

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6 hours ago, Dr Do said:

I'd never heard of TapDancer or CAS2Audio until chancing on this thread and am now intrigued about how these two work. I presume that you need some connection between your Android and the target machine - or do you?

You do indeed. Atari and e.g. C64 do not have traditional Audio IN to read data from like the ZX Spectrum, so you need one of the following:

  • Cassette adapter inserted to your Atari data recorder. Either wired or with bluetooth. The easiest way. Showcase here.
  • Interface to connect an ordinary cassette recorder. Schematics were published in 1980s magazines. Standard tape records only.
  • Bum Box, a recent production from Zaxxon. Supports standard tape records and selected turbo systems.
  • CD-Link. Supports only certain turbo systems, not standard tape records.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/10/2021 at 6:01 AM, baktra said:

You do indeed. Atari and e.g. C64 do not have traditional Audio IN to read data from like the ZX Spectrum, so you need one of the following:

  • Cassette adapter inserted to your Atari data recorder. Either wired or with bluetooth. The easiest way. Showcase here.
  • Interface to connect an ordinary cassette recorder. Schematics were published in 1980s magazines. Standard tape records only.
  • Bum Box, a recent production from Zaxxon. Supports standard tape records and selected turbo systems.
  • CD-Link. Supports only certain turbo systems, not standard tape records.

Thanks for explaining that. I got an adaptor for my previous car (brand new in 2001 but fitted with a cassette player) but left it in my car when I part-exed it, probably in the hope that it would increase the value. Maybe I should get another one now...

Edited by Dr Do

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