Atari 1010 Program Recorder
In the early beginning of the Atari personal computer line, a recorder device was needed to save data from a Basic program, such as in Basic. The original cassette recorder was the Atari 410 program recorder. For this guide though to stay consistent with the components I currently own, we will be reviewing the Atari 1010 program recorder.
When I had my first computer I was only able to afford this program recorder. Disk drives were costly then and I didn’t have a job yet since I was only about 16 at the time. I spent many hours learning how to save data and other hours writing down my programs by hand in case a save failed.
How the Cassette Recorder Works
This program recorder allows a Basic program to have data transferred from memory (as bits) through audio tones, and placed on a magnetic tape. The recording process creates distinct tone like volumes as the computer saves data to a cassette tape from the Atari computer’s memory.
To prepare a tape in advance, it is best to have it rewinded to the start just a little pass the beginning tape read. Often I would fast forward it until I could not see the white strip at the start.
A good habit I found myself accustomed to was writing down the start and ending number of the area between where the data was transferred to the tape film. In Basic you will want to have a program loaded into memory and then type the command CSAVE on the screen. After pressing the Return key, a beep will be heard. Then once you press the record key the data will be copied from the computer’s RAM memory onto the storage’s magnetic surface.
Loading and Running the Program
Once the program has been saved accurately to the tape, the audio tones will cease, and the tape will stop turning. As long as the computer is not throwing any errors on the display, and the word READY appears, the data should have been successfully transferred to the cassette tape.
The next step is to get the tape’s program data back into your Atari computer’s memory. Often it is best to turn the computer off and back on again, as I maintained a habit of doing in the early days.
Atari 1010 Program Recorder
After this rewind the tape a little past one mark minus the start of where you recorded the start counter, and press the play button on the Atari 1010 program recorder.
Now type the command CLOAD (cassette load), and press the Return key. Sounds will begin to broadcoast through the program recorder’s output speaker as the data is transferred bit by bit back into your Atari’s computer memory (known as RAM). If everything goes well after the transfer is complete, type LIST and you should see the program you saved earlier.
Player Audio on Recorder
According to the De Re Atari book, you can play music from a tape straight from Basic using your Atari program recorder.
First you will need to turn on the motor with a command. Type POKE 54018,52 and press the Return key. This will signal the computer that you want to access the data on the device, and it will start playing from the magnetic tape.
To stop the tape, you can either press the stop button, or if controlling it from Atari Basic, type in 54018,52 and press the Return key. Below is a short program from De Re Atari that demonstrates exactly this.
10 REM PROGRAM "FROG" TO DEMONSTRATE SYNCHRONIZATION 20 REM OF AUDIO WITH DIGITAL FOR THE CASSETTE SYSTEM 30 REM 40 DIM IN$(20) 50 POKE 54018,52:REM TURN ON MOTOR 60 GRAPHICS 1 70 PRINT #6;"THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG":PRINT #6; .... :REM SET UP THE SCREEN FOR EVENT 2. 80 GOSUB 1000:REM CHECK SYNC MARK, MAKE SURE THE INTRODUCTION IS SAID. 100 POSITION X,Y:PRINT #6;"YOUR NAME?":REM FOR EVENT 4 105 GOSUB 1000:REM EVENT 5 110 POKE 54018,60:REM STOP MOTOR FOR USER INPUT 120 INPUT IN$:REM WAIT FOR THE USER'S NAME 130 POKE 54018,52 135 PRINT #6,CHR$(125):REM CLEAR THE SCREEN 140 POSITION X,Y:PRINT #6;IN$:PRINT #6; .... :REM DISPLAY SCREEN FOR EVENT 10 150 GOSUB 1000:REM MAKE SURE SPEECH FOR EVENT 10 IS FINISHED 160 PRINT #6; .... :REM READY FOR EVENT 12