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Atari 810 crash course lesson needed.


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Even though Ive been collecting for nearly 20 yrs I never used the 810 for anything more than a paperweight. ( shame to say that ). Ive been a cart person for so many years and growing up with an XEGS and never had a disk drive I relied on typing in programs and carts. Anywho I was wondering anyone know how a quick how to when it comes to using the 810. I can hook it up, but for as commands and such. Any help would be a help. I could research it i know but sometimes people here have an easier way of explaining it .

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You can find an owner's guide here.


First you need to set the 810 to drive #1 with by pushing both the black and the white drive code switches in the little hole next to the power jack on the rear towards the SIO connector as the Atari will only boot from drive #1. (There should be a little graphic on the rear label showing the different settings.)


Then you need to connect the 810 to a proper power supply (9VAC, about 3A).


Then you need to connect the 810 and the Atari computer with a SIO cable.


Atari discs basically come in two flavours:

1) Discs with a DOS on them that boots and allows you (or a program) to access this disc or other discs without a Dos on them.

2) Self-booting discs without DOS (usually games).


Self-booting discs use the ability of the Atari to perform very basic disc I/O (basically reading and writing data from memory to disc sectors and v.v.). DOS loads itself using this mechanism and adds a file manager (to have access to named files, a directory, etc.) and a menu.


Both are booted by turning on the disc drive, inserting the disc, closing the drive and then turning on the Atari. You'll hear a bip-bip-bip noise while data is transferred.

To boot games you might have to hold Option while turning on the device to disable BASIC (or the built-in Missile Command on the XEGS).


For DOS what you get depends on the DOS. The "Standard" Atari DOSes will boot to BASIC when BASIC is present/enabled or to a menu when it is not. With DOS present the Atari input/output system gets a disc file handler you can LOAD from and SAVE to disc (using SAVE "D:filename" and LOAD "D:filename") but also open and close files to write and/or read data (such as saving program variables). The menu will allow you to read the directory, copy, delete and rename files, format discs, etc. Other DOS flavours will use a command prompt with (sometimes) MS-DOS-like commands. While the multitude of DOSes available might look staggering, there's only a small number of different disc formats. A normal 810 uses single side/single density (SS/SD) discs, it can't read double density discs or "enhanced density" discs as written by the Atari 1050 drive.The "standard" DOS for the 810 is Atari DOS 2.0S. Most other 810-compatible DOSes use the same "standard" Atari format and can be used interchangeably, the most notable exception being SpartaDOS.


When trying to read the directory of a self-booting game disc or copy it, be prepared for failure as the self-booting format doesn't necessarily have a disc directory or the information DOS needs to know which parts of the disc to copy.


When you have booted to BASIC, type "DOS" to access the menu but depending on your machine and the DOS used this might clear any BASIC program from memory.


Some BASIC flavours (such as Turbo BASIC XL, DOS XL and DOS XE) will allow you to perform disc actions without the menu with DIR, etc. commands.

You either need a "self booting" game disc or a DOS disc.


Once you have booted you can remove the DOS disc and use other discs for saving, loading, etc. Depending on the kind of DOS the DOS disc needs to be present when accessing the DOS menu/command prompt.


Hope this helps for a starter. if you want to know more about how Atari discs work, have a look at INSDE ATARI DOS on archive.org.

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All my disks seem to have DOS on em. Some look to me works in Progress maybe ( or maybe there were alot of versions of DOS out there for atari. DOS 2.4 Dos 2.4Revision at 1:30pm. Dos 2S, Dos 2.6WC and seems to be a DOS 2.7 but looks to be folders and .DAT files so either ALL these disks just load DOS versions ( meaning the guy from atari who stuff it wasnt in any game department and his stuff is boring to the high heavens or Im seriously doing something wrong. All Im getting is different DOS load screens. hmm.. Starting to think this guy was very boring.

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Sounds interesting though hard to diagnose from afar. Do you have any means to transfer the discs to upload them here. If not, one of the US Atari collectors might be able to transfer them. If there are just DOS.SYS and .DAT files on the discs, it's hard to tell what the files contain without looking into the files.

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