You who follow my correspondence here will know all about my TRS-80 Model 100, which sees use mostly as a timelapse camera controller. I also have a pair of Tandy Model 200′s, which are the rarer version and are basically the same machine with a few improvements like a much larger screen that folds clamshell-style and 3 banks of 24k RAM rather than 1 bank of 32k RAM.
One of these T200′s I picked up a few years ago in trade, and it would turn on, but nothing would come up on the screen. At the time, I took it apart in the same way you’d take a Model 100 apart: by removing the 4 screws at the bottom, which are the only screws accessible from the outside. This is what I found.
The video ribbon cable was separated from it’s plug, and there’s no way you can plug it back in (it’s way too short). Well, after several attempts, I put it back together with the cable still disconnected and tossed it into the “future projects” pile.
Fast forward to today, when I was suddenly struck with the idea to RTFM. The Service Manual has to be somewhere on the web, right? Ayup, it was. Club100 to the rescue!
Turns out the obvious way is the wrong way. You have to take the screen off first, as illustrated below. With the screen off, the ribbon cable has a straight path to the motherboard socket and can easily be re-attached. The illustration is slightly misleading – it shows an arrow implying you pull the front plastic bit off, but you actually press the center with your thumb and it easily unsnaps and comes loose.
And there we go. I had to reverse the cable to get it to plug in right. This put the aging folds of the cable in different places, so to distribute future wear on parts not already stressed by 30 years of opening and closing. Should last another 30 (or it better, it’s not like I can order a replacement from the Rat Shack anymore.)
So there you are. I imagine this video cable issue plagues anyone who has taken apart a T200 without reading the Service Manual first, so hopefully this post will save someone a great deal of frustration. (:
And now, in basically the order I picked them up, are the sheets that were left behind today. Many many more sheets went with people, despite the triplicate copies. A lot of typing happened today, and some of it even made sense. :D
Amusingly, there was a fellow that showed up towards the end of the event with a little white portable, who set his machine up at the other end of the room and then came to check us out. Turns out he had just came to the bar with his machine to write, and didn’t know about the type-in at all. It was his first time bringing his typewriter and he was astonished to find the room already full of people tapping away. :D
It all started simply enough: I came up with the idea of using my retrotech timelapse camera kit to do a timelapse of the upcoming Phoenix Type-In. Well, when you come up with these ideas, the first thing you do is check your kit and get it ready. Thus began the adventure…
I pulled the Timelapse Kit out of the closet where I had stored it some months ago, and I expected the batteries in the TRS-80 Model 100 to be dead. They were. No big deal, I changed them. Then I booted it up to find that it had sat long enough without power that the memory had cleared, wiping the resident TL.BA program that I use as an intervalometer. “No Problem” thought I, “I have a backup right here on my PC.
Well, in order to transfer the file from my PC to the Model 100, I need a null-modem cable (you remember them, right?) and a PC with an RS-232 port. I can whip up an old PC from parts in minutes that will suit, but for some reason I couldn’t find my Null Modem Cable.
Ergh. No way to transfer the file then. Well, I guess I’ll just rewrite the timelapse program. No Problemo – it’s like 20 lines of BASIC. I dusted off the Model 100′s BASIC reference manual and set to work. About halfway into it, I discovered that the Model 100′s Backspace key had stopped working… and I discovered that by not being able to delete a typo. Ergh…
Ok, that’s gonna be a problem, but I can power through it. I have my Model 200 that I can use instead. Now I just have to figure out how to get what I’d already typed from the 100 to the 200. At first I considered trying to use the PDD drives I have, but they’ve been fritzy for decades and I don’t really trust them. That left me with the old CCR-81 Cassette Drive.
It was then that I got the bright idea of trying to use a Digital Audio Recorder to transfer the files rather than the Cassette Drive. After all (I reasoned), a digital audio file will probably have better data fidelity than a 30 year old tape recorder with dry belts and a God-knows-how-old cassette tape, right?
