Mathy's collection of special stuff


Go to my ...

Home page
MyDOS page - All kinds of stuff about and for MyDOS.
BlackBox page - with information on FlashROM upgrade.
ASPI page - ASPI is to your SCSI or IDE interface what a printer driver is to your printer.
Wishlist page - my personal Dream Street.
Atari 8 bit boot CD/DVD page - create your own Atari 8 bit boot CD or DVD.
Atari 8 bit meetings page - some information about the Atari 8 bit meetings I visite.
Docs page - Files describing peripheral hardware.
Site map - What's on my site and where can you find it.


This textfile is where I got the idea for my memory upgrade:

MEMUP.TXT

Check out what Ryan Goranson says.


Check out SELF DEMO by Raster. It looks like the SelfTest we all know and love, but this one is funny.


Software I use most of the time:

TEDIT.ARC a text editor published in Analog Computing. Maximum file size 32kB.
TEDIT2.XEX same as above, but patched so you can now get a directory listing from drives 5, 6, 7 and 9 too.
VTEX13.ARC by Larry Richardson. A text viewer. Enables you to go through a (text) file page by page. No need to convert from Ctrl-M Ctrl-J to Atari EOL's first. Another feature let's you save part of a file.
WHEREIS.ARC find out where a file is. Goes through all subdirectories it finds on a disk or partition.
SUPERUNA.COM UnARC all your ARC-files.
SUPERARC.COM ARC all you files.
DISKCOMM.ARC Turn a complete floppy into one or more small files.
VTOCFIX.COM Fix MyDOS (pre-4.55 versions) VTOC.
BOBTERM.ARC My favorite software for using pre-ISDN and pre-DSL modems.


The source files to T:Edit

I found the source to T:Edit in my collection of ANALOG Computing and ANTIC files (which I downloaded from Kevin Atkinson's site).
T:Edit is a great little text editor by Brian Schappel. I use it for all the text I write on the Atari. (Only time I use a PC for writing texts is when I'm either on the internet or when I'm editing some html stuff. But even the html stuff I often start on the Atari. html needs a lot of '>', '<' and '/'. On the Atari, you don't need to press shift at all. On American PC keyboards you have to press shift for both '>' and '<'. On a German keyboard, you have to press shift on '>' and '/'. '>' and '<' are on the same key). If you're gonna check out the source code, please look into two annoying bugs: deleting larger blocks of memory can sometimes lock up T:Edit. After deleting larger blocks of memory, or replacing a larger text with a smaller one, every world you type is wrapped to the next line (except the first one). And it would be very nice, if the directory routine would be able to show us the contents of drives 5, 6, 7 and 9 too.

It's been done, T:Edit has been patched. You can now see directory listing from D1: through D9:.
Here's the patched source code.
You can find all the documentation you need on T:Edit plus a lot of other stuff by Brian Schappel on his site.


Software I like having:

B64.ARC a Base64/MIME decoder written by Tom Hunt.
YAU.ARC Yet Another UUencoder and Yet Another UUdecoder.
DISKFORM.ARC Turns ATR and XFD files into something the Atari CAN read. This one runs on the Atari, not the PC. Thanks you Ken Siders!
DISKCOMM.ARC Turns disks into files that can be easily transferred via internet/bulletin boards and back. Especially on disks that are far from full, DISKCOMM saves a lot of memory/disk space when compared to for instance the ATR format.


Here's some "how to" stuff:

ZIP2BB.ARC The "how to connect a ZIPdrive to my BlackBox" story I sent to Atari Classics. It never got published.
PWRLEDXF.ARC How to add a power LED to your XF551.
XL600K64.HTM How to internally upgrade your 600XL to 64kB.
And here's a way to get your 1050 to use 25% less power and generate a lot less heat.


And some "I dove into this hardware and found something out" stories.

