The Commodore 1530 Datasette was released to support saving and loading data to and from the Commodore PET, VIC-20 and C64/CBM64.
The Datasette was connected to the computer's dedicated Datasette port via a single cable which carries both power and data. The units contained an analogue to digital converter and functioned in principle much the same way as a 300 baud rate MODEM.
Introduced globally the Datasette was quickly phased out in the US and was replaced by the 1541 Floppy Drive. In Europe however the Datasette held its ground providing a very cost effective storage option VS the 1541 Floppy Drive at almost five times the price.
Users manually stopped and started the Datasette's motor drive much in the same way as using a standard cassette player when prompted to do so by onscreen text. The tape drive did have a physical counter to make it possible for users to store more than one program per tape side but due to the nature of tape drive systems (mainly the drive belt) the counter was often inaccurate compared to another like unit so it meant that this type of storage was only really practical when used on the unit the programs were written with.
At 50 bytes per second, transfer rates were criminally slow . Anyone that tried to play a game that took up a whole side of a tape knew you had a half hour wait before they got to blast anything. Just enough time to dust off the Atari 2600 for a game. Typically users could fit 100 Bytes per 30 min tape side but with the use of the instantly popular 'turbo tape' speed loader you could cram about 1000 kBytes in the same space.
Slow as they were, the Datasette was amazingly reliable VS the 1541 Floppy Drive; which also was horribly slow.
|Unit pictured has been sold and its location is unknown.|