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"Getting them there and back alive..."


Larry
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The topic of PC to Atari transfers (and vice versa) has come up many times, and here it is again, hopefully to include some of the newer, less obvious methods, and get the information all together in one thread. This became important to me, because my usual methods (APE's PC-Mirror and the AspeQt PC Folder) failed in a recent enterprise. Hard to imagine that APE failed, since it is pretty much bullet-proof, but it's PC Mirror is not completely compatible with SDX, and as I understand it, neither is likely to change. AspeQt (AFAIK) has never had the ability to write to the PC. So let's begin. Uploading things as ATR's solves a lot of problems, but I realize that sometimes and XEX file is more appropriate. I'll put down the transfer methods that I know of, and if you can add or amplify (or correct!), have at it!

 

1) In the early days, there was the modem method, using a null modem to connect the PC and the Atari. Of course, pretty slow, but it works, and if you lacked a null modem you could upload a file to someone else (host) and then download with your other device.

 

2) Then SIO2PC came along and the much-improved APE which added the PC mirror. With registered APE, you can read and write files to a PC from the Atari. Really slick, except for the SDX issue. (And if someone knows of a work-around, do share it!)

 

3) The Happy 1050 provided the IBM Transfer which allowed reading and writing PC disks. Since it was for a 1050 drive, only a single-sided, double density disk could be used (180K). The XF Upgrades from CSS/Bob Puff for the XF551 series of drives allowed reading but not writing to a PC disk.

 

4) The Black Box Floppy Board gave us the ability to read and write PC-format disks. Some folks have reported errors in the transfers, but I've never had any problems using good 720K disks.

 

Here's where I stop, and hopefully others will add on. I'm sure that in the age of compact flash/SD devices and micro controllers, there are some newer, perhaps even easier ways...

 

-Larry

 

Edit: I do have a serviceable but cumbersome work-around for the APE PC-Mirror/SDX issue. I make a normal ATR using MyDos, then I copy files to/from the ATR using MyDos (4.55 B4 -- the best version IMO). Once files are on an ATR, then SDX has no problems -- it's just the PC-Mirror that causes an issue.

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For one of my first transfers to PC, I had no SIO2PC and probably hadn't heard of the various methods of getting tapes across so my method was:

 

5) Write program on A8 to read file data then display as strings of hex using a custom font in Graphics 1.

On PC side, capture the video output from Atari. Then put video file into editor and take a BMP screenshot of each hex dump screen.

Then use OCR software to get hex dumps into text files.

Then do a Basic program under emulation to recreate the original file on an emulated Atari instance.

 

I don't think I've got the program I wrote - the longest bit of work there was probably devising a font (to make the OCR work better than with the default character set).

The process took a fair amount of time just for the 3 or 4K worth of program I transferred across. Soon came to realise it was a way better idea to just build a SIO2PC interface.

 

Also, I think I was capturing plain RF video too, didn't have a monitor cable for the other types so it made things slower again.

Edited by Rybags
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Well,

 

my methods are simple:

 

1) use a 2Ghz PC with MS-DOS 6.22 and Win 3.11

 

- use SIO2PC hardware + software (SIO2PC.exe, version 4.21 by Nick Kennedy) under MS DOS to turn A8 disks into ATR images or vice versa

 

- use 5,25" HD PC drives by TEAC (allthough they are HD, they can still read, format and write A8 disks and my 1050 and XF551 can read these disks fine) to transfer disks or files

 

- use Ataridsk by HiasSoft under MS-DOS to transfer multiple DOS 2.x files from 180k A8 disks to PC harddisk and vice versa (then use 3,5" disks to transfer the files to my Internet Win XP PC or simply put the MS-DOS harddisk into the Win XP PC; my MS-DOS harddisk has a size of approx. 10GB, I used Win XP to create four partitions of 2GB each in FAT16 format and then installed MS-DOS from original 3,5" disks onto partition C:)

 

- use WriteATR by HiasSoft under MS-DOS to transfer A8 disks to the PC harddisk or to transfer ATR images into A8 disks (WriteATR and my TEAC drives can write 130k disks/disk-images but not read them, it can read+write 180k and 360k disks/disk-images; it will most likely also work with 720k, but I do not have 720k/5,25" drives on the A8 and I have not tested it yet with the 720k/3,5" drives)

 

- use XDIR 10.x by Bo or Ernest Schreurs under MS-DOS to a) display the DIR of a DOS 2.x or Sparta-DOS ATR image and b) extract one or more file(s) from this ATR image onto the PC harddisk

 

2) with my internet / WIN XP PC:

 

- use MakeATR 0.6 by Soudi to put files onto ATR images or to extract files from ATR images (MakeATR works with DOS 2.x, MyDOS and SpartaDOS formats up to 16MB); alas, MakeATR does not like MyPicoDOS disk-images...

 

- use Atari800Win Plus and Altirra a) to test A8 programs fast and easily or b) to execute/pack/... A8 files very fast or c) to create bootable disk-images (initialize with a DOS, a bootloader or a gamedos) or d) to create screenshots or AVI movies...

