Tiny Atari 810 Disk Drive Upgrade

Everything gets smaller as technology improves. [Rossum] reduced the space needed for an Atari 810 disk drive by building this tiny replacement. Of course it doesn’t use floppy disks, but takes a microSD card instead. And it doesn’t stand in the place of one floppy drive, but can emulate up to eight different drives. The best part is that [Rossum] went to the trouble of designing an enclosure and having it fabricated via 3D printing in order to look just like a doll house version of the original hardware. It uses an LPC1114 ARM Cortex-M0 microprocessor to translate data transmissions to and from the Atari hardware, storing it on the 8 GB card.

As usual, you’ll soon find the schematic, board artwork, and code up on his git repository soon.

25 thoughts on “Tiny Atari 810 Disk Drive Upgrade

  1. I bet that LPC1114 has more horse power then the actual system. lol
    Good work, I love to see when people really care about there hardware enough to go the extra mile. I once made something similar for my Xbox, only it was much easier for me since I just had to find the right hub, re wire a original Xbox port onto it and add a thing here or there. You sir make my Xbox trick look like what it is. Nothing by comparison.

  2. I have to ask.. please don’t hurt me… but can this be done with an Arduino + Processing? Assuming one has the Arduino SD card shield (I do).

    I guess the answer is yes, Arduino can, since there’s not a lot going on except data shifting and any old Atmel could handle it.

    My eventual goal would be to do it just with an Atmel (and not waste a complete Arduino) but one step at a time.

  3. Somewhat similar problem. I have a T1000LE (10 MHz 8086!) with a dead 20 MB hard drive. Tried to connect an IDE Flash module (built a wiring adapter for that), no luck. Probably the protocol is too different. But how exactly? Identifying things like CHS addressing limits in the disassembled BIOS code is an enormous task. Those undocumented system management ports are even worse.

  4. :(

    I miss my 800xl. That was my first computer.

    Weren’t those drive like $450?

    Single Sided Single Density, baby.

    Unless you had a US Doubler… and one of those disk notcher gadgets.

  5. “designing an enclosure and having it fabricated via 3D printing in order to look just like a doll house version of the original hardware”

    Brilliant, that’s great :)

  6. My first hack (I was 12) was an atari 1050 disk drive hack. I wrote a sector copy program but in order to “backup” some copy protected software I needed to be able to make bad sectors. I used a simple switch and a resistor to slow the speed of the disk. My copy program would remember the bad sectors then I would flip the switch and write to those areas. This worked surprisingly well and had one more benefit. The “Happy drive” a third party modification sometimes could remove copy protection from certain disks. Anything I could copy with my drive would have it’s copy protection removed if that copy was then copied again with the happy drive! If my copy method could copy a disk(about 75% of the time with copy protected stuff) the happy drive would then be able to remove the copy protection! Allowing unmodified drives to copy the disk from then on.

    Needless to say I was a hit at the local computer club(I was the youngest member)

    The Atari 8 bit(6502) was far superior to the commodore 64 with better graphics and a four voice sound chip it was also slightly faster. It really was a joy to work on, the beauty of the design made it a real work of art.

    The Atari designers later went on to design the Amiga (yes the Amiga was sold by commodore) the history of the Amiga-Atari connection is very interesting.

    I still have my Atari ST complete with hard drive and “Magic sac” (a mac emulator that ran MUCH faster than the macs at the time) I also have a friend with a STacy(an Atari ST laptop) With Magic sac the STacy was the first Mac laptop!

    The atari ST with Magic Sac was used by apple to design future mac OS’s!!

    Troll BBS (1985-1990)
    Running WW4
    2 lines 2400 baud (later 9600)
    84 MB online
    PC/Atari files
    online games
    Dead Cat (the original Troll!) proprietor.

  7. AAAH, Troll BBS, I remember Troll…spent many hours listening to the 300 baud stream across the Atari 800XL.

    I should build one of these to backup my 100 or so disks I have for my old unit still in the basement.

  8. This is amazing. I’ve still got my pil-chipped Atari 800 and 810 drive in the loft and loads of floppies. I’d love to get this onto an SD card before they all die. Great work and can’t wait for the schematic!

  9. when the 810 drive came out the cost for 8Gb would be over $2,000,000 compared to $4-$20 now not to mention size then it would take 95,027 disk that would fill a room compared to the current 64Gb micro SD Card that is the size of a thumb nail its amazing how far we keep going with technology

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