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600XL tape loads but doesn't run program


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Hey all,

 

NEWB here. Just picked up a 600XL for a steal. When I was younger, I had a 800XL with tons of peripherals, but over the years they have managed to disappear.

 

Anyway, I have a 600XL with a 1010. I've tested the unit and all is good. It plays cartridges fine, and the 1010 works properly. I've gone through, cleaned the tape head and checked the alignment.

 

My interest is to get it to load programs from the 1010 via a tape adapter plugged into a computer running Turgen.

 

After converting .XEX files to .WAV, I play them directly from the laptop into the player. Most of the time, the computer will start reading the tape, the header information will display on the screen (with a small exclamation point at the end), and it will finish loading the files. When it completes, it pops up with "ready" and nothing happens. I've typed "run" as some have suggested, but it just goes back to "ready". I have also tried all boot options but none of those work either. This happens with every program I try to load using the 'hold start' startup option, which is the only one that gets anywhere.

 

Am I missing something here. As I said, I'm new, and have spent the last couple weeks reading up on the cassettes and loading procedures. Is there a test XEX or WAV file out there that is KNOWN working so I can start to troubleshoot (is it software, hardware etc etc).

 

Any help would be appreciated. In the mean time, I'm just going to keep messing around with it.

 

Thanks,

Twitch

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I've never tried converting .XEX files to audio - most .XEX files are converted from cartridge dumps and may not be compatible with tape loading.

 

That aside, if that doesn't matter, then are you holding OPTION to boot with BASIC disabled?

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Yep, I've tried that. Pretty much the same thing happens, except it doesn't list the header information when loading, and when its done it just leaves a solid cursor. Cant really do much from there.

 

I suppose converting from .cas to .xex back to .wav might be loosing some data, but its odd that it does the same thing to each of the files, leading me to believe the problem is in the Atari. I've tried all different baud rates and volumes (much to my fiancees frustrations) but no luck thus far.

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Yep, I've tried that. Pretty much the same thing happens, except it doesn't list the header information when loading, and when its done it just leaves a solid cursor. Cant really do much from there.

 

I suppose converting from .cas to .xex back to .wav might be loosing some data, but its odd that it does the same thing to each of the files, leading me to believe the problem is in the Atari. I've tried all different baud rates and volumes (much to my fiancees frustrations) but no luck thus far.

 

Have you tried something less convoluted like downloading some straight .cas files (no conversion involved) from Atarimania or from a search of the forums here?

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You are trying to convert digital to an analogue format that was always pretty finicky to begin with. The 1010 might simply not like the way the tape is recorded. Could be something like your recording equipment is too fast/ too slow/ to loud and is just outside the tolerance of the 1010? Of course I would expect to see errors rather than loading and ignoring the data, but you never know.

 

Anyway, is it possible you can reverse the process? For instance, type in a basic program, save it to cassette, convert it to wave, then .cas. Then write that .cas to a new cassette and see if you can load it? (also as control see if the cassette you saved to still loads). If that works, then the equipment should be all fine.

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How much memory do you have in your 600XL?

If it is 16 KB in its original configuration, you will not be able to load and run pretty much anything.

 

Please ensure that:

1. You hold START+OPTION when booting from tape (99% of the .xex files requires BASIC to be disabled)

2. You are not using Turgen System version 8.6.7 that has serious bugs. Use 8.6.8 instead.

3. You know limitations of cassette adapter usage - see documentation for Turgen.

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I have tried cas2wav, but ended up with even less promising results. Generally error codes, or wouldn't display header on screen.

 

@ zzip, thats a great idea, and I do have some extra new cassettes laying around.

 

@ baktra, In the back of my mind, I wondered if the memory wasn't enough to store that much data, which to me would explain why it fails to load. The 600XL is in its original config, untouched. I'd done some reading on bringing it up to 800xl snuff with a couple modifications, which I'd be interested in trying. I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron/circuitry.

 

I'll be sure not to let my fiancee know all the noise was in vain ;)

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I have tried cas2wav, but ended up with even less promising results. Generally error codes, or wouldn't display header on screen.

 

@ zzip, thats a great idea, and I do have some extra new cassettes laying around.

 

@ baktra, In the back of my mind, I wondered if the memory wasn't enough to store that much data, which to me would explain why it fails to load. The 600XL is in its original config, untouched. I'd done some reading on bringing it up to 800xl snuff with a couple modifications, which I'd be interested in trying. I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron/circuitry.

 

I'll be sure not to let my fiancee know all the noise was in vain ;)

 

I believe that 16KB of memory really is the root cause of your problems. If you can see program name followed by exclamation mark, it indicates that you have performed a successful cassette boot. After cassette boot, loading of the game follows. But as the game probably does not fit to 16 KB memory, it fails.

 

A proper test would require a .xex file that works with 16 KB system. It is not enough when the .xex file is small (<16 KB), but it also must load to address range 3192-16384, otherwise it will not work.

I can prepare some test file that meets the criteria if needed. At least you will be able to finish testing your 1010.

 

Anyway, you need to upgrade your memory, because with only 16 KB, you won't be able to use much of the software that comes on disk or tape.

