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Tandy CCR web page and CCR-82 motor problems

voidstar78

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I think "center negative" may have been a more common convention for music device accessories (pedals?) or maybe more of a European convention? (this is just based on observations on eBay - I see various "center negative" adapters with European style connectors, but nearly all the 120V US-based adapters are "center positive").

You can find "polarity inverter" adapter cables, or just splice and swap the two wires of the adapter yourself.




They do each have the same 6V DC option. That's consistent with the battery operation (4x 1.5V batteries = 6V). So they can be used in direct DC, such as in a car - except a car is a 12V system, so you still need some kind of 12V to 6V DC/DC adapter.
 

voidstar78

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I haven't gotten a CTR-41. Was there any sort of manual for the CTR-41 (and haven't found any PDF version, if there was one)?

Specifically, is the LEVEL knob at the front same as VOLUME? And what was MANUAL vs AUTO modes? (switch at the front) And why was the CTR-41 unreliable on the TRS-80 Model 1 ? (or is it just that when recording, folks would forget to crank the LEVEL back up?)



And, any idea why Realistic chose the "CTR-41" name? Any evidence that Radio Shack picked "CTR-80" to relate to the TRS-80, or was that purely coincidence? (since after all, then they went -81, -82, -83, etc).

Did the CTR-41 exist "long before" the TRS-80, or was it specifically designed with the TRS-80 Model 1 in mind? (or in any case, is 1977 a fair year associate the CTR-41 with? or was it an earlier 1975 model/device?) Similar to the other CTR/CCR models (tentatively I'm thinking CTR-80 was '79, CCR-81 was '81{?}, CCR-82 was '82{?}, and CCR-83 I've read was '90 -- in terms of first corresponding year of release)
 
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krebizfan

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CTR-41 is listed alongside the CTR-43 as new for 1978 in the 1978 catalog. The CTR-40 is on the same page but not listed as new for 1978.

The CTR-40 is the standard portable cassette style which followed a number of similar designs with numbers in the 30s but the CTR-39 was much smaller and CTR-30 was like a boombox without a radio. CTR-41 was the next number available. 40 was the standard, 41 was the high end with tape counter, 42 was the fun beach model, 43 was the cheap model. 41 replaced the 36 with the same feature set. While replacement models were introduced, Radio Shack maintained the lineup priced at $30, $40, and $60.

The CTR-40 was initially offered alongside the TRS-80 according the file "Important Information for Cassette Users." That file also explains some of the settings needed to correctly load cassette data. Note that the sound level needs to be lower with prerecorded tapes than with tapes recorded by the user. It also mentions the need for the CTR-41 to have a dummy plug in the MIC port. IIRC, without the dummy plug, the CTR-41 would try to record from both the internal microphone and the external input from the computer at the same time yielding unrecoverable data.

Another problem with Model 1 affected all cassette decks but since the CTR-41 was used the most, it got some of the blame. http://www.trs-80.org/xrx-modification/ explains what went wrong and how it was corrected.

I don't know of any online manual for either the CTR-40 or the CTR-41. They were shipped with short manuals. Auto enables auto leveling control which ignores the volume setting for recording. Level would be volume but nomenclature was kept consistent with auto leveling control. At least, I think that was how it worked.

https://archive.org/details/Information_for_Cassette_Users_19xx_Radio_Shack/mode/2up

Radiomuseum (dot org) lists 52 different Realistic CTR models. It might be faster to get years of introduction than going through RSC catalogs. Note that some model numbers were assigned to very different cassette decks in different years.
 

voidstar78

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krebizfan Thanks for the notes on the "CTR-41" issue (re: that XRX module). I'm still not quite understanding the difference between "AUTO" (on the CTR-41) and "ALC" (automatic level control) on the later models - or is it exactly the same thing? I was under the impression the CTR-80 is what added "ALC", as something the earlier models lacked, but can certainly be wrong about that.

The (original) IBM 5150 had a jumper on the mainboard near the disk drives, I believe labeled as "AUX vs MIC" -- with different resistance values (I think), apparently related to whether you're using the AUX vs MIC input on the tape recorder.


Another note: the CTR-80A manual describes the use of a Dummy plug in the MIC port, in terms of using it to erase a tape. I assume this would work on later models also? (even though the later model manuals point towards using a bulk tape erase instead of a Dummy plug). I don't have an actual Dummy plug - is it identical to just cutting the end off any 3.5mm plug (and of course make sure the wires are separated)? I'll try it, as I just happen to have an old broken headphone set that I can cut the end off from.
 

vwestlife

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Sticking anything into the external mic jack will serve as a dummy plug. The jack has a switch in it which shuts off the built-in mic (if it has one) when an external one is connected. Using a dummy plug doesn't actually "erase" a tape, it just re-records over it with silence.
 

krebizfan

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Looking at the 1978 RSC page 18, all 5 tape recorders are listed as having auto-level. There may be differences in how auto-level works between various recorders. The CTR-41 seems unique in having mix ability to accept 2 different inputs at the same (aux plus either external microphone or internal microphone). While that is a great feature for many uses, it will corrupt attempts to store clean files from a computer unless the microphone is disabled. I am fairly certain that no other computer targeted cassette deck from Radio Shack made that mistake. https://www.radioshackcatalogs.com/flipbook/1978_radioshack_catalog.html?fb3d-page=18
 

voidstar78

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Wow, the CTR-41 maybe didn't have a manual per se, but I came across this:
https://manualzz.com/doc/22361795/radioshack-tape
(same document is also here:
https://mocagh.org/radioshack/radioshack-tape-refcard.pdf
)

It is just titled as "Important lnformation for Cassette Users" from Radio Shack and maybe was the little reference document included with the TRS-80 Model I and III.

