MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (TZXDuino / Casduino)

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino, introduction :

The time when data had to be loaded with Datasettes (Computer Cassette Recorders) is long behind us, and as time passes, the media used at the time also slowly decays.
Fortunately, a few years ago there was a development that allowed a digital bitstream containing cassette data to be loaded from an SD card.

First for the Commodore 64 by  Peter Edwards , and later a variant was also made for other systems.

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (TZXDuino / Casduino)

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (PCB) by Edu Arana

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino, the MSX version.

Edu Arana made a special version for the MSX,   the CartridgeDuino Tape Emulator for the MSX, with the special feature that it is a print that can be inserted directly into the card slot of an MSX machine.
This means that the player does not lie around and that a separate power supply (and cable) does not have to be used.
The MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino uses a MicroSD card (Max 32 GB, preferably slower than Class 10, even though this hardware version contains a fix for these types of fast cards, it is better to look at an older (and slower) card
. SD / SDHC card may be formatted in FAT16 or FAT32 (EXFat is not supported).
Motor control is not enabled on this version, but the features are available on the circuit board.

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino , cont.

This digital Datasette emulator can be used twice for MSX computers:

  • As an MSX cartridge (Only the power supply of the CartridgeDuino runs through the cartridge slot, the data transfer simply takes place via a cable with DIN connector for the cassette input of the MSX Machine.
  • Or as a standalone TSXDuino, using the included base the cartridge turns into a functional standalone Datasette emulator and is powered via the Mini USB.

Although the current versions of the firmware support multiple systems, I have created a dedicated MSX version of this product, with a fixed DIN cable to connect to your MSX machine.
Besides the CartridgeDuino and an SD card with software, you don't need anything at all to load games and applications.

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (TZXDuino / Casduino), Close up USB connection

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (TZXDuino / Casduino), standalone TZXDuino with foot

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino , usage:

The CartridgeDuino has 5 push buttons (From Left to Right):

UP                               Allows you to scroll up through file lists and directories.
DOWN                       Allows you to scroll down through file lists and directories.
ROOT (Menu)         Returns to the root of the SD card / calls up the menu if you are in the root.
PLAY (Select)         Starts selected file from a file list or opens a selected directory.
STOP                          Stops the ongoing action

The Arduino Nano itself also has a reset button, which is hidden under the front of the cartridge housing, but a hole has been prepared so that you can access this button from the outside.
(But if you need to reset the Nano, it's just as easy to turn the MSX off and on, as long as you use the CartridgeDuino in the MSX slot)

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino, Troubleshooting :

The message “No SD card”:
Check whether your card is formatted in a supported format (FAT16 / FAT32)
Check whether the SD Card is inserted correctly (insert AND remove by pressing the card)
reset or recycle the power of the MSX Tape Emulator.
Try another SD Card to see if it has the same problems.

Player hangs after logo :
Make sure there are not many files in the root folder, otherwise the SD Card will be as slow as (something very slow), you will have many files, divide them into subdirectories) Try with an empty

SD Card with just a few files to check for compatibility.

Files/folders are displayed with 0 bytes/files:
Make sure the SD Card is inserted correctly and press the reset button
or turn on the power.

Files are out of order:
Reading from the microSD is done in the order they are stored on the card.
(Windows does show them sorted).

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino , note:

I listened carefully to the opinions regarding the idea of ​​a Tape emulator on an MSX cartridge, and the opinions were quite divided, many people think it would be a shame to give up a cartridge slot for this.
But especially those people, the so-called (Re)entrants, who have little or no hardware at their disposal, can easily use a large collection of software without cumbersome cable constructions.
That said, I have designed a nice foot that allows the MSX cartridge to function perfectly as an external device with the cartridge connector nicely protected.
Powering the standalone CartridgeDuino is done by supplying the MINI USB connection of the Nano with power (accessible from outside).

If you want to remove the foot, hold the foot on the side and carefully remove it, the small legs are not sturdy enough to put force on it.


MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (TZXDuino / Casduino), Close up cartridge and Foot

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino (TZXDuino / Casduino), Side view

MSX Tape Emulator CartridgeDuino , Connect:

Only plug the CartridgeDuino into the cartridge slot when the MSX is turned off (and the USB cable is not connected to the CartridgeDuino, the Tape Emulator for the MSX).

Connecting and disconnecting the DIN connector only when the MSX and the CartridgeDuino Tape Emulator for the MSX are turned off.

When removing the DIN plug from the cassette port, make sure that you do not just pull on the plastic housing of the DIN plug, as there is a chance that you will pull the plug apart.
Hold the plug between your thumb and index finger and carefully remove it from the cassette port.

Do not connect power to the USB port when the cartridge is inserted in the slot !!!!

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