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SIDE Project



Poor Man's Hard Disk Interface for 8bit Atari

Once there was discussion about writing a SpartaDOS X driver for the MyIDE interface, so that current MyIDE users would have an opportunity to work with their hard drives outside of MyDOS and modified OS ROM. Unfortunately, the original MyIDE was very picky about hardware and the hard drives it worked with. One had to tune up MyIDE hardware to a given computer and then find a disk or CF card that would work reliably.

Considering this fact, and a fact I had a time slot I could use for developing something new, I made a decision about making a cartridge, that would have a bare minimum of what in my opinion was required, to get 8bit Atari usable with HDD.






Features:


• SpartaDOS X cartridge (SDX)

• On Board Real Time Clock with appropriate driver inside SDX

• CF Card slot capable of handling 3.3V CF cards (that excludes microdrives, but everything else, regardless of capacity should work)


These were my assumptions, and after few days I finished with the design - unfortunately, someone who was enthusiastic about producing it, was finding new excuses not to - the project was stalled for a year or so...

After some time I received manufactured prototypes from the Gerber files I had sent before, and was able to get finally complete what I had started.

An Atari Hard drive has one problem though - it doesn't matter how fast it transfers the data, because to load the drive the first time you need to transfer via an Atari SIO device (like SIO2PC or SIO2SD). This is time consuming and long hours pass before a collection of games or demos was transferred from the PC.



Therefore I made a decision, to write a small utility program, which could load any .XEX file straight from FAT32 partition - it took me five days to do so, but I'm no 6502 coder.

In the mean time, Jonathan Halliday was working on implementation of new partition table for hard disk devices intended for Atari 8bit computers - this was a mandatory requirement for programs like FAT32 loader - It enforced a PC compatible partitioning scheme and sharing one CF card between FAT32 and APT protective area has become possible...





Contributors:

• Sebastian Bartkowicz (Candle'O'Sin) (Hardware design, SIDE FAT32 Loader) •

• Jonathan Halliday (FlashJazzCat) (APT driver, FDISK, and all nessesary utilities) •

• Bartosz Trybus (Trub) (SDX, RTC driver) •

• Konrad Kokoszkiewicz (Drac030) (SDX) •

• Daniel Koźmiński (Dely) (SIDE logo) •

• Piotr Bugaj (Zaxon) (Making prototype and production runs) •






Downloads and external sites

Low level IO and HDD initialisation

RTC access example

SIDE FAT32 Loader
SIDE FAT32 Loader flasher

SpartaDOS X Upgrade page

FlashJazzCat SIDE related page

YouTube related videos