Use a C= 1530 datasette as tape audio player

How to listen to audio using your Commodore C1530 datasette, and why.

Please read through the whole post, as there are some things in the end, you might want to start with.

If you’ve ever had the doubt whether there was audio or data on a casette tape, and you’ve only had your Commodore computer and a datasette, and of course a computer to work with. This might come in handy for you.

First of all, you’ll need some kind of connector for the equipment you want to use. I’m using a standard 3,5mm minijack connector. Stereo/mono doesn’t matter as there’s only one channel. If you have a stereo connector, make sure you use the left channel then. You can use the cable from a cheap set of earpieces, one item less to solder.

This is not a stand alone solution, you need to supply power to the datasette, this can come from the Commodore computer, or a stable power supply.

Beware, you might have a different version than this. This one I have here use a Goldstar Lm324, it’s a quad-amp chip. The schematic isn’t precisely the same as the model, but it’s close enough.

Basically you just attach the cable to the output of one of the amps. On the shcematic below I’ve marked Pin 1 and “Pin 7” well actually it’s the output going to the Commodore computer, but I call it pin 7 here. I’ve taken Pin 1 instead of Pin 7 as the voltage level is alittle less there. On the output of Pin 7 you get around 3v peak-to-peak, and you get around 2v peak to peak on pin 1. the normal input of a soundcard is around 1v peak to peak. So just make sure that the input volume is way down.

 

Here is an older picture where Ground and Signal line (pin7) is marked. I did a little testing here, and it’s way too much output. But it’s doable if you don’t want to solder on pin 1.

As you can see I’m using a stereo cable/minijack connector, but I’m only using left channel. Here it’s still Pin 7.

 

Sorry for the image quality. I’ve added a small extension cord to the left channel of the audio cable. It’s the green one you can see in the middle of the pcb, soldered to Pin 1 of the goldstar lm324 amp chip.

 

Before you start soldering, you should take the audio cable and stick through the rubber ring.

This is a real easy hack to do, you only need to know how to solder, and have access to a solder of course.

I haven’t tried transfering data from tape to PC into a tap file using this method, but it might be doable. If anyone tries this, I’d love to hear about it.

 

Disclaimer: if this doesn’t work for you, or if you destroy your hardware, don’t blame me.

 

8 thoughts on “Use a C= 1530 datasette as tape audio player”

  1. This is helpful. I am attempting to calibrate the motor speed on old datasettes (to get them back in working order) and need to hear the audio (a 440Hz tone) on a calibration cassette in order to adjust the motor speed.

  2. I take it this is a way to save tapes to a pc, but what if you want to send .wav files from to the C2N. Would you know how connect an input cable?

    1. Actually no, it’s to be able to identify if a tape has data, audio/music or is blank. Cassette players aren’t as easy to get now a days and it’s good to have a tool before wasting time trying to dump a tape which contains songs 😉

      One way: If you have a regular tape recorder with an input interface, you can play the wave file through the sound card of your computer and let the audio out into the cassette recorder.
      An other theoretically way: and this is entirely theoretical, at the backside of the recording head there are 2 wires, the signal here should be analog. If you put your output signal from the left channel of the audio-out from your soundcard to the recording head ground to ground, signal to signal. Be sure to turn the volume down, to perhaps 10% start recording, and play the wave file. If your output voltage is too high you might destroy the recording head. So gradually turn up the volume if it doesn’t work.

      That being answered, have you considered other alternatives in recording data to tapes? i.e. there are tap files and t64 files which can be recorded to tapes using the mtap program, parallelport and X(A/E/M)-1541 cable etc.

      1. I have seen the white & red wires on the recording head and removed them at the point they reach the pcb of the C2N. I have then attached a mono input to these two points on the pcb and plugged in my mp3 player but with no success. Not sure what else I can try now.

        1. I would try and see if the wave files are actually usable. It could be they aren’t working. Convert them to tap and try them in i.e. Vice

  3. Would it be possible for you to upload a working .wav that you have tested and works as I have never used vice

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