XEP_1.HTM Erhard Puetz tells us why the XEP 80 seems to be so slow, that it isn't, and how he stumbled onto some programming errors a la Atari in the driver.
XEP_2.HTM More about the XEP 80 and how he fixed the XEP 80 driver. Also by Erhard.
Both XEP_1 and XEP_2 used to be in XEP80.ARC, which contained some errors, omissions and random data. I cleaned them up and html-ized them, by hand.
BobTerm XEP80 driver. Erhard's fixed version, which will now keep up with a speed of 9600 baud, instead of the 4800 baud that used to be the maximum. There is still some (bogus) data send to the unused joystick port and the 40 column screen isn't switched off. Meaning that if we could switch off the 40 column display (user choice), data could be sent to the XEP80 even faster. This version is fixed to 50 Hz. Maybe somebody could add a little routine that looks at $D014 (PAL) to determine which frequency should be used.
BBSPUP.ARC or how to speed up the printer port on the Blackbox.
STABILIZ.TXT by Bob Puff. Some Atari's just don't seem to want to talk to some parallel bus devices. Here's a fix.
MODSTAB3.TXT by me. There seem to be some errors in Bob's text.
    Forget about the above modifications. A real solution to the problems with Phi2 can be found here.

MOUSE.ARC John Maris tells us how to use an ST or Amiga mouse on the 8 bit Atari without its driver taking up all of our CPU time.
MOUSEINT.ARC The driver in .M65 format plus a demo to show you how it works.
STM18BIT.TXT A textfile describing how to make the right mousebutton work on an 8 bit Atari while ST compatibility is kept. Very easy upgrade.
INDUSGT.ARC Loading the Synchromesh software can take a long time. But without it, all disk access is slow. Here's a way out.


Some XEP80 stuff.

The picture on the left is the schematic of how you can use the intensity bit/signal on your XEP80. The picture on the right is an external convertor that will take your XEP80's signal and create an HSYNC and VSYNC signal from it.

add intensity to XEP80 signal schematic external converter schematic

Click on the picture to enlarge.

The accompanying text has been written by Hans-Christof Tuchen. It's kinda like the deluxe version of what Bob Woolley did in his article in Atari Classics. You might also want to check out this article, also by Hans-Christof. And here is the text belonging to the schematic on the right (by Günther Bartl).

Here are the data sheets to the chip inside the XEP80. It can handle 64k by 16 bits RAM and color. They even mention bank switching memory in these sheets. To bad Atari never used the chip to it's full potential.


BlackBox settings

Read out the settings of your BlackBox using BB_SETS.ARC.

Or change the partition list using Erhard Puetz' BBPLD.ARC.
It contains BBPLD31.COM which works with SpartaDOS and BeweDOS only and BBPLD40.COM which should also work with MyDOS but doesn't. (BBPLD40.COM wasn't assembled yet when I got it. Lee assembled this one for me. Thanks Lee!)


130XE's extra memory management chip

Here's a replacement for the not so cheap CO25953

But this solution is even better. Ever wondered what U35 on the 130XE schematics was supposed to be? Well, it's a 74LS95B. If the CO25953 is too expensive for your taste ($10 at Best Electronics and $12.50 at B&C Computervision) you can now replace it by using a GAL plus a 74LS95(B). You get pin compatibility and one of the unused pins - on the GAL - can now be used to switch the RAMdisk off completely.

GAL.JED the jedec file you need to burn the GAL.
co25953pal16l8.rpt the RPT-file.
co25953-pal16l8.vhd the VHDL-file.

Please be sure to read this text by Christopher Lang before you start.


The 800, 4 joysticks and XL/XE memory upgrades

You have an 800 and want to use XL/XE memory upgrades without loosing your extra joystickports?

PIAMOD.ARC tells you how to add a second PIA for just such a purpose.


PC2XLviaPBI

You like SIO2PC? Then you must love PIO2PC. It's a nice project, but needs improving. (Who wants to replace his OS just for this?)


