mayhem69
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Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:58 pm

Ive heard talk of somehow using the Raspberry Pi to read old punched paper tape? If anyone can confirm this please let me know asap! Here is some pics. of it from 1969.
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W. H. Heydt
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 12:26 am

It should be possible to interface a paper tape reader to a Pi. Probably the easiest would be RS-232C to a USB to RS-232 adapter. First find your paper tape reader....

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Gavinmc42
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:52 am

Someone made a paper reader from phototransistors?
https://hackaday.com/2014/05/02/reading ... m-scratch/
I'm dancing on Rainbows.
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gstewart
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:01 am

I built a punched paper tape reader with an Arduino quite a while ago. It outputs the data read through serial over USB, so you need a terminal program (say on a Raspberry Pi) to capture the output.

I've been meaning to upload this stuff for others for a long time, and your post jogged me into it. Merry Christmas!

https://github.com/gav-/PaperTapeReader
11-Tape reader attached to Arduino Uno.jpg
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Milliways
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 6:53 am

More than 30 years ago we used paper tape for logging which we sent to a computer centre for reading.

In the lab we knocked up a reader which let you pull tape through by hand (or faster with a tape spooler).
The original used TTL & a UART, but it would be even simpler with a Pi (or Arduino).

No complex logic is required - just 9 photo transistors - it is vital to use the sprocket hole for clocking as the smaller size guarantees that other inputs are valid, although if the code uses parity (ours didn't) you can derive clock from 8 inputs, but this actually complicates the design.

mayhem69
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:37 am

Are any of you nearby South East Pa? I have about 60 ft of very important tape i need read or decoded for cash.

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PeterO
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 10:58 am

You could try contacting owners of vintage computers like PDP-11s who are most likely to have working tape readers attached to their old machines.
You may find contacts my googling for "Vintage Computer Festival".
I have a reader, but I'm rather a long way away from you !
PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

hippy
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:16 pm

Finding an old ASR33 or something else with a punch tape reader would be the easiest solution. If you can find something with an electrostatic reader it can be read in mere seconds.

For DIY I would also suggest an optical solution. If not wanting to build the entire thing you could use just two sensors and run it through multiple times moving the hole detector each time.

Wire prongs and a metal base plate can work, is lower cost. That risks causing damage to the tape but I presume speed is not of the essence and being slow and gentle will minimise that.

Another option may be image recognition, video or still photos and decoding that.

60 foot is about 7000 characters so it wouldn't be impossible to do it entirely by hand.

mayhem69
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 1:42 pm

the problem is i am a total noob with this stuff. I would rather find someone and pay them. Its only around 60ft.

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rpdom
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 2:58 pm

Maybe scan it or take photos with a dark background and email them to be decoded?

B&W images would be best and I'm sure someone would be interested in the challenge of writing a decoder.

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PeterO
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:21 pm

Looking at the provided pictures I don't believe the tape contains human readable text. It looks more like a programme tape of some sort. My experience is with 5 hole tapes, but human readable tapes (such as programme source code) have a higher density of holes.

mayhem69, do you have any idea what the tape contains ?

PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

mayhem69
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:22 pm

PeterO wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 3:21 pm
Looking at the provided pictures I don't believe the tape contains human readable text. It looks more like a programme tape of some sort. My experience is with 5 hole tapes, but human readable tapes (such as programme source code) have a higher density of holes.

mayhem69, do you have any idea what the tape contains ?

PeterO
Hi Peter, it was written "Lunar Landing" on the paper tape. It was punched in White Sands, NM at the US govt secret facility. There are also 2 small black tapes which state "medic" and "abc". Ill attach another pic.
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PeterO
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:33 pm

Here's another DIY read project: http://www.vcfed.org/forum/entry.php?45 ... om-scratch
PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

cjketle
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:57 pm

That looks very like Honeywell series 16 tapes (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeywell_316). IIRC (and it was a *long* time ago) medic was a debugger program and the tape illustration looks like the '5-5-6' binary format used to punch out on an ASR33 without printing anything. If you are looking for black helicopter material you might be disappointed, I suspect Lunar Lander is an early game :-)

Paper tape should be readable with a home made contraption - it is nothing special, though as others have remarked the quickest way is probably to photograph/scan it and decode it from the images - unless you can find a tape reader from somewhere.

Chris K

cjketle
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:17 pm

OK, a bit more supposition. It looks like you have what was called a 'Self Loading System Tape' that loads a program into address '1000, the usual start address. 60 feet of tape will be about 30 x 12 x 10, about 3.5K words. In other words a 3K ish word program - ie not really enough to do very much. Suspect it is a bit of a Friday afternoon response to the moon landings.

