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sexton772
May 6th, 2011, 05:05 PM
im looking for an old 1950s ibm tape drive. i been looking and i can not find one for sale at all. if some one can give me any information about it.

Chuck(G)
May 6th, 2011, 05:07 PM
Such as IBM 729s? That doesn't surprise me--they're real museum pieces--and that's where you'll find them, along with the Univac Uniservo I drives.

sexton772
May 6th, 2011, 10:57 PM
would you know of any. i really want one. i mean i know its not going to be cheap. but if i could just find one for sell it would be a big help. by the way if i were to find one what would i be looking to pay 1000 or more like 10,000. i cant even find price information on them.

NeXT
May 7th, 2011, 06:42 AM
Your best choice if you want something that remotely looks like one of the classics is the Qualstar Reel-to-reel drives they made and people sold for pretty much every platform.
http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a166/ballsandy/Computer%20related/P7262878.jpg

Chuck(G)
May 7th, 2011, 07:03 AM
No, the OP is looking for a vacuum-column drive and a 7-track one at that (9 tracks didn't come along until the 1960s).

I'd suggest talking with Paul Pierce (http://www.piercefuller.com/collect/index.html) who might know of the whereabouts of one, since really old IBM gear is his area of interest.

I'll add that equipment in the 50s and 60s tended to have a much longer working life than today's gear. The IBM 729 drives were used on second-generation equipment, such as the 7090 and continued in use right through the third-generation IBM S/360. All of this is, of course, very late 1950s gear--earlier gear not being solid-state is much much rarer. Finding an old Univac Uniservo metal-tape drive would be quite an accomplishment.

mbbrutman
May 7th, 2011, 08:12 AM
im looking for an old 1950s ibm tape drive. i been looking and i can not find one for sale at all. if some one can give me any information about it.

I hope your punctuation and grammar improve if you do find one for sale. Somebody selling something like that is going to want a 'qualified' buyer.

Chuck(G)
May 7th, 2011, 08:44 AM
It has occurred to me that perhaps the OP was a bit confused and perhaps thinks that any 1/2" tape drive must be from the 1950s (in fact, they were in common use though the 90s at least). That being the case, any old 1/2" drive might suffice. One of the San Jose area collectors reports that he has a Fujitsu X2444 drive headed for the scrappers if someone doesn't claim it.

I have the problem of assuming that people always know what they're talking about. My apology if this is not the case.

mbbrutman
May 7th, 2011, 09:46 AM
Chuck,

Lots of things are possible. But when I see a complete newbie who doesn't know where the Shift key is looking for a 60 year old piece of high tech gear, a few warning flags go up. In this particular case:


If I knew I really needed something that special, I'd probably have model numbers.
I'd probably want to make a good impression. Proper punctuation, grammar and spelling would be a must.
I might provide some background on what I'm trying to accomplish so that I could get better/more directed help.


This post had none of these attributes. It's hard to take seriously.

sexton772
May 7th, 2011, 02:22 PM
Look bro. i dont care about my grammar im just trying to find a show piece for my house. why do yall have to make it so technical come on now. lets all just be friends. I mean NeXT summed it up for me, thats just what im looking for. i dont care about model numbers. or what the thing is i just want a nice discussion piece. besides money talks bro aint no kind of grammar makes up for that.

sexton772
May 7th, 2011, 02:26 PM
Oh and i almost forgot, Do any of yall know where i can find such a device?

Chuck(G)
May 7th, 2011, 02:29 PM
As I mentioned, there's a collector in San Jose who will probably let you have it for free if you show up in person (soon) with some help to haul it away. I assume that your location "ca" means California.

mbbrutman
May 7th, 2011, 02:44 PM
Look bro. i dont care about my grammar im just trying to find a show piece for my house. why do yall have to make it so technical come on now. lets all just be friends. I mean NeXT summed it up for me, thats just what im looking for. i dont care about model numbers. or what the thing is i just want a nice discussion piece. besides money talks bro aint no kind of grammar makes up for that.

First, nobody hear is your "bro."

Second, I'm glad that you think that money talks. You're going to need a lot given the way you communicate.

Good luck on your quest ...

sexton772
May 9th, 2011, 02:40 PM
Omg thank you soooo much chuck g. Your the freggin bees knees. Awesome. How might I find said person?

