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jgkspsx

Do you still use your Supercharger cassette tapes?

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Hi all! I kind of want to see if my Supercharger tapes still work. I have the Stella Gets a New Brain CD so I don’t HAVE to do that, but I want to. I know magnetic tape doesn’t last forever, though, and fifty

year old (and even twenty year old) recording tapes are delaminating at alarming rates.

 

Does anybody still use their Supercharger tapes? Just for special occasions or on the regular? Or are they just Macguffins that sit there while the data streams into the Supercharger digitally? Or is everyone using fancy carts that don’t even need a Supercharger? :)

 

If anybody IS still using tapes… the old data tape recorder I used to use died. Any recommendations on affordable replacements? (I realize this is probably better to ask on the classic computer forum…)

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Walmart has an old style cassette recorder for $25. I have one, and it would work well enough for a supercharger.

 

I sold my supercharger years ago, after getting a Harmony. If I had one as a kid, I probably would have kept it for nostalgia, but for me it was just a way to play rare games- the Worship the Woodgrain compilation was pretty awesome. 

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you can find the super charger games in MP3 format.  Put them on an mp3 player and hook the output to the supercharger input.  Just be aware modern headphone jacks are stereo and the input to the sc is mono so I spliced a cable to do just this.

 

 

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I got a super charger like five years ago, couldn't get the games to work, and someone on these forums told me you had to mess around with the volume, bass, and treble, once I did, I got it to work, but it is so much easier to play the games on the retro pie.

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I have had a Supercharger for quite a few years (maybe 10 years) and have still never tried any of the games.  I plan on getting a cassette tape deck and trying the original cassette tapes, but as of yet I have not got around to getting a tape player.  I have the Coleco Kid Vid, but I do not think the Supercharger would work with it.

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I would be interested to know if any cassettes from the early-1980s are still playable. Honestly, I would be somewhat reluctant to try them for fear of damaging the tape player heads and/or the tape itself. 

 

My Grandfather (d. 1983) had a truly massive collection of audio cassettes, most of which were unusable by the late-1990s. 

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Yes, I still load my SuperCharger games off the original tapes.  They all still work just fine which is more than I can say for any of my 5.25" and 3.5" media (and even most of my CDs!).

 

I inherited an old full size Phillips cassette player that I use.  Soft rewind and all so hopefully it'll help keep the tapes from breaking.

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On 9/3/2021 at 4:22 PM, jgkspsx said:

Does anybody still use their Supercharger tapes? Just for special occasions or on the regular? Or are they just Macguffins that sit there while the data streams into the Supercharger digitally? Or is everyone using fancy carts that don’t even need a Supercharger? :)

artstation.thumb.jpg.a1993b9f611c9fe558e7628009d87e8f.jpg

Yes pressing play on tape is classic and tape mixes are awesome! :)   

 

Only the SuperCharger is fully compatible with KC OS 12 released at SillyVenture, it locked in a loading loop on multicart during the demo party.

 

SillyVenture 2020+1 Art Scene Videos - Atari 2600 - AtariAge Forums

 

Place the five wav files in a repeating playlist to stream the data to the SuperCharger from your PC or iPod or follow the instructions on the thread to load them from a looping tape.

 

You can also try KC OS online here in Javatari or play the ROM in Gopher which uses the real SuperCharger BIOS. Fancy carts are only partially supported but SuperCharger compatibility will improve as firmware upgrades more closely match the BIOS. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mr SQL said:

You can also try KC OS online here in Javatari or play the ROM in Gopher which uses the real SuperCharger BIOS. Fancy carts are only partially supported but SuperCharger compatibility will improve as firmware upgrades more closely match the BIOS.

Thanks for the endorsement but I should mention the KC OS wav files struggle on the current release of Gopher2600. It works nicely on the development version though. I'll release a new version of the emulator soon hopefully. Couple of other things I want to tick off the TODO list first.

 

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26 minutes ago, JetSetIlly said:

Thanks for the endorsement but I should mention the KC OS wav files struggle on the current release of Gopher2600. It works nicely on the development version though. I'll release a new version of the emulator soon hopefully. Couple of other things I want to tick off the TODO list first.

 

Very cool! The new release of Gopher is awesome for SuperCharger development because of the real BIOS and SuperCharger debugging features.

