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 blog.lmorchard.com:

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.

3055 06Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards

Join Adafruit on Mastodon

Adafruit is on Mastodon, join in! adafruit.com/mastodon

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.

Join us every Wednesday night at 8pm ET for Ask an Engineer!

Join over 36,000+ makers on Adafruit’s Discord channels and be part of the community! http://adafru.it/discord

CircuitPython – The easiest way to program microcontrollers – CircuitPython.org

Maker Business — “Packaging” chips in the US

Wearables — Enclosures help fight body humidity in costumes

Electronics — Transformers: More than meets the eye!

Python for Microcontrollers — Python on Microcontrollers Newsletter: Silicon Labs introduces CircuitPython support, and more! #CircuitPython #Python #micropython @ThePSF @Raspberry_Pi

Adafruit IoT Monthly — Guardian Robot, Weather-wise Umbrella Stand, and more!

Microsoft MakeCode — MakeCode Thank You!

EYE on NPI — Maxim’s Himalaya uSLIC Step-Down Power Module #EyeOnNPI @maximintegrated @digikey

New Products – Adafruit Industries – Makers, hackers, artists, designers and engineers! — #NewProds 7/19/23 Feat. Adafruit Matrix Portal S3 CircuitPython Powered Internet Display!

Get the only spam-free daily newsletter about wearables, running a "maker business", electronic tips and more! Subscribe at AdafruitDaily.com !


  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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker):
    “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!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.