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Hindsight and brain farts

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Analog Machine Language Games for A8

Needed one more list for my Book of Lists. I looked through the Analog issues and made one of the machine language games written in Assembler. Now to organize the programs I have and find those I don’t. If I remember, Harvey Wallbager was the first I typed in. Planetary Defense got the most play time. I’ll have to play then again to be sure the files haven’t been corrupted. Analog ML GAMES # TITLE

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S.A.M. Word Editor v1.0

I wanted to get my collection of SAM programs organized on the PC using my new Atarimax SIO2PC. I’m not sure how large the collection was but some of the disks were unreadable. SAM worked fine with DOS 2.5 and got RECITER working after remembering to boot with a translator disk. I guess at some point while running SAYIT.BAS I decided a better phonetic word editor would be nice. Once started I just couldn’t stop.   What I did was put the phonetic spelling chart on the screen. The dictionary s

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Analog’s Boot Camp Table of Contents?

Analog published a column dedicated to teaching assembly language programming. Boot Camp appeared as 42 articles spanning a wide range of topics with many tips, tricks and example code. If Boot Camp was compiled into a book, this might be the table of contents or at least I’m hoping that it helps the next time I’m looking for information or code examples. PDF of following table Analog boot camp index.pdf Chap Issue Author Subject 1 72 Hudson

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GVOX Guitar --> 850 -->Atari 8bit - FAIL

Fender’s GVOX Guitar interface has a DB9 serial connector that would fit nicely into the rs232 port on the Atari 850 interface. I wasn’t able to rule out the possibility of getting the two to communicate, its just that I can’t justify the time, effort or value to find out.   The GVOX Guitar interface connected your steel string Guitar to a Win95 computer with a MIDI sound card through a COMM: port. The interface would monitor the pickups mounted under the strings for frequency and volume da

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Seiko RC-1000 Watch Terminal <– Atari RS232 connection

Back in the day, I started writing Atari BASIC software to edit and transmit data to a Seiko RC-1000 Wrist Terminal Watch. This may have been the only time an Atari 8Bit, 850 interface, and RC-1000 were in the same room and if it happens again, you may want the following information to write a proper editor.           The RC-1000s are being listed on eBay for around $250 to $2,500; I got mine while Seiko was liquidating their inventory at around $50. There were Apple, Comm.64, and IBM

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A CX-40 Micro Switch Upgrade

I wanted to try replacing the spring contact switches with micro switches in the CX-40 Joystick from the first time I read about it. The height of the switch seemed to be of great concern. It had to be below 2.5mm and the pins on the nylon stick insert had to be sanded down for proper spacing. I was searching Amazon to find a micro switch when I came across a “4 x 4 x 1.5mm SMD Momentary Twist Tactile Micro Switch DC 12V 0.2A”. I was hoping that with a thinner switch the pins would not need

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Inside the WICO Ergostick

The WICO Ergostick was my joystick of choice during the ST days. In those days the mouse was getting more use then the joystick but it did relieve the wrist pain. I can use the left or right hand for the mouse but never became ambidextrous with any joystick.   The ergonomic design of the rubberized housing allowed for a solid grip without a lot of pressure and cleaned up nicely in the dish washer. I feel I should mention that you should remove any parts you don’t want to get wet. WICO used

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Inside my Computek Joystick

The Computeck joystick was very similar to the Quickshot 2 in that it used the same spring-flipper switches and it had a pistol grip. The base contained 2 extra trigger buttons and a sticker that said, “MADE IN TAIWAN”.   It has no auto-fire circuit but the PC board has the traces to implement one. One might assume that the on-off switch would have been placed in a notch on the bottom.   An emery board, borrowed from my wife’s manicure kit has found a permanent place in the tool box for cl

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Inside the WICO Command Control Joystick

What can you possibly say about the WICO Command Control Joystick that hasn’t been written? Not much. I was able to clean the leaf spring switch contacts and restore the continuity but never could figure out how to dismantle the bat stick.   There was little difference between the two joysticks that were rebuilt. Inside, one was marked 2/7/83 and the other 11/??/82. The color of the plastic changed but the design was similar. There are lots of posts and stops in the base that hold its inner

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Inside the Quick Shot II Turbo Joystick

I was surprised at the dismal condition my joysticks were in when I tested them with the Pocket Joystick Tester. When an LED did not light, I know it was broken but most of the time they would dim, blink, or change light intensity as the switches were activated. These are sure signs that the contacts need cleaning. If I’m going to clean the contacts I may as well take some pictures to share.       Quick Shot II Turbo   I’m not sure where I got this joystick or if it has ever been opened

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Pocket Joystick Tester

Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you could check your joystick but your Atari game system or computer was not within reach? Maybe you’re at the flea market looking for a joystick. Maybe you’re at your work bench. Maybe you want to check out the broken joystick that your friend gave you to play with. Whatever the case, now you can build this portable pocket joystick tester to carry where ever you go. As projects go, they don’t get any simpler. The bigger you make the

