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Thread: Epson HX-20 - Saving prog/data to .WAV

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Epson HX-20 - Saving prog/data to .WAV

    Hello,

    I have an Epson HX-20, which is still working.

    I have the TF-20 disk unit as well, but this is presently not communicating.

    I had been saving progs to the microcassette, but I believe the rubber band has gone. I've also saved progs to normal cassette, this is still working OK, but it's not ideal, and as soon as you have a few files on one tape, it becomes a problem finding them.

    I have been experimenting with using my laptop, and saving the audio/data output to the laptop as a .WAV file. This works quite well, the save and load processes are just like using a normal cassette method, the BIG benefit is that the .WAV method results in a set of discreet .WAV files on the laptop, each one for a specific prog/file, each one of which can be readily re-loaded onto the HX. MUCH more convenient.

    Almost as convenient as if the TF-20 disk unit was still functional.

    The one 'loss' compared say to the TF is that I cannot do anything else with the files. Or can I???

    The .WAV is the audio file sampled, and stored. I can create a prog that can read, and process, the .WAV - doing searches via Google suggest you CAN convert a .WAV into ASCII or BINARY, but the links don't seem to mean quite what they say, or what I want. I'd like to find a way to process the samples back into binary, and then into ASCII, to produce a file just like what I'd have saved on the TF. The data is there, I'd just need to decode it?

    According to the HX technical info, the audio file represents the binary data using a 1 Khz tone for binary 1, and a 2 khz tone for binary 0. So, I suppose that by tracking the waveform (via the sample info) in relation to time/duration, it should be possible to determine where there are 2 peaks in a given unit, rather than 1? I know what the data OUGHT to be, as I can read the original on the computer. The tech info suggests an overall bit rate on the tape of 1300 bps, which seems reasonable for an average of 1 Khz and 2 Khz elements.

    Anyone know if anything has been done before on these lines. This sort of thing might apply to any other vintage computer that saves files to cassette as well?

    Geoff

  2. #2

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    From what i recall there is a program called HXtape that can do such conversions, it is for Linux so i didn't tried it.
    For saving programs you can use .MP3 format as it takes less space than WAV. I personally use mono .MP3 files for this job.

    When you want to have program in ASCII format without need for conversions you can use RS232. You may need to make the cable by yourself, it should not be a problem as documentation is available over the internet. You will need DSUB9 connector aswel as 8 pin DIN connector. This is also recommended way to transfer programs between 2 Epsons.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Thanks for the note.

    How's your HX doing?

    I've had a quick look at what info is there regarding HXtape, where it is referred to as software to connect to a PC via a sound card (in the PC). No reference to doing anything with the file saved. So the prog seems to be doing what I can do anyway using the connectors on the laptop.

    I've no problem with the .WAV files. Yes, they're pretty big, but there's no problem with disk space. I think I'd happily trade size for reliability, and the .WAV files seem pretty reliably. Also, if it IS possible to do the things I'm thinking about, then the .WAV has more info, and no compression, so the raw data is prob easier to process.

    Long ago, I used serial connection for various things, I've prob got a serial cable somewhere. While the TF drive unit was working, this was never necessary as I could read the TF disks on my PCW CP/M machine, and later on, access the disks on a PC using 22disk. Might still need to connect to a serial printer mind you, that would be help. I've still got an old STAR printer that I can open up and change between Centronics to Serial by moving a connector.

    Geoff

  4. #4
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    Further to the above, I've been looking at the contents of the .WAV, and it was seeming a bit daunting.

    I have used the W7 SoundRecorder prog, and this has limited options, and records the data at 44100, 16 bit, stereo, which is certainly overkill.

    I've looked at the XP version of the same prog, which has more options, incl a convert option. But, it will work (naturally) with 60 secs ONLY (although I've seen that there may be a 'workaround')?

    I've tried a smaller file, which is less than 60 secs, and this has allowed me to convert the file to 22050, 8 bit, mono. This much smaller file will still 'LOAD' into the HX. More significantly, when I look at the contents of this file, it looks MUCH more hopeful, in terms of there being more sign of recogniseable bit pattern (something the convert process has done ?)

    The docs I looked at before suggested a specific wave-form. The data now looks much more like a square wave with possible discreet High and Low points (i.e. on and off). The previous docs had just such a wave right below the (more) sine-wave type illustration.

    Anyone know if the sine type wave was just illustration, and the more square type wave is more the reality?

    Geoff

  5. #5

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    I was never making any anaiysis so i can't help. But i can suggest you to use Audacity program. It is free and it offers so many options.
    Audacity is what i am using for recording my programs.

  6. #6
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    Just for information, thanks to some major input from someone (thanks robcfg) on the Amstrad CPC/PCW forum - who seems to have done some similar work with Dragon cassette files - there is some progress being made.

    Getting the full format of the cassette file determined, and making sense of the data in the .WAV, so should be possible to get the ASCII files out of the .WAV without too much problem.

    More of a problem to get ASCII data converted back, as there's all the 'punctuation' of the cassette file to re-create, plus ditto for the .WAV, but NOT impossible.

    I'd assume that something similar could be possible for any other vintage computer using cassette storage??

    Geoff
    Last edited by GeoffB17; October 29th, 2017 at 04:00 PM.

  7. #7

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    Its been done with Apple II cassette programs already and emulators directly support loading these files direct from "cassette". Speaking of HX-20 cassettes, I have two cassettes originally sold by Epson filled with games and productivity software for the HX-20. I'd like to eventually archive them.

  8. #8
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    Guisborough, England
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    The SAVE and LOAD is not a problem using normal tools.

    I'm trying to go some steps further, i.e. to access the saved files the same way (or at least similar) as you would if they were saved to floppy disk.

    As for your HX tapes, if you've got a HX and a working cassette drive (micrcassette ??) then you'd need toLOAD onto the HX, then save to computer. That's what I've been doing with some bits I had on tape.

    If you've NOT got a HX, then you can play the files on a mc player, and hope it is speed consistent. Recorded that way, should still LOAD. I've recently loaded a prog that was 'salvaged' from a mc in that way, so I know that can be done.

    If you need any further info, let me know.

    My mc is not working (rubber band ??) so I cannot help re that. That's partly why I started this 'project'.

    Geoff

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by njroadfan View Post
    Its been done with Apple II cassette programs already and emulators directly support loading these files direct from "cassette". Speaking of HX-20 cassettes, I have two cassettes originally sold by Epson filled with games and productivity software for the HX-20. I'd like to eventually archive them.
    When you archive them let us know. I'd like to try what's on them.

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