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Hacking the Atari 800 Serial Input/Output to a Raspberry Pi Zero W | #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi

Supercool project with some retro-history backstory and project walkthrough over at

That brings me to the SIO port on the Atari 800. Where most 80s computers had a handful of parallel & serial ports of proprietary & standard flavors – the Atari 8-bit computers had just this one port for talking to disks, cassettes, printers, modems, or whatever. If that sounds familiar, the SIO port could be considered a predecessor to our modern USB port. Oddly enough, Joseph C. Decuirworked on both technologies, so I think the similarity is more than coincidental.

In my idle googling on how to get new data piped into my old Atari, I found this 2013 post on AtariAge entitled “SIO2PI -> Raspberry Pi as a floppy” by TheMontezuma.

In that post is a simple circuit: It used a logic level voltage converter, a diode, a Raspberry Pi, and some wires. I didn’t really know all that much about voltage levels and serial ports before this, but this seems handy for all kinds of things and well within my ability to build.

Read more.

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  1. It is a nice article but if he worked for Atari, it would be called “interfacing” and not a “hack” because he would be a worker but not inventor because it was done before.

    I think the word “hack” is overused and misunderstood because “hack” can mean to gain unauthorized use of a computer system and this computer is clearly his own.

  2. Thankfully there are lots of definitions of the word!

    e.g. even from Wikipedia (
    “Reflecting the two types of hackers, there are two definitions of the word “hacker”:

    * an adherent of the technology and programming subculture.
    * someone who is able to subvert computer security. If doing so for malicious purposes, the person can also be called a cracker.”


  3. I own the book “Hackers” (Heroes Of The Computer Revolution) by Steven Levy.

    There are enough online posts or online articles that ask what “Hacker” means to them or what their personal definition means and I owned my first Commodore 64 in 1983 so I was around a little longer than the new generation was; I’m assuming this generation online are mostly kids. I was given the book “Hackers” for Christmas and the gift giver said it was where the term “Hacker” originated from. I’m just a little tired of the definitions I see today qualifying as Hacks. Read about some of the real Hackers. This book is probably the only book that shows where the real term “Hacker” came from. Read about the first Hackers because typing on a keyboard doesn’t necessarily qualify as a hack in my book.

    You can find the book on Amazon. The electronic version is cheaper. This book is copyrighted 1984.

  4. A lot has happened/changed since 1984!

    Thanks for chiming in.

  5. Anyone can edit Wikipedia and change the meaning of words over time.

  6. Yeah that’s the beauty of it!

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