9-Track 1/2" Tape Drive Recommendations?

Jon Elson elson at pico-systems.com
Sat Aug 22 10:16:20 CDT 2015

On 08/22/2015 12:20 AM, Ali wrote:
> Jon,
>> Enough Pertec drives were made so that manuals should be no problem.
>> Some other makes were made in fairly small numbers so manuals may be a
>> problem.
> I should have been more clear - the manuals were for the ISA interface card
> and the accompanying SW not for an particular drive.
If you are buying a 30+ year-old tape drive, you WILL NEED 
the manuals!  There may be setup options that need to be 
configured, or there may be something wrong with the drive.  
Obviously, you won't be buying a new 1/2" tape drive with 
factory warranty, and these things are both complex and 
finicky, compared to typical computer hardware.
>> You have to decide, spring-arm, vacuum-column or streaming, and then
>> most dual density drives were either 800/1600 or 1600/6250.  Few would
>> do all three.  (Also there's 3200 BPI, identical to 1600 PE mode, just
>> double the clock, but it is a fairly rare setup.)
> Thanks for the info. I had seen (on YouTube) videos of the vacuum-column and
> streaming drives. The spring arm I am not familiar with. Is it just an arm
> that produces tension on the tape keeping it in place?
yes, a cheaper version of the vacuum column.  usually used 
only on slower drives, but I have seen them up to 45 IPS.
>> Oh, with "Pertec interface" there are TWO FLAVORS!  The old system was
>> Pertec unformatted, with 3 cables.
>> Write, Read and Control.  Later was Pertec formatted, with two cables.
>> They are totally incompatible, so make sure you get drives compatible
>> with your interface.
> Thanks again. I was not aware of this. My card has the two 50 pin edge
> connectors coming from one cable that terminates in a D-Sub so I would say
> this is the Pertec formatted interface. I could also go SCSI as long as the
> tape drives would follow "standard" SCSI commands but those type of drives
> seem even more expensive.
I've been looking for a SCSI 1/2" drive (or conversion 
boards for my CDC 92185's) for years.  Never found one.  I 
did rescue a SCSI to Pertec-formatted converter box off a 
scrap drive, and it WORKED the first time I powered it up, 
then the darn thing quit with a power on self test error!  


More information about the cctech mailing list