Last night I plugged in the cassette player, inserted STARBLAZE 100, pressed play, and presto! It ate my tape!
Sometimes, particularly at the beginning of a RetroChallenge, it is easy to forget how old and frail all of this stuff really is. It turns out that the last 20+ years has done the same to the drive belts that it has done to me: made them old and flabby.
As I opened up the case, I was somewhat amused to see, as I turned one drive by hand, that part of the belt was very hesitant to give up the shape of the small pulley it has been hugging close all these years. It seems like flabby belts are the cassette player's only problem, which I can probably resolve, but it means figuring out the proper belt sizes and finding a place to order them.
Also on the decrepit hardware front, I have a line of about 5 or 6 dead "pixels" near the right side of my screen. Solidly tapping on the affected area with my finger seemed like the proper fix (no alcohol required for this one), and on the third tap, the machine shut off. It didn't seem to matter how many times I cycled the on-off switch, it simply would not come to life, so I let it sit. After an incredibly long 30 seconds I tried again, and it came back up, thankfully. However, it seems to randomly shut itself off like that every now and then. I may need to poke around inside for crusty connections, but it hasn't annoyed me enough for that yet.
After work today, eager to continue with my challenge, I headed to the local thrift store and scrounged up a working tape recorder:
I could not get the Tandy to accept the program from the cassette via this recorder, however it might be the case that it requires an actual Tandy one it can pause and start at its whim. I believe I could save a document to the regular one in a pinch, but not retrieve it.
So with that setback, I decided maybe I could back up the tapes to my laptop via an audio cable:
In the interest of testing the viability of this endeavor, I tracked down a model 100 emulator and attempted to load the image:
So where does this leave me? I am pretty sure my dad had another Tandy cassette recorder, a larger, less portable one. And I have a very vague recollection of seeing it when I was unpacking the crusty boxes back in RC2010SC. However, all of that stuff has been moved multiple times, and I can't seem to find it in my half-hearted rummaging. And even if I could find it, those belts are just as old, and might be as flabby, if not flabbier than the little one.
I'm going to sleep on it. I'll leave you with a couple more pics showcasing the remarkable capabilities of the Kodak DC120.
P.S. It took 26 minutes to transfer 17 images from the camera via serial cable.