More DC2N3 builds!

Four DC2N version 3 builds are in the pipeline, 2 of which are ready even if one requires a battery recharging.

More DC2N3s in the build pipeline

More DC2N3s in the build pipeline

I’ve tried to contact a few people who were originally interested in buying these devices but I haven’t had much of a response so far. If that’s still the case at the end of this week, my new builds will be listed in my Sales page for anybody to order them.

Before you guys write to me saying you want one, just be reminded that I am going to build more DC2N4-LC devices: I am just waiting for some extra components to be shipped in order to do so. DC2N4-LC offers a different set of features compared to DC2N3 but they both use a USB interface, meaning they should both be viable for a while.

DC2N4-LC is way cheaper at just 15 GBP + shipping, but it requires a PC to be operated. DC2N3 will sell still at 85 GBP + shipping (the price has not changed in 2 years now) but is completely standalone as it uses USB flash-drives to save tape dumps.

Which one is the right device for you? If you are a collector and would like to have a piece of oldskool kit to preserve your 8-bit tape collection, which might itself become collectible, go for a DC2N3.
If you are on a budget and are happy with being able to dump tapes to a PC using a client application (Windows and Linux Intel/AMD binaries available at the time of writing), then go for a DC2N4-LC.

I am personally going for them all 😀

About Luigi Di Fraia

I am a Senior DevOps Engineer so I get to work with the latest technologies and open-source software. However, in my private time I enjoy retro-computing.
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2 Responses to More DC2N3 builds!

  1. naz says:

    So in terms of the purpose of both devices ie tape preservation they both do the same job?
    I have a few tapes that can’t be copied to PC and give an error message at some point during loading(must be part of copy protection) so will the DC2N4-LC aloow dumping to PC and then can the game be loaded back into the bbc or spectrum by using the pc as tape player independantly of the DC2N4-LC using the stereo output on pc?
    Also can c64 tapes be copied to pc and what about loading c64 tape files from PC? Is an extra c64 compatible ;provided?

  2. luigidifraia says:

    Let me answer to those questions in the order they appear (pretty much).

    In theory DC2N3 should only be used to dump of C64 tapes at the moment as it lacks a selection menu for other machine types. In practice it can be used with PET/C64/VIC20/Spectrum and most C16/+4 and MSX tapes without issues. DC2N4 can be used for all machine types and also supports halfwave dumping, which means it can be used in all cases with C64/VIC20/C16/+4/Spectrum/MSX tapes. I might look into adding halfwave dumping to DC2N3 too at some point, but it’s not something that’s available at the moment.

    If your tapes give some error during loading into the physical machine too, then no DC2N will solve your problem. You’re better off submitting your tapes to somebody with expertise on the subject to look at them.

    As per BBC Micro tapes I got reports that DC2N3 and DC2N4-LC can be used without problems in order to make tape dumps for this machine. However, I’ve only ever seen a handful of dumps for this system and I am not aware of tools that would convert them to a format usable in an emulator.

    Audio playback from a PC is not an area of interest for me and I am not an expert on the topic as I consider this method of doing things unsatisfying. I would never want to have to use a PC to load something into another computer: it seems like an ugly overhead to me. Besides, it does not work for a number of cases for C64 tapes as the tape motor signal is not handled.

    Playing back data into real hardware is not something that DC2N3 or DC2N4-LC provide. I’ve included the playback feature in DC2N, DC2N version 2 and DC2N version 5. However, these devices only connect to a Commodore PET/C64/VIC20 via the tape port.
    I’ve actually written the playback code for DC2N3 too, but the current build does not allow me to fit the tape port connector on the device.

    I understand this is a very specialized subject and you might still have open questions so feel free to ask them as I would not want you to build the wrong expectation and spend money on something that might not have any use for you. Also, I’d recommend checking around on retro hardware forums what other people with your needs are doing. I personally would discourage any method that involves making audio samples out of tapes or playing back audio out from a PC into old hardware.

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