Tri, Tri Again

A project log for DATAPE

Data on cassette tape (DATa tAPE)

Blaine MurphyBlaine Murphy 11/10/2017 at 08:450 Comments

In my previous test I tried encoding information using cusps to no avail. The tape player rounded off sharp changes at higher frequencies, but did a decent job at preserving the general shape of the waveform. The only major distortions that appeared were at zero-crossings near bit changes and during long runs of 1s or 0s.

I simplified the x^2 waveform to a triangle wave to avoid slope changes near zero when bit flips occur. I tested this waveform with the speeds I have tried in other tests: 300, 1200, 2400, 4800 bits/sec. I used a test pattern of "010100110000111100000000..." to see how the DC offset issue affects long runs of repeating bits.

300 bits/sec:

1200 bits/sec:

2400 bits/sec:

4800 bits/sec:

At higher bit rates the DC centering seems to occur less, but is still an issue for long runs of the same bit. I decided to tests at 9600 bits/sec to see if even higher speeds would help more:

9600 bits/sec:

It appears that a simple triangle pulse shape might be a feasible start to high data rate tape storage. Because of the DC centering issues I'll be limited to fairly high data rates (for tape) of 2400 bits/sec and above. My script has some issues with creating smooth transitions at 9600 bits/sec, but I'm not really worried about that because soon I'll be starting encoder and decoder development in C. My next task will be finding a balanced line code to try and combat DC offset issues.