Classic Computer Magazine Archive ANTIC VOL. 3, NO. 1 / APRIL 1984

tangle angles


Tangle Angles is a collection of response to letters from readers concerning use of tape cassettes with Atari computers. Responses are prepared by Carl Evans, ANTIC's Contributing Editor for the Tape Topics department. Tangle Angles appears intermittently as letters accumulate. Send your questions to Tangle Angles, care of ANTIC. Individual responses by return mail are not guaranteed, but Carl often obliges if you send a self-addressed stamped enveloped. Otherwise, look for your answer in ANTIC.


When I read your article on head alignment (ANTIC, Aug. 1983), I ran into a problem. My plug has 13, not 15 pins. I tried what you said about counting the holes, but nothing worked. What am I doing wrong?

David Kaszuba
Copperas Cove, TX are right. The plug is a 13-pin plug, but that should not affect the alignment procedure. You may be misinterpreting the instructions. Try counting the holes from the other direction. Remember that you have to count one way on the recorder end. so the holes will match each other.


I recently tackled your 410 recorder reliability upgrade (ANTIC, Feb. 1984). I had a few old cassettes that wouldn't load anymore. I put together a colleclion of one percent-tolerance, metal-film resistors and by tracing the etch, I was able to locate and replace the six resistors that your article specified. After completing the modification, all my old cassettes would load except one, which was probably due to poor oxide. I would like to point out that all the replaced resisters were five percent-tolerance (gold band) rather than ten percent, as mentioned in your article. The production date on my recorder is March 1982. Atari may have switched their 4l0's to five percent resistors since you got yours. Pass this Information on so your readers don't try upgrading their recorders with five percent resistors only to find them already there.

Matthew Ratcliff
St. Louis, MO

Thanks for the feedback. I am pleased that some readers are able to find the one percent resistors and make the mod without too much hassle.


I own a cassette-based Atari 400 with 48K of memory. I would like to upgrade to a disk-based-system. I need a utility that will copy all my cassetes to disk. Can you recommend such a program? Also will I need Atari DOS to accomplishthis or will Atari BASIC be enough?

Roy Papendorf

Transferring cassette programs to disk is sometimes complex. If you will be satisfied with putting a single tape on one side of a disk, then I would recommend the program CASDIS, available from IJG, Inc,. (714-946-5805) for $24.95. This program will create a working boot disk without you having to modify the cassette program. CASDIS works on many cassettes, but some companies have special garbage on their tapes to prevent you from ever doing an unload to a disk. CASDIS is stand alone program and you don't need Atari DOS or BASIC to use it.


My 410 recorder was used so much that the PLAY button would not stay down. Carefully disassembling the recorder, I found that the button pushed a thin peice of metal against a peice of plastic that activated the recorder. The metal had worn a groove into the plastic activator so the mechanism could not fully engage(I suspect many users will have this problem). I took the ink rod out of a ball-point pen, cut a small section off, and pressed the small piece over the metal rod. When I reassembled my recorder it worked fine! The ink rod acts like a cushion against the plastic. I have had no further problems, except that I occasionally have to eject the tape and reclose the door after a rewind or fast forward.

James Markow
Richmond, VA

Your solution is rather ingenious. If you disassemble your recorder again, I suggest that you use some "liquid plastic" to fill in the worn section of the plastic activator. You can get liquid plastic at hobby shops and hardware stores.


I decided to get the new 1010 Program Recorder, hoping that Atari had corrected the erratic behavior of the 410. My question relates to the second I/O port on the 1010, what could it be used for? I tried hooking up my old 410, but I would always get an error143 when using the 1010. However I could load from the1010 when I unplugged the 410. If this is the case, then what good is the second I/O port? One last question, what use is the PAUSE button???

Hisham M. Sa'aid

Frankfort, KY

First, there is no possible use for a PAUSSE button on a computer program recorder. The second I/O port, on the other hand, does have some potential uses. I use it for connecting my disc drives to my computer. Everyconnector introduces some amount of noise into the system and the closer the recorder is to the computer, the better it will work. Also, there are some printers that plug into the serial port and the 1010 allows such a printer to be connected without a special expansion box or splitter.