Chuck(G)
May 9th, 2011, 03:06 PM
Check your PMs.

MartinFahrer
February 8th, 2012, 11:55 AM
I thought Bumping the thread would be better than posting a new one I to am looking for a vintage tape drive to use in a set for a show I am working on. I am looking for something similar to pictured. Any leads or Ideas would be great. I haave contacted paul.

Thanks
Martin7795

RetroHacker_
February 8th, 2012, 12:15 PM
I thought Bumping the thread would be better than posting a new one I to am looking for a vintage tape drive to use in a set for a show I am working on. I am looking for something similar to pictured. Any leads or Ideas would be great.

You don't mention where you are located. Location plays a big part in this kind of thing, as these drives can weigh a hundred pounds or more. If you're nearby I *may* be able to help you, provided you don't care about functionality.

The attachment did not come through, however.

-Ian

MartinFahrer
February 8th, 2012, 12:46 PM
You don't mention where you are located. Location plays a big part in this kind of thing, as these drives can weigh a hundred pounds or more. If you're nearby I *may* be able to help you, provided you don't care about functionality.

The attachment did not come through, however.

-Ian

Ian shipping is not a problem I can have freight and pickup arranged. I am in NY but it will be used in Irving Texas shoot me an email. martin.f@rcn.com

Pepinno
February 8th, 2012, 12:54 PM
besides money talks bro aint no kind of grammar makes up for that.


Oh and i almost forgot, Do any of yall know where i can find such a device?

If money talks, and that's your excuse for bad forms, then our answers are expensive. You know, bro?

MartinFahrer
February 9th, 2012, 06:18 AM
7805

Here is the attachment

RetroHacker_
February 9th, 2012, 06:30 AM
OK, yeah, the drives I have look nothing like those. Those drives are very old vacuum column type drives - mainframe type. There would be a separate tape controller unit box that controls those - and is again the size of the drive. It is going to be quite difficult to find one. The drives I have are smaller ones, minicomputer type. Integrated interface boards, smaller. They still use the vacuum column air bearing type setup, but it's much smaller and hidden from view. They're rack mount units, the reels are one above the other, and are mostly hidden behind a plastic cover with a fairly small window - just enough to see the supply reel turning.

-Ian

MartinFahrer
February 9th, 2012, 06:42 AM
OK, yeah, the drives I have look nothing like those. Those drives are very old vacuum column type drives - mainframe type. There would be a separate tape controller unit box that controls those - and is again the size of the drive. It is going to be quite difficult to find one. The drives I have are smaller ones, minicomputer type. Integrated interface boards, smaller. They still use the vacuum column air bearing type setup, but it's much smaller and hidden from view. They're rack mount units, the reels are one above the other, and are mostly hidden behind a plastic cover with a fairly small window - just enough to see the supply reel turning.

-Ian

Ian do you have a photo? Like I said this is the idea but sometimes beggars cant be choosers you know.

Chuck(G)
February 9th, 2012, 08:20 AM
Those tape drives look like IBM 729's--common as dirt in the 1960s. Hens' teeth today--and most likely, museum pieces only. I haven't checked the specs, but I think about 700 lbs. each (even a little Fuji X2444 (much later) weighs about 200 lbs). Pretty much mainframe-only; minis used smaller drives.

Your best bet is a government surplus auction or scrap yard--or one of the private large collections.

mnbvcxz
February 9th, 2012, 08:31 AM
Aren't there places where things like this can be hired by film companies when needed?
You might have an easier time if you can do that.

MikeS
February 9th, 2012, 08:33 AM
Might not a prop house have one in a warehouse somewhere? Or maybe you could have someone build a mock-up.

Edit: ya beat me to it ;-)

MartinFahrer
February 9th, 2012, 09:05 AM
Might not a prop house have one in a warehouse somewhere? Or maybe you could have someone build a mock-up.

Edit: ya beat me to it ;-)

Most of those places rent short term I am looking long term 1 to 2 years. It is often cheaper to buy and ship the real thing. Plus the show I am working on want to have real historical items in the background. I could have it built but it would lack authenticity and detail and ends up costing more in the long run.

