interface to cassette recorder

I am an absolute newbie but very interested in learning how to control a cassette recorder using the processor language and an arduino board. I need to be able to automate start/stop, record/play, forward and reverse the cassette deck just as if I pressed the buttons to do so. Is it possible to modify an existing recorder to do this? Any ideas to get me started in the right direction much appreciated! Thanks.

You want it also to be able to flip the cassette over to play the other side? ;D

Seriously this could be pretty easy or darn difficult depending on the tape drive itself. If all the controls are solenoid operated with simple push button switches then the Arduino could interface easily with small relays where the relay contacts are wired across the drives control switches. However if the deck uses mechanical controls then the job is much more difficult and costly.


Yes, I should have said only late model auto-reverse cassette recorders need apply!

So I guess it comes down to whether or not the buttons are solenoid or mechanically operated? Could you tell me more about “relay contacts are wired across the drives control switches” - maybe explain a little more what this means - I admit to being new at this.


Well a simple SPST relay has four connections. Two of them are to power the coil and they are available in many voltage and current ratings, the easiest to use with an Arduino would be a 5vdc coil that requires less then 40ma to operate, that way the Arduino can power the coil directly. One usually also wires a reversed biased diode across the relay coil connections to suppress transients switching spikes.

Now the relay's contacts are just like a simple switch contact and if you wire the two relay contact connections to the two switch contacts on a given manual pushbutton on the tape deck then when the relay is activated by the Arduino then it would be just like pushing the manual switch on the tape deck.

Here is a typical small 5vdc relay that could be used:


Great - thanks very much for sharing!


An alternative would be to use a tape deck with an infrared remote, and have the Arduino send IR signals to it.

Do you already have a deck you want to control? Or will you be shopping for one for this project?


Ran - that's a great idea, thanks! I have several cassette players I'm toying with now, but none with a remote. I'll look around for one.