54 TK50 tapes on eBay

Johnny Billquist bqt at update.uu.se
Sat May 23 12:11:04 CDT 2015

On 2015-05-23 19:04, Mark J. Blair wrote:
> I got my TK50 drive from eBay. Boy, that tape feeding mechanism sure looks screwy! I'd like to get a modern DLT drive for my modern computer backups (after I sell a few more kidneys, that is), but I'm still a bit suspicious of their similar (identical?) tape feeding scheme. All of my bad experience with things like QIC, DAT, etc. had led me to be very suspicious of tape systems other than 1/2" open reel.

It's not that bad. The TK50 sometimes get the pickup unhooked from the 
arm, but once you realize how it works, it's really easy to fix it when 
that happens. Apart from that, the tape movement works fine. When the 
pickup lead gets unhooked you cannot even put a cartridge in.

The other problem (as I mentioned) is dirty heads. That will cause the 
tape to fail to actually load, since the heads will move up and down 
trying to find track 1 and eventually give up. At which point you see it 
flashing quickly red on the load button.

The third issue is a general problem with just one button expected to do 
all functions, and just one lamp in the button indicating issues. The 
drive can just get confused, and you cannot tell what it is doing, and 
it is not possible to unload the tape. Very annoying. You can usually 
solve that by power cycling the thing.

This all worked better in the TK70. I guess they had to figure things 
out by trial and error. :-)


Johnny Billquist                  || "I'm on a bus
                                   ||  on a psychedelic trip
email: bqt at softjar.se             ||  Reading murder books
pdp is alive!                     ||  tryin' to stay hip" - B. Idol

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