Decoding an old Data Casette format

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Hi, i am now new here, i do have 2 old Manutec R3 industrial Robot arms with an Siemens RCM 2 PC/Controller inside.

These RCM Devices get there data over an RS232 Connection, after battery failure the machine data is lost and must be restored over an old Datasette recorder i do have these data cassette or as they are called compusette but unfortunately not the cassette drive it was an old tekelec cds 1.55 player but i can found nothing about it in the net.

 

i have recorded the datasette and sniffed it with an logic analyzer as the attachment shows, it  should be serial data with 110 to 4800 baud that is converted with the cassette drive, maybe someone has an idea what that encoding is or  how i can convert it. 

i also have the machine data on a peace of paper that is about 10 pages long so i can compare it to the signal.

 

what i am trying to do is to feed the right serial commands in the RS232 input of the RCM 2 Computer, i already have sniffed the data that is command out of it if i want to start the tape input it seems that it is 4800 baud rate after i press return in the serial connection the RCM is Stopping the import, i have to find out what command i must send first, see the second attachment for the data.

 

 

thanks for reading or maybe helping, sorry for my bad English.

Attachment(s): 

Last Edited: Tue. Jan 9, 2018 - 12:47 AM
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I don't believe that the cassette tape format is in 4800-baud RS232 8/N/1 (or 8 data/no parity/2 stop bits).   I suspect that the RS232 interface (with all the handshaking) was for a different machine operation instead of cassette data storage.  Maybe the PC interface.

It is possible that the cassette is in "non-return-to-zero" or a variant where bits change states when they are logic 1 and don't change states at logic zero every 250 microseconds or so.  But if that were true, there would many more long pulses.

Maybe the original company in Germany would have more information.

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This looks like 80's era technology.

Your bit stream seems to have only 2 pulse widhts which suggest some form of frequency modulation.

Just as with the good old C64:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co...

In those days there were plenty of hobbyists making their own digital interface to analog casette players.

 

Manutec R3 looks like a decent robot arm. Maybe you can do something with these links:

https://www.youtube.com/results?...

https://github.com/rene-dev/stmbl

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Tue. Jan 9, 2018 - 01:37 AM
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I don't quite understand, if you can sniff the RS232 data why not use a terminal program with capture and save the data? Then you can throw away the cassette stuff as you can make as many digital copies of the data as you like.

John Samperi

Ampertronics Pty. Ltd.

www.ampertronics.com.au

* Electronic Design * Custom Products * Contract Assembly

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I will upload a picture of these arms so you guys can see what i am talking about.

 

@Simonetta 

The format on the tape will not be in rs232 format but my goal is to convert it to it. As the manual says the connection between the tape deck and the RCM 2 is in RS232 so the dape deck is converting it to rs232 but since i dont find any information about the tapedeck its so complicated.i allready talked to Siemens wich is the company behind the Manutec and RCM but one support call cost 250€ because these robot arms are so old and im doing it just for fun :)

At "non-return-to-zero" the top and bottom would be different and not so syncron i think ?! Thanks for your answer.

 

@Paulvdh

thats right, the robots were build in 1984.

It looks very similar to the "datasette" protocoll but the "start sequenc" is totaly different to it, this is everytime the same. I found some programs that will decode a datasette to more readable data but for that i need to know the encoding. 

these links are nice, but they are going i different direction they ripped all electronics from the arm and rebuild it from scratch because no part is broken on my ones i want to leave it as much as i can.

 

@js

Thats right, i totaly want to do that, but i dont have the other side of the rs232 connection so i can only sniff the master rs232 as in attachment 2 of the first post. And normaly the tapedeck would send some data back so they see eachother and after that the data is transmitted.i dont have the tapedeck.

If i know the protocoll i would use an arduino and build a smal device to upload and download the data to the RCM controller.

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Nice photo's.

Looks like plenty of opportunity to have lots of fun.

The dot matrix display is especially beautifull.

I hope the gears and such are not worn out too much.

 

Electronics that old is likely to develop some faults.

Worn out electrolytic cap's are the first to go.

Electronics have also developed quite a lot during that time.

Add it all up and you have the reasons why it's common to replace all electronics.

 

 

 

 

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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Purely out of interest: are you intending using these in "paying" work, or is this just a "museum" project?

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By chance I was looking for a missing file and found I still had the bookmark for a 1970s era computer.  The Sol-20 by processor technology.   This was the first 'Turnkey' home PC shipped.  They shipped 10,000 to Apple's 150.

 

Anyway these early PCs used cassette interfaces.  What is interesting is that the Sol-20 emulator emulates the cassette player http://www.sol20.org/solace/solace_tape.html  There are also programs to recover the old data tapes.  I still have one laying around (Might be from a commodore PET though.)