So I gave it a try. I happen to have picked up an iKey Audio M3 at Deseret a week or two ago for $10 (smokin’ deal – still in the box!), and it can be set to record 44k Mono WAV files. After a few tries (the TRS-80 is a little deaf, and needs the sound levels just about as high as they’ll go for both recording and playback), I found I could save the files from the Model 100 to the M3 recorder and load them into the Model 200 for editing. YAY! :D
I then happily finished the timelapse program, tested it on the Model 200 and then saved it to the M3 and loaded it to the Model 100. Mission accomplished!
And then I realized that I had a digital representation of my program as an audio file on an SD card I could read on my PC. Hmmn… I wonder if anyone has written some sort of converter to read an audio file of a saved program on cassette and turn it back into ASCII? That would be a handy way of transferring files from my Model 100/200 to the PC, wouldn’t it?
It turns out that someone has… *sort of*… At least they have for the TRS-80 Model I/III/4. Completely different machines, different processor and OS, but just maybe they use the same format for recording data to tape? Might as well give it a try and see what happens… I downloaded the utilities for converting Model I/III/4 WAV files to CAS (a format used to load the programs into emulators), and to convert from CAS to Hexidecimal Text.
My first attempt wouldn’t load because the M3 recorder records a WAV file that isn’t Microsoft 16-Bit PCM format, so the first thing to do is convert it to that format. I loaded the WAV file into the Free Audacity audio editor and simply “exported” it to the proper format.
Once in the right WAV format, the file imported into WAV2CAS just fine, and I could immediately see that even though the program didn’t understand the audio file’s data headers, it could read the file and could show the HEX and ASCII contents. I couldn’t select or copy that text though. First I needed to “Save” each chunk of the packet as a separate CAS file. I did so, exporting all chunks except the first one, which contained garbage headers.
The next step is to fire up the PLAYCAS program and load each of the CAS files into it, then right-click the title bar to get the menu where you can “save text”, which finally exports the data to a plain ASCII text file.
Well, OK. Not really plain ASCII. What you get is a bunch of text files that contain the data in a HEX column and an ASCII column. This is not really what you want in the end, so here’s how to get the plain text. First, open up all the text files in a text editor (I use Notepad++) and copy/paste them all together in order. What you get looks like this:
Delete the headers and use the “Regular Expression” search/replace function to get rid of the ASCII column. All you want is the HEX column. Copy that entire HEX column and go to a HEX to ASCII converter site and paste the HEX code into the “convert” box.
What you’ll get in return is the ASCII text with some garbage characters at the beginning and ends of the chunks. Just cut out these garbage characters, and what’s left is your text file!
and here it is:
10 CLS:PRINT”Canon PS600 Timelapse”
20 PRINT”2014 – T. Munk – munk.org”
30 PRINT:INPUT”Seconds Between Shots”;D
200 INPUT “#Exposures to Shoot”;A:O=A
300 CLS:PRINT”Timelapse Program:”
310 PRINT”At”;D;”Second Intervals.”
350 PRINT:INPUT”Press <ENTER> To Begin”;G$
390 IF G$ = “” THEN 400 ELSE 10
400 CLS:MOTOR ON:FOR Z = 1 TO 25:NEXT Z
410 MOTOR OFF:A=A-1
413 PRINT”*** TRS-80 Timelapse ***”
414 PRINT “<SHIFT><BREAK> To Quit.”
420 FOR X=1 TO A STEP 1
430 FOR E=1 TO B STEP 1
440 NEXT E
450 MOTOR ON:FOR Z=1 TO 25:NEXT Z:MOTOR OFF
490 NEXT X
1000 PRINT@162,”Ended Shoot. “
Oh, and in case you want to hear what this data file sounds like in the language of the TRS-80′s Cassette Save format, listen to this WAV file. (set your volume low first, for Jebus sakes, the TRS-80 sings one screetchy song!)
Alternately, you can use the above WAV file to load this program directly into your own Model 100/102/200!
