Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Discussions about Sinclair ZX80 and ZX81 Hardware
Paul Panks
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Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by Paul Panks » Sun Jun 01, 2008 6:18 pm

Will any cassette player do for the ZX-80/81? Do I need a specific model or just a "normal" cassette player with the functions Play, Record, Rewind, Fast Forward and Stop?

Paul

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Andy Rea
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by Andy Rea » Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:00 pm

I have found that newer ones are * crap * so if you can get your hands on an older MONO shoebox type you'd be better off (some have tone controls which can help too), but a word of warning the rubber bits can go a bit funny with age, drive belts, pinch roller ect. So a little bit of maintanace may be needed first, some also produce too much hum in the audio signal when running off the mains, so if you can't get it to work after playing with volume and (hopefully tone) try running it from batteries.

If you can get hold of one get a timex 2020 i use it and it's great never lets me down. (but i think you'll be hard pushed to find one).

you can always used your PC to load porgs into ZX81 there are a handful of programs that will either play tape files directly (i use wintzx) or convert them to Wav's for you to play back using software of your own choice. look on WOS for links to these programs.

HTH

regards Andy
6 x ZX81, 1 x TS1500 , 1 x +3e, 1 x timex 2040 printer, 1 x timex 2020 cassette deck, siclair printer and some spectrum

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BrunoFlorindo
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by BrunoFlorindo » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:03 pm

Hi Paul. Welcome!
If you don't mind asking, where do you live? If you're in the U.S. like me, I might have some of the things you need. The TS1000, for example, was one of them. Regarding the cassette player, here in the U.S. you can still go to a Radio Shack store and buy the ones they used to sell for 8-bit computers, new in the box. I use one of those and a Timex Sinclair 2020 recorder and both work great.
For more ideas on how to use the ZX81, check Simon's website at zx81stuff.org. The idea of using the PC's soundcard is a good one too.

Paul Panks
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by Paul Panks » Sun Jun 01, 2008 10:11 pm

Thanks for the tips. :) Bruno, I live in the USA near the west coast. How about you?

Paul

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yerzmyey
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by yerzmyey » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:34 am

Well, as it has been said, generally all cassette-recorders are OK for ZX81.
However the stereo ones are noticably worse.

I found it can help to load progs when You have BALANCE. Then I simply put whole signal into only one channel - then it works better.

When my ZX81 come by post, I will test regular PC as a tape (hehe). :)
It works OK with Spectrum (however with amplifier) so I suspect it will be OK for ZX81 too.

Basses/trebles corrector would be helpful too.
IN NIHILUM REVERTERIS - a big text-adventure game for ZX81: http://tiny.pl/g2m6m
"MONOCHROME" issue 5 - (Spring 2014) free paper/PDF magazine about ZX81: http://tiny.pl/q2m44
ZX81 COMPETITIONS 2007/2009: http://zx81.republika.pl/

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BrunoFlorindo
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by BrunoFlorindo » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:21 am

Paul Panks wrote:Thanks for the tips. :) Bruno, I live in the USA near the west coast. How about you?
Santa Ana, California, about 40 miles away from L.A. :)

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yerzmyey
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by yerzmyey » Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:56 pm

Btw, can anybody tell how long would be loading 16Kb from tape into ZX81?
Would it be about 8 minutes? I found such an info somewhere.
IN NIHILUM REVERTERIS - a big text-adventure game for ZX81: http://tiny.pl/g2m6m
"MONOCHROME" issue 5 - (Spring 2014) free paper/PDF magazine about ZX81: http://tiny.pl/q2m44
ZX81 COMPETITIONS 2007/2009: http://zx81.republika.pl/

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Andy Rea
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by Andy Rea » Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:41 pm

ZX81 is a bit weird when it comes to tape, each byte is saved 1 bit at a time, a 0 bit is 4 pulses with each pulse lasting 300uS, then a gap (which includes the last 150uS of the lasr pulse) of 1500uS, where as a 1 bit is 9 pulses followwed by the gap,

So my rough reckoning if you where to save all 0 bits it would tale 5 1/2 minutes for 16K where as all 1 bits would be just shy of 9 minutes. So i guess the real answer is between 5 1/2 and 9 minutes depending on the bit pattern within the program.

regards Andy
6 x ZX81, 1 x TS1500 , 1 x +3e, 1 x timex 2040 printer, 1 x timex 2020 cassette deck, siclair printer and some spectrum

Paul Panks
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by Paul Panks » Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:32 pm

So 5 1/2 minutes to 9 minutes to load in a 16KB program? That's pretty slow. Is there a way of speeding it up?

Paul

sirmorris
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Re: Cassette player for the ZX-80/81?

Post by sirmorris » Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:19 pm

There are various fastloader schemes, all involve a separate loader. Getting the software into the fast-load scheme in the 1st place will also involve lesser or greater amounts of pain..!

I would be happy to build some .p -> fast load wav converters given the relevant information about the required waveforms.

I have to ask: Why not use an emulator? I personally love using the real old hardware - but sometimes I think that life's too short ;)

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