Atari 410a Program Recorder (Tape Drive)  


  Atari 410 Owners Manual

 Cleaning the Atari 410









The Atari 410a was the second version of the Atari 410 Program Recorder (tape drive.)  Replacing the original version released at the debut of the Atari 400/800 computers in 1979.   Functionally they are both identical.  The 410a version omits the carrying handle and is more ruggedly built.

Tape drives were very popular with home computer systems through the 1970's through the 1980's.   Many home computers had audio jack interfaces on them so off the shelf tape cassette players could be plugged into them.

Tape cassettes were a widely used magnetic media that was used for playing music through the 1970's into the late 1980's until it was replaced with more durable music CD's.  Because they were so widely used, they were easily accessible to everyone and they were low cost and easy to use.  That made them a perfect choice for use in home computers to store and load programs from.  The benefit of this was low cost and easy accessibility.  The downside was they were very slow to save and load programs to and from and they were more prone to data corruption.

Unlike most other tape drives used on other computers, the ATARI 410 Program Recorder is a special peripheral. It uses the Atari SIO serial bus to send and receive data, but does not conform to the protocol of the other peripherals that use the SIO serial bus. The Program Recorder must also be the last device on the serial bus, because it does not have a serial bus extender connector as the other peripherals do. There can never be more than one Program Recorder connected to any system for the same reason. The system cannot sense the presence or absence of the Program Recorder so it can be connected and disconnected at will.

Atari 410 Program Records had a unique double-track feature, enabling sound and data to be recorded and transmitted. This was used in such programs as the Atari Foreign Language Modules, and the Invitation to Programming series, utilizing a narrator while the program ran on screen.

The Atari 410 used the advanced Serial I/O interface (SIO), enabling easy connection to the computer. Originally designed specifically for the 410, it was decided to use it on all Atari 8-Bit peripherals.

The Atari Program Recorders provide storage and retrieval of programs and data on cassette tape. In addition to the digital track that stores computer data, a second audio track is provided to play music or voice as the program runs.


Data transmission rate: 600 bits per second.
Data storage capacity: 100,000 bytes per 60-minute cassette.
Track configuration: 4 track, 2 channel (digital data and audio track)
Built-in SIO cable - must end SIO daisy chain
Built-in power cable - plugs directly into wall

410 Program Recorder versions:
1979 to 1980 Japan version had a carrying handle
1980 to 1983 410a--Taiwan version

"410P" version (rare).



Work in Progress, updated 3/14/2019