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  1. NeXT's Avatar
    For those of you who might of wished for a breakdown of the two PCB layers on this unit, refer to below.

    The rearmost grey layer is the top of the PCB which seems mainly to exist for shielding. The front layer is the back of the PCB and with the two combined it gets a little clearer as to how the two interact with eachother, plus we get a better idea of how the entire board works.
  2. eeguru's Avatar
    This is amazing! Got into my new System/36 5362 with this info. Thanks!
  3. NeXT's Avatar
    It has come to my attention that after Mastervoice folded the technology and pretty much everything reemerged on the market again but from Automated Voice Systems Inc. (AVSI)
    AVSI maintained an internet presence into the 21st century with an arguably extremely dated website where you could continue to find more information on the former mastervoice products, optional accessories, a priceguide which made you want to ask Visa what your credit limit was and as of the last snapshot on the wayback machine ( ) a mention that the Butler in a Box was seen on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and How'd They Do That in January 2005. After this snapshot the website fell into oblivion.
  4. tingo's Avatar
    Thanks for sharing this!
  5. drdanj's Avatar
    Hullo - just to follow up on this - we've started tweaking the ESP8266 modem software to put hardware flow in, and will bring in the other features provided in the "closed" firmwares, but also have done a KiCad schematic and PCB (as yet untested, give me a few weeks) that allows direct programming using an FTDI USB jobby and the Arduino IDE. I've been using lashups with the NodeMCU board/MAX3232 (dirt cheap), and those are detailed in the readme. The RolandJuno account is Paul R's AFAIK. I did request the latest WiFi232 firmware source under the GPL but he's declined to make it available. I can only assume it's a complete clean-room re-write otherwise it would still be covered by the GPL.

    - I should add, the WiFi232 only does software-based hardware-flow control, as this uses a module that gives GPIO pins 13/15 it can do actual hardware based hardware flow control

    Anyway, this is all open source, and will remain so forever
    Updated May 18th, 2018 at 11:01 AM by drdanj
  6. KLund1's Avatar
    Very helpful directions!!
    Where could I purchase the correct foam? It seems hard to find. Links, sites please
  7. NeXT's Avatar
    To add to this, if you wish for a schematic a bit more gentle on the eyes, Punto Flotante over at his website has built an identical device however handles the ESP8266 as a fully 5v module. I praise him for his own efforts and that is a nice custom PCB he has created.
  8. tingo's Avatar
    Nice work on the Logitech mouse there!
  9. Ozzuneoj's Avatar
    Just wanted to thank you for this post! I recently came into possession of a Dimension 68000 keyboard (looks like an XT-style Model F clone) and it was made by Keytronic using an almost identical setup to the Lisa keyboard in this post. It has exactly the same problem with the foam as well.

    As an experiment, I bought some 3/16" adhesive Neoprene on ebay, since it likely lasts significantly longer than basic open cell foam. I made a bunch of replacement pads and installed them and while it does work, the neoprene is much too hard and doesn't compress enough to allow full key travel. I'm not sure if using a 1/8 inch thickness would work, but I don't think so... it feels like it just needs something softer. I've seen some other posts online where people had speculated as to whether neoprene would work or not for this kind of repair, and I would personally say no. If someone wants to experiment with 1/8" or thinner neoprene, it may be worth looking into but would probably still give the keyboard a much different feel (probably not in a good way).

    The process does work perfectly though! I bought a 7/16" punch on eBay to punch holes and used an old mylar party balloon and some spray adhesive to attach it to the neoprene. It was super easy. I'm hoping that whatever foam I can find (maybe some weather stripping?) will also be double-sided adhesive, so I can skip the spray-adhesive step entirely... its 30F outside here, and I don't recommend using spray glue inside.
  10. firebirdta84's Avatar
    Thanks, NeXT, that's quite helpful actually. I'll keep you posted here on my progress!
  11. NeXT's Avatar
    Unfortunately I never drafted a schematic simply because it was such a simple circuit.
    The design was partly inspired by the Raeco TPR-1. The schematic for which is described in Dennis Bathory Kitz' The Custom TRS-80 & Other Mysteries. You can find the book on the Internet Archive ( and the schematic can be found on page 216.
    My design is a bit more primitive however this was due to my lack of expertise. The Raeco design will interface with an Arduino just as well.
    Hope this helps!
  12. firebirdta84's Avatar
    NeXT, congratulations on this! I'm a bit late to the party by 3 years, but your project here is perfect for my next venture. I'd like to build one of these just the same way that you did. Would you happen to have your schematic available? I'll just build one of yours for that, and report back here the process and status.