MartinFahrer
February 9th, 2012, 09:06 AM
Chuck, thanks I have been in touch with one collector and I have only found one surplus store that might have them. If you know of any collectors that would be great.

Thanks

Chuck(G)
February 9th, 2012, 09:20 AM
Paul Pierce (http://www.piercefuller.com/collect/index.html) has a wonderful collection of 50s and 60s gear, but I don't know that he'll rent any of it out. Still, he may know where to find what you want.

MartinFahrer
February 9th, 2012, 01:16 PM
Paul Pierce (http://www.piercefuller.com/collect/index.html) has a wonderful collection of 50s and 60s gear, but I don't know that he'll rent any of it out. Still, he may know where to find what you want.

I sent paul an email and I haven't heard back yet

montaelkins
March 9th, 2012, 06:12 PM
I sent paul an email and I haven't heard back yet

I'm building an IBM 729 tape drive replica for my living room with moving reels. The front swings open to reveal a bookcase inside. If anyone is interested I'll post some pix when its completed.

-Monta

MikeS
March 9th, 2012, 06:28 PM
I'm building an IBM 729 tape drive replica for my living room with moving reels. The front swings open to reveal a bookcase inside. If anyone is interested I'll post some pix when its completed.

-MontaDefinitely!! Cool project! A couple of heads, the guts from a cassette or reel-to-reel, and you can use it to load/save via the cassette port ;-)

bluethunder
March 9th, 2012, 09:18 PM
I'd love to see that replica, maybe a guide on the build?

montaelkins
May 6th, 2012, 07:22 AM
Here is my IBM 729 Bookshelf.

I've very happy with it.
I began with (my first) sketch-up model and built if from there.

8864
8865
8866



I built it with some additions in mind.
The tape reels are on bearing so I could automate them to spin "randomly".
I could add more of the tape read and feed mechinism and button/lights at the top.

Anybody have a spacre button set for the top? :)
(or good/easy ideas for "faking it"?)

-Monta Elkins

stargeezer
May 11th, 2012, 03:22 AM
Monta,

That is awesome! Great job. You should build like 7 more of them and have a simulated 60's Data Center.

MikeS
May 11th, 2012, 08:54 AM
Love it!!!

montaelkins
May 13th, 2012, 02:36 AM
Monta,

That is awesome! Great job. You should build like 7 more of them and have a simulated 60's Data Center.

Thanks.

Don't tempt me :)

1ajs
July 12th, 2012, 02:45 AM
Would you know of any. i really want one. i mean i know its not going to be cheap. but if i could just find one for sell it would be a big help.i have many old tape drivers.like sony and panasonic tape drivers.i dont care about my grammar im just trying to find a show piece for my house.i love singing and i listen more songs on tape.

wrong kind of tape drive dude the ones your looking for are called a reel to reel
http://www.ebay.com/sch/Vintage-Electronics-/14998/i.html?_sop=1&_nkw=reel+to+reel << try there

rorypoole
May 3rd, 2013, 05:19 PM
I would love a vacuum column type drives of any vintage or condition to use with a pdp8 straight 8, I live in the UK about 1h from london, what would be a good way to find 1 or a few? I would prefer a large common type of tape drive needing work, even as a prop would be good and if more than one they do not need to match!
where would be good to look?

SomeGuy
May 3rd, 2013, 06:18 PM
There was a huge IBM tape machine on eBay the other day: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-IBM-3420-MAGNETIC-TAPE-MACHINE-MODEL-8-/111059944985?#ht_2569wt_663
Says the action has ended, but they might relist.

rorypoole
May 4th, 2013, 06:46 PM
There was a huge IBM tape machine on eBay the other day: http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-IBM-3420-MAGNETIC-TAPE-MACHINE-MODEL-8-/111059944985?#ht_2569wt_663
Says the action has ended, but they might relist.

that IBM tape drive is perfect, but sadly in the USA and I am in the UK, and the seller is only selling to the usa, why did it not sell, is it over priced?

NeXT
May 4th, 2013, 09:32 PM
Even if you did you would instantly discover that IBM's drives are completely incompatible with DEC's systems.

