Audio Cassette Tape to a DDP Pack!!
(Joe) Unfortunately there is no program to do it...
The digital format was proprietary and the preformatted tapes could only be bought from Coleco...
/!\ READ THIS ENTIRE MANUAL BEFORE DOING ANYTHING /!\
You must have a Stereo System with Dual Tape Decks, and there should be no "auto leveling" functions turned on(if you can't turn it off you may have a problem). Dolby noise reduction should mostly likely be off if your stereo is equipped with it. (if you can't turn it off you may have a problem). These screw up the recording.
You need to set your Stereo equipment's full band EQ just slightly above normal(if you have a preset EQ button you may have a problem, try setting it too Classical or OFF),You may have a Manual Recording Level knob, its said to be set into the "red" but I'm not sure, you would have to experiment, try setting it at 7.5 out of 10. It needs to be real "pitchy" and "tinny" for ADAM to recognize it, but un distorted.
I had very good luck with an old Walkman
cassette player I have hooked up to my cassette machine that has
an equalizer and no auto level control. I also had good luck with an old(1980's)
York stereo that had a full-band EQ, with no auto-leveling since it wasn't
implemented yet. I have been told, however, that you don't necessarily need
a "stereo" system to copy the DDPs. A mono system should work equally as well.
(Note: You can use Sony HF-90 min tapes too but I wouldn't go any higher since the thickness of the tape is thinner the more mins a tape has, thinner means more likely to stretch. EX: 60 min tape is more durable than a 90 min tape. Other Brands used where BASF 60 and Maxell XLII-60 High Bias tapes, I even used a blue label Kmart(KMC) 60 min tape, and the recording worked, it rattles though in the drive.)
All these tapes are High Fidelity/Low Noise/Standard "TYPE I (iron oxide) (NORMAL) POSITION NORMAL BIAS 120Ás EQ,
this information isn't terrible important, but is present to show that the Audio
tapes are not an expensive variety.)
-DRILL HOLES IN ONE OF YOUR COLECO DDP-
This is so the Coleco DDP will fit in your
Stereo system. I recommend that you use one of the DDP
tapes that you least
often use(preferably a genuine blank DDP; center position catalog, but not required), rewind it manually all the way before starting to add the holes to
avoid damaging the tape mylar. After Drilling make sure all the
plastic debris are blown away and not trapped in the cassettes casing. Usually
holding the tape upright and tapping it will free any debris.
put in the source DDP pack, you must of course make sure its in the "Play" side of the
dual tape decks on your stereo and that side one(label side out) is rewound all the way.
Begin the recording tape first then hit play on the source DDP. After about 20 mins of recording I would go near your Stereo and
listen to the DDP's tone sounds, when they end (28 mins and 28 secs) you should wait a few
more seconds(26 sec more,) till the source DDP stops then stop the recording tape.
Then flip both tapes over and finish the recording.
**Also according to Syd Carter's MEGACOPY documentation, it tells us that
a minimum of one minute of blank tape was required at the beginning and end of
the formatted tape in order for the completed product to function properly. This
is normaly taken care of if your duplicating from a genuine Coleco DDP.
This is so 1-They fit into the ADAM's Digital Drive and 2-so you always put the DDP in the correct way with side one facing out. As an option you may want to simply clip out the two prongs in the top of your ADAM Digital Data Drive, this is your choice if you choose to deface your computer. This means you won't have to drill holes in your new DDP's.
-TIGHTEN UP SLACK-
Note: This won't work on a copy of SmartBasic. (See your SmartBasic Manual)
Note2: Initializing a DDP does NOT erase the programs on the DDP, it resets the CATALOG. The CATALOG is the space on the DDP that holds all the information for the files, EX: there names...etc...
After doing this you can use any DDP to DDP program to make backups of your software onto the Newly Initialized DDP! Such as Unreal Software's PACKCOPY, but there are many others.
But since the duplication process didn't produce a working copy, I'm can only assume the newly INIT tape isn't completly formated.(you will beable to save some work on it however, in the future an I/O error will occur) You'll want to do a full block check to see if your new tape is 100%. You can use AJM Software's FILEMANAGER 3.0 or BACKUP 3.0+ to check and verify for missing/bad blocks.
If you find missing blocks you can try to use AJM Software's FILEMANAGER 3.0 to use the "format" function. This MAY Restore the tape to 100%. This method also works on non functioning weakend DDP's aswell.
-COPY A COPY-
-REFORMATTING A DDP-
The DDP's magnetic particle material is made from uniform Gamma Ferric Oxide(this is what standard audio tapes are made with ironically), Coleco used higher quality tape - basically "first run" tape to minimize defects in the magnetic media. First run means the first batch of tape coming off a line, similar to high quality video tape. The bath they use to coat tape degrades as it is used which eventualy produces drop-outs. The DDP tape is shorter in length than a standard 60 min tape(supposedly 51 mins), The tape is not any thicker like you would think a shorter tape would be too withstand stretching better, none the less Coleco/Loran claimed they are better at preventing streching. These tapes are low-bias type apperantly because it worked better. These Genuine Tapes seem to be all made from Loranger Manufacturing Corp or LORAN, even perhaps the Coleco Silver Label versions.
