all. My name is Edward S. Baiz Jr. or Gamer as I am
known on the Internet. I am the proud owner of a Hades060
which I love dearly and use daily for Midi, Internet
access, DTP, spreadsheet and more.
I also own a 1040 STe and a number of other ST's which
I use from time to time. I also own an elaborate 8-bit
system which includes a 130XE, two 800XL's and a 400.
I have tons of 8-bit software which is mostly games,
hence my handle.
If I had to pick a time in my computer-using career
that I enjoyed the best, it would have to be my 8-bit
days. I have never had so much fun and was sorry to
see it come to, what I thought was, an end. In those
days it was the software and not the computer that
was constantly being upgrades. You did not have to
worry about having to buy a newer computer just to
be able to run the software that was available. The
days of the single-author computer games are over,
for the most part.
When I got my first 520ST, I put away my 8-bit system
and simply forgot about it. At first when I ran across
an 8-bit user I could make a good conversation about
the good old days and talk about basically anything
that concerned the 400, 800, 800XL and 130XE. Soon,
however, I found myself forgetting about how to do
this and that. Everyone began to realize that I was
a ST user and not an 8-bit user. The way things have
turned out for me, I am so glad I kept my whole 8-bit
What happened to me came in two steps. First, I suddenly
became interested in the 8-bit when my kids became
old enough to enjoy it. Just the fact that they would
play on the system made me realize just what I have
been missing all these years. A game does not have
to have the best graphics and sound to be considered
excellent. A true gamer will look for the most important
thing in a game and that is game play or playability.
Without that a game is nothing. For example, if I
had a bowling game and it allowed to roll a 300 every
game, how fun would that be? There is no challenge,
no skill and hence no playability. My kids love these
8-bit games just as much as the ones they play on
their N64 and my Atari Jaguar. I still think kids
should do video game reviews and not adults.
Okay, now the easy step is over. The hard step began.
If there was one thing I hated more in using my 8-bit
system was setting it up. All those wires for the
drives, the computer and then I had to have a TV.
I started to solve this problem when I noticed someone
had said that they had hooked up their 800XL to a
VGA monitor. Now that is something I wanted to do
since I had two monitors in the computer room. The
monitor would give me a MUCH better picture than a
regular TV. I found out that what was needed was a
video converter and a Commodore monitor cable which
connected to the C64. The cable has four wires with
RCA Jacks that are colored white, yellow, red and
black. The white wire works for me and plugs into
the "Video In" on the converter. The SVGA monitor
plugs into the "Video Out" on the converter. For sound
I use the black wire on the cable that plugs into
a powered speaker. The setup works just great and
I recommend it to every 8-bit user. The cable and
the converter cost about $100 ($20 for the cable and
$80 for the converter). That may seem high, but I
believe it is well worth it. I found the cable at
B&C Computers which can be found on the Internet at:
I found the video converter at Matco which can be
found on the Internet at: http://www.mat-co.com/.
When you go to the Matco site, look for the converter
under the name VGA-801.
The video converter, the VGA-801. Notice the SVGA
coming out of the top and also the Commodore monitor
cable on the left
side. The black wire going to the left is connected
to the 130XE while the
black wire going to the right is connected to a powered
speaker for sound.
I still had the problem about the 8-bit disk drive
and all the 8-bit disks I had collected over the years.
Let's face it, sooner or later those old disks become
corrupted and will not work. That had happened to
a few of mine (ie. Midnight Magic Pinball),
but for the most part, they are still in good shape.
My old 810 still functions and I have a PerCom Data
and one 1050 drive that still work. However, I have
2 1050's that do not work. I have always wanted to
be able to run my 8-bit programs from a hard drive
and have them backed up, but I did not want to use
a PC and APE as I am an Atarian. I do admit I might
have gone that route if I had not come across a great
TOS program called 800XLDJ.
To be honest, I had run across 800XLDJ a few years
ago, but passed on it mainly because I really did
not know what it was and the fact that it bombed everytime
I tried to run it under Geneva. It ran fine under
regular TOS, but the program functions better in a
multi-tasking situation. Later on I got Magic for
the Hades. I downloaded 800XLDJ when someone else
recommended it me. I gave it another try under Magic
and was pleased that it ran.
Basically, 800XLDJ is to TOS users what APE is to
PC users. It simulates an Atari disk drive and uses
disk images (DI extension) to load programs. It also
needs the SIO2ST cable which the same thing as the
SIO2ST cable, sometimes called the SIO2PC cable
I use the SIO2ST name as it sounds better to an Atari
user. You can build the cable yourself or else buy
it. I bought mine from a guy in Germany who is super
and fair to all his customers. I believe I paid about
$20. The site to go to is: http://home.t-online.de/home/tgrasel/restarte.htm.
