Yamaha UPA-01 Playcard card reader alternative

By gw0udm

Supporter (5)

gw0udm's picture

31-05-2020, 19:50

Hi all

I've just bought a Yamaha CX5MII and I got a few carts with it including a UPA-01 for reading the Playcards and a few cards with it. However I don't have the CR-01 card reader unfortunately. I've also suddenly got interested in the whole Playcard system and i've bought a keyboard of the same era (a PC-1000) which also uses Playcards.

So my question is - does anyone know how the CR-01 playcard reader interfaces with the UPA-01? It uses a simple 3.5mm mono jack plug, and I'm guessing that it is based on a fairly simple tape head based reader. There are plenty of USB magnetic card readers around so I was thinking about maybe trying to hack one of those to just get the audio out. However obviously don't want to fry the cartridge either!

Does anyone have any info on how the card reader worked and I might be able to replicate it?

Grateful for any thoughts


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By Nprod

Expert (83)

Nprod's picture

01-06-2020, 10:25

According to this page, the data is stored as audio in the same way as the magnetic tape in a regular audio cassette. The page suggests using a "telephone pickup coil", but i think that if you already have a portable cassette player you can connect its output, then press Play and just swipe the card onto the playhead. Your idea of hacking a USB magnetic card reader is probably the best.

By gw0udm

Supporter (5)

gw0udm's picture

04-06-2020, 00:19

Thanks, I was thinking along similar lines. You can also get some very cheap 'phone jack adaptors' for reading magnetic cards in mobile phones which might do the trick although they are a bit shonky. I have just got hold of a Yamaha PC-1000 which is one of the few 80s keyboards which uses the Playcard system which is a very interesting item. I