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Tandy CCR web page and CCR-82 motor problems

voidstar78

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Hello! I couldn't find a concise singular page that summarized the Tandy series of "CCR" ("computer" cassette recorder, that also works with regular audio).

So I obtained each of them and made one:

https://voidstar.blog/all-about-tandy-radio-shack-computer-cassette-recorder-trs-ccr/

[ it is still a work in progress, as most things are :) ]


The only thing "special" about these cassette players is they had the 2.5mm "REM" (remote) port. I'm not sure if any "regular" audio cassette players had this (like from Sony or Panasonic?), I suspect somewhere they did, but I think this feature is what makes these a "computer" cassette recorder? (plus also there is some circuit logic to auto adjust audio levels - a "P" mode).

I had a CCR-82 back in the 1980s in my ColorComputer 2 days, which I never recall having a problem with it.




I wanted to ask: does anyone have a WORKING CCR-82? I obtained 2x CCR-82's and they both have the same issue - I plug in a 6V adapter, and both of them just "brrrrrrrrr" noise when trying to FF or RWD (a motor noise is heard, but neither tape turning pillar actuates).

Recall the CCR-82 is the smaller version that doesn't have a "normal" AC plug, and depends only on a DC adapter. In a few places, I've seen messages that suggested to avoid the CCR-82, but no elaboration as to why -- and maybe this is the why: they have quality issues?

OR, do I need to increase the voltage a little? I can't find the "official" DC adapter -- if there ever was one, or did Radio Shack just sell one that "should" work with the CCR-82 ?




Another thing: I was also preparing a list of computers that use the "5-pin DIN" connector to attach a cassette. I believe the original TRS-80 Model 1 does, I couldn't confirm if the Model 2 supported any cassette (I never saw one in person, but my understanding is it was a more expensive disk-only system), and I did confirm the Model 3 has this port -- then all the Color Computers -- and the IBM PC 5150 as well. [ I'm not sure what the PCjr cassette port is called, but it is something else -- and I'm not sure why they used "something else", was it for a higher speed support or just to sell new cables? ]

The Commodore machines use a "wide plug" cable (can't recall the official name, but in any case it is not a 5-pin DIN). And I think any of these Tandy CCRs could be used on an Apple - even the Apple 1 ? (with a 3.5mm audio expansion? but this became standard in the Apple 2?)


v*
 

krebizfan

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An old thread on the CCR-82 https://www.vcfed.org/forum/forum/ge...ecorder-issues

Most likely, the belt will need to be replaced. I think there were two or three other cassette deck threads including one that compared the various Radio Shack models. Second thread to look at: https://www.vcfed.org/forum/forum/genres/tandy-radio-shack/76891-trs-80-cassette-recorders

Computer Cassette Recorder differed by having the sound level preset to what should work with the computer. Some lack any audio adjustment so they aren't useful for non-computer cassette uses and if the preset is wrong, it won't work with a computer either.

Many cassette decks had remote jack. Not required for computer use but one would use more tape manually stopping the tape.

Pretty much any standard cassette deck would work with the Apple II tape connector including the CCR-82. The sound level may need to be adjusted.

The 5-pin jack is Model 1, Model 3, CoCo, MC-10, Model 100, 102, 200, IBM PC and the couple of cassette enabled PC compatibles like the Advance 86. I think there was a MSX system with the 5 pin connector. Note that in Europe, there were cassette decks with matching 5 pin DIN connectors making attachment even easier. IBM choose a simpler jack style for the PC Jr. Few were happy with the design.

The systems that need special tape recorders would be from Commodore and Atari.
 
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Eudimorphodon

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The only thing "special" about these cassette players is they had the 2.5mm "REM" (remote) port. I'm not sure if any "regular" audio cassette players had this (like from Sony or Panasonic?), I suspect somewhere they did, but I think this feature is what makes these a "computer" cassette recorder?

The presence of the REM jack is definitely *NOT* a "CCR-unique" feature. Compact Cassette recorders were originally intended for dictation, not music, and those little shoebox recorders (the form-factor of which dates back to at least the Philips EL-3300 from 1963) almost always had a REMOTE port for connecting to either a switch in the microphone or a foot pedal. Back in the 1970's and early 80's you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting one of those switched microphone. Like this:

61QpafA6kfS._AC_SL1500_.jpg - Click image for larger version  Name:	61QpafA6kfS._AC_SL1500_.jpg Views:	0 Size:	128.5 KB ID:	1231687

I'm frankly skeptical there's *anything* special about the "CCR" recorders other than branding/trim colors. Prior to them turning up in the Radio Shack lineup the recommended recorders were regular "CTR" models, like the CTR-41.

