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Indus GT Drive not working for Atari 800XL


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Hi everybody,

 

I'm probably younger than most of you guys on this forum: I'm 21. My Dad had an Atari 800XL (2 I think, but now we only have 1), 3 floppy disk drives, one game cartridge, and a bunch of floppies with games and other stuff on them. 7 or more years ago, all of this worked fine; since then, it's all been in storage pretty much.

 

I tried to make it all work about 4 years ago, but with no luck (my Dad doesn't live with me anymore). I thought it was all broken so decided not to touch it again. And yesterday my curiosity was piqued once again...so I got it all out and set it all up...the Atari works fine and passed all of the self tests (ROM, RAM, audio/video, and keyboard [only about 2 keys don't work]). I also tried booting up the only cartridge available (Zybex or something like that). It worked without any problem. I also tried all three of the floppy drives...

 

1. Atari 1050...when it is powered on, sounds like the motor or something turns on or spins up or moves or something and then turns off, with or without floppy...I don't think it works...

 

2. Atari 810...the many times I tried it, it doesn't make the slightest noise...

 

3. Indus GT...this one seems to "work" the best. The motor spins up, the read/write head moves, and the display shows which track it's on. If I connect it to the Atari, turn on the disk drive with a floppy in it, and press the option key and turn on the Atari, it stays there for a few seconds (doesn't make all of the sounds I've heard on some YouTube videos), and "BOOT ERROR" appears on the screen, and every few seconds another "BOOT ERROR" appears. On the Indus GT LED indicator, it no longer says 00, it says G5, which I read somewhere means that it's a read error that means that the header is dirty...or that the floppy doesn't work anymore...

Anyway, I've tried cleaning the header, but to no avail; I get the same errors. Somehow I doubt that the Indus GT drive has stopped working, because it spins up, the header moves and everything. Also, I've tried many floppies, some home made ones and others originally bought...and none of them work. Somehow, I doubt that absolutely all of the floppies have died.

 

Anyway, I was wondering if anybody could help me. Even if I couldn't ever get the floppy drive to work, I wouldn't mind being able to write my own programs in Atari BASIC (I like programming; I've done quite a bit in C# and I'm learning Java too); unfortunately, I can't save them at all. How would I do that? I read that I would need a DOS to be able to save anything to floppy...unfortunately, I can't read at all from any floppy disks, but it should be able to write...I would think...

Anyway, any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks to anybody and everybody that reads my post, and especially to those that can help me :)


EDIT: The Atari and all did work; I remember as a kid playing many of the games and being enthralled with them...even though there were better games available, and the fascination for those old games has continued with me until now.

EDIT 2: Also, I tried the different DIP switched in different positions...but mostly, I leave them in Drive1, Double Density, and no Auxilliary, if that helps any. Also, my Dad added a switch to control motor speed...I've tried at the fastest speeds, the slowest speed, and medium speeds as well. In short, I've tried almost everything.

Edited by chessplayerjames
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Take the GT apart. Clean the head with rubbing alcohol and a qtip ( in fact, clean everything ). You can also clean the two rails ( that the head moves on ) and lube it with a little petroleum jelly. Do the same for the other drives as well. It sounds like the the 1050 might need the drive belt put back on.

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QUICK point ..

 

Remember - the power supply for the Indus GT is specific to it.. DONT EVER mix it up with the other drives. The 1050 and the 810 use the same PS.

 

Which drive has a switch for drive speed?? Drive speed must be between 285 and 291 rpm or many if not all disks will not read. there are programs you can use to test them.

 

Atarimania has PDF manuals for all three of these drives - since you are new, and not very familiar with old tech .. look them over.. the GT has more than a few parts you want to be sure of when taking it apart.

 

Yes, Q-tip and isopropo is your friend. Also when you get these back together and running.. let them run.. with boot error .. for a few mins.. or an RPM test.. dont give up in 20sec or make changes after 20sec of running.. very old belts that have been in storage might be slipping.. and it might take some running time to warm them up.. and get a consistant RPM.

 

with the 1050 and the Indus.. getting boot error means you are getting communication to the computer ( this is good) and means you need to work on the drive end.

 

The 810 - if you are sure you are using a 1050 type (ATARI) ps .. then its ps board might be dead.

 

Good luck.. keep us posted.

 

James

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It turns out that I was supposed to close a certain latch and that the disk was never spinning...now I can get some programs to load, but some of them won't load; the Atari makes a loud steady "Beep" (maybe the error beep) on some games (such as "Boulder Dash" :( ) and they won't load. But there are several others that will load. I'm going to try my hand at programming. Any idea how to save programs onto Floppy disks? Do I need a DOS first (they will now load)? What extension do I save in?

 

Thanks,

James

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With the 1050 when you say it "turns off" do you mean that the drive just stops or the power LED goes out too? If the drive just stops it's probably a belt. Easy fix. Do follow BikerBob's advice on power supplies though, don't use the wrong one.

 

The loud steady beep might be the standard loading noise. Give it some time, especially with larger games. And most games require BASIC to be disabled by holding option while starting up. If they still don't work, could be a bad disk that didn't age well or it could be your drive really is a bit dirty and still needs cleaning. If it sounds like bleepity-bleepity-bleep or a modem it's loading noise, an ear-piercing scream might be a different issue.

