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Atari 8 Bit Machines: SDrive-Max


I've not had any of my 8 bit machines out for quite some time, and so I only heard about the SDrive-Max last week (July '23 at the time of writing). I immediately got quite excited as it seemed like all I needed to buy was a cheap TFT display with all the other parts readily to hand.


01/08/23 - This update is two weeks late, but suffice to say, the SDrive-Max works perfectly. I had a bit of hassle getting the SIO plug sorted out, they've never seemed easy to work with, but other than that it was smooth sailing. It would definitely benefit from a case but I don't have a 3D printer or know anyone locally with one, and online prices are a bit OTT (buying a printer may now be a project).

The SDrive-Max and it's SIO plug in the back of an 800XL

I dug out some games collections online to get started, though the one with the better titles (IMO) has games grouped into disks, and as such isn't so useful without the website, plus the SDrive-Max doens't have any kind of search so moving through screens and screens of files isn't a heap of fun.

The SDrive-Max display

And I finally got to play Yoomp!. It's not the first time I've had a disk drive emulator for the 8-bit machines, my previous setup involved a Raspberry Pi and a Node JS UI I wrote for sio2bsd, but somehow I'd not gotten around to trying this title out until now.


17/07/23 - Dug out an Arduino Uno and purchased an Elegoo TFT screen. After a couple of false starts worked out that the driver chip was the ili9341 and once I'd flashed the correct version of the SDrive-Max software (twice) I was up and running. Running the wrong versions had some interesting side effects, one version looked fine but the screen was mirrored left/right, another had inverse colours but was otherwise good, and one version looked good but didn't respond to touch. This also happened with the version for the ili9341 but flashing it a second time things came good. Next up is to dig out some of the spare SIO plugs I've got stashed away somewhere and get it hooked to an Atari. Then I need to find a decent software archive too. More to come.