RobS
May 5th, 2013, 03:23 AM
I would love a vacuum column type drives of any vintage or condition to use with a pdp8 straight 8
'Hachti' in Germany got himself a Honeywell tape drive to use with his Series 16 computer. His experiences are documented here: http://h316.org/stuff/tape_drive/ Even though his kit is all Honeywell the tape drive native electronics is Series 200 technology and involves an interface with uPac technology to work with the Series 16 - and apparently that was Honeywell's official way of doing things. I know a former Series 16 engineer who had to work on the interfaces between the two technologies at Honeywell and apparently they had different signals, timings, protocols, pretty much everything. Honeywell did tend to acquire technology from other companies rather than sticking to their own brand, which is why I'm trying to keep to just their own original technology in my Series 200 project. Hachti has to contend with getting the Series 200 logic to work as well as the Series 16 and on top of that he has failures in the vacuum system because old rubber diaphragms are leaking. Some months ago I sent him some replacement vacuum sensors from my collection to fix the leaks, but he's probably still got a lot of work to do to get the thing working and it is really well-made really heavy equipment. Therefore I agree that looking for any drive of any vintage in any condition may be unwise.

Personally I do have some parts from Honeywell tape drives but wouldn't want a complete drive. I still have tape reel motors with hubs, a pressure/vacuum pump and some solenoid valves with the electronics to operate them, but I'm hoping that I can eventually use them another way in my Honeywell 200 project. If we ever finish building the machine I'd like to equip it to whistle Land of Hope and Glory while drinking a glass of water to give it a bit of British flair even though that capability wasn't in the original American specification. I think that would be a better conversation piece than a tape drive. There have been suggestions that our respective replica projects are mad but there's a subtle difference between being mad and being British. Maybe one day I'll find out what it is.

Chuck(G)
May 5th, 2013, 08:31 AM
Even if you did you would instantly discover that IBM's drives are completely incompatible with DEC's systems.

Indeed; that held for most mainframe manufacturers. Building your own controller to comply with the original interface standards could turn out to be a huge project. And not all tape drives included formatters, so there's yet another level to figure out. Then there's the matter of power supplies.

Suppose you came across an old CDC 600-series drive, say, a 606 or 607. It's heavy--800 lbs. or so. It requires 3-phase 208V 60Hz AC (although I believe that there's a European option). Logic levels are -16 and 0 volts; special connectors. No formatter. Then there's the matter of getting unobtainium components for maintenance and repair.

It'd be great as a museum exhibit. Although the drive was wonderful in its heyday, I'd hate to try and get one to interface to anything made in the last 25 years.

rorypoole
May 5th, 2013, 06:47 PM
Even if you did you would instantly discover that IBM's drives are completely incompatible with DEC's systems.

maybe, but worst case, I have the tape drive dry and safe as a prop, till I can use or trade it?

RobS
May 6th, 2013, 02:05 AM
Suppose you came across an old CDC 600-series drive, say, a 606 or 607. It's heavy--800 lbs. or so. It requires 3-phase 208V 60Hz AC (although I believe that there's a European option).

I have no doubt that interfacing the logic would be a headache but the power requirements could probably be met by a modern static phase converter providing 3-phase power at whatever voltage and frequency is required from a domestic single phase supply. Such devices are available at ratings from 1 to 10 kilowatts to operate industrial machine shop equipment in a domestic setting, provided that one is prepared to treat a tape drive as an item of engineering equipment rather than a household computer peripheral. That thought reminds me of this picture, which purports to show my favourite machine in a domestic setting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindspigot/2470218177/in/pool-60655796@N00/ I can't see my wife being so happy with that setup.

RobS
May 6th, 2013, 02:51 AM
That thought reminds me of this picture, which purports to show my favourite machine in a domestic setting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindspigot/2470218177/in/pool-60655796@N00/ I can't see my wife being so happy with that setup.