 

You might consider getting an SIO2PC or SIO2SD device so you can use files/disk images downloaded from the net easily with your Atari.

 

Anyway, as for loading and saving in Atari BASIC, boot with a DOS disk in the drive without holding OPTION. Then use:

 

SAVE "D:FILENAME.BAS"

-or-

LOAD "D:FILENAME.BAS"

 

after BASIC starts up. Type DOS and enter to get to the DOS menu.

 

I'd grab a PDF book on Atari BASIC from a site like AtariMania or eBay if you want a dead tree edition.

Edited by kogden
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Thank you everybody for your help.

 

I have cleaned the head on the floppy drive so I think that's good. Two of the games that I want to play won't work...

 

Boulder Dash is on a floppy with 3 other games, and they work fine. However, Bolder Dash being the first game, it tries to load but it won't...it makes that other beep that isn't the loading beep (it's the one I hear every time there is an error), and it hangs. The other ones load fine, just not bolder dash. I have tried various drive speeds, but the speed that is almost slowest works the best, but Bolder Dash still won't load.

 

Another disk that has Lode Runner on it won't seem to work either...may be faulty sectors or something...

 

Anyway, I've managed to create a BASIC program (one that was in the manual) and save it to disk, and after turning off, load the program from disk. However when I load the program, I can only run it. Is it possible to load the code and make changes to it, or would I have to write it all over again?

Thanks for all of the help :)

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Anyway, I've managed to create a BASIC program (one that was in the manual) and save it to disk, and after turning off, load the program from disk. However when I load the program, I can only run it. Is it possible to load the code and make changes to it, or would I have to write it all over again?

Thanks for all of the help :)

 

After loading type "LIST" to see the code you've written. After loading you can just continue where you've left off and save again when you are done. Download a PDF book on Atari BASIC, it will make your life a lot easier. Searching the forums here when you run into issues will save you some headaches too. People far smarter (and older) than I have answered just about any question you can think of related to these machines in great detail at some point in the last decade. The forums are an excellent resource.

 

Anyway, glad you got your drive working! Now you just need a good way to get software off the net and on to the Atari so you can get a version of BoulderDash that works.

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After loading type "LIST" to see the code you've written. After loading you can just continue where you've left off and save again when you are done. Download a PDF book on Atari BASIC, it will make your life a lot easier. Searching the forums here when you run into issues will save you some headaches too. People far smarter (and older) than I have answered just about any question you can think of related to these machines in great detail at some point in the last decade. The forums are an excellent resource.

 

Anyway, glad you got your drive working! Now you just need a good way to get software off the net and on to the Atari so you can get a version of BoulderDash that works.

 

Getting an APE/SIO2PC adapter gives one a 16 megabyte hard drive capability.

 

I looked up 'boulderdash' on the DISK1 compilation and found about 20 versions of 'boulderdash'.

 

Boulder Dash 4(1986)

Boulder Dash 7 (Madgame)

Boulder Dash 8 (Ironsoft)

Boulder Dash Construction Kit

Boulder Dash Hop III

Boulder Dash Hop IV

Boulder Dash Hop V

Boulder Dash II(1985)

Boulder Dash II(Cheat ver.)

Boulder Dash III(1986)

Boulder Dash XI(1986)(Mapsoft)

Boulder Dash(1984)(First Star)

Boulder Dash(1987)(Iron Soft)

Boulder Dash(1990)(Persoft)

Boulder Dash(Hacker)

Boulderdash Mugen 1 (2011)

Boulderdash Mugen 2 (2011)

Boulderdash Mugen 3 (2011)

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  • 7 months later...

Hello again everybody.

 

What is the best recommendation for allowing the Atari to communicate with a computer? I've seen some SIO2PC adapters and what not online; which one do you guys recommend? Unfortunately my wallet is quite limited, and whatever is cheapest would work best.

 

Is there a way to make an adapter/cable, or would that be somewhat time consuming?

 

Thanks for any and all help,

James

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There is more information in the following thread:

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/242955-possible-cheap-alternative-to-sio2pc-usb/

 

The FT232RL breakout boards are suited for this purpose, you just need to make sure that there is a connection for whichever of the RS232 handshake signals you want to use for the COMMAND signal. The ones which only have a 6-pin header at the end opposite the USB port only have CTS readily accessbile for handshaking with COMMAND(some of these have been found to have a broken trace between the chip and header which will require soldering skills to fix), the ones with solder pads down each side will also allow the use of DSR or RI.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=ft232rl+breakout&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1311.R3.TR7.TRC1.A0.H1.Xft232rl.TRS0&_nkw=ft232rl+ftdi+usb&_sacat=0

 

PS: I noticed that some of the ebay listings allow a selection which include a board with the PL203 chip, the use of which isn't mentioned but the image has PL203 silkscreened on the PCB. These boards appear to have only a 5-pin header, USB type A connector, and none of the handshaking signals readily acessible. The FT232RL devices are recommended for SIO2PC/USB.

Edited by BillC
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