Atari Tape Loads
I own an Atari 400 computer. Recently I purchased a game program written in assembly language. It is stored on cassette tape. I was told to load the program by turning the computer on while depressing the START key (with no cartridge in the computer). After hearing the beep, I load the tape as normal. The problem is that sometimes the program loads fine and sometimes just before it finishes loading a BOOT ERROR message appears. This seems to happen with no consistency at all. I can't figure out what causes it to load properly once in a while. I have cleaned the tape player heads and I am sure I did not damage the tape. Can you suggest a way to get the program to load correctly more often and with fewer tries?
There are a variety of precautions to take to insure reliable loads. To isolate your difficulty, you might look into the following known trouble areas. Connect the 410 directly to the computer console, not through a peripheral. Follow the maintenance instructions listed in the 410 manual. Avoid using SYSTEM RESET before CSAVE. Before CSAVE or CLOAD, execute an LPRINT command. Be sure that commercial tapes are fully rewound before attempting a load. Use high-quality, ferrite audio tapes (and avoid chrome tapes). Keep some distance between the tape drive and a TV or power transformer. Don't leave any buttons on the 410 depressed when the player is not in use.
If you have tried all of these suggestions and still cannot get reliable performance, it would be worthwhile to have the unit checked over at an authorized service center.