paper tape archiving

Eric Moore mooreericnyc at
Wed Jul 29 20:17:04 CDT 2020

Absolutely would be good to have. I would prefer a slow smooth pull through
the reader than slow and jerky or fast and smooth which are my current

There are some kit paper tape readers out there that just need a pinch
roller added to be ideal.

On 5, 6, and 7 bit tape, I believe the DSI NC2400 which a number of people
have is adjustable width. That said, a kit that came with a variable width
optical read head and a variable speed smooth pinch roller with an RS232
interface would likely find a market with hobbyists. No hard brake needed
for archival purposes, but definitely a softer break to fairly quickly stop
the tape if something goes wrong.


On Wed, Jul 29, 2020, 19:43 Paul Koning <paulkoning at> wrote:

> > On Jul 29, 2020, at 6:52 PM, Eric Moore <mooreericnyc at> wrote:
> >
> > ...
> > A couple notes:
> >
> > 1) My reader when set to lower baud rates physically stops and starts
> the reader. This jerks the tape and causes vibrations that can be severe at
> some speeds.
> Some readers do this at all speeds.  For example, any stepper motor is by
> definition a start/stop drive at any speed.  Fast optical readers may run
> continuously if you let them, but that's worth a careful check.  Especially
> since some of the high speed readers have very serious brake systems, good
> for their original application but not at all for our purposes.  I've seen
> tape readers specified at 1000 cps or better that are capable of stopping
> at any point, starting up again, and reading the next character.  So they
> are doing 100 inches per second and stopping within 1/20th of an inch.
> Ouch.
> The best kind of archival tape readers would have an adjustable tape path
> so you can read any of 5, 6, 7, or 8 channel tape.  While 6 and 7 is
> uncommon it does exist.  6 is probably least interesting, at least the only
> application I know is typesetting, not computing.
> I've been thinking a newly constructed optical tape reader with continuous
> motion (no brakes), capstan drive, and slow ramp start/stop would be ideal
> and with today's technology quite easy to make.
>         paul

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