Author Topic: Capturing an old basic program from tape  (Read 3723 times)

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Offline emuola

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Capturing an old basic program from tape
« on: 12:38, 02 December 10 »
This might me slightly OT, but I really could use some help here... I have a cassette, that has an self made Amstrad drawing app made by my friend in 1985 :) I have tried to capture the data, but after over a hundred tries, I'm starting to feel like giving up...

I have used the (at least if you ask me) great tool called CPCTapeXP
http://www.cpcmania.com/cpctapexp/cpctapexp.htm

I run the "tapes" with WinApe.

I managed to capture all the 6 blocks to a cdt and got data sizes correctly (I'm no pro here, but I guess the data size should be 2088 or something like that). Unfortunately, all my capturings have at least one block that give me "read error b". As you might guess some of the capturings are jusst plain garbage (too loud or too low volume). The errorenous blocks are different depending on the volume setting of the record input level of my soundcard. I have tried tens and tens of different volumes and even tried to copy-paste a working program from seemingly working blocks of different "takes", but I just can't get it to work. The tape should be ok, because I managed to resurrect a earlier version of the same drawing app. Unfortunately that version does not have any code for actually doing something, only the gui.

Unfortunately I don't understand anything about the fine features of the aforementioned CPCTapeXP (editing blocks and headers).

What would you do in this situation? Different setup? I know there's some way of getting it to work, because it seems I'm sooo close.

Sorry, if this is in the wrong forum.
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Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #1 on: 13:35, 02 December 10 »
Hello,
you could try my TapeUtil tool:
http://cpcwiki.eu/forum/index.php/topic,1279.0.html

It uses the AUX input from your audio-device.
EDIT: You need to select  AUX input source from your soundcard as recording input.
EDIT2: Or to wherever you connected the CPC-cassette audio input.

It stores the tape as 44khz stereo wav, so it's in a better quality than CPCTapeXP's default settings.

The WAV are being transformed to CDT after you recorded your cassette.

Much luck ;)
Direct download URL:
http://cpc-live.com/data/download.php?type=-tool&fichier=TapeUtil.zip

(You need Java installed on your system to run my app)

Cheers,
Markus
« Last Edit: 13:39, 02 December 10 by Devilmarkus »
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Offline Bryce

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #2 on: 13:39, 02 December 10 »
I assume the data is on a real tape? Don't you own a real CPC? Why not just load it and save to disc? Or are you a simulator only user?

Bryce.

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #3 on: 13:40, 02 December 10 »
I assume the data is on a real tape? Don't you own a real CPC? Why not just load it and save to disc? Or are you a simulator only user?

Bryce.

So, what if he only has a CPC 464? ;)
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Offline emuola

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #4 on: 13:43, 02 December 10 »
Thanks for the replies guys :) I only have a 6128 and haven't built the tape lead yet. That's why I'm using an emulator at this stage.

I'll try the TapeUtil later tonight :)
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Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #5 on: 13:47, 02 December 10 »
The usage of my TapeUtil is quite simple:
- Connect your tapedrive to your PC (mostly AUX input, in my case it's "Line-IN")
- Select AUX as record source for your soundcard (Audiomixer)
- Keep the input level low first! (As shown in my attached image)
- Click "Start" in my TapeUtil
- Playback your tape fully
- Click "Stop" and wait a few seconds.
- That's all! You'll find your CDT named "Capture0001" (Or so) in the same folder, where the TapeUtil is in. Then you can rename it and test in WinApe...
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Offline mr_lou

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #6 on: 13:48, 02 December 10 »
If/when you give up, there's one last option: Mail the tape to one of us. Then we can e-mail you a DSK file with the files from the tape.

I remember doing that once, years back when I wasn't able to do it myself. Some friendly fellow, I forget who, from England copied the files for me.

We can do the same for you, no charge. Well *I* can anyway, but I'm pretty sure you can find someone closer to home that can too. :)

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #7 on: 13:53, 02 December 10 »
Yes, this is also an option. I also have my 464 connected to my PC and can dump tapes.
(I also have a 3" floppy connected, so that I can always dump DSK files from 3" disks)
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Offline Bryce

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #8 on: 14:46, 02 December 10 »
The tape connection is really easy to build and useful for any other tapes you might get in the future. I'd just make one of those and from there on it's simple.

Bryce.

Edit: Just noticed that there's no instructions in the Wiki on how to make a tape connection cable for the 6128 (or at least I couldn't find one), this should be added.
« Last Edit: 14:55, 02 December 10 by Bryce »

Offline redbox

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #9 on: 15:40, 02 December 10 »
Edit: Just noticed that there's no instructions in the Wiki on how to make a tape connection cable for the 6128 (or at least I couldn't find one), this should be added.

DIY tape lead for the 6128.

