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Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 09:53 AM
i found a very cheap Atari 65XE on craigslist, with the cassette recorder and 1050 floppy drive. i was wondering if standard 5.25" SS/SD floppies for PCs would work in that drive? like if i were to write an atari disk image with a PC, would it work in the Atari's drive? i've found a FAQ about the 8-bit Atari computers, but it doesn't have an answer for this question.

carlsson
April 5th, 2011, 10:08 AM
Section 10.3 of the Atari 8-bit FAQ seems to handle this topic:
http://www.faqs.org/faqs/atari-8-bit/faq/

The FAQ suggests Matthias Reichl/HiassofT tools:
http://www.horus.com/~hias/atari/

Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 10:13 AM
thanks i guess i missed that section of it somehow. this looks great! this should be a fun machine to play with. i've never owned an atari anything.

Chuck(G)
April 5th, 2011, 10:35 AM
Well, if the disk drive is like that of the 800, the disks are single density (the controller on those used a WD1771 controller), so the answer is a cautious "maybe, provided your PC can read/write single density".

But I'm only guessing, based on my 800 experience--and there was more than one type of Atari disk drive.

Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 11:19 AM
Well, if the disk drive is like that of the 800, the disks are single density (the controller on those used a WD1771 controller), so the answer is a cautious "maybe, provided your PC can read/write single density".

But I'm only guessing, based on my 800 experience--and there was more than one type of Atari disk drive.

i think i should be able to do it using my IBM XT?

Chuck(G)
April 5th, 2011, 11:23 AM
i think i should be able to do it using my IBM XT?

Not if it's a stock XT--those don't do single-density.

Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 11:24 AM
Not if it's a stock XT--those don't do single-density.

hmm. well i've got a number of 5.25" drives laying about. i have a high-density 1.2 MB drive in a 486. didn't most of those also handle SD?

Chuck(G)
April 5th, 2011, 11:36 AM
It's not the drive, it's the controller (but you probably meant that).

I think Dave Dunfield has a quickie test utility on his site. If you can't find it, check back with me.

carlsson
April 5th, 2011, 11:51 AM
Chuck is correct, but there also is a word about more FDC's are capable of single density than what the rumour has it. Actually my secondary PC is of the kind it might handle single density. Since I also have an Atari 1050 drive, some day I should try the software myself to see if it works. So far I have successfully written disks to be read on Microbee 128 and ABC-800, and think I managed to read 40 track BBC Micro disks in Linux. All those however are double density.

Chuck(G)
April 5th, 2011, 12:06 PM
Actually, many late (PII-P4) PCs appear to be able to handle FM encoding, even if the BIOS doesn't support 360K drives. The only hard-and-fast way to determine what's what is to try it. Fortunately there are utilities that make it relatively painless.

Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 12:22 PM
thanks for the tip, i'll find that utility. i'm sure i've got something somewhere that can handle this. going to go pick up the Atari tonight. hopefully the machine works at all. seller said he's powered it on, but that doesn't necessarily mean it works right.

carlsson
April 5th, 2011, 12:47 PM
Here is the link, in case you haven't already found it:
http://www.classiccmp.org/dunfield/img/

In any case, I tried the two programs on the page, AtariDsk and WriteAtr. To begin with, a command prompt in Windows XP is nowhere near satisfactory. Since I currently don't have a DOS partition on my AthlonXP computer, I tried to use my 8088 PC. AtariDsk happily formats a "XL disk" and puts data on it, but it is nowhere readable in my 1050 connected to a 130XE. Furthermore, a genuine Atari floppy disk - not sure which density or DOS version it has, I must admit - would not be recognized at all by AtariDsk.

Next up, I tried WriteAtr which didn't even get that far. It supports floppy drives of mode 1-9, but says the 5.25" drive in my 8088 is of "mode 12" and refuses even to try to work. I suppose the FDC in that old PC isn't compatible, and may try to set up a DOS partition on the AthlonXP or install a Linux driver.