I use CBOOTMGR to transfer my cassette programs to disk, but I am running out of disks because I can only put one game on each disk. Can you help me convert these boot files into binary load files?

Boyd M. Naron
Elk Grove, CA

What you need is a utility program that converts boot files to binary-load files. Doing the conversions yourself is not a simple task. It requires you to understand file structures, as well as how programs are stored in memory. Many cassette files load into the section of memory that is occupied by DOS. Files like that have to be loaded with a special menu program. I will write about this later this year.


I own a TRS-80 Model I and use cassettes for program storage. A special utility sets the cassette baud rate to 3K. Is there anything comparable for the Atari? I am associated with a school that uses Atari's with 410 cassettel recorders. I get impatient waiting for the Ataris since they operate at a slow 600 baud. Second, can I use a non-Atari recorder with one of the Atari 800's? Also, is there any way I can do my program development on my TRS-80 and then transfer the completed program to the Atari computer?

Charles V. Allen
Brighten, MI

Let's take your last question first. If you are talking about BASIC programs, rather than machine language, it is possible to "write" a program on your TRS-80 and transfer it over to an Atari using a direct RS-232 connection or via the teleyhone using modems, but you can not "develop" your program on the TRS-80. The distinction is that you can write and transfer any pure ASCll file from one system to another; but, in the case of programs, the BASIC interpreters are different, so the transferred program can't be written to Run on both machines. I have written programs on a TRS-80 Model I and transferred them over a direct RS-232 connection to one of my Ataris where I then "translated" the BASIC code so it would RUN. I have also performed the same operation in the other direction. The process requires a detailed knowledge of both computer systems.

As far as increasing the Atari baud rate goes... it is possible to use rates as high as 820 baud with a normal 410 recorder and up to 1200 baud with a good stereo tape-deck. The baud rate increase can be controlled by a program called V-COS, available from IJG, Inc. (714-946-5805). If you want to use something other than a normal 410 recorder; then you should use one of the special FSK interfaces like the one from Micro Systems & Software, Inc. (303-497-3440).


My computer teacher and I attempted to repair a late model 410 recorder and made a very useful discovery. We were having trouble aligning the heads because we were removing the plastic case to get at the alignment screw inside the recorder. We decided that the process would be easier if we drilled a hole just above the screw. We removed the metal label strip and found a predrilled hole already there! From that point it was a simple matter of repeatedly adjusting the screw and testing.

John Hanke
Cross Plains, TX

You're right. I recommend that you check the alignment about once a year. If you leave the recorder in one place and don't bang it around, the head alignment should be all right for at least that long. Most recorders really need just a good head cleaning. If you want more detailed information on aligning heads, see my article called "Getting Your Heads Straight"(ANTIC, August 1983).


The Atari program, Eastern Front, which I bought over a year ago does not load anymore. Several tapes bought about that time will no longer load. I get mostly error 143 (checksum) and occasionally some other error code. On the other hand, I bought ZAXXON about six months ago and it loads fine. Also, any programs that I record myself will load okay. I cleaned the heads and I typed LPRINT before loading, but that did not work either. It is driving me crazy!

James Pantoni
New Cumberland, PA

First, try to load those old tapes on another 410 recorder. If they won't load there either then you probably scrambled the tapes somehow. If the tapes are bad, then you are stuck with replacing them. On the other hand, if the tapes do load ok on another recorder then you probably need to align the heads on your recorder.


I eventually got a photocopy of your HI-REL mod and used 2% resistors (scarce here). That helped, but I still had problems. I finally traced the problem to the computer itself. Two resistors, C166 and C167 were defective. I replaced them and I am now able to load programs, but only those which were saved with a LIST"C:" command. This is very slow. Can you help? Also, is there any way to interface my Atari 400 to a Sinclair Micro-Floppy?

Rob Pattison
Nausori, Fiji

I am glad that you are finally able to use your system. My area of special knowledge is the recorder, I can't help you with the computer itself. I have never heard of a Sinclair Micro-Floppy. If any of you readers think you can help, plense contact me or Rob through this magazine.