You're guys aren't kidding, there are a lot of "if model X then use setting Y when using Level Z" shenanigans with those early systems.

That's rough for the Model I/III folks. Don't recall there being as such an issue with the CCR-80's models and ColorComputer line.


That little manual is chock full of advise, like tables for the volume levels to use for CTR-40, CTR-41, CCR-80, CCR-80A. Then these:

- "With the CTR-40, CTR-80, and CTR-80A, tum the control to the left to increase volume. With the CTR-41, tum the control to the right"
- "Radio Shack programs are recorded at least twice on each tape." (At least!)
- "Important Note: The CTR-41 requires that you keep the supplied " dummy plug" in the MIC jack at all times. However, the other models should never be used with the " dummy plug.""
- "Dirty heads can cause as much as a 50% loss of volume. Also, heads become magnetized with use and may cause distortion. We recommend that you clean the head, capstan, and pinch roller after every four hours of operation."


Anyone have a photo of what one of the original RS dummy plugs looks like? (curious if it was mono, not stereo)
 

krebizfan

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The User Manual for Level I BASIC page 5 has a picture of a dummy plug. It should be mono.

Ebay has two weird CTR-41 items. One is a copy of the User Manual. The other is even stranger to me. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/224691859376 The side panel has a DIN connection between the power connection and the standard audio jacks. I knew there were British recorders with DIN for I/O but I have never seen one on a Tandy model before.

On the outskirts of Tandy cassette recorders were the EACA Model I clones with internal cassette recorders. The issues with it apply to some of the other preset cassette recorders. https://www.classic-computers.org.nz/system-80/hardware_mods.htm

Also on fringe of Tandy would be https://www.msx.org/wiki/Spectravideo_SV-1400, the closest thing to a universal computer cassette recorder with a switch for different computers. SciSys made chess games for Tandy.
 

vwestlife

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That DIN jack would be for audio input and output, commonly used on tape decks sold in Germany in the '70s and '80s. They had multiple uses for 5-pin DIN connectors on audio components:

HSR_84_02_interconnect_2_large.jpg
 

voidstar78

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Hey gang, I've finished adding notes to my Tandy CCR pages about how to use a laptop or a tablet (iPad) as a substitute for a cassette recorder (I tested using a CoCo1 16KB, the oldest Tandy system I could find on short notice). I know this has been done before (even on Model 1 and Model 3; did Model 4 still have cassette support?) -- just trying to consolidate the notes to a single place, and (re)verify the process.

The specific link is:

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


I think a suitable laptop or tablet can be found for around $100, say +$10-20 for necessary cables (with shipping or w/e gas needed to find them :) ).



Can anyone confirm if ALL the Tandy cassette cables were mono? I have a couple of them, and they are both all-mono plugs - but the newer CCR-83 I got didn't have the cable it came with, so I can't verify if they still used mono-plugs even for that.


For the laptop, I had to use a "modified" cable that had stereo plugs. I tried the original Tandy mono-plug cable, but it just wasn't working for me.

But for the tablet (iPad Mini 4), I was able to use the original Tandy mono-plug cable with no problems.


Happy Thanksgiving ya'll !
 

krebizfan

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The Model 4 has cassette support. The Model 4P and Model 4D do not have a cassette port. Part of the reason for retaining the cassette port on the Model 4 was to handle the educational networking done over the cassette port as explained The Network I Controller (trs-80.org)

IIRC, there is one slight gotcha with using cassette on the TRS-80. Level 1 BASIC cassettes could not be read by the Model III. Otherwise, the Tandy was a masterwork of upwardly compatible cassette systems with the Model 4 handling Model III tapes and the Model III handling Level 2 BASIC tapes generated on the Model I.
 

voidstar78

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I'll try my steps on the laptop again, with the original Tandy cable that has all mono-plugs.


i.e. when trying to SAVE/LOAD using the laptop as a cassette proxy, I had to use a cable where the MIC(AUX) plug had a stereo plug. When I tried using the Tandy cable with mono plugs (on the laptop), the laptop would continue to record from both its own microphone and the output of the CoCo at the same time -- so the recordings would just end up with too much ambient audio to extract data out. It might be made to work (digital editing, or just be deathly silent while doing the record), but overall that's just not a reliable way to go. So I was surprised when swapping in the cable with the stereo plug made a difference... Maybe the drivers of the laptop (or the built in Voice Recorder app), it can detect presence of mono plug, so it tries to use LEFT channel from the audio jack and RIGHT channel from the internal microphone? I should probably give Audacity a try, maybe it has options for a "mono-only" recording? I'll give it another shot, but I was happy enough that the stock Tandy cable works so well on the tablet.


re: these cassettes themselves all being mono-devices... I wasn't sure if that was still the case for the newer CCR-83 (would it be necessary for backwards compatibility of loading older tapes, like on a newer CoCo3? )
 

voidstar78

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NOTE: replaced the belts on both CCR-82's that I have -- the RWD and FWD both work fine now, however when pressing PLAY the tape just curls into the cassette.

There is a nice maintenance manual for the CCR-82 available, I'll see what suggestions I can read from that.
 

vwestlife

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Double-check the belt arrangement, as it is a bit tricky. Also if the original belts had melted and turned to goo, you may need to disassemble the mechanism to clean out all of the sticky residue before it will work correctly again.
 
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