Realtime Video

Ever heard of the Commodore 64? It runs at just under 1 MHz. Now one of the software guru's of the C64/C128 scene thinks real time video is possible on her computer. Check out REALTIME.ARC and tell me this can not be done on our trusty 8 bit Atari.

It obviously can on the C64, check out Nicolas Coplin's site.
Josef Soucek's site even has source code to real time streaming data stuff. Plus lot's of other nice stuff.

Mr-Atari has written a viewer for his MyIDE interface. Check out his site. His viewer and docs.
An MPEG file you can watch on your Mac or PC that shows how the movie looks on his monitor.

I've looked at the viewer. I'm not an assembler programmer, but I guess converting it to BlackBox or even ASPI compatibility shouldn't be to big a problem for somebody who's done some "drive access" assembler code before. If you decide to make it ASPI compatible, I'll help you as much as I can. Remember, I wrote two CD Tools that are both fully ASPI compatible.


Webcam

And guess what? There once was a Quickscan (webcam)..... with a parallel port. One of the guru's in the C64 scene made a small interface for it and got it to work on her computer. Unfortunately, the information about this interface and the rest of the information on that site has disappeared off the internet. It looks like the software might be available here. But only on .D64 format. I guess that's like our .ATR format.

Would be nice if we could have something like that on our 8 bit Atari's. Our HIP and RIP formats should be just as nice as those C64 modes.


Mathy's "had to have" webcam
Here's a picture of the webcam I bought a while ago (warranty is probably over, but it was one of those things I HAD to buy.) My USB cartridge has arived. Now all we need is somebody who will write us some software.


New Graphic modes

Here are some texts explaining the HIP and RIP graphics formats.


Atari Writer and Hewlett-Packard Laserjets

And here is an Atari Writer printer driver for the Hewlett Packard Laserjet printer. I haven't tried it since my Canon's ink has dried up. Silly thing keeps swallowing some lines whenever I use it to print something using my Atari 8 bit. (That's why I don't use it very much and why the ink get's a chance to dry up.) I've heard from people from the C64/C128 scene that they have software that solves this.


Hardware you might not have heard of:

Automatic two computer interface

This is a cool piece of hardware.

picture of the automatic two computer interface

You'ld like to boot two systems from one daisy chain? Or maybe you/your kids/cousins all wanna play the same game at the same time? Without having to swap floppies between systems? Or you wanna edit a file on one computer and run it on another? Or test the same software on two different computers? Why not order the Automatic 2-Computer Interface by the Frankfurter hardware guys.

schematic of how the automatic two computer interface works

It will let you connect TWO Atari 8 bit systems to ONE daisy chain, making it possible to share all your SIO devices between two computers. (you could order more than one to connect more computers, but you'ld need x-1 automatic 2 computer interfaces for x Atari 8 bit computers.) The description is on another site and you have to click on the right link on their page. Which is available in both german and english. BTW you can't access the daisy chain on both computers at the same time. The Automatic 2-Computer Interface waits a certain amount of time before 'the other computer' is allowed access to the SIO devices. [I personally own one of these. They are great. If I wanna test some software on my 1MB XEGS, which doesn't have a PBI, I use my main system to copy the software that is to be tested to my XF551. After that I can access the same disk in the same XF551 from my XEGS.]

The A2RI was developed by Thomas Grasel of the ABBUC Regionalgruppe Frankfurt. He has allowed me to share the instructions on how to build it with you. Text is in German but includes the layout for the PCB.


Spider

Here's an article on a fine piece of non-Atari specific hardware. It's some sort of RS232 hub/network called spider. Check it out. If you know more about this one, please tell me.


MIDI

MIDI for the 8 bit Atari. Check out Ireneusz Kuczek's site. It's in Polish, but it has pictures and lot's of software. On the end of the list of links there seem to be two links that have some MIDI stuff too.

And here is HARdwareDoc's MIDI Interface. It's 100% MIDI Mate compatible, lacks the sync ports, but has MIDI IN, OUT and THRU ports. The page is in German.

