Destructive Imaging of DECTAPE II Media

Chris Elmquist chrise at
Tue Jan 27 14:31:38 CST 2015

On Tuesday (01/27/2015 at 11:22AM -0800), Mark J. Blair wrote:
> > I have 100+ TU58s that I need to get to this year and already replaced the rollers with
> > new ones made from norprene tubing.
> I've already replaced the drive roller rubber in a few of my drives with black latex rubber tubing. The stuff I used is essentially the same as the yellow tubing used for wrist rockets and water weenies, except it's black, and of a suitable diameter to fit the aluminum roller hub and have about the right outside diameter when installed. To cut it, I stuck a short length on a piece of plastic rod, chucked the rod in a Harbor Freight mini lathe, and cut pieces with a surgical scalpel while the chuck was spinning. I simply cut many more than I needed and selected the ones that turned out the best, as there was a lot of variation in width from my eyeball-cutting, and variation in squareness of the edges depending on how I held the scalpel. I probably threw away five pieces for every one that I selected, but the end results look very neat.

I rebuilt several TU58s in a similar fashion and had all nice spiffy
rollers and each tape I stuck in there promptly broke the band after it
had moved less than an inch. In the end, out of dozens of tapes, I think
I had two that worked.  Even NOS tapes, still wrapped in cellophane,
would fail when unwrapped and put in the drive for the first time.

> the original &(#$%*$ belt drive system?

I know what that word is.

I think we should take the tape out of the cartridges and build a thing
that pulls it through a small pool of Magna-See (do they still make that
stuff?  Is that what it was called?) and then image them with a camera and
decode the data from the video.  Maybe even counting the bits by hand will
be easier than trying to read those &(#$%*$ tapes in any sort of drive.

In any case, I'm totally in support of any DC100 destructive methods.
Using them instead of clay pigeons also comes to mind.  :-)

Chris Elmquist

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