DEC 9 Track Tapes (was Re: Applikon Workstation?)

Chuck Guzis cclist at
Sat Aug 29 12:46:58 CDT 2015

On 08/29/2015 08:57 AM, Al Kossow wrote:

> Mid-80's are the worst, especially Memorex, and BASF, which everyone
> used because they were cheap. Whatever HP bought for their
> distribution tapes (probably Graham Magnetics) is very good. IBM tape
> is good too. DEC used crap tape for their distributions.

I'll disagree about the worst.  70s Scotch 810x tapes from the 70s 
suffer from "sticky bleed", where the binder has bled through the oxide 
layer.  The result is that the tape sticks to anything--heads, tape, 
capstans, guide rollers, etc. A tape cleaning machine doesn't do 
anything for that.

Scotch 800 series audio tape suffers the same issue and is well-known to 
the tapeheads crowd.

My solution was to take a thick felt strip, anoint it with D5 
(cyclomethicone) lubricant and attach it to a large round guide (made 
from a 2" PVC pipe cap) on my tape cleaning machine.  Make a pass (you 
may need to add D5 about midway through), read immediately.  D5 
evaporates fairly quickly (< 1 hour) so re-treatment may be necessary. 
Fortunately the stuff is utterly inert and doesn't permanently affect 
the tape.

Needless to mention, you should clean your equipment after using this stuff.


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