 

As you can see, there are a lot of things I still do with my MS-DOS PC.

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Fastest way I've found which doesn't involve ATRs or any other tools is to use an IDE Plus, SIDE/Ultimate, or other PBI, APT compliant HDD and make an "external" FAT16 partition on your CF card using FDISK. Format this partition FAT16 on the PC, then fill it up with MB after MB of files in seconds. You need SDX and its FATFS.SYS driver to read the files on the Atari, but you can copy them from the FAT partition to Atari formatted partitions (SDFS, for example) at c. 60KB/s. It's a one-way street at the moment, but FATFS,SYS will (presumably) eventually add write capability, so it'll take as long as it takes to drag a large file to your CF card reader and move the card from the PC to the Atari to make GB of data accessible on the A8, with no additional tools needed.

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To move files from my Mac to Atari I use the ATR disk editor in Atari800MacX to move the files I want into a big ATR. Then I mount the ATR in SIO2OSX and copy files over SIO2PC interface.

 

To write floppies I use a sector copier and just copy from virtual disk over SIO2PC to real 1050.

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I've never tried MAKEATR, although I've seen it mentioned here. I've been "too comfortable" with my reliance on APE, so I'll give it a try -- sounds very useful, and a nice Win App! BTW, Google Translate does a pretty fair job on the docs

 

Other thoughts -- no one has mentioned using an SDrive or SIO2SD for transfers. Possible?

 

And how about using a SIDE/2 cart -- could that be done? That seems like it would be quite handy. I don't think that it is possible to do that from the MyIDE-II FAT32 folder. (?)

 

-Larry

 

Quick Note -- looks like it may be possible using the MyIDE-II + MyIDE Manager. There is a recent thread in the AtariMax MyIDE-II forum that I'll need to investigate.

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See above for one-way (for now) SIDE2 cart solution which will hopefully be bi-directional soon. There's another fast option using Ultimate+SIDE which I forgot to mention: mounted ATRs are read/write and have high transfer speeds, so you can get disk images to and from the A8 very quickly indeed.

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Be aware though,

 

that MakeATR does have some bugs and refuses to read and/or write to ATR images, e.g.

 

- when the image has been initialized with MyPicoDOS (I really hate this, because I use MyPicoDOS quite often...)

 

- when the image does have Write or VTOC errors and shows 999+ free sectors, allthough there are files on it (A8 DOS still shows the contents and one can copy the files onto a new disk, MakeATR however will NOT show the contents anymore)

 

- whenever the boot sectors and/or VTOC are/have been changed in a certain way (do not know nor understand the background of this, think it had already been discussed in another thread about MakeATR...)

 

So, when MakeATR reports "unknown format" or something similar when reading/opening an ATR-image, I always try to read the disk-image with a DOS 2.x a second time (booted under emulation), to see if this image is indeed a boot-diskette or if it is just another bug of MakeATR and there are readable DOS 2 files on the image...

Edited by CharlieChaplin
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Thanks, Andreas. I'll watch out for those, but I rarely use MyPicoDos, and it sounds like that is the main issue.

 

Remembered another conversion tool. DIR2ATR from Hias. Dos (box) and one-way trip, though.

 

-Larry

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Appears no one has yet mentioned AtrUtil from Ken Siders.

http://atari.kensclassics.org/a8emulators.html

This is the program that makes the famous K boot disk BTW. K for Ken, ehh?

 

In Win98 I have few problems, but with XP every time I want to send an ATR file to it via right click 'send to' method I get differing results. Some times they open right up just like they are supposed to, but too often AtrUtil will open with can't open file error - wrong extension (which is NEVER true) and in the open file dialog box then I have to run down the directory the ATR file was in which is what the right click option was supposed to do. Last folder it was used in usually works great, too often use it from a different folder and it doesn't know nothing. Beats the devil out of me where things are going south too.

 

It will read SpartDOS disk directories to show what's on the disk, but can't do anything else with SpartaDOS disks. AtariDOS type 2 ATR work fine both importing and exporting files. I like the view option to read converted atascii text with and with that viewer still open you can visit the temp folder and copy the ascii version of the atascii text directly.

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Appears no one has yet mentioned AtrUtil from Ken Siders.

http://atari.kensclassics.org/a8emulators.html

This is the program that makes the famous K boot disk BTW. K for Ken, ehh?

 

In Win98 I have few problems, but with XP every time I want to send an ATR file to it via right click 'send to' method I get differing results...

Have you tried Compatibility Mode?

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Well,

 

I did not mention ATR-Util, because I hate shortened ATR images !

No-one should use this tool and create shortened ATR images... (just my opinion of course).

 

I always use UnMakAtr to do the reverse - convert back to COM/XEX files and then put the files on standard 90k ATR images. Just did that today...

Edited by CharlieChaplin
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I connected a 850 interfase to a linux box with a null modem cable, and transfered files between them with the Xmodem or Zmodem protocols using some of the terminal emulators available by those days. With the same configuration, I also developed my own protocol to send files or disk images, writing a server for linux and a client for the XL.

 

Then I used SIO2PC and APE, and today I use SIO2SD.

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