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Joystick Port Logic Box

Not that many of my projects get past the prototype stage. Once I find out that something can be done I rapidly lose interest. I have found in the past that once built, the circuits rarely get used because Im working on the next project. But every so often a circuit gets soldered together and put in a project box to have on hand. Such is the case with the Joystick Logic Box. While programing the Spinax light control circuit I wished I had the ability to quickly hook up some LEDs to the

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DATA COUP

Looking through some disks I found some more unfinished business from around 1993. I had been writing articles for the Western New York Atari User Group (WNYAUG) newsletter, POKEY, for a couple of years before I started running out of things to write about. The newsletter was a good place to hone my writing skills and decided to try my hand at fiction.   The story, “Data Coup” was written as a serial to appear in POKEY over 5 issues. The first chapter was published in the last paper edition

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Light control hardware - Spinax Part 003

The control system for the lights on LEGO’s Spinax has been prototyped and programed for a simple sequence. If your only interest is to see it in operation, check out the link to the YOUTUBE video. If you want more information read on.   {video removed}   Spinax has 8 lights along its back. I wanted to be able to program the on/off cycles for each light. This could be done using the 8 digital outputs of the joystick ports but left little room for future expansion. Inste

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More Lights for Spinax - Part 002

What percentage of your electronics spare parts have been salvaged with the hopes of using them someday. I began to see that putting the rest of the lights on Spinax was going to be an opportunity to rummage for items to use.   I wish I could remember how many years ago I walked into a casino and was given a gadget. Pull the tab and a number would be back lit. If the number as a match, you could have won $$$$. (I would have remembered the amount if I had won.)     When I got it home and p

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8-bit Atari meets LEGO’s Maxilos and Spinax #001

I’m assuming that everyone has hooked up an LED to their computer and made it blink. I’m also assuming that most everyone said, ”That’s cool. Now what?” I'm going to be running lights to a LEGO Bionicle and then using the Atari to control the light show. This could be accomplished with any programmable controller but, since this is an Atari Age blog, an Atari 8-bit computer seemed to be a logical choice.     The Bionicle kit #8924 is the embodiment of Maxilos and his four legged friend,

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Ultra-sonic Range Finder -> Arduino -> RS232 -> Atari Computer

If capturing text from your Arduino to a terminal buffer is all you want to do, you are lucky. You may want to collect data and use it in your own programs. Unfortunately there are not a lot of example programs to learn from and the 850 interface manual can be cryptic for us mortals. Persistence does pay off. Usually the “let’s try this” style of debugging will eventually get you to the proper combination of port settings and program logic.   I wanted to hook up a sensor to the Arduino

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Atari 8 bit <-> 850 Interface <-> RS232 Shield <-> Arduino

As if there isn’t enough hardware to hook up to your RS232 equipped computer, now you can build your own. It was a nice thought to build Arduino boards with a USB port for serial communications and programming, and even nicer that it can be equipped with an RS232 port for communicating with our Ataris.   You’ll need an 850 interface or a PR:connection hooked up and running on your Atari 8-bit. The ST has an on board RS232 port. If you have hooked up a modem or set up communication to anothe

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Relay Boards under Atari 8bit control

Seems not so long ago if you wanted to control a relay switch through your Atari 8bit joystick port, you had to build the hardware from scratch. Not anymore. Now you can buy circuit boards with 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16 relays. A couple more parts and you've got what it takes to control your world.     Search Amazon with the key words Arduino Relay for an idea of what is readily available. I ended up with a SainSmart 4 channel relay board not because it was the best but because I wanted to get one

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Radio Controlled Mini Car = 4 Atari digital inputs

Radio controlled mini cars don’t last forever. Sometimes they get stepped on and sometimes the battery won’t charge anymore. In any case, when the radio transmitter and receiver still work, it may be an opportunity to hack a 4 output digital controller.     The receiver unit is from a Bensu Mini Racer. They all seem to have slightly different electronics under the hood but most serve the same functions; forward, reverse, right and left. IR control systems for these cars may pose unkno

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Wii CLASSIC CONTROLLER + ARDUINO = ATARI JOYSTICK

Since I was successful getting the Wii Nunchuk hooked up to the Joystick port I thought I would try the Wii Classic Controller (WCC). The hardware was simple, unplug the nunchuk attached to the Arduino project from my last blog and plug in the WCC. It was my poor choice of internet search criterial that gave me the most trouble.     I just needed to find the function library for the WCC. The first search pointed me to “playground.arduino.cc/Main/WiiClassicController”. This is a library cre

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NUNCHUK + ARDUINO = ATARI JOYSTICK

The Arduino is an open source microprocessor system that is being used to by many hobbyist and hackers for what seems to be endless possibilities. One such possibility is to read the data from a Wii Nunchuk and send it to a computer through the USB port. This is explained very well on the Arduino web site.     What I have done is to manipulate the input from the Wii Nunchuk and send it out to the Joystick port to mimic the classic Atari Joystick.   I would rather think of this write-up

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