 

As for Siemens, they have a large presence locally here 25 miles NE of San Francisco,  in the heavy industry (Oil refining district.) They have been here for decades.  I remember the industrial robots from the 1970s (I Was in high school, so could not et a job. By the time I finished College this stuff was obsolete.) Anyway it is quite possible that the tape interface came out of the same Berkeley industrial group and where the PC got it's cassette interfaces from.

 

As for PT,  they were a company with no second act.  Unable to ship an 8" floppy drive system, Apple eclipsed them with better marketing and Color graphics.  Although it still had the cassette interface. (But not the tape deck relay system.)

 

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Hi back again, 

 

@Paulvdh 

Yes even if everything goes wrong i have these nice displays :D 

on one robot the 3 axis has a little play but when the brake are not active i can move all axis smooth i will see how this will goes.

New electronics would be my last choice, but then i would just renew the RCM Computer i got all the pin-outs from the servo drivers and encoders so that is an option.

i know that companys still do a retrofit of these model so its not a "new" thing.

 

@awneil

 i just do it for fun :) i like to play around with electronics and found some old tech recently, see my video about a laser engraver i found on a site like craigslist.

https://youtu.be/GkLO3aTMDug

 

@jporter 

i just googled the Sol-20 find it a nice mashine the design looks great. 

with your info i was able to find the Kansas City standard, the format these tapes used to be. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/...

see the attachment from one sample i found. http://www.retrotechnology.com/r...

 

the tapedeck that i am searching for is from an own company called tekelec so it was not made by Siemens itself, you can use 3 or 4 different devices to recover the data but unfortunately the ones i got where backup-ed with the tekelec tape-deck

here is one example what was also used here with a diskette: https://www.ebay.de/itm/ROBOT-CO...

 

that looks very promising, i have to say thank you :)

 

 

 

 

 

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Ah, yes - good ol' "Kansas City standard" ...

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Hi, i am back 

 

i was able to find a program that is emulating the cassette drive completely so i did not need to demodulate the tape itself. 

 

with the infos i found i was able to make my own "cassette emulator" and bring the Robot Arm back to life. 

 

here is a short video of the first movements: https://youtu.be/9eiFM4Hswns

 

 

thanks everyone for helping :)

Last Edited: Thu. Feb 1, 2018 - 06:00 PM
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That's awesome, great job!

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

"Make XMEGA Great Again!"  - Greg Muth

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Looks like a good start for a time consuming hobby :)

Have fun.

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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How cool!

 

I'm so envious!

 

Thanks for posting the video, it is great to see the arm work!

 

JC
 

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Thanks for the kind words :)

Will try to post some new videos when there is more to show

Last Edited: Thu. Feb 1, 2018 - 07:49 PM
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Some pointers for software:

"Ros industrial" is an open source package for controlling industrial robots.

It can do quite complicated things such as "inverse kinematics"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In...

There are some tutorials on youtube.

http://rosindustrial.org/

https://www.youtube.com/results?...

 

Another less ambitious way is to control your robot with grbl.

Grbl is a quite small package which can run on an AVR and is usually used for CNC machines & stepper motors.

You can find some examples on Hackaday, which links to a bunch of other sites with ideas & code.

https://hackaday.com/?s=robot

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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If only it could reach into that frig behind it and get a cold one and open it! 

 

 

Jim

 

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Thank you for that
the reason I wanted to bring the RCM Controller back to life is because it includes the inverse kinematics.

The servo controller inside of the Robot arm is unfortunately not so easy to control you can give it zero to ten volt to + or - and on the other side you have signal input from.the encoders all that is done by the controller and I can give it the coordinates
Only my last Option would be to rebuild this

Have a nice day

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Cool! Now have the robot open the fridge, grab a cold beer and pfssshhht it for you!

As of January 15, 2018, Site fix-up work has begun! Now do your part and report any bugs or deficiencies here

No guarantees, but if we don't report problems they won't get much of  a chance to be fixed! Details/discussions at link given just above.

 

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JohanEkdahl wrote:

Cool! Now have the robot open the fridge, grab a cold beer and pfssshhht it for you!

I wish Jim (ki0bk) had made that comment!wink

"void transmigratus(void) {transmigratus();} // recursio infinitus" - larryvc

"It's much more practical to rely on the processing powers of the real debugger, i.e. the one between the keyboard and chair." - JW wek3

"When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive: to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." -  Marcus Aurelius

"Make XMEGA Great Again!"  - Greg Muth

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 2, 2018 - 10:16 PM
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Crasy Drunkard wrote:
Cool! Now have the robot open the fridge, grab a cold beer, pfssshht and give it to Jim.
Make it give one to you too.

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 2, 2018 - 10:35 PM