Make Your 410 Work!

John Dimmer, Elgin, Scotland


Issue 8

Mar/Apr 84


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Like the majority of Atari owners my system is cassette based so when my 410 went wrong I was virtually computerless since all of my games were on cassette and it seemed pointless typing in any long programs. This situation lasted four weeks and I spent my time reading about hardware and programming. What follows is a summary of that reading regarding the 410 in the hope that you will be able to get better service from your 410. These remarks will of course apply equally to the new 1010 recorder.

There are six relevant commands for the operation of the 410:

Recording     CSAVE   SAVE'C:'   LIST'C:'
Playback      CLOAD   LOAD'C:'   ENTER'C:'

CSAVEd tapes can only be loaded using CLOAD. The tapes are recorded using a short inter-record gap (IRG) and this is the quickest way to record and playback.

SAVE'C:'  uses a longer IRG which results in a long tape. You can load the tape using CLOAD, LOAD'C:' or, more interestingly, RUN'C:'

LIST'C:' stores the program in its full ASCII form. Its counterpart is ENTER'C:'. This command, unlike CLOAD or LOAD'C:' will not clear any resident program from RAM and if lines have the same number the old line will be replaced by a new line. LIST'C:' will save all lines whilst LIST'C:',x,y will save line x to line y.

Both CSAVE and SAVE'C:' use a shortened form of the Basic program by 'tokenising'. A token is a 1 or 2 byte code representing the Basic keyword.


POKE 65,0 for quiet recording or playback 

POKE 54018,52 to turn cassette motor on 

POKE 54018,60 turns the motor Off

Try putting a music cassette in the 410, press play and type POKE 54018,52. Music while you work!

Here are a number of tips which might help towards trouble free recording and playback:

Before you CSAVE or SAVE'C:', type LPRINT in direct mode. Ignore the resulting Error 138. This closes channel 7 and sets the hardware correctly for recording. 


Before pressing PLAY, note the initial count. If there is an error on playback, rewind to the count plus one and try again. Repeat as necessary.

If you are unsure of the start position of the program either use POKE 54018,52 or use a normal cassette player to listen for the start of recording.

Try fast forward and rewind if you have an error on loading. Then try to load again.

Use 10 counts to separate programs on tape. This is to avoid overwriting the 'end-of-file' marker and will make it easier to find the start of the recording.

Avoid using C-90, C-120 or cheap tape as you are more likely to get tape stretch.

Don't use chromium dioxide or metal tapes on the 410 - you will ruin the heads!

Don't put recorded tapes on top of the TV or speakers - the tapes could be degaussed.

Recordings on the old type 410 may not play back on the new type 410 and vice-versa. Beware!

Clean the record and play heads regularly using a proprietary cleaner only.

Finally if you continually have 138, 140 or 143 errors on all your tapes, have your 410 checked by an Atari dealer.


The three common types of I/0 errors are:

Error 143 - a bad recording or readback or the cassette or recording could be faulty.

Error 140 - cassette may be faulty or defective.

Error 138 - no information is reaching the computer. Check cable connections, power supplies and finally the tape for data.

All the people I know who have had trouble with their 410's have problems with 'boot' tapes. If you boot tapes by pressing PLAY on the recorder FIRST, try pressing START and turning the computer on and THEN press PLAY before finally pressing RETURN. It may be that the 410 is vulnerable to a power surge. If you still have problems, consider having your 410 checked.

I hope that your 410 woes are eased by this article but if you have any further tips, ideas or thoughts I would be delighted to hear them. Send them in to the Editor.