    A quick Google search on "paper tape reader schematic" reveals this page:


    Scrolling down to his "February 21, 2015: Flights of fancy" section, we see that he links this post on his page as a build resource, and then lower, just below his "February 29th, 2015 update", we see his schematic. Just wondering if you had any feedback on this before I jump into action using this as a schematic resource.

    Thanks for everything!
    Thank you again, nice work!!!!

    Updated May 26th, 2017 at 01:35 PM by firebirdta84
  13. R.F.R.'s Avatar
    That thing looks pretty dope
  14. 1944GPW's Avatar
    Ha, that takes me back. Back in the mid 70s my primary school in Sydney, Australia had exactly this portable VTR and camera. Our teacher happily lugged it around on lots of school excursions, and it even came with us when our class undertook a two-week trip interstate. We then had the fun of watching it on the b/w classroom TV (on a castering pedestal) when we got back.

    Updated February 16th, 2016 at 06:21 PM by 1944GPW (alien invasion)
  15. retrogear's Avatar
    I had factory training from Sony for the MD system. Our shop was a Sony authorized service center. Either it wasn't popular enough or not enough failures because I saw very few come in for service.
    The only thing I remember from the training was that it had two heads side by side for writing to the disc. They were on top of the media. The leading head was a thermal head to heat the media to a certain temperature so the trailing head can use a magnetic signal to toggle the polarity of the molecules in the media. Somehow that affects the amount of light reflected so an optical laser from below the media is used to read it. Quite a marvel in it's day.
    Technology changed so rapidly. I remember CDR technology around the same time but it was a write-once so couldn't compete with this. Eventually CDRW won the battle, but then came flash memory ... There was also the usual format compatibility wars. Sharp developed their own MO system that wasn't compatible with Sony. We were also Sharp authorized and covered a larger region so saw more of those units come in. The basic head theory was the same, just
    different cartridges and formatting.

    Larry G
  16. tipc's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mad-Mike
    I almost wondered how possible it would be to take two identical camera CRTs, slap em' into a home-made binocular-type case, and create a headset "monitor" of sorts for retro-gaming.
    BG-Micro, about 15 years ago, had surplus LCD's virtually the size of postage stamps. They were dirt cheap. Unfortunately I didn't take advantage of the deal.
    I'm not an engineer, but crt's in general put out x-rays. Most, I've been told is absorbed by the thick glass, but some is radiated from the sides. The glass on these things are probably pretty thin, but the x-ray output is probably also weak by comparison. I for one would not want these near my eyes for long periods just the same.
  17. retrogear's Avatar
    Wow, I used to service VHS camcorders. I remember replacing broken CRT tubes. The entire assembly just unplugged at the socket. All the deflection signals were routed thru it.
    I would view it thru the magnifier / mirror to turn the rings to center the display. You needed to view it through the angled mirror because the image is reversed and it affects the centering. Forgot all about those until I saw your pictures. Those were the days ...

    Larry G
  18. NeXT's Avatar
    I do apolagise for sounding a bit rough repeatedly but man, it hurts.
    I'll try and hope that this eventually blows over and I can progress on one of my other projects.
  19. BBenchoff's Avatar
    Hey NeXT! It's the bastard that wrote that hackaday post here. I wouldn't put too much stock into what I write. That guy is probably going to end up being a one-hit wonder (and I would question the legitimacy of the 'hit'; I seem to remember scrounging for posts that day). You, on the other hand, consistently put out great stuff.

    If I were you, I'd keep plugging away at the ASR. Submit it to Hackaday and It'll go up. Don't let that be your motivation. You're probably looking at extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation here. Here's a life hack: ignore extrinsic motivation.

    Email me if you want to talk. I think we might be doing an event this year in the Pacific NW. If I'm out there, I'm going to have to get you a beer.
  20. Rick Ethridge's Avatar
    Just saw this now. I commend your devotion to the task. Have depression except when computing.
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