Author Topic: Odd tape issue on Cpc464  (Read 3469 times)

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Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #25 on: 19:37, 27 June 17 »
Ok, so I have the tape belt but I'm in a quandary because 95% of my games work fine without issue but the odd few have that squelchy tape sound issue which leads to load errors. My thinking leads to say- surely if the belt was shot it would do this across the board on all tapes and not some, yet all around the net it says that noise is indeed a belt issue? ??? ?!!! I don't want to start replacing the belt only to make matters worse, I also read that some soldering was required which I can't do owing to having no soldering iron and no confidence in my ability to use it if I had!! When I watched the Novabug video he didn't do any soldering just unscrewing a few screws and belt replacing.
What are other peoples experiences/issues/advice regarding cassette belt fitting on the Cpc? Consider also that mine is the Schneider variation and not an actual Amstrad. Plus I've noticed that issues tend to arise more with US Gold and to a lesser extent Ocean games.  Thanks again guys!
« Last Edit: 19:43, 27 June 17 by Sidney »

Offline Bryce

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #26 on: 10:29, 28 June 17 »
If 95% of your games work, then it's the 5% of tapes that are dodgy and the belt is fine. You can try to loosen up the "squelchy" tapes by fast-forwarding and rewinding the entire tape. If that doesn't work, you can try loosening the small screws in the tape case if the tapes are screwed and not welded closed.

Bryce.

Offline dlfrsilver

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #27 on: 15:19, 28 June 17 »
Ok, so I have the tape belt but I'm in a quandary because 95% of my games work fine without issue but the odd few have that squelchy tape sound issue which leads to load errors. My thinking leads to say- surely if the belt was shot it would do this across the board on all tapes and not some, yet all around the net it says that noise is indeed a belt issue? ??? ?!!! I don't want to start replacing the belt only to make matters worse, I also read that some soldering was required which I can't do owing to having no soldering iron and no confidence in my ability to use it if I had!! When I watched the Novabug video he didn't do any soldering just unscrewing a few screws and belt replacing.
What are other peoples experiences/issues/advice regarding cassette belt fitting on the Cpc? Consider also that mine is the Schneider variation and not an actual Amstrad. Plus I've noticed that issues tend to arise more with US Gold and to a lesser extent Ocean games.  Thanks again guys!


Please list the games giving you troubles.

Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #28 on: 19:39, 28 June 17 »
Cheers Bryce I think you are right on that. What seems suspicious to me s that I am having problems with the same 2 games, be they compilation or single release versions of the same game, in this case both the original release and the They Sold a Million version of Kung Fu Master. Rambo causes problems with both the They Sold a Million and Hit Squad versions too (although the latter seems ok after a couple of attempts on the Hit Squad version).


dlfrsilver- As above the prime sources of my problems are Kung Fu Master (of which I have tried 3 versions) Rambo another 3 versions. Both tapes on the US Gold- Gold Collection3. Everything else I have thrown at it is absolutely fine. Which I suppose isn't bad for a 33 year old machine if I'm being absolutely fair.


Incidentally I did the belt swap and it was very easy to do but having got inside the machine and taken it out I couldn't tell any difference in size between either belt!! I'm guessing that wasn't the problem after all! I will be trying the car cassette adaptor thing hopefully to load games via mp3 player and possibly to even use my trusty Ferguson tape deck that works so well with my Electron. In the meantime I'm off to play my ultra reliable cassette version of Scooby Doo!!

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #29 on: 03:27, 29 June 17 »
Cheers Bryce I think you are right on that. What seems suspicious to me s that I am having problems with the same 2 games, be they compilation or single release versions of the same game, in this case both the original release and the They Sold a Million version of Kung Fu Master. Rambo causes problems with both the They Sold a Million and Hit Squad versions too (although the latter seems ok after a couple of attempts on the Hit Squad version).


dlfrsilver- As above the prime sources of my problems are Kung Fu Master (of which I have tried 3 versions) Rambo another 3 versions. Both tapes on the US Gold- Gold Collection3. Everything else I have thrown at it is absolutely fine. Which I suppose isn't bad for a 33 year old machine if I'm being absolutely fair.


