TK50/TK70 Info

Jay Jaeger cube1 at
Thu Aug 27 23:13:38 CDT 2015

On 8/27/2015 10:19 PM, Kyle Owen wrote:

> I hope to start backing up my MicroVAX 3800 soon via the TK70. Sounds like
> 8mm is more unreliable than the TK70, and I don't have but one
> magneto-optical disk.
> Are there any precautions I need to take before sticking a tape in the
> drive? Pinch rollers that might be gooey?
> I assume the TK70 drive is backwards compatible with TK50 tapes?
> Lastly, I've got some tapes that I couldn't find much info on. Here are the
> labels:
> ER206200-00 REV G 1.03
> 09-29-89
> (C) 1988 EMULEX
> ER2062014-00 REV A
> P4000 LAT-TCP/IP VER 2.00
> 05/14/90 TK50 (VMS LOAD)
> (C) 1990 EMULEX
> ER2062014-00 REV 01
> P4000 LAT-TCP/IP VER 2.00B2
> 05/1/90 TK50 (VMS LOAD)
> (C) 1990 EMULEX
> ER2062014-00 REV 00
> 3-22-90 TK50 (VMS LOAD)
> (C) 1990 EMULEX
> Are any of those worth keeping? Any tips on getting those tapes online
> using my VAX? I know there are utilities for the PDP-8 and PDP-11 world,
> but being thrown into VAX and VMS so quickly, it may take me a bit to catch
> up. Any recommendations on reading material?
> I also have a tape for VAX Occam 2 from INMOS. I know what that is, as I
> have a 64-node Transputer array. It'd be nice to get that going at some
> point for fun.
> Thanks,
> Kyle

Looking at for P4000 I found a manual that
seems to relate t the tapes you have.  Those tapes are for an Emulex
terminal server called the Performance 4000-T.  If you don't have such a
unit, then those tapes won't be of much value, but I'd suggest you not
throw them away, but instead send them to someone who can image them, or
image them yourself.

Regardless, those tapes won't help you much with your stated goals.

A TK70 can read a TK50 tape, but it can only write on a tape that has
not been written on by a TK50, and the TK50 media would not be
appropriate to use in a TK70 even if it were completely erased:

(Though the first paragraph switches the TZ30 (SCSI) and the TK50.)

IIRC, the way I did my VAXen backups was to use the standalone BACKUP
utility and wrote TK70 tapes, then transferred an image of those tapes
to my PC via Ethernet.

TK50's and TK70's don't have pinch rollers.  Instead, a microprocessor
controls tape speed and tensioning.

There is a technical manual on the TK50 on bitsavers, but not one for
the TK70 (but their are drawings for a TK70).   But I did find a TK70
owner's manual here:

(Only the Owner's manual - a quick search did not find a technical manual).

Gooooooooooooooogle is your friend.....  ;)


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