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Thread: Something Different - DECTalk DTC03

  1. #11
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    Glen,

    Thanks for posting that link here (in this thread, for completeness). That's the link that had been broken for a long time which the fellow who runs VT100.net just fixed a couple days ago after I wrote to him. It's a great manual and explains all the escape codes (for controlling non-spoken features) and the phonemic instructions (ones in [square brackets] ) that are spoken. It also provides the functions of the dip switches on the board (for setting baud rate/data bits and some phone line functionality options.) It was also amusing to find a short list of literature references listing works written by the linguist who did the algorithm development.

    John,

    No specific plans yet, but I have always had some interest in speech synthesis since we got a TI-99 speech synthsizer in 1984 or so. I have played with the TI TMS5220 speech chip which speaks by being sent an LPC10 data stream. However, one needs a library of LPC10 phoneme data to assemble the data stream, and then on top of that, you need a text to phoneme algorithm. In the TI-99, the phoneme data was on a ROM in the speech synthesizer sidecar and the text to phoneme algorithm was in the Terminal Emulator II cartridge. When I played with the TMS5220 on its own, I used a PC to send the LPC10 stream, built from phoneme data for a limited number of full words that was also stored in (and had been copied out of) the TI-99 speech synthesizer rom. I did obtain and install, but never tried to make my own LPC10 streams, with a Win3.1 application for digitizing speech from the PC microphone, processing, and making an LPC10 file.

    At any rate, all off that does not make for a compact, stand alone text to speech device. The DECtalk is perfect for that. I was thinking I could put this on the pdp 8/e, so that when playing Adventure, the DECtalk can read the instructions out loud. I may also play a bit with the voices other than Perfect Paul, or perhaps seeing if I could work out a custom voice that I liked.

    Lou

  2. #12

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    Ah, fun. It can do custom voices, too? Wow.
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  3. #13

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    Hmm, according to the manual you can do direct intonation/pitch control; be fun to have it sing
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
    Synthesizers: Roland JX-10/SH-09/MT-32/D-50, Yamaha DX7-II/V50/TX7/TG33/FB-01, Korg MS-20 Mini/ARP Odyssey/DW-8000/X5DR, Ensoniq SQ-80, E-mu Proteus/2, Moog Satellite, Oberheim SEM
    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  4. #14

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    The mp3:s seems to be gone, but here are some songs you could try:
    https://www.msu.edu/course/asc/232/s...20Singing.html
    Looking for: anything from SGI or DEC/digital
    Pictures of my collection: www.pdp8.se

  5. #15

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    This is a really neat project. Congratulations for getting it to work!

    Does this version connect to the phone like the DECtalk 1 does?

    Pontus, I checked out the link you sent and they have an embedded player. I had to allow Windows Media Player for them to appear.
    Last edited by Old Computers; January 4th, 2013 at 12:50 PM. Reason: Forgot to add something

  6. #16
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    By overwhelming popular demand, here are the pinouts:

    Guide photo to show how I chose to label the pins : http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcfo...chmentid=11500

    Connector pinout tables : http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcfo...chmentid=11501


    Yes, the DTC03 certainly has phone line provisions. I did not bother to bring them out to the back of my enclosure since I will not be using the phone interface. However, the pins are indicated in the pinout table.

    A few other comments.

    1. The +5V lines go through a 3A fuse on the board
    2. The +12V lines go through a 1A fuse
    3. The -12V lines go through a 3/4A fuse
    (this is useful for determining what size power supply to provide)

    4. The DB25 pins I mention would be for wiring to a DB25M DTE connector


    Hope this helps,
    Lou
    Last edited by Lou - N2MIY; January 5th, 2013 at 05:44 AM.

  7. #17

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    I just got my own DECtalk in the mail yesterday. I do have a couple of questions:

    Is the audio out amplified, or do I need to amplify it myself?
    Do I need a null modem cable, or can I connect it directly to a terminal.

    Thanks.

    I tried to power it up, but I am unfortunately getting an error code with the LEDs. OK is solid, SP blinks, RI is solid, and OH blinks. Could not having the loopback connection cause this?
    Last edited by Old Computers; January 15th, 2013 at 03:20 PM. Reason: Added more info

  8. #18
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    The audio out is not amplified. That's why I put a little board with an LM386 in my enclosure. As for the serial cable, my pinout provides the list of connections to a DB25M wired DTE. Any good terminal (all dec terminals) have DB25M connectors wired DTE. That would mean that one does need a null modem cable to connect the DTE wired dectalk to a DTE wired terminal. Basically, when I build anything with a connector on it, I wire it DTE (because DCE is for modems).

    I did not consult the manual to read what your error code is, but you do need to provide all three power supplies (+5/-12/+12).With absolutely nothing connected, my DTC03 passes its self tests and only OK is lit when the self tests are done.

    Lou

  9. #19

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    I checked the manual and it just says to contact a service center when there is an error code (unless I don't see something). I did a search for a service manual, but I cannot seem to find any matches for this particular unit.

    I did connect each voltage. The -12v is a little bit off (around 11.4-11.5v), but the rest are okay. I even tried a different power supply to see if that was the problem, but that did not work.

    I would try re-seating the chips, but they are very hard to remove and I am afraid that I will damage them, even with the proper tool. I did manage to re-seat the chip under the metal plate, but I have not checked to see if that did anything. Trying different valid switch settings does not seem to help, although I can confirm that they work correctly because the self test takes a longer when set to a lower baud.

    One interesting thing that I noticed that might be help to diagnose this is that before the error code displays, the SP light fashes very briefly and I can hear a slight chirp from the board. I listened at several different startups and I can confirm that the chirp does not come from the PSU.

  10. #20
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    The chip under the metal plate is an 80186. it's already working fine for you to be getting the response you have seen. Reseating the proms though is something that I myself would try.

    Is it possible to exchange this board with the seller for another one? If not, it will get tough fast since there is no print set available.

    I often worry about bit rot in eproms. I have a lot of projects going at the moment, but I do think that I should dump the eproms sooner rather than later. If I do this, do you have a prom burner to check my images against the contents of your eproms? Let's first hope though that the seller can do an exchange.

    Lou

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