Incidentally I did the belt swap and it was very easy to do but having got inside the machine and taken it out I couldn't tell any difference in size between either belt!! I'm guessing that wasn't the problem after all! I will be trying the car cassette adaptor thing hopefully to load games via mp3 player and possibly to even use my trusty Ferguson tape deck that works so well with my Electron. In the meantime I'm off to play my ultra reliable cassette version of Scooby Doo!!

They Sold A Million 3. Rambo was an Ocean release, so it would be unlikely to appear on a US Gold compilation.  :)

The car adapter is a good idea. I'm currently using one to load tzx files to a Spectrum. You have to prick about the volume, but once you've set it properly, it's fine.
 

Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #30 on: 04:04, 29 June 17 »
Hi Shaun, sorry mate I wasn't very clear on that! I meant the problem tapes are--- Kung Fu Master-They Sold a Million 3 (not the 1st one) version, and the original release version from Us Gold. Also Rambo from the same compilation and it's Hit Squad release too. The only other tapes to give me problems were both cassettes from the Us Gold compilation-Gold Collection 3 which is also a pain in the arse to load. All other tapes are fine.


Shaun- Do you think that I will (subject to volume tinkering) have similar success loading Amstrad games through the cassette adapter as you have on your Spectrum? I'm hoping to load games through my phone or pc and if possible attach my super reliable Ferguson tape deck to it for those more stubborn tapes! I'm also guessing that the cassette adapter cable is stereo, will this affect loading as I always thought old computers preferred a mono signal.
Once again thankyou for your helpful advice.
« Last Edit: 04:11, 29 June 17 by Sidney »

Offline dlfrsilver

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #31 on: 15:40, 29 June 17 »
Cheers Bryce I think you are right on that. What seems suspicious to me s that I am having problems with the same 2 games, be they compilation or single release versions of the same game, in this case both the original release and the They Sold a Million version of Kung Fu Master. Rambo causes problems with both the They Sold a Million and Hit Squad versions too (although the latter seems ok after a couple of attempts on the Hit Squad version).


the problem is the state of the tape band. The speedlock protections depending on the versions, use micro-blocs. On a tape going bad, just guess what happens....


any bad bit will render the game inoperant.


Quote
dlfrsilver- As above the prime sources of my problems are Kung Fu Master (of which I have tried 3 versions) Rambo another 3 versions. Both tapes on the US Gold- Gold Collection3. Everything else I have thrown at it is absolutely fine. Which I suppose isn't bad for a 33 year old machine if I'm being absolutely fair.


ok, if i send you perfectly working WAV files of those game, would you test them with a car adapter inserted in your 464 ?


Quote
Incidentally I did the belt swap and it was very easy to do but having got inside the machine and taken it out I couldn't tell any difference in size between either belt!! I'm guessing that wasn't the problem after all! I will be trying the car cassette adaptor thing hopefully to load games via mp3 player and possibly to even use my trusty Ferguson tape deck that works so well with my Electron. In the meantime I'm off to play my ultra reliable cassette version of Scooby Doo!!


In fact, even without a belt but with a car adapter tape, any game should load from a WAV file loaded from a PC.


I don't recommand the MP3 format, because it's a degressive format, where you have a loss of information. I found it years ago unreliable at best.

Offline jpx13

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #32 on: 21:11, 29 June 17 »
Hello,

Another possibility, if you own an android smartphone (or like me own an old android phone, now useless ;D ), you can use a program named "Tap Dancer" that will nicely play the tape files (cdt). You can use a car cassette adapter, or if you like soldering and are not affraid of opening your CPC just wire a 3.5mm socket and use this to connect the smartphone. I wired my socket on the Read/Write head solderings (on the cassette player PCB side), because any other places suggested would not work with my CPC.

