Write Atari 8-Bit Computer ATR Files from Your PC to a Real Floppy Disk Using the RespeQT Peripheral Emulator Software and an SIO2PC Adapter (15-30 minutes)

Task: Write Atari 8-Bit Computer ATR Files from Your PC to a Real Floppy Disk Using the RespeQT Peripheral Emulator Software and an SIO2PC Adapter

Needed: Web browser, 128K Atari computer, RespeQT software, SIO2PC adapter, floppy disk drive, micro-USB cable, Copymate software or similar

Time: 15-30 minutes

Introduction

I have previously posted about booting Atari 8-bit computer ATR files (i.e. floppy disk images) from your PC on real hardware using the RespeQT peripheral emulator software and an SIO2PC device. It is also possible to write ATR files from your PC to a real floppy disk using the same setup with a floppy disk drive and floppy disk copy software.

I have previously shown how to do this using the Atarimax ProSystem software with an SIO2PC. The RespeQT approach below is cheaper since is uses open-source software and a much less expensive SIO2PC device.

Before you proceed, you will need an Atari computer with at least 128K of memory. I used an 800XL with the Ultimate 1MB upgrade. You can also use a 130XE that comes with 128K memory. Another option would be to use a 576NUC+ that comes with 576k of RAM. I did not try this option.  The 128K of RAM is required because the copy software I used loads the ATR into memory before it writes it back out to disk. This exceeds 64K along with the copy software itself and anything else the Atari is using.

Instructions

First, read my previous post on how to install and use the RespeQT peripheral emulator software with an inexpensive SIO2PC device for connecting your Atari to a PC.

Second, download the Copymate version 4.4 ATR file (from 1987!) that we will use to copy the files from drive 2 on RespeQT to a real floppy on drive 1. There are other similar disk copy programs you could try. There is some discussion of other options on Atari Age.

Third, connect your SIO2PC to your Atari and boot the Copymate ATR loaded into drive 1 on RespeQT. When the software is done loading unmount it from RespeQT. This seemed to interfere with the copy process since we will be using a real floppy drive as drive 1. Set the source drive as drive 2 (i.e. RespeQT drive 2) and the destination to drive 1 (i.e. the real floppy drive) as is shown below. Format destination should be set to YES by default.

Copymate Start Screen
Copymate Start Screen

Fourth, connect your floppy drive (e.g. 810, 1050, Indus GT) to the Atari using an SIO cable and make sure it is set as drive 1 (see below right).

Fifth, connect your SIO2PC to the floppy drive in the second SIO slot (see below left).

SIO2PC (Left) and SIO (Right) on Back of Atari 1050 Drive
SIO2PC (Left) and SIO (Right) on Back of Atari 1050 Drive

Sixth, load the ATR you want to write to a real floppy disk in drive 2 on RespeQT.

Seventh, power on the floppy drive and insert a floppy disk to serve as the destination for the ATR file. There is an option in Copymate to automatically format the disk before writing commences.

Eight, when everything is set up correctly hit the START button on the Atari. Copymate will first read the source disk from RespeQT into the memory of the Atari. It will then format the floppy disk in the real drive. It will then write the data to the real floppy. This whole process takes a few minutes.

Finally, boot the newly made floppy to confirm the copy worked.

Comments

This process is a little slower that using the Atarimax ProSystem that can write directly to an Atari disk drive thus bypassing the read phase. Further, this approach requires an Atari with at least 128K of RAM that not everyone has access to. However, the RespeQT and Copymate approach is much cheaper requiring a $15 to $20 investment for an SIO2PC.

If this does not work for you make sure you unmounted the Copymate software from drive 1 of RespeQT before starting the copy process. You can also try retarting RespeQT or rebooting the real floppy drive. Sometimes there is an order effect that could interfere if you did things slightly differently than I described above.

Note that you could also load a blank ATR into disk 2 on RespeQT and use the same process to copy and real disk to an ATR disk image on your PC.