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'[PIC] Morse Code Firmware -- not big enough. Paper'
2007\04\12@164704 by Robert Rolf

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Alan B. Pearce wrote:

>>>The code is somewhere in the historical records department
>>>at Byte Craft then all I need is to find a paper reader that
>>>has been run in the last 20 years.
>>
>>I think that that could be helped. There is a way to transfer paper tapes
>>into computers using a scanner and a black sheet of paper as backing.


> Oh, I hadn't heard of that scheme. Sounds like it could be a do-er though,
> but would require a fair amount of operator time. I have some old tapes of
> bits I wouldn't mind getting at, and have been considering building a little
> reader with some surface mount leads on some strip board as receivers, and a
> second set as emitters, with a small stepper or DC motor to pull the tape
> through. A suitable small PIC with UART to send it out as serial stream and
> control the motor would complete the scheme.

Byte magazine had an article on doing exactly that, but with HAND
pulled paper tape. e.g. no motor.
It used 9 LED/opto paths, with the 9th channel being the clock
signal on the drive sproket holes.

http://www.swtpc.com/mholley/OAE80_Reader/OAE80_Index.htm

esaki.ee.boun.edu.tr/~talays/courses/ee443/Chap_8.pdf
refers to a Siemens BPX89 phototransistor array meant for reading tape.

Even easier is to use a bunch of spring fingers to read the
conduct/no conduction to a piece of PCB. No optical biasing issues.

Someone could probably write code to use a web cam to
track the holes as they moved past a backlight.

2007\04\12@171513 by Peter P.

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> Even easier is to use a bunch of spring fingers to read the
> conduct/no conduction to a piece of PCB. No optical biasing issues.

That only works with gold contacts and they have to be debounced properly. Paper
tape does not have error correction ...

> Someone could probably write code to use a web cam to
> track the holes as they moved past a backlight.

Contrast is much better if they are pulled in front of a flat black platen, with
front light. The camera does not take kindly to direct light sources pointing
into it. Also the software to handle the output already exists, it is the same
as used with the scanner. Please see the bottom of my previous posting.

Peter P.



2007\04\12@171713 by Harold Hallikainen

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{Quote hidden}

A friend had an IMSAI computer way back. It had a pull the tape by hand
tape reader that used an opto on the sprocket hole has the data strobe. I
always thought that was a clever idea. Remember "chadless tape?" I had
that on my Teletype model 14 typing reperforator. The chads were not
entirely removed. Instead, one side was still attached so the printer
could type on the tape. The reader (model 14 transmitter distributor)
would move the tape, then try to stick pins up through the holes. If the
pin could go up, there was a hole. The pins would move down and the
sprocket would advance the tape to the next position...

Harold

--
FCC Rules Updated Daily at http://www.hallikainen.com - Advertising
opportunities available!

2007\04\12@182043 by Robert Rolf

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Peter P. wrote:

>>Even easier is to use a bunch of spring fingers to read the
>>conduct/no conduction to a piece of PCB. No optical biasing issues.
>
>
> That only works with gold contacts and they have to be debounced properly. Paper
> tape does not have error correction ...
>  
>
>>Someone could probably write code to use a web cam to
>>track the holes as they moved past a backlight.
>
>
> Contrast is much better if they are pulled in front of a flat black platen, with
> front light. The camera does not take kindly to direct light sources pointing
> into it. Also the software to handle the output already exists, it is the same
> as used with the scanner. Please see the bottom of my previous posting.

OK, I looked. I didn't see any URLs for this 'scanner' based software.
Am I missing a post?

A lot of the paper tape in my junk pile is BLACK, so black on black
gives lousy contrast. (PDP 11 & PDP 8 diagnostics tapes).
It also would be difficult to correctly light aluminum (metal) tape
(used for bootloaders and other high repeated use stuff).

Backlighting works well if you set the camera gain manually.
With correct lighting intensity you get nearly 100% modulation
of the video signal, making it easy to discriminate.

And you wouldn't need a PC to do it.
Just pull the tape horizontally, and have the PIC A/D sample a few
microseconds into the scan line for whatever scan lines have
the holes. Use the sprocket hole as your clock for 'data valid'.

Or pull the tape vertically and dissect a single scan line into
the bits. Could even be done with hardware shift register and
comparator + PLL. Just need to have a stable optical setup.

How about a 'Rube Goldberg' style virtual design contest to come
up with the most unusual way to read a paper tape?