You can use the interface with either the SIO-cable or the SIO-connector or both.


SIO2IDE

picture of SIO2IDE interface version 3.x You want a harddisk, but you computer doesn't have a parallel bus interface (like the 1200XL or XEGS)? Or you want a harddisk interface that's easily moved from one computer to the next?

Why not try the SIO2IDE interface? The site is in Polish, but the zip file contains English text. You'll find a list of all the different versions on the left side.

All versions of the SIO2IDE interface come with a SIO port and an IDE connector. And all versions have to be set up before they can be used. For this, you have to copy some files to the hard drive you are intending to use with the SIO2IDE interface. The interface needs these files for it's own housekeeping. And here is where the main difference lies between versions 3.x and below and versions 4.0 and above.

With versions below 4.0, you have to connect the hard drive to the internal IDE interface of the PC. You have to open your PC for this. To overcome this, versions 4.0 and above also have a USB connector. With it, the hard drive turns into an external hard drive you can connect to a PC. This USB connector however can not be used to connect USB devices to the Atari 8 bit computer.

Marek seems to have his upgrade build into his computer (see the pictures on his site). But if you do the upgrade externally, you will be able to move the upgrade from one Atari 8 bit computer to another. I myself plan to use it with above mentioned Automatic 2-Computer Interface. That way, it is possible to share it between two computers without unplugging anything. Since you can use a jumper to switch D1: and D2:/D9:, one could have one MyDOS and one SpartaDOS/BeWeDOS boot partition. SIO2IDE works with ATR files. One ATR file is one partition. You can have up to five active ATR's on versions 3.x and up to eight active ATR's on versions 4.x. A configuration file (which the Atari doesn't see) tells the interface which of the many ATR files can be seen by the Atari and to which drivenumbers they have to respond. As far as I know, you can have as many (ATR) files on your harddisk as you would have on a PC harddrive. You can find a jukebox utility that will help you select which ATR's you want to use on Trub's site. All versions of SIO2IDE will handle normal speed (19k2 baud) as well as high speed (51k2 baud).

Version 4.3 of the SIO2IDE interface firmware can handle two devices. Pre-4.3 versions can only handle one master or one slave. IDE uses the master and slave drive principle instead of the system SCSI uses, where each device has an ID (0-7) and - if needed - a local unit number (also 0-7).


picture of SIO2IDE interface version 4.x The USB chip doesn't seem to be installed on this printed circuit board, but the chip used is an SMD type. These are soldered directly onto the traces. So it's on the other side.

Both picture were taken from the SIO2IDE site and trimmed a bit.


SIO2SD

picture of the SIO2SD prototype The SIO2SD uses an SD-card, as known from car-navigationsystems and mobile phones, as a storage device for your Atari 8 bit computer. The device can emulate D1: through D8:, connects to your SIO bus and currently it's default high speed index is 6 (69000 bps). Settings from 1 to 16 are supported, but the higher speed settings (lower high speed index) at some point will result in errors.
If your SIO2SD doesn't already have a 14.31318 MHz crystal, you will need to replace the crystal and update the firmware. Otherwise you're stuff with "D1:-D4:" and a maximum speed of 51000 bps.

HardwareDoc has translated the Firmware from English to German. As the German version isn't available on the SIO2SD site, you'll have to contact HardwareDoc. He can be found on the ABBUC Site.

The data is stored in ATR or XFD images from 90 KB up to 16 MB.

You can find more information about this device, including a schematic and Atmel software, on this page. The text is in English, but a Polish version of the site is also available via a link on that page.

Here are more picture of the prototype of SIO2SD.


NUN-Joy

HARdwareDoc developed a small device, that enables us to connect a Wii Nun-Chuk to the joystick port of an Atari (or any other device with a similar joystick port). You will find his Nun-Joy page here.

picture of the NUN-Joy Interface


Multi...interfaces

Since a couple of years, a new trend has developed in the European Atari fair/meeting scene. People have started to play games in game competitions. Mainly because of two old ideas that have been picked up by two guys from Eastern Europe.

