Memodyne M80 Digital Cassette Recorder

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Tue May 10 00:23:32 CDT 2016

On 05/09/2016 01:33 PM, Sean Caron wrote:

> I found some interesting information about it in the Appendices of
> this technical report:
> Apparently the product was used in several documented data
> acquisition applications over the course of the early '80s.

If you were around in, say, 1975, this box would be no mystery at all.

"Glass TTYs" were getting cheaper than the mechanical sort and used less
paper.  The problem was what to do about the paper tape thing.

That's where these boxes came in.  You hooked them inline between your
terminal and its host (could be a modem, or a computer or a leased line)
and instead of paper tape, you could use Philips audio cassettes, which
held quite a bit.

I used a two-deck Techtran model that could go to 9600 bps.  One deck
was read/write, the other was read-only.  You could, via control codes,
perform copying and editing between the two decks--you could even search
for a (short) string.  The mechanism was two-track (clock+data).  You
could purchase data casettes that were better suited to saturation
recording than the audio sort.

CNC gear up through the 1980s often had cassette decks or paper tape
readers, as did large embroidery machines.  Eventually, these were
replaced by boxes with floppy drives, which today, are still around, but
with floppy emulators in place of floppy drives.

That the Memodyne was intended to be hooked between a terminal and a
host is witnessed by the two connectors--one DB25F and one DB25M on the
back panel.

Really, it's just that simple.


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