(* I mean, I guess I never owned one, if they're lacking a volume control or something I'll stand corrected. But so far as I'm aware they were the same decks as whatever they were selling for audio except cast in a white plastic that matched the new "Tandy" branding post-1983 or so.)
 

voidstar78

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Below is clipped from the manuals - they refer to a ALC "Automatic Level Control". Then at the end of the manual, they include a schematic (miss those days). I did notice the newer CCR-81 schematic has an IC chip in there (I'm not exactly sure where the ALC is implemented). I thought adding this "ALC" was an essential upgrade on the Model 1, as many folks complained how the early CTR-41 was unreliable (which I suspect it probably did work ok, just users had to remember to set the volume properly when recording? I never had a "regular" recorder or dictation device, I only had the Cassettes decks for the PET and the CCR-82 for the CoCo2).



CCR_compare.jpg



Another funny thing I came across in the CTR-80A manual was this: (funny because in the next-revision CCR-81, the manual doesn't mention this in its ERASE TAPE section, and instead suggest to "buy our Bulk Tape Eraser", ofc buy another device :D ).

ctr_erase.jpg







And then in the CCR-82, it refers to this "P" marker on the volume knob - which is the only model (I think) that has this. And maybe this itself is also why the CCR-82 is kind of avoided: it has this monitor, pause (see #3 item below), and P option that are all little confusing (if you don't have the manual or aren't familiar with the process already). I don't think I ever used this "P" setting and just left the volume slightly below max (~9.5).




ccr82_confuse.jpg






And thanks for clarifying about REM-remote not being all that unique. Then I guess like Commodore branding their tape as "Datasettes" - the CCR is just more digital/data/computer oriented, so you know it'll work with those machines listed (whereas a regular dictation or audio device *might* work, or can be fiddled into working - if you have the know-how).
 

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Eudimorphodon

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ALC was not exclusive to the CCR series; it cropped up in a lot of dictation-focused cassette recorders in the 1980's. Obviously if you're recording music and want to capture the full dynamic range you'll want a switch to disable it, but for dictation it was a useful feature to help even things out if the subject turned their head or whatever relative to the microphone. I'm sure it probably helped improve performance when the recorder was used with a computer, and thus was a factor when Radio Shack picked out the OEM decks they slapped their labels on (remember, Radio Shack farmed out almost everything back then, their computers were one of the few things they actually *designed* in-house), but it wasn't designed explicitly for this purpose.
 

krebizfan

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The magazine article recommended 3 changes to the CTR-41. Later Tandy cassette recorders incorporated some of these features.

1) Correct ground loop and remove the associated hum. Coupled with the bugs in the cassette routines that necessitated the XRX modification, that made the Model 1 less than reliable with tape.

2) Allow the use of fast forward and rewind while the plugs from the computer are installed.

3) Allow the speaker to play whatever is read or written to tape instead of muting so only the computer could hear. Makes it easy to realize that the reason a tape can't be read is that the tape is blank.
 

voidstar78

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Another thing I noticed - so just to ask about it:



The CTR-80 and CCR-83 ("oldest" and "newest" models) have an ORANGE sticker in between the rollers for the tape (down flat inside the cassette compartment). But the CCR-81 and CCR-82 have a silver reflective sticker.

I'm not 100% if it is a sticker (paper on glue), or some other material. But I've been curious if it meant anything (like any effect on the tape, but it's centered on the reels which are enclosed in plastic, so I wouldn't think there is any impact regardless of whatever color is there -- maybe it's just some covering for a screw?).






There are subtle design differences between all of these: CTR-80, CCR-81, CCR-82, CCR-83.

I like the CCR-81 the most: metal handle, counter towards the front (making the number more visible when cassette lid is opened, while you're sitting and don't have to "lean up" to look past the lid), largest speaker (at least from the outside- I haven't opened it to confirm the actual speaker size). My only nit about the CCR-81 is that the AC power cable is on the opposite of all the other cables - I'd prefer all cables just to be on the same side (like the other models).

The CCR-82 is great because of it's smaller compact size. However, both in my own experience and from reading, it seems to have severe quality issues (or is very prone to having issues if stored in a hot environment long-term, like a shed). My other issue with the CCR-82 is it has the largest gap at the backside of where the cassette lid goes down - the gap is wide enough for several business cards to slide thru. (the CTR-80 has no gap -- I couldn't even slide a piece of paper thru, and the -81 and -83 have a slight gap). But this is just a nit, since in general you wouldn't be using these in a dusty/outside environment anyway.

