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I have an old 8bit Atari at my dad's house which would be fun to play with.

It has a keyboard, computer and screen, turn it on, and program BASIC.

But I'll possibly want to load the code from a modern computer. The reason being, saving/load from the original Atari floppy disks is going to be unreliable and slow.

I could retype out the code each time I want to run it, but again that's going to be slow and annoying.

What would ideally work, is to have some kind of keyboard interface that will simulate typing into the Atari. ie. it plugs in to the Atari, like a normal keyboard, and will type out all the code I have written in a modern computer.

Do such interfaces exists? If not, how plausible is it modify an original keyboard to allow this?

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    Does it have a tape recorder interface? In that case it's usually possible to interface it with a modern PC's sound card and - given the right software - let it emulate a tape recorder and transfer files that way. – blubberdiblub Apr 22 '16 at 5:46
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    @blubberdiblub: instead of hacking together some kind of hardware interface, just record audio_out from PC on a common tape recorder, using possibly emulated Atari running some copier program, and use the tape with standard Atari recorder. – SF. Apr 22 '16 at 7:50
  • @SF indeed, that sounds doable, but wouldn't it be more comfortable to just be able to connect the tape pins of the Atari directly to the PC and skip the tapes altogether? Maybe you wouldn't even need a complicated interface, maybe just some simple signal level conversion. – blubberdiblub Apr 22 '16 at 10:16
  • @blubberdiblub: Except that would require some good tinkering or obtaining dedicated electronics. – SF. Apr 22 '16 at 10:21
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If you're willing to spend some money, there are some nice options using the Atari's SIO port (the big trapezoidal plug on the side).

Maybe the most flexible option is the SIO2PC adaptor, which lets you connect your Atari to a PC via serial or USB connection. This lets you do things like access a directory on your Mac or PC directly from the Atari, and even configure printers so that you can print from your Atari! I haven't actually tried this device myself, but many people swear by it. There are a variety of options to choose from at http://www.atarimax.com/sio2pc/documentation/index.html

The option that I'm using is SIO2SD, which is basically an SD-card adaptor for the Atari. You just plug this into your Atari, and it sort of pretends to be a disk drive. The Atari boots up into a sort of disk image picker program installed on the SD card, and from there you can pick any of the disk images you put on there to boot from. You can also do things like create empty disk images that you can use from the Atari as if they were actual disks. That way you can do the things you're talking about, using BASIC or anything else and saving your work on these "disks". This device works well for me since I am using my Atari solely for gaming, set up in the living room connected to a big new TV (living the dream!). With this device, I don't have to bother with having another computer connected. http://www.lotharek.pl/product.php?pid=23

Both of these are actually available from a variety of sellers, as they all seem to be pretty much open source hardware that "anyone" could make. I've provided links to what I believe to be the most popular sources for these (I bought my SIO2SD from lotharek and have been very pleased with everything about it so far).

  • To expand on this, home-brewing an SIO2PC adapter using a RS232->USB adapter is pretty trivial, and you can hook it up using RespeQt: github.com/jzatarski/RespeQt which is open source and under active development with a forum community at AtariAge: atariage.com/forums/forum/184-respeqt-sio2pc-software I got it up and running myself with an old Prolific adapter I had laying around... – mletterle May 26 '16 at 19:22
  • I'd like to add that I've had trouble with the serial SIO2PC adapter that I've had for years and Windows 10. The APE software didn't seem to recognize the adapter. The recommended "fix" was to buy the USB version of APE and SIO2PC adapter. None of my USB to RS232 adapters worked with that setup. So I can't tell if the issue is Windows 10 or APE (or both). So, definitely try an open source solution first. I'm not a fan of APE myself. – cbmeeks Feb 27 '17 at 18:40

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