Offline emuola

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #10 on: 16:24, 02 December 10 »
Success :D I finally got the app captured and it works! Thank you soo much Devilmarkus for a great tool :) However... I then tried to capture the whole a-side of te tape with the same volume settings. How is it possible, that I didn't get any programs (there are 4-5 basic programs on the a-side) completely, but once again got data blocks without headers and data blocks with incorrect sizes. So, this was right after I succesfully captured the drawing app from the same a-side... Is this just "typical flakyness" of an old tape, or what?

Anyway, my mission is almost complete now :) It's also very nice to know that you're willing to help me out, if I run into real trouble with this tape.

And thank you also for the tape lead instructions! :D
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Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #11 on: 16:42, 02 December 10 »
However... I then tried to capture the whole a-side of te tape with the same volume settings. How is it possible, that I didn't get any programs (there are 4-5 basic programs on the a-side) completely, but once again got data blocks without headers and data blocks with incorrect sizes. So, this was right after I succesfully captured the drawing app from the same a-side... Is this just "typical flakyness" of an old tape, or what?

Well you could enable "Keep WAV" in TapeUtil's options.
This WAV then you could zip/rar and send me to analyse it. (JavaCPC can load these WAV as tape. I don't know if WinCPC or WinApe can load such stereo files...)
Also CPCTapeXP should be able to convert this recorded WAV to CDT, too...
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Offline emuola

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #12 on: 17:56, 02 December 10 »
Quote
Well you could enable "Keep WAV" in TapeUtil's options.
This WAV then you could zip/rar and send me to analyse it.

Ok, I'll do another complete capture of the a-side tomorrow, zip it and put it to my Dropbox for download :) Thank you so much in advance :)
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Offline Cholo

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #13 on: 19:18, 03 December 10 »
Just a few tips on recording.

The good thing about capturing normal unprotected amstrad "blocks" is that you dont have to worry to much about the right settings, just need a strong enough signal. Ususally you would choose volume settings at about 50% source and 50% destination, but in this case you can easily try 80%/20% or 20%/80% or 65%/65% or ive even had to do a 80%/80% once because the signal was just amazing low.

Indeed a good idea to save all you recordings, as even if you have errors you and "copy and paste" the good working part together.

Tapir is a nice a nice "copy and paste" program, but you will need to rename .cdt to .tzx (tzx = cdt but is spectrum files).

If you try Samp2cdt manually you can try using the alternate translation option /alter also you could try running with different /maxp setting.

Like you could run a batch file like so:

Code: [Select]
samp2cdt go.wav go0.cdt /maxp 45
samp2cdt go.wav go1.cdt /maxp 40
pause
samp2cdt go.wav go2.cdt /maxp 35
samp2cdt go.wav go3.cdt /maxp 30
pause
samp2cdt go.wav go4.cdt /maxp 25
samp2cdt go.wav go5.cdt /maxp 20
pause
samp2cdt go.wav go6.cdt /maxp 15
pause
samp2cdt go.wav gx0.cdt /maxp 45 /alter
samp2cdt go.wav gx1.cdt /maxp 40 /alter
pause
samp2cdt go.wav gx2.cdt /maxp 35 /alter
samp2cdt go.wav gx3.cdt /maxp 30 /alter
pause
samp2cdt go.wav gx4.cdt /maxp 25 /alter
samp2cdt go.wav gx5.cdt /maxp 20 /alter
pause
samp2cdt go.wav gx6.cdt /maxp 15 /alter

where you source wav is called go.wav. It will try both normal and alter translation and at the full maxp range too. The "pause" is in there so you can read the output and make sure that the output to see if checksums (aka CO message and you can read file names of each block) and select the optimal one.

Offline Devilmarkus

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #14 on: 20:41, 03 December 10 »
The problem in this case is, that the captured WAV file is already unreadable. I tested it.
Solution could be a good head cleaning and adjustment.
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Offline emuola

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #15 on: 19:25, 04 December 10 »
Thank you for your help Devilmarkus and Cholo :) Yes, it seems corrupted indeed :( I'll try with my other deck (Philips datacorder) after independence day celebrations :) I still believe I can get this done :) It feels weird to load a program you've watched you friend code almost over 20 years ago :)
« Last Edit: 19:28, 04 December 10 by emuola »
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Offline emuola

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #16 on: 08:37, 08 December 10 »
Yes! With the ancient Philips I got already most of the programs working :) It seems that my Luxman "super duper deck" was way too hifi for the task ;) Thanks guys once again!
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Offline Bryce

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Re: Capturing an old basic program from tape
« Reply #17 on: 10:18, 08 December 10 »
Modern hifis have too many filters that could mess up the frequencies, older Datacorders / mono-players will always work better.

Bryce.