 

I used Stella and Z26 which have very good emulation of the BIOS but have developer side bugs that allow extra functionality not allowed on the real SuperCharger and I think this is what happened with the contest release files locking on the multicart. The emu is getting tighter but not consistent between the emulation platforms including the emulated stubs on multicarts not using the real SuperCharger BIOS. 

 

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They were hit or miss back in the day, and we often saw the "rewind tape" frequently even in the 80's.  For nostalgia, I loaded up a few from my walkman and played them, ran around my Mindmaster Maze; but, it's never really been a reliable format to begin with.  The idea that "cassette tapes from the 80s are going to be dust by now" is a myth.  All my 80's music cassettes still work just fine, though if not stored properly they can get mold on the tape reel, at which point you don't want to get that mess into your player.  By the 80s, most pre-recorded cassettes were pretty good quality, though I can't speak of the quality of tape Starpath used - I don't know.  Given the option of mp3 vs cassette for supercharger, I'd use the mp3 to save on rewind times in case of a failed load, as well as putting less wear on the actual tapes.  However, the best option is to load the roms onto SD card and load them via Harmony Cartridge, in my opinion.  If you want to try out the tapes and get the authentic experience, then any cassette player with a headphone jack will do.  I've never found stereo vs mono to be an issue:  A mono cassette will just output the same thing into left and right speakers, so if youre reading only one channel, that's fine - there is no "blank" channel being played that you might accidentally jack into - it does not work that way.  I guess if you want to use the tapes "for the authentic experience," then if it fails half the time, you're really getting the authentic experience you asked for.  ;)  It was always exciting watching the load bars slowly close as we cheered it on, only to have the REWIND TAPE pop up at 90%.  But when you got it, you cheered because you could sit and played the most awesome game for a few hours.  But, to quote Tom Petty:
"
Some places they get mildew
And others get too hot
Some places are so damp that
Everything you got just rots
All kinds of condensation
A direct result of rain
They're not much compensation
When everything's been stained
Some have sentimental value
That cannot be erased
Go store it in a cool dry place"

Edited by Superkitten
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Who can argue with a Wilbury? Not I. But having had the experience of having “REWIND TAPE” pop up… well, you’ve heard of slow food, I think of it as slow gaming :)

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12 hours ago, Superkitten said:

I've never found stereo vs mono to be an issue:  A mono cassette will just output the same thing into left and right speakers, so if youre reading only one channel, that's fine - there is no "blank" channel being played that you might accidentally jack into - it does not work that way.

Sure, the Supercharger will load the games just fine when connecting it to a stereo device. That's not the issue. The reason to use an adapter is to prevent damage of the audio equipment.


In fact, if you connect a mono plug into a stereo jack, the right channel output of the audio equipment gets shorted to ground.
Some devices are designed to cope with the shorting of one channel, but others are not.


By using a simple adapterr you don't have to worry about it. Mine is just a stereo plug connected to an inline mono socket; only the left channel and ground are wired between the two, while the right channel of the plug is left unconnected.

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46 minutes ago, alex_79 said:

In fact, if you connect a mono plug into a stereo jack, the right channel output of the audio equipment gets shorted to ground.

Do you have any source to back this up? This is normally even intended and used for mono-detection, so the device knows that you have connected a mono-only device and will also output the audio as mono.

 

Also, analog ground used for audio is normally isolated. You can't really "short" to that, unless the design of the circuitry is really bad.

Edited by derSammler
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All of this is is just "to the best of my knowledge", and mostly comes from reading about this subject in audio/electronics forums. I am by no means an expert.

 

The fact that one channel is physically shorted just comes from the design of the connectors:
when you insert a mono plug in a stereo jack, the two contacts in the socket intended to connect to the "ring" (left channel) and "sleeve" (ground) of a stereo plug, will instead both make contact with the single longer "sleeve" of the mono plug, causing them to be shorted together.

plugs.png.f86ad317fc35c7959816aa670c158715.png

 

As to whether this is an issue for the audio source, most articles and discussions that I read state that usually this isn't a problem (and as you say, the devices can even detect it and automatically switch to mono output), but also that there are exceptions such as some older equipment, or simply badly designed ones (those always exist) that can potentially be damaged.

 

So to be safe you should first ensure that the specific audio equipment you're using can accept a mono connector (assuming this is documented somewhere). The adapter just avoids the shorting to happen in the first place, so you don't have to worry about it.

