There is plenty of free software available for the 8-bit Atari XL / XE computers online in the form of ATR files. These are image files created from the physical disks. A hudge database can be found on Atari Mania website. It is possible to mount these images with an Atari XL /XE emulator like Atari800Win. AtariAge website has an extended description on how to do it. However in this blog I am going to describe how to create floppy disks from these downloaded images so they can run on a real Atari XL / XE computer with a floppy disk drive.
A while back I have bought a cheap second hand Commodore 64. Unfortunately it was broken, next to the PLA chip which I have fixed by buinding a custom CPLD version of it, the BASIC ROM chip (901226-01) was also broken. At the moment it is only possible to buy one that is salveged and the ones that I found were around 8 euros. A cheap alternative is to burn your own EPROM version of it.
The most important chip in commodore 64 computer is the PLA chip. When this chip is broken, nothing will work and most certainly you will get a black screen after you try to turn it on. The original replacement chip is hard to get and if you find one it is not cheap. Luckily there are alternatives for replacement. It is possible to create one using EPROM, however the results of it's performance vary, or you can buy one on the market like SuperPLA, realPLA, U17 PLAnkton or PLAtinum.
FPGA's and CPLD's are certainly very cool devices. It is possible to create you own logical circuits and emulate real hardware chips on the lowest level. For this test project we will use Alera CPLD which is also known as MAX3000A and it's full code is ALTERA EPM3064ATC44-10. It has a programming capacity of 64 macrocells. A macrocell is the smallest programmable part inside a CPLD. The capacity of 64 is not very large compared for example to Altera Cyclone IV EP4CE6E22C8N FPGA chip which has 6272 logical elements, but it will be suitable for small projects.
Recently I have bought an Apple Macintosh Plus. Everything was working except one key on the keyboard. The previous owner just glued it permanently to disguise the damage. The key in question is the "Clear" key. It is not used very frequently, that is of course if you are not a heavy user of the Calculator Application. Nevertheless I wanted a fully functional keyboard, so I decided it to fix it.
To create single sided disks on a PC (Windows XP) we will need a floppy drive that is connected to the FDD controller. The tests that I have done with USB floppy drive failed. It simply did not want to recognize single sided (360K) formatted floppy disks.
I still had an old computer with a copy of Windows XP on it. And actually I am writing this blog on this computer inside Chrome browser, so I guess it is still usable.
MSX2 Philips NMS 8250 computer has a build-in double density (DD) floppy drive. There a various sites on the internet where you can download floppy disk images.
For example: www.planetemu.net You can browse MSX2 various disks section and "télécharger", as the site is in french language, and means "download".
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