…Storms build up across six or seven thousand kilometers of flatlands, feed on anything that can give them a push—coriolis force, other storms, anything that has an ounce of energy in it. They can blow up to eight hundred kilometers an hour, loaded with everything loose in their way—sand, dust, everything. They can eat flesh off bones and etch bones to slivers.
-”Dune”, Frank Herbert
A Haboob rolling into town, turning the air into sandpaper…
What it feels like if you’re outside when one of these suckers hits town:
The Ace Aceliner, a true classic. Probably the first stapler I actually sought out after seeing them on other Typosphere blogs. It’s a popular design, easy to get ahold of, and there’s probably one in every casual stapler collector’s corral. There are at least two different variations, probably indicating a change in design and tooling to cut costs. If anyone knew when this design change occurred, you could probably better tell when a given stapler was made, at least within a decade or so. I’m pretty sure the scalloped-edge version with the “Aceliner” embossing on the top is the older design, but how much older is unknown. I’ve read somewhere that the Aceliner wasn’t introduced until the 1970′s despite it’s mid-century styling. I do believe that the rounded, unembossed version is the style you can still buy brand-new from Ace. The Aceliner is a tail-loader like most other Ace staplers. You pull out the “tail” and it folds up to allow loading. The Aceliner is a remarkably ergonomic machine. It fits perfectly in the hand, and opens up all the way for tacking. In fact it’ll open up to about 20 degrees past flat. A comparison of the two designs shows other visible differences between the older and newer styles: Older versions have grey rubber feet, newer versions have black plastic feet. The older version includes the brand “ACE” stamped into the front, while the newer version lacks this detail.Different types of rivets are used for the pivot bar…Otherwise, they appear to be identical. Both styles work great, and there is no functional difference between the two. Both produce either Interfold or Exterfold staples via the sliding anvil.It should be said that the Aceliner, although svelte, is a heavy stapler. Solid steel, thickly forged. If I were in sudden need of a weapon and all I had to choose from were the staplers on my desk, I’d grab the Aceliner. The shaped pommels make it easy to grip, so it won’t slip out of your hand in the heat of battle, and I’d bet that the unfortunate assailant you socked with an Aceliner would be none too pleased with the sound of his skull caving in. In fact, my older Aceliner has clearly spent part of it’s previous life as an improvised hammer, as the deep gouges on the bottom plate would attest. Someone gave it a pretty good beating, and the Aceliner shrugged it off and kept working, like a stapler should.
Attractive? Hells yes!
Durable: Like a Rock.
Should you get one if you see one at a thrift? Ayup! (:
In other news, I received some research from Peter Weil on Blickensderfers and Hammonds, which resulted in some nice updates for those pages on the Typewriter Database. I’ve also completed the “Non-Noiseless Standards” section of the Remington page (whew) and am now knee-deep in the Noiseless Standards. This did not keep me from noticing that we are very nearly at 2000 typewriter galleries in the Database now. I’m starting to think that 3000 by next January 1 is a completely reasonable goal…
Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict. Remington Standard typewriter. New York : Wyckoff, Seamans & Benedict, [188-?], accessed from the Baker Library, Harvard Business School.
This week’s Stapler is one I picked up a couple of days ago at Goodwill’s half-price day. I’d let this one sit on the shelf for a week and a half because it was busted, missing important bits and ugly as sin. When the price dropped to $1.50, though – I wanted it just to show off it’s unique features (and the Arrow 210 has some pretty unique features). I’d love to find one in nice working condition with all the parts intact.
The Arrow 210 is a *BIG* stapler. It is significantly larger than even my Aceliners, and is a bit heavier as well (more solid than an Aceliner? That’s SOLID!), even when beat all to heck and lacking half it’s feed system, it still will staple. I bet a good one with all the parts intact would be a sharp-looking stapler too. I’m on the lookout for one, maybe in green, in much nicer condition.
A Typecast Blog by The Right Reverend Theodore Munk