PART 6: Other tidbits, specifications, references
Link references at the bottom.
ITEM 1: Tape Speed
The tape speed specification is 4.75 cm/sec (from the manuals).
ITEM 2: What’s the colorized rectangle between the spindles?
In the flat space between the two spools, there is a reflective tape, orange tape, or sometimes yellow tape – this is used to help identify how much tape is remaining on either spool (by having greater contrast behind the tape to better see the etched index marks).
ITEM 3: AC Power Notes
As an overall observation, these all use the same 120V AC cable (except the CCR-82 which lacks the direct AC power option).
ITEM 4: DC Power Notes
A 6v AC to DC adapter will work (check the plug style, diameter is about 2.1mm). Can try searching eBay for “Universal Adjustable AC/DC Power Adapter” or “6V DC adapter negative center” for one with multiple plug styles and suited for 6V to 12V (the one I found was $8). But “official” Radio Shack Catalog Number 273-1454 can also be found, also under $10. [or per CCR-82 manual: UK = 14-9854, AUS = 14-9521 ]. On the specifications of DC adapters, they’ll have a little symbol indicating polarization. Below is a guide on what symbol to look for (inner circle “opened” towards the negative side, indicating “center negative”). The “wrong” polarization won’t break the recorder electronics, but it will cause the motors to spin in reverse (thus FWD, RWD, and PLAY won’t operate in the correct direction). If in doubt, then seek the “official” Radio Shack 273-1454 part number.
NOTE: If you can’t find an adapter with the “correct” polarization, you can also get a “Reverse Polarity Converter Cable 5.5 x 2.1mm Adaptor”. These are very simple cables (just invert the wires), and it’s a lot of overhead to just send one cable, so I see eBay vendors offering these adapters in “packs of 3.” Using this kind of adapter lets you “undo” the reverse polarity later, as needed.
NOTE: If you have the tools, you can cut the wires, strip the ends, and reverse them yourself (then use heat shrink and/or electrical tape to put things back together). That’s effectively all the “reverse polarity converter cables” is doing – just swapping the wires (but cleaner and also nicer since you can easily reverse it back and use the DC adapter for other things as needed).
NOTE: In all of these, the Amps rating doesn’t really matter. It impacts the size/diameter of the wires used. Too small of wires and a larger current draw will cause the wires to heat up and become a potential fire hazard. But these CCR’s aren’t very high speed and sip electricity at just ~150mA, so even a 1A spec. is fine, 2A is overkill but would allow using that DC adapter for other variety of devices that may draw more current. Main thing is just stick with a 6V adapter, as a higher voltage will impact the spindle spin rates and can burn/damage the motor.
ITEM 5: Battery Notes
All models (except smaller CCR-82) use 4x “C” batteries. The CCR-82 uses 4x “AA” batteries. The manual also states that battery usage is not recommended for computer usage, because once the batteries drains, that will decrease the performance the motors and effect recording speed. It may not be noticed for voice recording, but will interrupt the expecting spacing that the ROM save/load routines expect.
ITEM 6: Connections
How is the standard Tandy Cassette cable suppose to be used? The original TRS-80 Level 1 manual describes the connections on page 5. These instructions remain unchanged for later models (except that the Dummy Plug is no longer necessary on the later CCR models).
From CTR-80A manual: (mono-plug)
- VCF CCR 2020 forum discussion HERE
- VCF CCR 2021 forum discussion HERE
- Use of Tandy CCR on IBM 5150 HERE (and notes on use of smartphone)
- Cassette Tape Info for TRS-80 Users (CTR-4X, CTR8X): https://manualzz.com/doc/22361795/radioshack-tape
- DestinyHunter (HERE): a game produced in 2021, designed to be loaded from tape onto 32KB systems [PET, C64, Apple 2, TRS-80 Model 3, IBM PC]