R




2007\04\12@184419 by Barry Gershenfeld

face picon face

> >>>The code is somewhere in the historical records department
> >>>at Byte Craft then all I need is to find a paper reader that
> >>>has been run in the last 20 years.

I've got a "high speed" opto reader mechanism that I started building an
interface for--in 1975.  Hand-drawn pcbs for sensor amps and TTL-logic
motor stepper.  I would like to get this thing out one day and do it over
"right" with a PIC.   I've even got some tapes I could run through it.

And I have seen a photo of a similar looking gadget right here on this PIC
list.  I can't find it and I forget who posted it.  But it's out there
somewhere.

Barry

2007\04\12@202855 by Peter P.

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Robert Rolf <Robert.Rolf <at> ualberta.ca> writes:


> OK, I looked. I didn't see any URLs for this 'scanner' based software.
> Am I missing a post?

I haven't posted it yet. I saw it somewhere years ago (1990s). I'll find it and
post it later.

> A lot of the paper tape in my junk pile is BLACK, so black on black
> gives lousy contrast. (PDP 11 & PDP 8 diagnostics tapes).
> It also would be difficult to correctly light aluminum (metal) tape
> (used for bootloaders and other high repeated use stuff).

So one uses a white background for black tapes.

> Backlighting works well if you set the camera gain manually.
> With correct lighting intensity you get nearly 100% modulation
> of the video signal, making it easy to discriminate.

There ar no controls on the cheap kind of webcam I have in mind for this.

> And you wouldn't need a PC to do it.
> Just pull the tape horizontally, and have the PIC A/D sample a few
> microseconds into the scan line for whatever scan lines have
> the holes. Use the sprocket hole as your clock for 'data valid'.

> Or pull the tape vertically and dissect a single scan line into
> the bits. Could even be done with hardware shift register and
> comparator + PLL. Just need to have a stable optical setup.

You know the golden rule: cheap/affordable, good/works, now, pick any one.

> How about a 'Rube Goldberg' style virtual design contest to come
> up with the most unusual way to read a paper tape?

Doh. Xylophone driven by holes and software running on soundcard (hey, one could
use the little springs from musi boxes).

Anyway Rube Goldberg and crc-less records of any length (longer than a few
lines) are a no-no. Just for laughs compute the required error rate to read just
1 kilobyte of data from a paper tape. That's 1024*3.5 holes to get right. Or the
error rate must be < 2^-13 or so to read it right 50% of the time, and it gets
worse as the length increases. Does not look good for 'Rube Goldberg' systems.

Peter P.


2007\04\13@072214 by Jim Franklin

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ooh, I know this one :)

how about re-using a braille terminal. the touchpins of the
character "display" pop up through the holes (or not in the case of a non-
hole), and a led/opto sensor scanning across the top of the paper tape
registers whether a pin is "up" or "down".

Bizarre enough for the list?

> How about a 'Rube Goldberg' style virtual design contest to come
> up with the most unusual way to read a paper tape?
>
> R




2007\04\13@140633 by Doug Metzler

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Would a small fish-tank air pump plumbed to an 8-hole distributor and then
have 8 pressure sensors on the other side to pick up the puff qualify as
Rube-Goldberg?  Imagine the throughput!

I have a paper-tape punch in my to-do room (yes, an entire room of stuff to
be done) that I'm pretty sure I could get running.  The question is where
does one get paper tape these days?

DougM

{Original Message removed}

2007\04\14@202939 by Jake Anderson

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Doug Metzler wrote:
> Would a small fish-tank air pump plumbed to an 8-hole distributor and then
> have 8 pressure sensors on the other side to pick up the puff qualify as
> Rube-Goldberg?  Imagine the throughput!
>  
My thought was to use the air to blow through whistles (think pan
pipes), use a microphone to pick up the sound, DSP it to get the
individual frequencies.
Heh if you got it right you could use DTMF frequencies on your whistles
and a DTMF decoder, you could have your decoder built in about 20
minutes with a drill press and some aquarium hosing (and a really quiet
compressor).

