Atarimax Product Discussion Forums

remote reset for Atari...
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Author:  DrWatson [ Fri May 23, 2008 7:54 am ]
Post subject:  remote reset for Atari...

First, let me give some history:

I got my first Atari when I was 11. It was a 400 (...gotta love the membrane keyboard!) and a cassette drive.

Shortly after that, I got an 800XL and an Atari 1050 disk drive. A few years after that, my house was struck by lightening and nuked everything (except the 20" black and white TV I was using).

Insurance covered enough for me to get a 65XE, another 1050 drive and a used 14" colour TV. I kept all that equipment and got into a 1040ST a number of years later.

Atari has always held a special place in my heart since that's where I got my start as a software developer. Now, after nearly 14 years working as a software developer in medical imaging, I find myself needing to resurrect some of my old flames...uh, er games...but I digress...

I have wired up my own SIO cable following some schematics I found online. I also installed apetrial.exe and everything works great. I have all of this hooked up to a 57" Sony TV. I have an old laptop in my entertainmet unit running the APE software. The laptop is also hooked up to the 57 incher. I have extentions for my joysticks for the Atari and wireless mouse and keyboard for the laptop. I then toggle with a remote between the laptop input on the TV to the Atari input. I can load and unload disks with APE from my couch, but... (this is where the lazy part kicks in) I still have to get up to reset the Atari to get it to boot the image loaded in APE.

I have though about this a bit and have a few ideas, but I wanted to run this past you guys to see if anyone else has done anything to nurture their lazy spirit. Here is my idea list:

1) X10. pick up some X10 equipment and plug the Atari into the X10 unit. Write some software that has an on/off switch on a small GUI on the laptop that will power the atari up and down.

2) Solid state relays. wire up a relay that is hooked to one of the serial ports of the laptop. When DTR is set (using software I will write) it triggers the relay to allow 120V into the Atari's power supply.

3) Use USB power to power the Atari. This is the one I know least about. I forgot to check my power supply at home (yes, yes, I am at work right now!) to see how much DC power the Atari requires. Is it possible to power my Atari using the USB power of the laptop?

Additional questions:
o Has anyone done anything like this?
o How many volts does the Atari require? (also how many amps does it use?)
o I remember having to hold the Option key down when booting some games for the that still true of the 800XL? What purpose does it serve? Can I work around that issue or does that kill the remote reboot idea right there?

Author:  classics [ Fri May 23, 2008 6:13 pm ]
Post subject: 

Welcome back to Atari. :-) I'll try to answer as many of your questions as I can.

1) The X10 solution is probably the easiest to pull off. Some time ago I used a bunch of X10 modules with a serial port dongle to do something similar and it worked perfectly. I believe you can even get decent USB X10 transmitters now.

2) Possibly, but it would be easier to install the relay on the output of the Atari power supply, which is only 5V DC @ 2A.

3) USB ports are current limited to 500ma per port. If you exceed that it will typically trip a resettable fuse on the motherboard and one or more of your USB ports will be dead until it cools off and resets. Depending on the design of the motherboard you might be able to use 3 ports tied together for power, but thats a big if. You could also just end up damaging the USB power supply circuit. Without a schematic its difficult to say.

An 800XL or 130XE requires about 1.2A of power at 5V.

You do have to hold down Option on the 800XL to disable internal basic. One workaround is to install a Warp+ OS upgrade, then you can change to a 'reverse BASIC' OS, which will always boot with BASIC disabled unless you hold down Option to enable it.

Most disk boot games will not run with BASIC enabled, though a few will turn it off automatically if its detected and thus work anyway.


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