The CCR-83 isn't bad, except the cheap plastic front handle is distracting (as in "it's going to break easily"). I won't say "newer is better" (although sure, newer model might have "less miles" on it in terms of actual usage - so the belt might be more likely to be on good condition on the -83) - my CTR-80A original still works fine. But the CCR-83 has the index numbers again back behind the lid - not that I run tapes often with the lid open, but still.... The CCR-83 is a slightly lower profile, but the case is a bright white (the CCR-81 is a beige, more like the original CoCo2 and IBM 5150 case). The another nit is on the -83 the volume label is black-on-black, making the numbers hard to read in low light. Again, once set for computer use, we're not changing the volume often - but the -81 has white numbers very visible on the black knob.

The older CTR-80A is fine also - the CCR-83 is almost like a re-release of the CTR-80A (including the two nits: black on black volume label, and the index number being behind the tape lid). But the CTR-80A wins because the lid has no gap and for the metal handle (except the CTR-80A is bulkier because of the thicker handle).


So, that's why the CCR-81 wins for me: index numbers towards front, metal handle, white on black volume labels, larger speaker [ and beige color available, or Silver color if want it to match an older TRS-80 ]. I haven't run any of these on batteries - I'm not sure what a fair metric on that would, maybe try to just record on a single modern 90 minute tape and see if they all last one tape? I'm assuming recording is more draining than playback, but not sure.


My biggest complaint about ALL of these is: when you eject a tape, it just tosses it out at you in a very ungraceful way. It gets the job done and I'm sure kept the cost down, but it's just kind of "*barf* here's your tape *clattering around*" :)




And to clarify: understood - nothing particularly special about the CTR/CCR. I use my smart-phone as a cassette deck proxy - but there are a few gotchas with that: (1) no REM port, so just remember to STOP a recording manually -- but easy enough crop that off later, and (2) just avoid any background audio, like text alert beeps and such, while doing a recording or playback (of data). But these do pair well with those systems that do have the 5-pin DIN connector.
 
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eswan

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...

The CTR-80 and CCR-83 ("oldest" and "newest" models) have an ORANGE sticker in between the rollers for the tape (down flat inside the cassette compartment). But the CCR-81 and CCR-82 have a silver reflective sticker.

I'm not 100% if it is a sticker (paper on glue), or some other material. But I've been curious if it meant anything (like any effect on the tape, but it's centered on the reels which are enclosed in plastic, so I wouldn't think there is any impact regardless of whatever color is there -- maybe it's just some covering for a screw?).

It's to make it easier to see the balance of the tape between the two spools. Early cassettes had an opaque shell, with a small window between the spools.
 

vwestlife

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The Tandy CCR-82 is the computer version of the Realistic CTR-75 cassette recorder. Aside from the Tandy badge and beige finish to match their computers, its special features include a preset volume position (turn the knob all the way down until it clicks) for the correct playback level for TRS-80 computers, and a monitor switch to let you hear the data on the tape as it is being loaded or saved, or to use it as an amplifier for TRS-80 Model I/III/4 sound output. Also its pause switch has a Remote Off position to allow you to rewind or fast-forward the tape without needing to unplug the remote plug.

And yes, it will most likely need the belts replaced to work correctly. Both my CCR-82 and CTR-75 did. There is also a trimpot to fine-tune the speed of the motor. if it is too far off, you won't be able to load programs correctly.

Realistic CTR-75:
s-l1600.jpg


Tandy CCR-82:
ccr-82_pic2.jpg
 

voidstar78

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It's to make it easier to see the balance of the tape between the two spools. Early cassettes had an opaque shell, with a small window between the spools.

Makes sense, thank you. Curious why they flipped between silver reflective (middle-two models) and bright orange (earliest and latest models). I'd learn towards the bright-orange being better -- for the silver reflective option, if the CCR was placed by a window, perhaps it might reflect sunlight and warp a tape? [ computer equipment shouldn't be by a window anyway, sunlight is brutal in general :) ]
 

voidstar78

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... Realistic CTR-75 cassette recorder.

