Category Archives: nostalgia technology

Vor Gameboy und co

 
A trend of the 80’s were  mobile video games. As in the Gameboy, PSP and in the meantime also smartphone times, it was quite practical to have a small, compact game console with you as a young person.

As an example, I dug up one of these “mini consoles”. It is a popular video game called “Trick o Tronic” with a small LCD screen. The difference to today’s LCD displays is that the game image does not consist of individually controlled pixels, which in total show the game figures, but each figure represented in the image was a kind of controllable symbol, so to speak. So, for example, a male had to run from left to right, so every movement and position was present as a separate symbol.

 

The background of the field was simply an image (photo or drawing) behind the LCD that represented the scene. The whole game was powered as well as the former digital clocks, with a 1.5 volt button cell. The sound of the game came from a piezo loudspeaker that could play beeps. (but only with one frequency)
 
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Video8 zu Digital

 

Now, during the holidays, it is a bit of time to copy the time stored on magnetic tape image and sound to new media.

The video recordings of the early 90s were still analogue on 8mm tapes instead. No, not Super8 (that was the movieformat like in cinema those times but much smaller), but on Video8 or HI8 (the better quality variant – comparable to VHS and SVHS, where the “HI” or the “S-” technically by a separate recording of the Y – and C- signal was realized (Y = luminance, so brightness information and C = chrominance, ie color information) .The recording itself, took place on magnetic tape in helical-scan technology (as well as VHS, U-Matic, Betamax, BetaCam, Video2000…). Except that the tape just has a width of 8mm and not 1/2 “or 1 inch, as with other systems. Also the sound is recorded in the helical scan.

In order to get the old records into a digital format that is common today, you need the following four things.
First, the tape (cassette) with the probably exciting content of days gone by. Next, a player is needed.

Here I got myself a then professional HI8 recorder, with which the playback of the tapes should work. The recorder is called EV-S9000E from Sony and came back to the net after almost twenty years break. After a short while, the smell of putrid fish was noticeable. An indication that some electrolytic capacitors of the SMD design are no longer in order. (A well-known problem with devices of older age and elko’s smaller, more compact design.) Nevertheless, I left the recorder on the net and made myself smart, which functions failed because of the numerous, not value-accurate components. So the power supply started and delivers at least. The flourescence indicator has failed. The 60V anode voltage seems to be missing here, no matter the tape drive works, so bring the analog signal to the computer.
 
 
For this I got myself a video to USB converter of elgato. Quickly installed the necessary software and inserted the first tape and pressed “Play”. The picture, however, was a disaster. All lines were totally distorted and offset. (As if the line frequency was wrong). So, before I put everything together again and disappear with the recorder in the workshop, I have again seen in the Config menu of the recorder. There I switched all AUTO options to manual, the television standard on PAL geknüppig and last but not least the TBC (TimeBaseCorrector) off. Lo and behold, the TBC is over too. Actually he should generate an absolutely stable time signal for the video line, but with defective electrics this is no longer possible.
Since I do not have ten tapes to digitize, the recorder should hold out …
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2.5 inches earlier and today

Before it lands in the archive, I have to put it here too …
It is a hard drive from the 90s (exactly 21.10.1991) – namely a 2.5 inch disk from Seagate with the incredible storage capacity of 85.3 MB (yes MEGABYTE). In comparison, a 160 GB (Gigabyte) disk from Fujitsu in 2007.

The Seagate disc with the designation ST-9096 was installed in a Commodore Amiga 1200. It kept the complete Amiga OS 3.1 including plenty of applications space. At that time you could not get that 85MB so easy.
To the technical data: If you want to format it today, you should know the following parameters: 980 cyl, 10 heads, 17 sectors gives a capacity of 85,299,200 bytes. The HDD has a power consumption of 2W in read / write mode and 1W in idlemode. 300mW still consumes it in sleep mode.
Interesting is perhaps even the size comparison to current records.
 
The interface complies with the IDE standard (Integrated Drive Electronics).
Größenvergleich
 /- 44-pin I/O Connector (* see below)
                                      |                     o o
                                    ::::::::::::o::::::::1  o o
                               =P=W=A===========#==================
                                                |           | |
       pin-20 removed for keying ---------------/           | |
                                                            | |
                                                            | |
 Drive is Master, no Slave drive present ------------------ 0 0
 Drive is Master, Seagate Slave drive present ------------- 1 0
 Drive is Slave to another ST9xxxA/ST9xxxA Master --------- 0 1
 Reserved Position (Do Not Use) --------------------------- 1 1

 * Drive uses +5vdc power supplied to the drive
   via the interface connector. The drive does
   NOT make use of a +12vdc power line.
   pin-41  +5vdc (Logic)
   pin-42  +5vdc (Motor)
   pin-43  Ground
   pin-44  Reserved
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