Drop That Floppy, Boot From Vinyl Instead!

Source: Hackaday Drop That Floppy, Boot From Vinyl Instead!

It Gives Your OS A Much More Natural Sound

Hackaday posted a very impressive hack today, letting us know that Jozef Bogin has been able to successfully boot an old IBM 51050 off of a vinyl record, in about the same time as an old floppy would.  He had access to a vinyl lathe which he used to press an very specific album, specifically a bootable 64k FreeDOS disk image.  The tracks will never feature on a Top 10 but they do reveal a very interesting new way to boot.

He hooked up a record player to the cassette tape interface, after burning a custom made bootloader to ROM, to allow the 8255 programmable peripheral interface chip to accept audio as an input source.  He attached the record player to the interface, fired up the record at 45RPM and hit the power.  Lo and behold the machine booted, at least after a bit of tweaking to the equalizer to ensure the old IBM was happy with the balance.

It is not a terribly useful hack but it is incredibly neat to see done.  There isn’t much information on how this was pulled off but there is a video you can take a peek at.

To pull off the trick, [Jozef] leverages the rarely used and little known cassette tape interface that PCs had back in the early days. This required building a new bootloader and burning it to ROM to make the PC listen to audio signals with its 8255 programmable peripheral interface chip.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it K7M.com, AMDMB.com, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.


  1. Dr. Vibrato

    For what it’s worth, i remember at least one commercial software collection for the Commodore 64 that did a similar thing., But instead of using a vinyl record, it used an audio CD. It was called the Rainbow Arts 1st CD-Edition, and included an adapter for connecting the line out of a CD player to the cassette port of the C64.

    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      Exactly how they pulled it off. I can still recall the noises produced from accidentally mixing data cassettes in with my mix tapes.

      Never saw the CD adapter though!

  2. collie man

    Sexy. Next step? Boot it with an acoustic coupler and a captain crunch whistle.

    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      Old modem COM port.

      • collie man

        My first modem, like the very first one, was a used 300baud (might have been lower actually) acoustic coupler modem attached to the VIC20, gifted by an older cousin who had upgraded to a new direct connect (even tho you still had to dial on the phone to make it work) modem for his work system. I used it once, connected with said older cousin, had a 6 line conversation that probably took 5 mins and left it connected but never used it again.

        Unrelated but a trip down memory lane, and seriously when the fuck else is there an opportunity to talk about pre-historic hardware.

        • Brett VanSprewenburg

          I had a VIC-20 direct connect 300 baud modem also – fancy I know. Except for the TRS-80’s at school, it was my first experience with networking and dialing into BBS’s. Memory lane and pre-historic hardware for sure. Except I probably still have the modem somewhere … and the VIC-20 …

          • collie man

            I didn’t discover bbs’s until the early 90’s 2400baud modem add of for the 286 tandy. Wow, what a loooooooonnnnnngggggg strange trip its been….


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