The first one is the MultiJoy interface by Radek Sterba (Raster). Radek's version enables one to connect up to 8 joysticks to 1 computer.

picture of the MultiJoy8 Interface

The picture was borrowed from Fandal's site. In it you see a modern version of the MultiJoy8. Other versions might look different on the outside, but on the inside they are basically the same.

It is possible to build and support a version that will handle 16 joysticks. But the device does get a bit big. The good news however is, that HARdwareDoc is working on an improved version of the MultiJoy interface called UltraJoyPro. The UltraJoyPro will be able to handle joysticks with autofire and HARdwareDoc's Nun-Joy interface. But the best feature in my opinion is, that the UltraJoyPro will be cascadable. Meaning you plug the first UltraJoyPro into the computer and the second UltraJoyPro into the first one to increase the amount of joysticks you can use. Although 16 still is the maximum number of joysticks you can use at the same time. Why do I think this is the best feature? It was my idea! :-)

Your computer only needs to have two joystick ports for either version of this interface.

The second one is the MultiLink interface by Jiri Bernasek. It enables you to connect up to 8 Atari 8 bit computers together. Jiri took a good look at the GAMELINK II interface and improved the hardware.

The Regionalgruppe ABBUC Frankfurt (RAF) once sold this version of the MultiLink Interface.

picture of the MultiLink Interface

Jiri also wrote some games for the interface and has now put together a toolkit (which consists of NTWGAME.ARC, MWORMS.ARC and MWSOURCE.ARC. You can find these files by scrolling down to where all the MultiLink games are).

Did you know Atari once worked on network-hardware too?


MultiJoy


The following games have been written by Florian Dingler. Icehockey hasn't been finished yet.

You can find ATR versions of Card Grabber and Sheeprace at Florian's site.

Fandal has converted a lot of existing games to multijoy games. You can find those (and the games above) on his site.


CERVI and MULTRIS will not run on the interface described in JOY4. Bremspunkt, Icehockey, Cardgrabber, Sheeprace and Shot 'em all will only be partially usable with that interface. QUADRO TRON and the test utility in JOY4 will run on the MultiJoy interface, but will use different joystick ports on the interface. To fully enjoy Cervi2 you need the MultiJoy16 interface.


MultiLink/GameLink2


Why do we need more multiplayer games:


Ideas for games for the MultiLink interface:

  1. A jump and run game. Everybody starts in the same 'room', but each can go it's own way. As you pass another player/other players, each sees the other player(s) move over his or her screen.
  2. Same as above, but now in 'Tomb Raider' perspective.
  3. Some sort of flight simulator where you can do air to air combat.
  4. A game where you have to work together to get somewhere. The goal could be to rescue people from a fire or the water.
  5. A multi user dungeon. But not via modems, but via MultiLink.
  6. RISK
  7. Gunfight at the OK Corral. Use a joystick to look around and maybe a lightgun to shoot the opponent. If the enemy sees you, you computer replaces your 6th sence. A press on the SPACEBAR turns you in the right direction.
  8. A multi computer/multi screen demo. You can have lot's of sound channels (although you need some to sync. the computers). Or have shapes leave one screen and appear on another.
  9. Labyrinth/Factory/Old sewerage system: all players start on their end of a maze/factory/sewerage system. They can only reach each other by playing the game to the end. Sometimes they can do something to help others (like picking up a key that will open up a door to a shortcut that helps somebody else), sometimes they can do something that's not as nice (like throwing a banana peal down a shute, it lands in the path of somebody else and (s)he breaks a leg and has to use crutches).
  10. TRON. But not seen from above, but as if you'ld be on motorcycle speeding toward a wall yourself.
  11. Pole Position for MultiLink. But you don't see the back of the car you are driving, but the instument panel/dashboard.
  12. One game, three screens (and three computers). One screen shows what happens in front of you. The other two show you the view to your right and left.
  13. Football (either soccer or American) as seen thrue the eyes of the football player.
  14. Paintball. You eliminate members of the other team by finding them and shooting them with a paint gun. Lightgun support would be great here.
  15. If you have an idea that isn't on my list, please tell me about it.