You can also buy the Xformer cable for the PC and
other 8-bit items. To set yourself up just plug one
end of the SIO2ST cable in the 8-bit (800XL or 130XE)
and the other end into the RS232 port on the ST. For
the Hades I used the Modem 1 port. I did not try the
program on my Atari 400, so I am not sure it would
work. I see no reason why it shouldn't though.
After loading the program, you can see when looking
at the title screen, that the program was written
and compiled in 1994. That always seems funny to me
as I had really have heard nothing about it until
the last few years. If I had, I would have used it.
800XLDJ Title Screen
The opening screening is a bit mystifying. You see
a row with little disk drives numbered 1 to 8. This
of course means that the program can handle upto 8
drives at one time which is the same number of actual
drives an 8-bit machine can handle.
Main screen when
800XLDJ is first booted up
will also notice when you click on one of the drive
icons, the front of the icon goes from black to white.
This simulates the drive being closed with a disk
inside (black) or drive being open with no disk inside
(white). At least that is what I think since nothing
loads when the icon front is white.
Main screen of 800XLDJ with some disk images loaded
in as drives 1-4. Notice all of the icon images are
black in front which means that a disk is in the drive
below the row of icons you see "New Disk" and to the
right is a drive with a 1 inside it. This means that
"New Disk" is drive number 1. You can make it drive
number 2-8 just by dragging one of the appropriate
icons down and onto the right side next to the disk.
By highlighting the disk and clicking on the "Disk"
option (above the row of disk icons) you get a number
of options which includes format. Here you can format
the disk image in a variety of densities.
Notice that the disk image is set to 260K
formatting you can then use the disk image just like
any disk. If you double-click on the disk image after
formatting it, you get a GEM box that contains all
the disk's contents. Of course after formatting, the
screen should be blank. To put a file into
the image just drag a file from the ST desktop onto
the screen and it will imported in. You can also click
on the GEM box and you will get a list of options
which includes "import". Clicking on "import" brings
up the file selector where you can file(s) to import.
Of course it is possible to export files also and
it works the same way. Very simple huh? I must mention
that if you format a disk that 800XLDJ considers not
exactly a DOS disk, it will not bring up the GEM box
list screen. You will get a notice to that. Do not
worry though. Your disk image can still be viewed
and used, but only on the 8-bit computer.
This screen shows an option
of how one can change the
appearance of how the GEM box for all disk images
Another option under the "Disk" heading is "Load".
Here you can pick any DI images you want to be used
with 800XLDJ. After loading them in, you must pick
which disk drive number they will be. Another thing
you may want to do is to make sure the image has the
correct name or label. The label is what appears in
the main 800XLDJ screen. If a disk image does not
have an appropriate name, what appears on the main
screen is the path of that particular disk image.
To write a label just highlight the disk image in
question and then go under "Disk" and choose "Label".
Here you can type in the label of the disk. There
is even a place for additional information which does
not appear on the main screen. Do not forget to save
the disk. This option is again under "Disk". Saving
is important. When running a program on the 8-bit
where you save disk information, this changes the
disk in question in 800XLDJ. However 800XLDJ does
not save the disk. You must do that yourself. If you
quit the program without saving a disk image, 800XLDJ
does remind you that the disk image has been changed
and gives you the option to save it. I have saved
many times because of this. When you create a label
for a disk image and save it, it is given the same
name as the disk image with the extension "DIL"
There is also another way to create DI image disks.
I wanted to have a DI image disk of MyDOS. 800XLDJ
comes with DOS 2.5, but MyDOS is much better. The
problem is that I could not find a MyDOS DI image
disk anywhere. I did have an ATR image disk of MyDOS.
I extracted the raw files from the ATR image and copied
them to a pre-formatted DI image disk. That did not
work. The 130XE gave me the familiar "boot error"
message. So I had to do something else. The President
of our Atari computer club (IMAGE), Steve Elek, had
MyDOS on an 8-bit disk. I had him bring that to the
meeting which happened to be at my house. I hooked
up the XE to a 1050 disk drive, put in the MyDOS disk
and booted it up. Then I unhooked the 1050 and then
hooked up the SIO2ST cable. I loaded in 800XLDJ and
highlighted the "New Disk" image and made sure it
was disk drive 1. I then went to the XE and had MyDos
format disk drive 1 in a double density. I then went
back to my Hades and double-clicked on the "New Disk"
image icon which brought up a blank GEM box. Going
to the XE again, I had MyDOS write the DOS files to
drive 1. While it was reading and writing, I told
everyone to watch the blank GEM box on the Hades.
Almost immediately after the XE was done, the DOS
system files appeared. I then saved the disk under
a different name and label. Now I had a MyDOS DI image
and realized I could do the same thing to get other
programs on DI images, preferably some of the commercial
game disks that I love so dearly.