It is an easy mod, and really usefull ! You don't even need to press play to load a game, only to start playing on the smarphone after typing run" and the game should load. The only drawback is when in some game you need to pause the smartphone manualy because there is no control on the play/pause from the CPC ;D . But with a bit of practice, it can be easily managed.

From the numerous games I tried, only a few wouldn't load, and perhaps because of poor quality cassette dump.

Cheers,

JP

Offline buzby

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #33 on: 01:08, 30 June 17 »
Any games that don't load for me I adjust the azimuth, I have done this with three different cassettes of Kung fu master to get them load and they worked in the end


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Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #34 on: 01:26, 30 June 17 »
@dlfrsilver- I decided to play the audio of the offending tapes through my Ferguson tape deck and they played all the way way through with no drop outs in sound and no slow down on the tape so I'm not sure the tapes are at fault.
I would be more than happy to try your wav file experiment.



@jpx13- That is something I have considered but I am reluctant to do something that would render the tape deck inoperable (if indeed it does render the deck inoperable!)


@buzby- The azimuth seemed the most obvious to me and that is my first port of call in most cases but bizarrely when I peer through the hole (aided by a torch) where the alignment screw should be all I can see is a metal surface! I'm wondering whether maybe Kung Fu Master is a more temperamental tape what with your problems with it and mine!




I have a German Schneider Cpc464 and not an Amstrad Cpc 464 so I'm not sure if the German system has a different mechanism from it's UK counterpart. Can anyone shed any light on this? Does anyone else own a Schneider to confirm my theory?


Once again-Thanks for all your input guys. :)

« Last Edit: 01:29, 30 June 17 by Sidney »

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #35 on: 03:43, 30 June 17 »
Shaun- Do you think that I will (subject to volume tinkering) have similar success loading Amstrad games through the cassette adapter as you have on your Spectrum? I'm hoping to load games through my phone or pc and if possible attach my super reliable Ferguson tape deck to it for those more stubborn tapes! I'm also guessing that the cassette adapter cable is stereo, will this affect loading as I always thought old computers preferred a mono signal.
Once again thankyou for your helpful advice.

I think it's one of those things where your mileage may vary to be honest. With the Spectrum, I've had 100% success rate using WinTZX and converting it to mp3 and heaving it onto an iPod classic and playing it back. I can't see why it wouldn't work for a CPC.

In terms of the mono / stereo thing. It's been weird. Sometimes the games load when the adapter is fully plugged in, and then other times, I need to pull the connection from the iPod out a little bit to cut off one of the channels so that the signal is sent in mono. For the Speccy, sometimes the SD reader doesn't load the games, so I use the iPod for the games that have problems and so far so good. Means a few minutes more of loading time (it's mainly on older titles that don't require a multi load), but it was definitely worth the experience playing around replicating old loading techniques with newer hardware.

Offline jpx13

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #36 on: 08:59, 30 June 17 »
Hello,


With my CPC, the input mod wired where the R/W head is soldered doesn't affect in any way the tape deck.


I can load games with tap dancer by the new input socket, and I can load regular tapes with the cassette deck either.


As I own a Schneider 464, I will have a look at the azimuth adjust hole later today and report what I see. From memory, there was an adjusting screw, but as the azimuth was fine, I didn't use it. Have you tried the little azimuth test program to check yours is correct?

Also, have you looked inside with "play" pressed? If not, there is no screw in the hole.


JP
« Last Edit: 09:02, 30 June 17 by jpx13 »

Offline dlfrsilver

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #37 on: 09:32, 30 June 17 »
I think it's one of those things where your mileage may vary to be honest. With the Spectrum, I've had 100% success rate using WinTZX and converting it to mp3 and heaving it onto an iPod classic and playing it back. I can't see why it wouldn't work for a CPC.