Ideas for games for the MultiJoy interface:

  1. Multi-Breakout. The screen looks like Breakout, but you have more then one ball. One each for all colours.
  2. Multi-Tennis. Play 2 against 2.
  3. Multi-PacMan. Two-Maze is great, but only for 2 people.
  4. Multi-ClayPigeonShooting. First one to shoot the pigeon gets the points. Maybe we could use lightguns for this one.
  5. Multi-'Moorhuhn'. Shoot as many birds as possible. Again, lightgun support would be nice.
  6. Table-Soccer. Instead of twisting and moving the shaft with your hands, you control it with your joystick.
  7. Jenga. Built a tower out of blocks of wood, then start taking blocks out. If the tower crumples, you loose. Left and right turns the tower (or "you walk around the tower"), push and pull is up and down along the tower.
  8. Again, if you have an idea, please tell me. I'm not much of a game player.

My idea's on how the MultiLink software and hardware could be improved:

One of the computers (the master) needs to generate a sync pulse. At the moment this is done by tying two POKEY sound channels together. This way we lose two sound channels on the master computer. If the drivers for the sync signal and the communication could be in (a) separate file(s), it would be possible to use different ways to generate a sync signal and to use different interfaces:


Video Board XE

Electron has announced, that his work on new Atari invention: Video Board XE is to be finished soon. The idea is based on the GTIA replacement with a new chip. As a result we've got:

Commend by the webmaster: The original GTIA is neither replaced nor disconnected. Existing software will be able to use the existing GTIA chip.

On the first picture below, you can see the Video Board XE installed on a 130XE motherboard with only 64kB installed. Motherboards like the one in the picture were put in cases with cheaper plastic than was used in the earlier years of production of the XE series and sold in Europe as 65XE or 800XE. The resistors you can see at the location where the CO25953 ought to be, are zero Ohm resistors.

Here, take a closer look!

And just to wet your appetite, here are two screen shots.



Above information was found via the ABBUC site on this Polish site and on Atari Age.


The VBXE's memory is accessed via $D1xx, $D5xx, $D6xx or $D7xx. Your choice!


Here is a very early and incomplete version of the Video Board XE specifications. Unfortunately, 99% of the text is in Polish. Can somebody please translate the text into English?


Here's a demo of what the Video Board XE is capable of. You might have to restart the movie player to get good picture quality.

And here's another one.


And already somebody is working on a game for it.


Tomasz Piórek a.k.a. electron, the developer of the Video Board XE, now has an internet site dedicated to the VBXE. The site looks very promising, but unfortunately, it's in Polish only.


Tomasz Piórek has just published the following information. I haven't really looked at it yet (just converted it from .7z to .zip), but I'm under the impression that it contains all the stuff you need to build your own VideoBoard XE.

Drac030 has translated the Programmer's Manual into English.

Gury has just announced that he has dedicated a page to (software that is developed for) the VBXE.


Try English email link oder Deutsch
of Nederlands of Heljes/Dörps.
Please use "Feedback from my Special Stuff Page" as the subject.


Go to my ...

Home page
MyDOS page - All kinds of stuff about and for MyDOS.
BlackBox page - with information on FlashROM upgrade.
ASPI page - ASPI is to your SCSI or IDE interface what a printer driver is to your printer.
Wishlist page - my personal Dream Street.
Atari 8 bit boot CD/DVD page - create your own Atari 8 bit boot CD or DVD.
Atari 8 bit meetings page - some information about the Atari 8 bit meetings I visite.
Docs page - Files describing peripheral hardware.
Site map - What's on my site and where can you find it.