The Digital Data Pack tape cassette holds 256 KB.(500K half a megabyte)(about 250 typed pages that's: Two Mono tracks, 128 blocks per track, 1 block = 1K) But most of the information is systematically repeated several times to help speed up seek and load times. When the ADAM saves information too the DDP, ADAM will first fill up side two before putting information on side one. Another interesting fact is that the computer catalog is in the center of the tape for faster searches. (Note: Super Games use a different format called: right directory.) Its best not to use a right directory DDP to create a Blank DDP because the load and search times would increase an incrediable amount.
Coleco told reviewers back in the early 80's that they plan to release a special Formatting Program for DDP's and they also where going to release a higher capacity DDP (twice the capacity.) Of course these never where issued.
Later (1989) an introduction of "Extended format" digital data packs for the Adam was announced. A standard DDP, (C-60 length) can now hold up to 306K(later to 320K) instead of just 256K. No changes are needed for EOS to access such a tape. A small patch would be required for CP/M to use the extra storage space though. These 320K Extended Data Packs can be copied with Syd's updated MegaCopy software, too. I assume this was MegaCopy III.
Testing was under way to see how much capacity a tape can hold and still be 100% reliable. C-90 tapes would be able to hold 400K or more! Syd says it's theoretically possible to put 500K or more on a tape, but the drive would have to be slowed down to keep the computer from continually backing the tape up as it would have passed the next block on the tape, by the time the previous block was all loaded into memory, so staying with the 300+ capacity for C-60s is ideal.
*From what I understand Coleco had a small unit that duplicated the DDP's, or even reformatted them built into a Module #3 casing. This would be something that was used not for mass reproduction of the DDP's...
The Adam generates a surge of electromagnetic energy on startup and shutdown, which could
erase the contents of your DDP media left in the drive accidentally. Some
of the Coleco manuals told the user to put the tape in before turning the
computer on. This should NOT be done, you should turn on your system first, then
insert the tape, then pull the reset
Always keep your tapes at least four feet from your system to prevent weakening
or erasure of the DDP's.
NEVER leave a DDP in the drive if its not needed, cause when the data pack is
sitting in a data drive, the motors have some power applied to them to take up
the slack of the tape.
Next repeat the cleaning process with a new swab and this time spray on(or drip on) Isopropyl Alcohol (usually you can find this furnished with a cassette tape head cleaner or a CD cleaner, if not try the drug store.) You may even clean the plastic tape guides on either side of the playback/record head, including the speed-transducer wheel(rubber wheel). Do this by holding the cotton swab against the rubber wheel and turn the wheel with a clean finger.
Next you can TRY to use a normal cassette head cleaner, by turning on ADAM and insert the head cleaner and pull the reset, ADAM should run the head cleaner back and forth for a little bit hopefully cleaning and polishing the areas you missed.
Its a good idea to clean your stereo system once in awhile before making a new DDP. You don't have to do this every time but every 20 hrs of use.
Just For Fun:
Or maybe remove the DDD entirely and plug in a USB port to the A and B locations on the ADAM DDD ports? Then mount the hardware where the DDD was.
A good idea! Have a 8 gig thumb drive with all your ADAM and ColecoVision software/games and room to save too. It would be only as fast as the DDP port could go (1.4K bytes per second) but its better than having all these tapes.
It would have to act like an oversized DDP, with a catalog of course to index the files. The drive might have to be separated(or partitioned) to allow specific files to be written from programs that require there own format.
How about inputting the DDP tones into a PC via the sound card input jack(or line in) and then clean up all the hiss and other unwanted noise, then replay the tones to the output jack of your sound card to a tape decks input(or cassette adapter) and there you have a crystal clear playback base, and its saved on a PC. This could be done with all the DDP library. 51 mins each would be huge file however...
A cassette adapter slides into your cassette player just like a tape, but they have a wire that connects to your headphone jack and there is no tape, just a steel playback head.
Just a thought and for the fun of writing it.
As of version 1.69 of this manual I have done modern day(2010) testing on a 1998 Sharp Stereo platform Model CD-C422, with dual tape decks and a built in 4-mode preset electronic equalizer; Flat , Heavy, Vocal, Soft or X-Bass. My attempts on Vocal, Heavy, Flat and X-Bass setting failed... It must be the preset EQ that's preventing me from getting a good copy. It doesn't say anywhere if it has automatic leveling or noise reduction.
The system I used in the 1980's was York Stereo platform Model M2409, with dual tape decks and a full band equalizer. With a High-Speed dubbing selection button. But I don't think I used the High speed dubbing. From what I'm told High speed dubbing will work. Unfortunately this system doesn't work anymore.