I once as a thought experiment for uni designed a rover for Io (the 1st
moon of Jupiter) Its hit by so much radiation a person would be dead in
about 10 seconds. There was some "old school" tech in there. Tube based
camera. Fluidic computer using punched tape for the program storage.
Valve radio. All the good stuff. (A HDTV tube based camera now that
would be cool). The onboard electronics would mainly be to keep the
antenna pointed at one of the lagrange points where you would have a
ball of lead/water ice with a satellite in it and to do whatever it said
to do. (The radiation travels down a "pipe" from Jupiter's poles along
with lightning, interplanetary lightning now that would make for a light
show). You just need to pitch it as a mini-series to some TV company to
get your funding, launch from a Russian ICBM and your set.

2007\04\14@212852 by Doug Metzler

picon face
Captain Crunch, is that you?

DougM


-----Original Message-----
From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On Behalf Of
Jake Anderson
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2007 5:30 PM
To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Subject: Re: [PIC] Morse Code Firmware -- not big enough. Paper tape

Doug Metzler wrote:
> Would a small fish-tank air pump plumbed to an 8-hole distributor and then
> have 8 pressure sensors on the other side to pick up the puff qualify as
> Rube-Goldberg?  Imagine the throughput!
>  
My thought was to use the air to blow through whistles (think pan
pipes), use a microphone to pick up the sound, DSP it to get the
individual frequencies.
Heh if you got it right you could use DTMF frequencies on your whistles
and a DTMF decoder, you could have your decoder built in about 20
minutes with a drill press and some aquarium hosing (and a really quiet
compressor).

I once as a thought experiment for uni designed a rover for Io (the 1st
moon of Jupiter) Its hit by so much radiation a person would be dead in
about 10 seconds. There was some "old school" tech in there. Tube based
camera. Fluidic computer using punched tape for the program storage.
Valve radio. All the good stuff. (A HDTV tube based camera now that
would be cool). The onboard electronics would mainly be to keep the
antenna pointed at one of the lagrange points where you would have a
ball of lead/water ice with a satellite in it and to do whatever it said
to do. (The radiation travels down a "pipe" from Jupiter's poles along
with lightning, interplanetary lightning now that would make for a light
show). You just need to pitch it as a mini-series to some TV company to
get your funding, launch from a Russian ICBM and your set.

2007\04\15@002615 by Harold Hallikainen

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Paper tape is, of course, something like a narrow player piano roll, and
could be read the same way. Have a "play head" with 9 holes (8 data, one
"sprocket"). Apply independent vacuum to each hole in the play head and
detect loss of vacuum when the tape has a hole. Use of vacuum is better
than pressure, since it sucks the tape to the head instead of pushing it
away. You could still use the tone decoding idea by using whistles that
work backwards (whistles that suck). Or, you could have pressure
transducers that detect the vacuum.

By the way, I think it was on this list, but perhaps another, someone
suggested the book that is titled something like "Computer - The history
of the information machine." I'm about half way through reading it at the
moment. IBM is just starting to outsell UNIVAC. They are about to start
using core memory. Memory to this time used mercury delay lines or CRT
storage tubes, or a rotating magnetic drum. This is about 1955 or so.
These computers had thousands of vacuum tubes. Truly amazng stuff!

Harold


> Captain Crunch, is that you?
>
> DougM
>
>
> {Original Message removed}

2007\04\15@054957 by Russell McMahon

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> Paper tape is, of course, something like a narrow player piano roll,
> and
> could be read the same way.


Lonnng ago I and a friend made a paper tape reader that worked very
well.
9 opto transistors -  8 r data and 1 for sync track.
Tape simply went through a guide over the transistors and was hand
pulled.
Tape holes were spaced at 0.1"

While they were miniature, the transistors were > 0.1" wide so were
too wide to stack side by side across the tape width so they were
arranged in 2 banks of 5 and 4 a few data words offset and the bits
were shuffled into their correct bytes after reading. A tungsten lamp
provided illumination - afair room light would usually do but data
integrity could be optimised by adjusting illumination level. HP's
then practice of using black tape made sense.

As slow or as fast as you could go data read OK afair. From dim memory
you could pull tape through at say 1 metre/second. (Probably faster
but ripping the tape was to be avoided). At 10 bits per inch that's 36
inch/second x 10 bits/inch  x 8 bits_parallel = 2880 = say about 3
kbps. Given that "usual" data rates then were KSR33 with a 1200/75
modem and a hammering paper tape punch or 300/300 modems, that was a
very acceptable data rate.

The reason for having paper tape was that

1.   It provided non volatile "mass storage" for an analysis machine
when any sort of storage was expensive and essentially unavailable on
my budget.

