Personal Computer Cassette Tape Drive - Dismantled for reference and curiosity
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 is connected to the computer's dedicated Datasette port via a single cable that carries both power and data. The units contained an analogue to digital converter that function in principle much the same as a 300 baud rate MODEM.
After being introduced globally the Datasette was quickly phased out in the US and replaced by the 1541 Floppy Drive. In Europe 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 stop and start the Datasette's motor drive (much in the same way as using a standard audio cassette player) when prompted to by onscreen text. The tape drive also has a physical counter to make it possible for users to store more than one program per tape side. Unfortunately 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 this type of storage was most practical when used on the unit the programs were saved with.
At 50 bytes per second, transfer rates are criminally slow. Anyone wanting to play a decent size gamed knew they'd have half hour wait before getting 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 approximately 1000 kBytes in the same space.
Slow as they were the Datasette was amazingly reliable VS the 1541 Floppy Drive; that was also was horribly slow.