Cassette Conundrum

discuss both original and modern hardware for the bbc micro/electron
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Ronin47
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Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

Apologies if this sort of thing has been asked before, but a search for cassette and data recorder brings back rather a lot of results!!

I have an Acorn Computer Data Recorder model ANF03 and I don't seem to be able to make it work with any of the 4 BBC Bs I have, which is odd since it came in a bundle with one of them.

It is connected via a 7 pin DIN cable, and if I use it with my Electron, it works just fine, in that I can save a basic program and load it back in basic and turn the motor on and off with the *MOTOR command. Everything seems to work from the Electron perspective.

I even managed to load an original cassette copy of Elite for the Electron, so I know that the deck and cable work fine.

However, when I use the same cassette deck and cable with any of my BBC Bs (3 issue 7s and an issue 4) attempting to save a basic program results in a flashing cursor and no tape activity. I need to hit break to regain control.

Trying to load commercial software from cassette by using the command provided with the tape results in flashing cursor and no tape activity.

If I use the *MOTOR 1 command I hear the relay click, same if I use *MOTOR 0, so that part is working OK.

I am following the instructions in the BBC B user guide BTW, it just won't work.

Am I missing something fundamental here? It just seems weird that none of them work.

I know this is a fairly noob question, but it's very annoying!
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BigEd
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by BigEd »

Hmm, I would have thought, regardless of the state of the cable or the tape deck, or even whether or not they are present, if you do

Code: Select all

NEW
10 PRINT
*TAPE
SAVE"T"
you will get

Code: Select all

RECORD then RETURN
T          00 0008
and even an audible beep as it finishes. Does that not happen for you? (You do have to press the RETURN key of course)

(Just tested this on my Master)
Ronin47
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

BigEd wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:02 pm
Hmm, I would have thought, regardless of the state of the cable or the tape deck, or even whether or not they are present, if you do

Code: Select all

NEW
10 PRINT
*TAPE
SAVE"T"
you will get

Code: Select all

RECORD then RETURN
T          00 0008
and even an audible beep as it finishes. Does that not happen for you? (You do have to press the RETURN key of course)

(Just tested this on my Master)
Thank you!!

Definitely missing the *TAPE fundamental here!! Thanks for the tip :)

I've had a dig in the manual and found the commands for changing the filing systems, I'll know where to look next time, page 267 of my user guide :)
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BigEd
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by BigEd »

Aha - glad I could help!
Ronin47
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

BigEd wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 5:27 pm
Aha - glad I could help!
You certainly did :)
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

Lol, feeling like more of a numpty now. I'd been looking at the user manual that came with another BBC B.

So I thought lets compare the user manual that came with the Beeb which was part of the bundle that included the tape deck.

Page 1 is an addendum telling you how to access the different filesystems, including *TAPE.

If only I'd looked at that manual first, my other one doesn't have that addendum page!!
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BigEd
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by BigEd »

I suppose this shows that even the best documentation is no substitute for experience!

I myself today typed SAVE and realised I hadn't typed *TAPE first!
Ronin47
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

BigEd wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:29 pm
I suppose this shows that even the best documentation is no substitute for experience!

I myself today typed SAVE and realised I hadn't typed *TAPE first!
I feel a little better now :)
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1024MAK
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by 1024MAK »

Don’t worry, that’s tripped me up in the past :oops:

The Acorn documentation is good, but when you forget something or are new to Acorn systems, then the assumptions made by the writers of the documentation can cause frustration :twisted:

And of course, *TAPE is a filing system command rather than a BASIC command…

Mark
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arg
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by arg »

And when all the original manuals were written, tape was the only filesystem available. So while *TAPE already existed, there was little reason to use it.

Even later on, it was a reasonable assumption that if you were using tape (particularly to get started) then it was probably because you couldn't afford anything else and again no need to use *TAPE.
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

It's interesting, I have 3 user manuals that have come my way after getting my hands on the 4 Beebs I own.

There is a version that is spiral bound, and another that is paperback, both of which are, at least what I can tell from a quick flick through, are essentially the same item.

The other one however, is a neat A5 ringbound item from RetroClinic, named "The Concise BBC Microcomputer User Guide" and it's that one that has as it's very first page the info about changing filesystem types.

I'd kind of assumed it to be the same as the other two, but clearly it isn't, and because I'd looked at the User Guide that came with the specific BBC B I was looking at, I didn't look at the RetroClinic one, which would have told me what I needed right away rather than asking on here of delving into the other manuals by several hundred pages.

It's all good though, I'm all straightened out and the cassette deck is working just fine, and in fact even happily loaded a cassette version of Elite I got for a fiver (Boxed with instructions too!) onto my Electron.

Always good to learn :)
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BigEd
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by BigEd »

Hmm, that Concise User Guide is new to me - looks like it might be a hand-cooked volume by Mark of Retroclinic. Could you share a few photos, perhaps, of the front and the copyright and title pages? (Perhaps also the contents, if you can be bothered!)

Or perhaps it's online somewhere and I haven't found it...
Ronin47
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

BigEd wrote:
Sat Aug 06, 2022 5:30 pm
Hmm, that Concise User Guide is new to me - looks like it might be a hand-cooked volume by Mark of Retroclinic. Could you share a few photos, perhaps, of the front and the copyright and title pages? (Perhaps also the contents, if you can be bothered!)

Or perhaps it's online somewhere and I haven't found it...
No problem, I'll try and do so over the weekend. I suspect your 'hand-cooked' suggestion is spot on.
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

Ok, so I think I need to correct myself slightly.

The addendum page is in the spiral bound User Manual that came with the computer (I may have mixed this up on my last post).

This is the addendum page, right inside the front flap:

PXL_20220807_125223791.jpg

And as requested here are some details of the 'Concise User Guide' including the contents. It's quite a thick tome:

PXL_20220807_125032663.jpg
PXL_20220807_125046023.jpg
PXL_20220807_125101902.jpg
PXL_20220807_125236812.jpg
PXL_20220807_125243184.jpg
PXL_20220807_125249192.jpg
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BigEd
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by BigEd »

Thanks! That is indeed quite a lot of paper, for a concise guide, but if it's mostly a condensation of the user guide and the advanced guide that would be two books in one.

And it's notable that Acorn felt that the *TAPE directions needed emphasis like that - evidently quite a risk of people believing their machine is broken, when in fact it has DFS ROM fitted.
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Re: Cassette Conundrum

Post by Ronin47 »

BigEd wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:45 pm
Thanks! That is indeed quite a lot of paper, for a concise guide, but if it's mostly a condensation of the user guide and the advanced guide that would be two books in one.
That would make sense.
BigEd wrote:
Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:45 pm
And it's notable that Acorn felt that the *TAPE directions needed emphasis like that - evidently quite a risk of people believing their machine is broken, when in fact it has DFS ROM fitted.
Indeed it is, makes me wonder how many folks fell for it.
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