Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 53 / OCTOBER 1984 / PAGE 10

Atari CLOAD Problems

I own an Atari 800 with an Atari cassette recorder. I have used my 800 to type in and save programs from COMPUTE! to cassette tape. All of these programs used to load and run properly, but recently I have not been able to CLOAD the same tapes into my computer. I have tried different Atari recorders and even my friend's computer, but have only succeeded in loading in one of the programs. When I attempt to CLOAD a program on my recorder, I get an error 138 or 143. What can I do?

James L. Jenkins

The problem you are experiencing is a very common one. Usually this happens when the Atari recorder has been in use for some time. The reason it happens is that the recorder head needs to be either cleaned or demagnetized, or both. There are several tricks that you can use to see if you might be having other problems. Try connecting the recorder directly to the computer instead of through another peripheral. If this clears up the problem, it could mean that the connection in your other peripheral (disk drive, printer, or expansion box) is soiled or loose.

You can also try completely rewinding the tape and then fast-forwarding it past the tape header. Set the tape counter to zero, and try CLOADing from there. If you still get an error, rewind again and this time try CLOADing from tape counter position 1. Keep doing this in one-step increments until the tape loads.

The last trick is to insert your computer tape into an audio cassette player and listen to it until you hear a screeching sound. Once you hear the sound, you are at the beginning of the program on the tape. Try to get as close as possible to the beginning without passing it, and then try CLOADing it on your Atari recorder. If this does not work, try demagnetizing and cleaning your recorder's head. This is an easy procedure and should be done regularly anyway. Kits are available at any record store.

Once you do manage to CLOAD your programs, you should consider LISTing them to tape instead of CSAVEing them. The advantage: LISTing, combined with the ENTER command, is a more reliable method of loading from cassette than CLOAD. The LIST command takes up more tape and is also slower, but that's a small price to pay for greater reliability.