Atari SIO2SD disk drive emulator

When I show off my computers to others it's good to demonstrate the full package. If it's disk capable, I like to have the original disk drives and the associated clutter as would be seen in the day. That's all well and good but sometimes I just want to drag a unit out to play a game or use some software. If that's the case it doesn't need to be entirely authentic and it is less hassle if I can cut down on the set-up time somehow.

This is why I've now got one of these for my Atari 8-bit machines...


Figure 1. A SIO2SD disk drive emulator from Lotharek's lair.

This little box emulates an Atari 8-bit computer disk drive. Disk contents are read from disk images in the form of files on an SD card. Each card can hold hundreds of disk images.

I've only explored the SIO2SD enough to ascertain that it fires up, that I can mount and dismount disk images and that programs load ok. Given experience is limited, this blog entry is certainly not a full review. However, the little device seems to work just fine. There were no instructions with the unit but this suggested instruction wiki helped get the accessory up and running. Operations are straightforward. Bear in mind though, if unfamiliar with Atari DOS, you'll need to understand how the Atari 8-bit computers boot up. For example on the Atari 800XL and later 8-bit models, holding the <OPTION> key down to disable BASIC while booting is necessary if you hope to see a menu of what's on the imaged disk, or to autostart a program if that feature is available.

The case from Lotharek is stylish, functional and matches the Atari decor.

Atari 800xl and SIO2SD setup

Figure 2. Atari 800XL + SIO2SD setup.

All kudos to Jakub Kruszona-Zawadzki who invented this open source product, and the guys that helped test it (Their names are mentioned in the wiki page linked above).

With an SD card now packed with Atari disk images it takes no time at all to get software up and running. It looks cool too!

13 June, 2015

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