54 TK50 tapes on eBay

Johnny Billquist bqt at update.uu.se
Sun May 17 15:16:59 CDT 2015

On 2015-05-17 21:50, Mark J. Blair wrote:
>> On May 17, 2015, at 12:41, Robert Jarratt <robert.jarratt at ntlworld.com> wrote:
>> Glad you got the board and I hope you get a decent drive to read the tapes
>> with. You could always put together a Qbus system just to read the tapes
>> (which could then be the much better TK70, or even some of the later
>> drives), but if you have a 730 and can read it there that would be great. I
>> used to use a 730 many years ago, would be great to see one again.
> I think I'll probably choose a clean-looking internal drive over one of the dirty-looking external ones I see listed. I'd imagine that this drive would get temporarily installed in various systems in my pile rather than being dedicated to one of them.

The external drive is just the internal drive in a box with a PSU.
The drive itself sits on the same sled you see in all the micro machines.

>> I am sure you are aware, but just in case, be careful with these tapes as I
>> suspect they are now at the point of being ROMs (Read Once at Most), and
>> they can gum up the drive quite badly, make sure you clean the heads after
>> running each tape through, for anything really critical.
> Ah, yes... another benefit of an internal drive sitting naked on the table would be easier access to the heads for cleaning. Maybe I should build that tape/disk baking oven I've been thinking about before trying any old tapes out?
> Of course, I still need to deal with my 730's console boot tape issues first. I haven't managed to boot up the system yet, so my next step will be to try splicing in tu58em in place of the tape drive.

The TK50 normally do not gum up. There are two problems with them, and 
those problems have been around since day 1.
The first one is that the heads get dirty. Cleaning with isopropanol or 
similar with a lint-free pad solves that just fine.
The second problem is that the tape pickup gets unhinged. Remove the 
covers and then you can fix that easily.

The TK50 also is horrible in that you just have one button, that is 
supposed to do several functions, meaning it can get confused and you 
won't be able to get the tape out. Power cycle for that one.


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