Edited by baktra
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@baktra,

 

That would be excellent if you could prepare a file for me to test that works on 16k. If I can confirm my equipment works, the next step will be doing the upgrade. I love making things do more than what they were built/intended to do. I can PM you my email if that works best.

 

Thanks again,

Twitch

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Do get an upgrade asap, probably not cost efficent to look for the Official Ram Pack type upgrade and do a nice cheap internal one, loads and loads of diagrams out there, I'm sure plenty of people will suggest one (I've never done that upgrade hence none from me) but with that done the world is your oyster, 64K at the least, maybe 128K for the odd demo but unless you love demo's its not game wise worth going above 64K with so little needing more..

 

Plus you might not be able to go above 64K on a 600, not sure...

 

After that, a real 1050 or a SIO2USB would be an excellent purchase or build (SIO2USB that is if money is tight)

 

Paul.

Edited by Mclaneinc
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@Mclaneinc Once upon a time (12 years ago) I had a 2 1050s, both working, along with the modem, a printer, two 1010s, an 800xl, and a big stack of carts, cassettes, and floppys. I left home for college and I think while I was gone they were all sold/thrown out. Now, I look around and WOW, things got expensive (I bought that setup from a friend for about $40 bucks in 2005).

 

I kind of like the concept of the tape medium because it allows me to store all the info on the computer or phone and load directly from there. I'm still not sure if the 1010 does any processing inside the unit, or is a direct audio feed to the computer, but if it is audio feed Id love to just build an adapter and forgo the tape cassette all together. I know it's more work that buying a SIO2USB, but again, I like playing with things. For instance, I rebuilt a tube 1940s tube radio, and it is now a bluetooth tube radio. Still gets short wave, am etc, but also can throw on episodes of the The Phantom directly from the tablet.

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A real retro guy, welcome to the club and there's plenty of us real retro people here.

 

As for the bits you lost, lots of us have suffered the same loss for various reasons, the worst feeling is selling it and then many years later getting the bug again knowing you once had all this gear and as you say its now super expensive hence many go the pure emulator way just out of the cost of getting the gear back.

 

Love the idea of that tube radio which has had 'an upgrade', all power to you...

 

Paul...

Edited by Mclaneinc
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I'm still not sure if the 1010 does any processing inside the unit, or is a direct audio feed ...

 

It's straight binary audio data recorded to audio tape, plus the ability to stream in a second track of analog audio - used for educational cassette programs, primarily.

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I kind of like the concept of the tape medium because it allows me to store all the info on the computer or phone and load directly from there. I'm still not sure if the 1010 does any processing inside the unit, or is a direct audio feed to the computer, but if it is audio feed Id love to just build an adapter and forgo the tape cassette all together. I know it's more work that buying a SIO2USB, but again, I like playing with things. For instance, I rebuilt a tube 1940s tube radio, and it is now a bluetooth tube radio. Still gets short wave, am etc, but also can throw on episodes of the The Phantom directly from the tablet.

 

Well, 1010 does processing of the signal inside.

  1. Left channel is for audio. Signal from the left channel is just amplified and sent to the computer as analog signal. This signal is mixed with computer's audio output.
  2. Right channel is for data. Signal from the right channel is amplified, leveled and then passed to the FSK demodulator. The FSK demodulator "converts" analog signal to digital signal. The digital signal is then sent to the computer.

Therefore, feeding the computer with analog audio signal directly without FSK demodulator circuit is not possible. Turgen System can generate already demodulated signal, but you would still need an extra circuit to change audio-out level or line-out level to TTL level (5V). Such circuit is not difficult to construct.

 

If you like soldering, you can try to construct the RAMBIT turbo tape upgrade. and increase transfer speed of your 1010 from 600 bps to 3200 bps.

 

A slide from my ByteFest 2016 presentation translated to English:

post-12760-0-31922800-1494530710_thumb.png

 

Edited by baktra
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Plus you might not be able to go above 64K on a 600, not sure...

 

Paul.

I've got a Ultimate 1Mb in my 600XL and it works fine. (For OP: Gives up to 1Mb of RAM, multiple OS and more) I did have to do the internal 64Kb mod first though IIRC. But that's a really easy mod. There are pics and instructions here in the forum if you search.

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I've never tried converting .XEX files to audio - most .XEX files are converted from cartridge dumps and may not be compatible with tape loading.

 

I cannot agree with such strongly worded statements. The .XEX files are usually the only option (and a very good option) for tape loading.

Disk and cartridge images are obviously of question, tape images do not provide flexibility (you are limited to loading system given by the nature of the tape image).

 

On the other hand, a binary load file (.XEX) can be converted to desired tape loading system with ease. Some of the binary load files will not work, but most of them will.

The .XEX files are also friendly to cassette adapters. A utility that converts .XEX to WAV or audio output can insert silence or pause the output, because it knows when it has reached an INIT segment in the binary load file.

 

There are obviously binary load files that will not work, some examples:

1. Files that load or use memory for the binary loader. The same problem occurs when a DOS is used to load the file.

2. Files that execute code that accesses a disk drive by its own means during the loading process

3. Files that take control of the binary load process and access disk drive by their own means.

 

Fortunately, Cases 2 and 3 are rare.

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