 

A couple of links from a quick search:


https://www.majorcom.fr/web/en/569-le-cablage-electronique.php

Quote

 

[...]

If a mono TS plug is inserted into three-conductor stereo TRS socket, the result is that the right channel (ring) of the socket is grounded. The signal from the right channel will be lost. If the grounding of the right channel short circuits the right channel of the amplifier, this could damage the amplifier.

 

 

https://forums.radioreference.com/threads/icom-external-speaker-jack.224792/#post-1635976

Quote

Stereo plug into a mono jack is alright, but a mono plug into a stereo jack will short the ring (middle band) to ground, which will short one of the stereo channels to ground

 

http://escortradarforum.com/forums/showthread.php?p=89940#post89940

Quote

It is not physically possible for a stereo plug to short out anything or cause damage when plugged into a mono jack, no matter what the product is. It simply cannot happen.
[...]
However, a mono plug into a stereo jack (the opposite) can cause a problem because it can short out two pins, but most products are designed to handle that.

 

 

 

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On 9/3/2021 at 4:22 PM, jgkspsx said:

Hi all! I kind of want to see if my Supercharger tapes still work. I have the Stella Gets a New Brain CD so I don’t HAVE to do that, but I want to. I know magnetic tape doesn’t last forever, though, and fifty

year old (and even twenty year old) recording tapes are delaminating at alarming rates.

 

Does anybody still use their Supercharger tapes? Just for special occasions or on the regular? Or are they just Macguffins that sit there while the data streams into the Supercharger digitally? Or is everyone using fancy carts that don’t even need a Supercharger? :)

 

If anybody IS still using tapes… the old data tape recorder I used to use died. Any recommendations on affordable replacements? (I realize this is probably better to ask on the classic computer forum…)

There are 1960s stereo hi-fi pre-recorded cassette tapes that sound as good as they did the day they were recorded at the duplicators.  Unless the tapes are physically damaged, they'll work fine.  I have both the Stella Gets a New Brain CD and a Cuddle cart (I'm pretty sure they came together) and now a Harmony Encore, but I have some tapes and I can test them, but I am certain they will work.  I also have a kid-vid cassette player, but it wouldn't shock me if it didn't work using that shoe box player as it is utter trash. But any 1/2 decent cassette player should work fine,

 

 

 

 

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Its been 20 ish years since I used actual tape. I've still got them, but like ok said, I'm worried about the age, and when Stella gets a new brain came out there was no need to use the potentially degrading tapes anymore.

 

I see no reason they shouldn't work, they just play a handful of tones, and could take a lot of magnetic degradation before becoming unreadable. I was more worried about the tape itself breaking, or being eaten.

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Yeah, part of my concern is finding a cassette player I can trust to not break tapes. I’ve killed several 8 tracks in recent years…

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On 9/7/2021 at 12:15 PM, jhd said:

I would be interested to know if any cassettes from the early-1980s are still playable. Honestly, I would be somewhat reluctant to try them for fear of damaging the tape player heads and/or the tape itself. 

 

My Grandfather (d. 1983) had a truly massive collection of audio cassettes, most of which were unusable by the late-1990s. 

Absolutely. I digitize local musicians' tapes as a hobby and I've copied a tape as old as 1976. It was one of the guys' high school band concerts.

 

My trick was to take the pressure pad out of a blank cassette and insert it diagonally on top of the original pressure pad, or I would unscrew tapes that had screws and place the tape spools into a brand new blank cassette's casing before copying so it would work perfectly. Then I would place the tape spools back into their original shell and close it up.

 

Broken tapes with no screws, I would simply crack open and move their contents into a new shell and splice.

 

I even had a broken micro cassette. I simply cracked it open, spliced one end to a broken radio recording tape, wound it up bit by bit, spliced the other end to the other spool, closed it up then copied the whole tape. The micro cassette portion was backward and recorded at a higher speed so it sounded fast. I simply used audio editing to reverse the affected audio then correct the speed.

 

I did most of my work on this project in 2010 but also did over a hundred more tapes just a few years ago.

 

As long as the tapes are well taken care of and haven't recently had heavy use and are stored in the house, not a garage or someplace affected by weather too much they should work fine.

 

My old audio instructor used to tell us that for data preservation, cassette tapes are like the cockroach of the music industry. You might be surprised how long some of them can last.

Edited by TheGameCollector
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