Tonight’s #retrocomputing: my favorite kit from the late 70s, the OAE Op-80A paper tape reader. Very simple, just 11 chips (nine 555s to denounce the phototransistors, a flip-flop to latch the parallel output based on the feed hole, and a few NAND gates). You provided the motive power for pulling the tape through, not too fast for whatever you were sending the parallel output to. I used it to write Apple I programs offline on paper tape and type them in fast, before we got the tape interface.
@Cdespinosa I love the simplicity of it. Now I want to find one and hook it up to a modern computer through USB via a microcontroller.
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@Cdespinosa Wow, that's some serious data storage. I'm impressed; a bit before my time. C64 didn't have anything like that, I don't think.
@Cdespinosa Before I got started with FPGAs, I was seriously thinking of using something like this to boot my homebrew single-board computer concept, then built aruond the 65816 processor. The "ROM" code would have basically consisted of just a bunch of LDA/STA instructions to copy bytes into RAM, then a final JMP to kick off the code in RAM.
I never got that far though. I ended up going with FPGAs before then.
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