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ScuzzBlog: Diaries December 2018

Entry 18th December 2018: Post 02: Atari 400 - Kiddy proof

Atari 400 - Kiddy proof

Both the 800 and 400 were announced as early as 1978 though not 
released until 1979. Kinda aimed at the kiddies market with 
supposedly child proof keyboard with easy wipe surface. The unit
has just the one cartridge slot.

Atari 400 from the USA dating from 1979-82
Has a QWERTY membrane keyboard.
Uses the 6502 CPU running at 1.79 MHz
Scrolling , Sprites and Video is provided by the ANTIC processor.
RAM is 8KB though the unit was later shipped with 16 KB
Sound is very good for the day using 4 voices at 3.5 octaves.
Has its own power supply.

For the day a pretty advanced machine. Quite sturdy and well built.
The weight of the unit is from the metal shielding inside. Has just
the one cartridge slot. The 400 is the cheaper version of the 800 
though in truth once you get use to the one cartridge and membrane 
keyboard it functions pretty much the same.

OK so I'm back to checking computers and I can report she is just 
fine. One very annoying thing about Atari in these days and that 
is the insistence to provide a TV connector hard wired into the 
computer. The reason is firstly they provided a bonkers long cable 
that is a pig to store. And second when the connector fails as has 
happened to me I have to rewire the connector and it aint easy. 
Whereas in later models its a simple plug in on the back. So when 
you have one of these or the 800 or Woody/2600 you are like forever 
having to have the cable lying around all the time... and like I say, 
it's very long.

OK Using the tape... You need the Atari special connector/cable and 
a suitable cassette player. Getting harder to find working ones. I 
had to mend mine. OK when all connected and slot in your tape and 
simply type in CLOAD and then press RETURN with the tape set to play. 
The computer will beep once. Next press RETURN again and the tape 
will load.

To save is the same thing just type CSAVE and press RETURN. This 
time she beeps twice and then on RETURN with save and play depressed 
she will save your program. To name it is another command but I am not 
discussing that here. I cover that in another blog on the matter.

Atari 400

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Last updated 18th December 2018

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scuzzscink 2018