Feeling a little nostalgic? Dying to read some paper ticker tapes? You can do it manually, but that’d take forever! [NeXT] decided to make a little PCB to help him out.
Having searched for paper tape readers for years, and even getting halfway through building the mechanical portion of it in his high-school tech class, [NeXT] decided to take a serious stab at it — and by golly, it works!
The reason he finally decided to go down this route is because you just can’t buy them (well, for cheap), and even the DIY or hobby ones out there are notoriously slow — what better reason to design it from scratch?
What we love about this hack is its clever reuse of perfboard — it just so happens that the spacing of his paper tape holes line up perfectly with the holes in the perfboard! Don’t you love it when engineers work together with nice, even, standard units? After discovering this it was just a matter of adding some photo-transistors on one side of the perfboard sandwich, and LEDs on the other side. A bit of soldering, some Schmitt triggers, and an Arduino Pro Mini later… and bam you have a serial output of data!
The funny thing is — he does actually have a working ASR33 Teletype reader — but it’s too slow. Maybe we should mail him the secret message Hack42 gave us on paper tape when we visited them in the Netherlands!