Tri-Data Cartrifile parts/interfaces/tapes?

Josh Dersch derschjo at
Thu Jun 25 13:18:22 CDT 2020

Hi all --

I picked up a Tri-Data Cartrifile 4096 at VCF West last year and since I'm
suddenly going to have more time on my hands, I thought it'd be fun to see
if I can get it running again.  The Cartrifile is a tape drive that uses
cartridges containing continuous-loop 1/4" tape in various lengths, much
like 8-track tape though in slightly different packaging and with a fixed
head.  10ips, 600bpi.  (There's a brochure on Bitsavers at

The unit I have has a PDP-8 compatible interface, though I only have the
cabling and rear-bulkhead for posibus systems.  (My 8/I is currently
negibus, so some work will need to be done there.)

It's in pretty decent shape and I think I should be able to get it to work
again.  I also have a stack of cartridges and it remains to be seen how
they hold up.  If they're anything like 8-track tapes, the EOT marker will
probably fall off and the tape ends will need to be reconnected as well
:).   At minimum I hope to be able to recover the data off the tapes I have.

Curious if anyone out there has one of these, has any spare parts, or
interface parts (there was at one point an Omnibus interface available, and
having the negibus interface would be extremely handy.)

Thanks as always,

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