In terms of the mono / stereo thing. It's been weird. Sometimes the games load when the adapter is fully plugged in, and then other times, I need to pull the connection from the iPod out a little bit to cut off one of the channels so that the signal is sent in mono. For the Speccy, sometimes the SD reader doesn't load the games, so I use the iPod for the games that have problems and so far so good. Means a few minutes more of loading time (it's mainly on older titles that don't require a multi load), but it was definitely worth the experience playing around replicating old loading techniques with newer hardware.


the old tools like Wintzx are spectrum only. And more or less those old programs are known to be buggy (like Tape2wav, tzx2wav and so on).


That is why csw2cdt has been made. when you revert a tape, it works every time, and the WAV resulting is only 400kb once crunched with 7zip.

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #38 on: 15:46, 30 June 17 »

the old tools like Wintzx are spectrum only. And more or less those old programs are known to be buggy (like Tape2wav, tzx2wav and so on).


That is why csw2cdt has been made. when you revert a tape, it works every time, and the WAV resulting is only 400kb once crunched with 7zip.

I'm not entirely sure that Apple's devices support wav though, but I'm open to correction on this.

Offline Bryce

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #39 on: 16:09, 30 June 17 »
iPods definitely support wav.

Bryce.

Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #40 on: 01:51, 02 July 17 »
Once again thanks to you all for all the help and advice, the level of help here has been totally fantastic, you are a great bunch.
Today the car cassette adaptor arrived so I took the plunge and downloaded Tap Dancer and a whole heap of files and Tap Dancer duly converted them into audio files, I hooked the cassette cable to my Sony Xperia- followed the instructions and............Major success!! Tons of games all loaded beautifully including.......Kung Fu Master!! I have a seemingly irrational love for that game since I played the arcade machine in France, I have it for every system I own but I have the most love for the NES, C64, Atari 2600 and Amstrad versions, now I can actually play it on the Cpc and a whole lot more besides!! So a big thank you to you all for everything! :)
« Last Edit: 01:53, 02 July 17 by Sidney »

Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #41 on: 00:53, 03 July 17 »
You've a world of rediscovery ahead of you. Enjoy 😃

Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #42 on: 02:53, 03 July 17 »
Thanks Shaun, I'm looking forward to it! :)

Offline Sidney

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #43 on: 21:52, 12 July 17 »
I've heard from a couple of sources that the volume you have the cassette deck on the Cpc can effect loading. I have to say I can understand that for the Speccy with extra tape deck etc bit surely the Cpc volume only effects the sound through the speaker and not the level the machine reads data. I stand to be corrected of course.

Offline pelrun

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #44 on: 22:09, 12 July 17 »
The volume control on the cpc itself doesn't affect the cassette loading at all. All non-464 cpc's use an external tape player though, and the volume of *that* is important, as is the phone volume if you're playing into a tape adapter.
« Last Edit: 22:11, 12 July 17 by pelrun »

Offline CraigsBar

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #45 on: 01:55, 13 July 17 »
Sorry for being late to this party. But first thing I'd do is replace the tape drive belts. Long tapes (such as those used in compilations) can put more pressure on the drive belts and cause the spools to stop exactly as you describe. I had the same issue on a c64 datasette recently  and a new pair of drive belts later all is good again.

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Offline Shaun M. Neary

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Re: Odd tape issue on Cpc464
« Reply #46 on: 04:31, 13 July 17 »
I've heard from a couple of sources that the volume you have the cassette deck on the Cpc can effect loading. I have to say I can understand that for the Speccy with extra tape deck etc bit surely the Cpc volume only effects the sound through the speaker and not the level the machine reads data. I stand to be corrected of course.

Echoing everyone else here, but yeah, that only applies for external tape decks, the volume of a 464 only affects the speaker (which the cassette player feeds into for output only, which the 464plus evidently did away with in 1990), and has no bearing on the loading. So unless they're talking about external tape players on machines with disk drives, your sources are misinformed.  :)