Thanks for sharing that! I notice the Realistic CTR-75 they fit a "condensor mic" - is there any special meaning about "condensor"? or does it simply just mean "condensed down to fit inside the recorder" (i.e. a "weak small microphone")? In that way, "condensor" is just a term to distinguish it from the "external" mic ? (the earlier CTR-80A also has a "condensor mic" towards the front - I assume this "condensor mic" is disabled or mutes when an external mic is plugged into the mic jack on the side? wonder how the circuity on that works)


Also, I'm assuming "CTR" means Cassette Tape Recorder? Whereas CCR referred to "Computer Cassette Recorder". I noticed in the original CTR-80A manual, they used the "CTR" in the model number, but the front page of the manual still says "Computer Cassette Recorder". Then I assume the "-80" in CTR-80 refers to the TRS-80 line, a bit of a misnomer since the cassette recorder device itself has nothing to do with a Z80 processor (and not exclusive for use on TRS-80s). Was there ever a CTR-80 (i.e. does the "A" mean anything? as far as I know, the CTR-80A was only offered in black, I'm not sure if any other variants were made)?
 

krebizfan

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There was a design change to the CTR-80 which solved a major problem. I think the 80A had the correction baked in. According to Micro-80, if the Stop button is pressed during playback, a voltage spike would result which could corrupt the tape. I would copy the article snippet here since it covers how to tell the date of manufacture but the PDF has turned the text into gibberish. The key date is Feb 1979 shown as 2A9 in the serial number date code. If the code ends in 8 or has 1A9 or 2A9, the deck may have the problem.

Edit: The voltage spike probably also happens if the remote is used to stop the tape but the voltage spike would occur between files and no data would be lost.

Tandy also offered cassette decks with a yellow tape background. I figure it was whatever the supplier had in stock. The tape background can make a difference with some of the cheaper tapes. Most tape is quite dark so the contrast is best with the silver but the orange works well. The orange is a bit hard to distinguish against the reddish-brown rust color tapes. Some very cheap tapes had a light grey color which didn't show up against the silver background. The online catalogs do a poor job showing the apparent color of the tape used by Radio Shack.
 
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voidstar78

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Well, to be thorough here - the CTR-80A manual doesn't include a Specifications section at the end. But the CCR-81 and CCR-82 manuals do, so here they are for comparison.

I haven't yet found a digital (or physical) copy of the CCR-83 PDF manual.


What is "DC Erasing"?




CCR81vs82_spec.jpg
 

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vwestlife

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DC erase means it uses a permanent magnet to erase the tape while recording, rather than an electromagnet.
 

krebizfan

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If trying to run on batteries, expect to have to replace the batteries at about a 50% charge. A partially drained battery will move the tape slightly slower. It might not be noticeable to the ear but would be just enough to prevent reading a tape recorded at normal speed. The opposite applies to cassettes recorded slowly being read at normal speed.

One other minor note on the 5 pin DIN connector. The expansion box for the Model I had 2 tape connectors. The EACA clone of the Model I (System 80) had an internal cassette deck plus the 5 pin external connector for a second deck. It does help limit the cassette shuffle and reduces the chance of writing data on top of a program cassette.
 

voidstar78

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Well, I've placed in new belts in the CCR-82 like the Service Manual shows. And the RWD and FWD buttons seem to be "reversed" (REWIND is making the index counter increase in value, and vice versa for FWD).... Turns out the polarization on the plug of the DC adapter is reversed.

EDIT: I suspect maybe this is why I've seen forum articles and claims that the CCR-82 "eats tapes" - it's not the CCR-82 design itself, but maybe perhaps just the wrong DC adapter polarization being used.


EDIT: Can anyone confirm - did the CCR-82 get sold with a DC adapter? I don't think it did, I think it just came with the manual and leather case. So buyers would be expected to also get the Radio Shack 6V adapter (if they didn't have one already, or of course any other DC adapter -- if it had the right polarization).
 
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voidstar78

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Here's a graphic showing the belt arrangement - and a note about which polarization symbol to look for when looking for a DC adapter.

EDIT: You don't have to take off the large pulley to do the middle sub-belt -- with a pick (and a good light), it's easy enough to work it around and get it into that groove on the bottom side of that pulley. Then spin it gently a few times to make sure it's in right before running it at power/full speed.


Main Drive Belt: SCX8.0
SubBelt: SCY5.0
Counter Belt SCY2.9


Notes update at my little CCR page:
Tandy Radio Shack Computer Cassette Recorder (TRS CCR)







Click image for larger version  Name:	CCRpolarization_and_belt.jpg Views:	0 Size:	141.1 KB ID:	1232407
 

maxtherabbit

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I wish I could go back in time and perform violence on every designer that chose center negative. What a scourge
 

krebizfan

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The 1987 RSC-17 catalog page 47 lists the CCR-82 as needing an AC adapter which is listed just below as a $5.95 part.

I think the CCR-81 has the same 6V DC connector as the CCR-82 in addition to having a normal AC power cable so that part could be shared between multiple decks.
 
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