Your milage may vary, but be prepared for some fiddling to get it to work even if you theoretically have the software required.

Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 03:41 PM
thanks for the link and info. i'm assuming it wont work on my XT based on what chuck said, but i've got a 486 DOS system that might do it. i'll see what happens.

Chuck(G)
April 5th, 2011, 04:05 PM
When it comes to floppy controller access, there's no real substitute for real DOS.

Druid6900
April 5th, 2011, 04:24 PM
A lot of the early SCSI controllers, ones with BIOS and floppy support tend to write SD quite well. I used a 1542 to make diskettes for the Tandy Model Is I have using one of the TRS-80 Model I emulators around that will write to a physical floppy as one of the drives.

Mike Chambers
April 5th, 2011, 09:35 PM
i got the 65XE and it works nicely, but unfortunately the guy didn't have the power adapter or SIO cable for the floppy drive. looks like i can get them cheap on ebay though. i notice two ports on the floppy drive. i don't need some sort of terminator, do i?

carlsson
April 5th, 2011, 09:44 PM
As far as I know, the second port would be for daisy chaining in a similar way to how Commodore 1541 type floppy drives can be daisy chained.

Interesting note from Druid about SCSI controllers with floppy drive support. I'll keep it in mind if the situation occurs.

ahm
April 6th, 2011, 06:15 AM
As far as I know, the second port would be for daisy chaining in a similar way to how Commodore 1541 type floppy drives can be daisy chained.
That's correct.

Fox-1
April 9th, 2011, 01:37 PM
Forget about trying to write Atari floppies on a PC system. It's only possible with the right combination of drive and controller, with lot's of trail and error, and even then with limited success. You may get good results if you happen to have a Catweasel controller.

Just use the Atari 1050 disk drive to write/read disks (SS/DS or DS/DD). A stock drive will do Single Density (90KB) and Enhanced Density (120KB) formats. With an add-on it'll do Double Density (180KB) too.

It's a single-sided drive so it only uses one side a disk. You can flip the disk but this usually requires an extra notch to be able to format and/or write to it, or make a modification in the drive itself to bypass that notch-check.

If you want to transfer data between PC and Atari you can use a SIO2PC connection for this and run an Atari Peripheral Emulator (for Win systems, AspeQt
http://sourceforge.net/projects/aspeqt/ is a nice one). It'll emulate up to 8 virtual high speed disk drive of up to 16MB each.

The hardware is very easy to build and connects to the PC serial port. AspeQt also supports RS232<>USB (FTDI based) connections.

Chuck(G)
April 9th, 2011, 02:07 PM
Many SCSI controllers (Future Domain, Ultrastor, DTC) use the National DP8473 FDC, which is pretty much the gold standard for PC do-everything floppy controllers.

carlsson
April 9th, 2011, 03:17 PM
I also thought it would be close to impossible, but since there are a couple of software packages and the FAQ mentions them, it shouldn't be completely out of reach. That is unlike e.g. a Commodore or Apple floppy which both are GCR formats and absolutely require something like a Catweasel, Disc Ferret or in the CBM case of course X-series cable and a real 15x1 floppy drive.

I'll try it again some day though, just to verify for myself I'm unable to do it. I've already got a SIO2SD so for practical reasons I can already transfer Atari software, but this was mainly to help Mike Chambers. He may find himself getting a custom transfer cable as well.

Fox-1
April 10th, 2011, 08:28 AM
I also thought it would be close to impossible, but since there are a couple of software packages and the FAQ mentions them, it shouldn't be completely out of reach.

Why not. You never know.

Best would be to use Atari double density (most chance of success) but this requires a hardware add-on. OTOH, if that add-on happens to be a "Happy 1050" upgrade, it has utils to read IBM 180KB formated disks anyways :-)


or in the CBM case of course X-series cable and a real 15x1 floppy drive.

There are several ways to connect a 1050 to the PC. The oldest one is to connect it to the PC's parallel port. More recent ones connect to the serial or USB port.