This is a list of what is on a disk image
that is used by
800XLDJ. This list is in a GEM box and can
be resized & moved around just like any
other box on the ST screen.
List of programs that are on a DI image disk
loaded into 800XLDJ.
Notice it is the same list as the GEM box
For what I have said so far about 800XLDJ, you can
see just how simple it is to use. When a program asks
you to insert a certain disk into drive one, you just
have to move the "drive 1" icon next to the appropriate
disk image. There are more options to this program
than I have mentioned (ie setting colors, setting
what certain icons will do, etc). The way I found
out how to do things was just to dive right in. For
some more information on this program goto the Internet
Here can read about the program and even download
the latest version.
So, what I have done with 800XLDJ? I came across some
Mega ATR image files that had alot of Atari 8-bit
games. There were 22 of them in all and each had about
40-60 games on them. I though it would be great to
have these Mega images converted over to DI format.
I downloaded all 22 ATR images and set out to do the
conversion. What I found I needed was a program that
would extract the raw files from the images to disk.
I found one that worked fine for me, but it required
a PC. I tried to use it under SoftPC on my Hades,
but that did not work. This program I used ran under
MS-DOS and worked best when I had it extract the files
to a 3.5" disk rather than the hard drive. Oh, I used
my wife's PC for the extraction. A surprise to her
and me since she knows how Pro-Atari I am.
Okay, I had the file now what? I needed to create
a disk that could hold about 1 meg of data since most
for the Mega ATR images were of that size. Then I
remembered that MyDOS could format disks that could
hold upto 16 meg of data. I then created a blank high
density disk, which turned out to be only 17k with
nothing on it, by using option "O". Again, since the
format of the disk is not normal, I could not bring
up the disk's content using 800XLDJ. I could only
view it when using the XE. Now that the disk was done,
the rest was simple. I formatted another disk which
was about 250K. This was the largest disk I could
create that would allow me to view it's contents using
800XLDJ and also allow me to copy the contents to
the mega DI image in question. Now I was set. I open
my formatted disk to get the blank GEM box screen.
I opened up the list of raw files to be imported.
I made sure MyDOS was booted up and loaded on my XE.
I then highlighted the files I wanted to import and
made sure the size was less than 250k. I then dragged
then to the blank GEM box of my formatted disk image,
clicked ok and watched as the blank GEM box was filled
with the raw files I had selected. The blank disk
was usually drive 1 and the mega DI images was drive
2. I would tell use the copy command under MyDos and
tell it to copy all the files from drive 1 to drive
2. After the copying was over I made sure all the
files were copied correctly to drive 2 by using the
disk directory option. If all was well, I deleted
all the files from my 250k disk to get it ready for
more files and saved my mega DI image. It took me
about 2 weeks before all 22 mega DI images were done.
Soon these images will be available for download at
the following site: http://homepages.paradise.net.nz/atari/.
There will also be a zipped file that will contain
some useful DI disks (ie MyDos, demos, file select/load
programs). All the files on these mega images can
be loaded by using the "binary load" command under
I must mention that there is a gent who has made a
program that convert disk images from one format to
another. Recently he added the DI format to the list
of options. I have tried it out and have gotten some
success with the various ATR and XLD disk image files.
The more simpler disks are converted to DI just fine,
but the more complex disks have problems. I tried
to convert an ATR image of "AliBaba and The
Forty Thieves" to DI. The conversion went
all right, but when I tried to load it under 800XLDJ,
I only got the beginning screen and then nothing.
Still, I am happy an author wants to include the DI
format. I reported my problem to him and hopefully
he will have an updated soon. The program can be downloaded
at the site: http://www.asw.cz/~kubecj/.
Just go into the section of programs that he develops.
The only other important thing is that this program
only works on a PC. I mentioned to him to put out
a TOS version. Hopefully he will comply.
MyDos main screen running on a SVGA monitor using
the video converter VGA-801, SIO2ST cable, a 130XE,
and the 800XLDJ program running on a Hades060.
One last thing about 800XLDJ. Sometimes when you enter
something, things will not work. You might go to load
a program and MyDOS will tell you that the program
does not exist or you may get an I/O error. I do not
know why it happens, but it does. If you know you
have typed things correctly, then just keep on doing
it and things will eventually work. If there are ever
any questions about anything I have said, please email
me at email@example.com.
I have not tested all the programs on the Mega DI
images I created, so there may be some that will not
load. I need to know about these so I can see if possibly
I can fix the problem. Take care and remember, "Atari
The excellent 8-bit game Fort Apocolypse
running a SVGA monitor that was loaded into a
130XE using the 800XLDJ program
A BIG Thanks to Edward
S. Baiz Jr. for contributing this very usefull article!