Tape delay made from recycled cassette decks

Professional tape delay units are great fun, but often expensive. You’d think that with so many derelict cassette decks filling the world’s dumpsters someone must have figured out a way to make a cheap tape delay… not only in the interest of saving money (sometimes quality is worth paying for) but also in the interest of re-using otherwise wasted resources.

Forosdeelectronica forum user [Dano] has made just such a device from used cassette decks and miscellaneous parts (translated). First he investigated the operation of the playback, erase, and record mechanisms and broke out the tape heads. The playback head is on a plastic rail so that the delay time can be changed, while the record head is fixed. [Dano] encountered some difficulties in ensuring good quality for the recording and erasure, which is an important consideration when working with magnetic tape.

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Cassette case cameraphone tripod

We see a lot of comments on shaky video asking why that person didn’t use a tripod. [Aatif Sumar] wants to use one when taking pictures and video with his phone but the threaded mounting hole you’d find in most cameras doesn’t come as a feature on smart phones. That didn’t deter him, he used an old cassette case for this phone tripod. The build started with a cheap flexible camera tripod. [Aatif] used a soldering iron to melt a hole in a plastic cassette case. We’re apprehensive about relying on the plastic’s ability to hold threads so we’re recommend epoxy to reinforce the joint. A bit more melting with the iron and he had a cradle on legs with a hole for the camera lens. It’s nothing fancy, but it also cost him next-to-nothing.

More car audio input hacking

[Dave] pulled the head unit out of his dashboard to add an iPod input. He took a much more invasive route than the other hack we saw a few days ago. He actually patched into the audio lines going from the Dolby reader head chip to the amplifier.

The first step was to trick the deck into thinking it had a cassette inserted. He scoped an enable pin on one of the chips to discover the timing and emulated that signal using a PIC microprocessor. From there he popped off the chip that reads the tape data, patching directly into the audio out traces. This presented some noise issues when charging the iPod but [Dave] fixed that with some decoupling capacitors.

Adding an input to an old head unit

Tape decks in cars? Yes, that used to be quite common before optical media took over road. [Nirav Patel's] 2004 Toyota Corolla had a deck that he used with a tape adapter in order to listen to music from his iPhone. But one day something happened and, although the adapter still worked, the cassette player started making distracting noises. [Nirav] set out to quiet the noise and install an auxiliary audio input for the sound system. There were some tripping points along the way, like breaking everything and starting a small fire, but perseverance got him to his goal. Because these units are built with compatibility for things like CD changers they have a communications bus called AVC-Lan. This protocol has been sniffed out and documented, and [Nirav] even found an existing audio-input hack that he based his design around. Now he’s able to plug directly into the dash and ditch the cassette adapter.

We’ve seen [Nirav's] work a few times before. He’s shown us a first person shooter controller and his site was a resource in our Launchpad programming with Linux post.

[via Make]

Game Boy video out adapter

A bit light on the details, but we enjoyed seeing this video out device for the Nintendo Game Boy. A parallel cable connects to a modified Game Boy and transmits signals to the adapter which is housed in an old VHS cassette. We gather that some Super Game Boy hardware does the signal processing but from there your guess is probably better than ours.

[NeX] mentions that he originally wanted a screen to be included in the cassette. We’ve seen custom portables with small screens before, but he’s also developed a bare bones hand-held without a screen so that’s where the inclusion in the cassette would have been handy. We also wonder how the images will look on a big TV of the 50+ inch size. [NeX] has been pretty busy with the hacking lately, don’t miss the wire porn of his homemade Game Boy project.

[Thanks Jose]

Analog tape playing glove

The magnetic tape found in audio cassettes can be fun to play with. This installation, called Signal to Noise, relocates the heads from cassette players to the tips of your fingers in the form of a glove. An accompanying wall has vertical strips of tape which you run your fingertips along in order to play back the stored audio. Get the speed right and you can make out what’s on the tapes. Move back and forth and you’ll be scratching like the worst of DJs.

If this were teamed up with a Melloman it would make for quite a performance. See and hear this curious device after the break.

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Quick cheap cassette adapter

[Dane] sent us this super quick tape adapter project. Yes, we know we can go buy one of these for pretty cheap and it will probably sound much better, but really, wouldn’t it be cool to make one? Using a headphone adapter, a couple resisters, some wire, and an old cassette tape, [Dane] shows us how easy it is to build one of our own. You are basically pushing the signal from the headphones through a coil that is up against the tape read head. This is a perfect project to teach beginners about magnetic fields.

[Dane] has sent in some stuff before. You may recall his PWM adio generation with an AVR post several months ago.