To relate it to the Pi, SimH (which will run well on any Pi) has a Series 16 simulator.

Chris K

mayhem69
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:57 am

cjketle wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 4:57 pm
That looks very like Honeywell series 16 tapes (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honeywell_316). IIRC (and it was a *long* time ago) medic was a debugger program and the tape illustration looks like the '5-5-6' binary format used to punch out on an ASR33 without printing anything. If you are looking for black helicopter material you might be disappointed, I suspect Lunar Lander is an early game :-)

Paper tape should be readable with a home made contraption - it is nothing special, though as others have remarked the quickest way is probably to photograph/scan it and decode it from the images - unless you can find a tape reader from somewhere.

Chris K
HI Chris, what is "black helicopter material"? Are you saying this is a game? I suppose the best way to read this tape is from taking pictures? But how do i interpret and do this? Are you nearby in southeast Pa? Would you be willing to help with some cash? We just need to know what was punched.

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rpdom
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:21 pm

"Black helicopter" is "Secret government operations" conspiracy material.

I'll assume the content of those tapes is not in any restricted lists.

Images of the tapes may be possible to decode as long as the format can be recognised but it will take some time. Location isn't important for that as pysical access to the tapes will not be needed.

mayhem69
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:08 pm

rpdom wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 12:21 pm
"Black helicopter" is "Secret government operations" conspiracy material.

I'll assume the content of those tapes is not in any restricted lists.

Images of the tapes may be possible to decode as long as the format can be recognised but it will take some time. Location isn't important for that as pysical access to the tapes will not be needed.
I highly doubt its on a restricted list or conspiracy material. If anyone can help or want to take on this project let me know. I can pay with paypal.

hippy
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:37 pm

mayhem69 wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:08 pm
I highly doubt its on a restricted list or conspiracy material. If anyone can help or want to take on this project let me know.
Perhaps explaining why you want the tape decoded, and what usefulness that will have, might encourage people to help out.

It seems to me, from what little I decoded, that you are going to end up with some 7,000 decimal/binary values which are going to be of little use.

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PeterO
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:57 pm

hippy wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:37 pm
mayhem69 wrote:
Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:08 pm
I highly doubt its on a restricted list or conspiracy material. If anyone can help or want to take on this project let me know.
Perhaps explaining why you want the tape decoded, and what usefulness that will have, might encourage people to help out.

It seems to me, from what little I decoded, that you are going to end up with some 7,000 decimal/binary values which are going to be of little use.
I think cjketle has already got an idea on how to decode/use the characters.
PeterO
Discoverer of the PI2 XENON DEATH FLASH!
Interests: C,Python,PIC,Electronics,Ham Radio (G0DZB),1960s British Computers.
"The primary requirement (as we've always seen in your examples) is that the code is readable. " Dougie Lawson

mayhem69
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Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2019 11:25 pm

Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:00 pm

cjketle wrote:
Tue Dec 24, 2019 5:17 pm
OK, a bit more supposition. It looks like you have what was called a 'Self Loading System Tape' that loads a program into address '1000, the usual start address. 60 feet of tape will be about 30 x 12 x 10, about 3.5K words. In other words a 3K ish word program - ie not really enough to do very much. Suspect it is a bit of a Friday afternoon response to the moon landings.

To relate it to the Pi, SimH (which will run well on any Pi) has a Series 16 simulator.

Chris K
Chris, can you do this for me?

cjketle
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Re: Can RP read punched paper tape from 1969 somehow?

Thu Dec 26, 2019 7:43 pm

Cant really do that now. I'm in the UK anyway. What you do not have is a simple textual document on tape, it will require more context to understand it.

What you appear to have is a small piece of Lab software from 1969 that runs on a minimal Series 16 system (4/8Kw?) probably connected to a specialist test rig. I don't know what you are trying to achieve here or whether you have material which might be of interest to Apollo historians. If so you might be better making contact with them with the back story.

If you are not confident/able to hack it yourself (minimum equipment one RPI and a flatbed scanner + lots of time and frustration :( + learning a lot). There are a few people still keeping these systems alive (eg http://www.series16.adrianwise.co.uk/index.html or http://h316.org/ + others) who might help you read & understand your tape. You might find a computer museum or old system enthusiast in the US that can help also - at least with reading the tapes into image files.

HTH

Chris K

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