first_imgRetro computing fans will get a kick out of this: a miniature replica of an Atari 810 disk drive, the kind that used to take 5.25″ floppy drives, recreated as a microSD card reader. Best of all, the card reader supports 8GB microSD cards, so it’s capable of reading more storage than its bigger, older brother ever dreamed possible.Rossum, the man behind the project, decided to take on the project partially to see if it was possible, but partially to honor the nostalgia he felt for his first computer: an old Atari 400. However, he didn’t want to just build any old microSD card reader shaped like a tiny 810 and then plug it in to a modern day PC, he wanted to build a tiny 810 that could read microSD cards and still mount to his old Atari 400 as if it were a functioning 810.So with the help of Shapeways, a 3D printing company, and some electrical engineering, he managed to lay out the plans for a working 810 and send off the enclosure diagram for printing. Once he had the enclosure, it was just a matter of assembling the microcontroller, a regulator, and a few other components into a working chassis that still had room for the microSD card. Rossum notes that he just had the parts lying around, but if you wanted to buy them they wouldn’t be expensive.Finally, he built the connector cable, painted the enclosure, hooked the whole thing up, and popped in his 8GB microSD card. He programmed the microcontroller to emulate up to 8 Atari drives when plugged in. He also programmed the microcontroller to mount a Fat16 or Fat32 file system and scan the microSD card for readable disk images and executables that the Atari would understand. They could then be presented them to the connected Atari 400.The whole project is impressive, and Rossum even leaves a little room for improvement by pointing out that there are better serial cables available and emulators that would work with the drive if you wanted to build one yourself. He’s even posted his code so other DIY retro-PC enthusiasts can get started.Read more at Rossumlast_img

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