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Level42

Here's a cassette recorder you don't see too often....GE Compu-mate

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I knew this existed from BITD. Then, I wondered....who on earth would want a two piece cassette player ?

 

As if we don't have messy wires enough already....

 

But now I saw one for sale for not much money and although I realllllllly don't like cassettes (being too long with only a 1010 and no 1050 left me with a trauma) I figured this was a nice funny thing to tingle with.

 

When it arrived I first measured the PSU. Sure enough....nothing.

I noticed some paper wrapped around the wire where the cable left the PSU casing so I figured there might be a break in the wires. Beeping it out this was confirmed so I quickly cut it a bit shorter and resoldered it to the PSU PCB. Of course I had well taken note of which wire was which and I am positive I soldered it back the same way.

 

I measured and sure enough there was now about 7V DC. The plus was on the outside. Sadly, none of the labels anywhere showed what configuration the interface module requested and feeling 100% sure I hooked it up.....nothing.....no LED, no motor running when pressing FFD or play....

 

So I put in some batteries instead and sure enough the cassette player works fine on its own, but as soon as I connect the interface module's power jack, the LED goes out and motor stops, sure enough there must be a short in the interface module,

 

Does anybody have this unit and can confirm if the plus is on the outside of the connector on the wall PSU ?

 

Sadly, the interface module doesn't have any screws and doesn't seem to be easy to open.....so sad, as this drive has some special options....I'd like to try it...

Edited by Level42

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Admittedly, I have no knowledge of this specific device, but is it possible that the interface is supposed to take control of the tape deck like that? It could be asserting a signal to stop the tape deck until the interface determines it's time for the deck to play. Maybe it needs a "go" signal from the input to the interface.

 

I remember having a cassette player back in the day with a switch on the microphone that could stop the player while it was running. I also remember building a cable to work with the 2600 Coleco Kid Vid tape deck that let the 2600 control the tape player, allowing it to run when the game needed to load something else from the tape. Kinda seems like where you might be right now: there's just no signal from the computer telling the interface to let the tape run.

 

Or something else entirely. :)

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Yeah, the A8's have motor control over the cassette recorders.......I hooked it up to a 800XL and tried to boot from cassette....no response at all. Forgot to mention that.

 

But really, as soon as I connect the interface to the recorder (only the power connection between the two, the LED goes out, remove the connector, LED goes on again so it's really fried in the interface...

 

I happened to find a picture of the open unit here on this forum....there don't seem to be any screws and I'm afraid to damage the plastic....but the stuff inside looks simple enough...just some LM324's....of which I used to have lots......before I sold off all my arcade machines and parts.....

 

http://atariage.com/forums/topic/161936-atari-1010-problem/?p=1995899

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O wait, now I see it ....there ARE screws underneath the rubber feet.....I had removed one to look if there was a screw(hole) under it but it did not look like there was...but clearly I was wrong...

 

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Edited by Level42

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Nahh.....don't think so but it works now :)

 

Turns out there is also either a break in the power cable from the PSU to the interface near the Jack, or there is something with the jack or maybe the soldering on the PCB....whatever it is, the power (LED) is on when the cable is in the "right" position and I can now FFD, RWD and play tapes....

 

The tape I tried to load turns up to be a PITA though....original Dropzone tape but it looks like the tape is damaged....Hope the reverse side may work....

 

Oh and yeah I cleaned the heads with Q-tips and alcohol.

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Pfffrrrt.....what joy :)

 

Can't get anything to load. Found an old cassette from BITD....no go.

 

Booting the pre-recorded Dropzone...no go...

 

I typed in a little program, saved it and tried to load again...no go....

 

And I fiddled around with the "data level" pot enough and tried enough times....

 

This actually gives me the feeling like "the other guys" used to have with their Spectrum and whatnot machines with other brand cassette recorders......., very unreliable loading, while my 1010 may have been expensive and slow....at least it almost always worked without a problem :)

 

Now I want to dig up my 1010....

 

Oh, and those smart guys from GE used _exactly_ the same power connector as Atari used for the 1010, 1050 and 400/800 computer.....VERY SMART :)

Edited by Level42

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The volume levels have to be set properly -- on the TI 99/4 drives I believe there was a notch where you should always keep the volume at when using tape.

I suspect a manual for these device would have aided greatly :)

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I bought one these when they came out. It comes in two pieces because it could also work with the CommodeDoor 64 if you purchased that interface. It was a huge upgrade over my Atari 410. The 410 would often fail while loading programs. Imagine waiting 45min to load a game and it would fail right at the end so you would start over. I remember waiting hours to play Shamus then leaving it on for a day or two. As for my own programs I used the highest quality tapes possible because the 410 would just barf at any given moment. As I remember it was said to be missing PLL technology which caused it have more problems. That may have been corrected in the 1010. The GE worked great . I remember picking It up for about $69 bucks from a local W. Bell inc.

 

 

Sent from my Nexus 9 using Tapatalk

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The volume levels have to be set properly -- on the TI 99/4 drives I believe there was a notch where you should always keep the volume at when using tape.

I suspect a manual for these device would have aided greatly :)

 

 

Yeah I noticed the volume pot but I tried it with at least 5 settings or so....nothing worked.

There is a LED on the interface module that works kind of like a one segment VU meter. But...should this be one when there are beeps, should it be always off, should it be always on....no idea...there's no manual to be found online anywhere.

 

@Capt-Atari: do you remember how you needed to set the volume level ?

 

I checked the 1010 schematics and that one is really a bit more extensive than the interface module on the GE. The interface module only contains 2 LM324 op-amp chips and further only discrete components like transistors, resistors, caps etc.

 

The 1010 definitely look a bit more elaborate but I didn't study it closely....loading problems with the 1010 is something that almost never happened to me to be honest....well BITD.

 

I recently got out my XC12 too, same results....maybe it's just the tapes. I'll try the 1010 that I still have here if I find some time...

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I acquired one of these CIB some time ago--it looked like it had never been used. I remembered it when I recently got a Supercharger for my 2600 and decided to give it a try. To my surprise, it loaded 4 separate tapes flawlessly--usually the rubber belts/idlers in these tape players have disintegrated. The manual says the setting of the data level control is "critical for proper loading of data into the computer," and explains how to set it when you are loading a tape. I took some quick pictures of the first three pages, which describe how to use the cassette player with Atari computers. Hope this helps! Haven't tried it on any of my Atari home computers yet but now I'm interested to see if I can get it working.

 

post-43315-0-75577900-1506838899_thumb.jpg

 

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post-43315-0-69540100-1506838953_thumb.jpg

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Interesting device. I am wondering if it could be abused to load turbo tapes to Atari. Perhaps in the C64 mode, the signal is just amplified and fed to the DATA IN pin. But who knows without the schematics. The Atari mode switch probably plugs an FSK demodulator.

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Imagine waiting 45min to load a game and it would fail right at the end so you would start over.

 

I suppose this is not really true - just looking at my Special Forces tape, almost 37KiB and less than 12 minutes on tape :))) But I do understand it could very well feel like an eternity for a kid, I possibly felt this way, too :)

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