2.    It was the only realistic way of getting data from a
microprocessor based system (MC6802) into the available Burroughs
B6700 mainframe computer for processing. Writing to magnetic tape was
not an option (although I had previously made a 6802 based 8 track
magnetic tape reader and could have written tapes if hardware had been
available). (The only way to get a 4 MHz clocked 6802  (1 MHz system
clock) to go fast enough to read the 20,000 data words per second from
the tape had been to push data onto the processor's stack (usually
mainly intended for  subroutine handling on the 6800)

AFAIR I acquired a tape punch from the local rubbish tip and cleaned
it up well enough to use. Operation was 110 VDC afair and I used reed
relays to drive it. It worked. The reader was used to allow reading of
the data tapes which I had written.

Those were the days.
Fortunately, they've gone :-).

       Russell

2007\04\15@190726 by William Chops Westfield

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On Apr 15, 2007, at 2:49 AM, Russell McMahon wrote:

> Those were the days.
> Fortunately, they've gone :-).
>
Just for kicks...  A mile of paper tape appears to hold about
600kbytes (10 bytes per inch, 120 bytes per foot, right?) so
about two miles for the same storage as a HD 5.25inch floppy
or 3.5 inch stiffy, or about 1000 miles of paper tape for a
CD's worth of storage.  Enough paper tape to equal the terabyte
of disk you can easily put on your compute these days would
stretch to the moon.  And back.  Three times.

Stanford's AI lab (SAIL) had a project to move all their data
from old backup tapes (7 and 9 track 1/2inch magtape) to modern
media.  It ALL (20+ years worth?) fit on a single 3.5 inch hard
drive.  And that was about a decade ago...

BillW

2007\04\16@050136 by Alan B. Pearce

face picon face
>As slow or as fast as you could go data read OK afair. From dim memory
>you could pull tape through at say 1 metre/second. (Probably faster
>but ripping the tape was to be avoided). At 10 bits per inch that's 36
>inch/second x 10 bits/inch  x 8 bits_parallel = 2880 = say about 3
>kbps. Given that "usual" data rates then were KSR33 with a 1200/75
>modem and a hammering paper tape punch or 300/300 modems, that was a
>very acceptable data rate.

Remember that the Bletchley Park coders were doing this with the Colossus
machines during the war. They were running paper tapes at something like
30mph IIRC. They had run them experimentally at about twice that, but the
risk of breaks meant they ran them slower ...

2007\04\16@151541 by Howard Winter

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Bill,

On Sun, 15 Apr 2007 16:06:23 -0700, William "Chops" Westfield wrote:

>...
> Stanford's AI lab (SAIL) had a project to move all their data
> from old backup tapes (7 and 9 track 1/2inch magtape) to modern
> media.  It ALL (20+ years worth?) fit on a single 3.5 inch hard
> drive.  And that was about a decade ago...

Let's see, a 9-track tape has 1 byte (+ parity) across, at 1600bpi, and a 10" (or was it 10.5"?) reel has 2400 feet of
tape on it, so that holds about 44MB maximum  There are interblock gaps so this drops the capacity, depending on
block size, but you can probably squeeze 40MB of data onto it.  So copying to 3.5" diskettes you'd need 28 of them per
tape.  Copying to a 500GB hard drive (now cheap enough to consider) you'd get over 10,000 tapes per drive!  The first
company I worked for kept three companies' data on tapes - I think we had about a thousand of them...

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\04\16@152921 by Howard Winter

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Alan,

On Mon, 16 Apr 2007 10:01:24 +0100, Alan B. Pearce wrote:

{Quote hidden}

Indeed, and now they've built a replica they're doing it again!  :-)

> They were running paper tapes at something like
> 30mph IIRC. They had run them experimentally at about twice that, but the
> risk of breaks meant they ran them slower ...

It worked out at 10,000 cps if I remember rightly.  I'm not sure how they managed to get photosensitive valves
("tubes") to read in the space available - I assume there was some sort of light pipe, but this predated fibre optics of
course.

Cheers,


Howard Winter
St.Albans, England


2007\04\17@014348 by Robert Rolf

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Howard Winter wrote:

>  I'm not sure how they managed to get photosensitive valves
> ("tubes") to read in the space available -
> I assume there was some sort of light pipe, but this predated fibre optics of
> course.

Lucite (clear plastic) pipes that were heat formed to fan out from the reader
head to a cluster of phototubes. The pipes yellowed with age requiring the
light level to be adjusted upward over time.

Robert

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