It just occurred to me that the setup in that spoof picture was quite plausible. The lower tape drive on the right of the picture was a Keytape machine, which was used to encode input from the keyboard onto mag tape to be transferred to the full height drive next to it to feed into the computer on the left. The project that I'm now working on involves using the logic boards from seven of those Keytape machines along with some other boards to build the computer CPU shown. While my mother-in-law tolerated my storing the logic boards in her garden shed for almost forty years I doubt that I could have got away with storing seven complete Keytape machines there. My wife isn't convinced about having just the CPU sitting in the house once it's built either. No, tape drives really aren't suitable as domestic pets.

rorypoole
May 7th, 2013, 08:28 AM
I have no doubt that interfacing the logic would be a headache but the power requirements could probably be met by a modern static phase converter providing 3-phase power at whatever voltage and frequency is required from a domestic single phase supply. Such devices are available at ratings from 1 to 10 kilowatts to operate industrial machine shop equipment in a domestic setting, provided that one is prepared to treat a tape drive as an item of engineering equipment rather than a household computer peripheral. That thought reminds me of this picture, which purports to show my favourite machine in a domestic setting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindspigot/2470218177/in/pool-60655796@N00/ I can't see my wife being so happy with that setup.

I think the smoke, crumbs and sticky fingers would not do the Honeywell 200 much good! I would find it much easier to sort the power supply problems than the logic interface

Chuck(G)
May 7th, 2013, 09:01 AM
I have no doubt that interfacing the logic would be a headache but the power requirements could probably be met by a modern static phase converter providing 3-phase power at whatever voltage and frequency is required from a domestic single phase supply. Such devices are available at ratings from 1 to 10 kilowatts to operate industrial machine shop equipment in a domestic setting, provided that one is prepared to treat a tape drive as an item of engineering equipment rather than a household computer peripheral. That thought reminds me of this picture, which purports to show my favourite machine in a domestic setting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mindspigot/2470218177/in/pool-60655796@N00/ I can't see my wife being so happy with that setup.

Yup, pretty much a 3-phase motor with one leg capacitively coupled to the line. I've set a couple up for friends with old lathes. It works okay, but real 3-phase distribution is better. At least the tape drives didn't require the 3-phase 400Hz AC that the mainframes did. Those were always MG sets--I don't know where you'd find one now.

RobS
May 8th, 2013, 04:05 AM
Yup, pretty much a 3-phase motor with one leg capacitively coupled to the line. I've set a couple up for friends with old lathes. It works okay, but real 3-phase distribution is better. At least the tape drives didn't require the 3-phase 400Hz AC that the mainframes did. Those were always MG sets--I don't know where you'd find one now.

I was actually thinking of a full digital phase converter, some of which do AC-DC-AC conversion, the solid state equivalent of an MG set in effect. On machine tools this allows the motor speed to be varied by varying the frequency of the supply rather than the voltage. I think that kind of device can actually provide 400Hz 3-phase power if necessary and it's quieter than an MG set.

The Honeywell 200 installation used at our company in the 1960s had an MG unit in the loft above the computer room to provide the 60Hz supply from our British 50Hz mains. Our office was above shops, so all the heavy stuff that would normally be in a basement was in the roof space and the computer room ceiling had to be reinforced to take the weight of the MG unit. Eventually the roof space became so full with equipment, document and paper stock storage and so on that the architects advised that the whole building could collapse, so departments like computer operations and printing services had to move out. It hadn't helped that the trend towards open plan offices had resulted in many of the internal walls being removed over the years as well. The company has almost ceased to exist now but the building is still standing. Solid state solutions don't make life so complicated.

stargeezer
May 8th, 2013, 04:13 AM
Speaking of old tape drives, I'm close to acquiring one of these guys and its in awesome condition.

http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/ampex/TM-2_Tape_Transport_Technical_Manual_Aug62.pdf

Stored inside since the 60's. I believe its 61 vintage.

Chuck(G)
May 8th, 2013, 08:20 AM
I was actually thinking of a full digital phase converter, some of which do AC-DC-AC conversion, the solid state equivalent of an MG set in effect. On machine tools this allows the motor speed to be varied by varying the frequency of the supply rather than the voltage. I think that kind of device can actually provide 400Hz 3-phase power if necessary and it's quieter than an MG set.

I think a VFD drive while probably very useful, is probably overkill. One benefit of a traditional MG set is the ability to "coast" over minor service interruptions, however. I recall that the 400Hz power supplies used in the CDC mainframes were scarcely more than transformers, a 3-phase Variac to adjust the voltage and a full-wave "star" rectifier setup. Brutal and simple--that's probably why they were used.

rorypoole
May 13th, 2013, 04:57 PM
very lucky you

Speaking of old tape drives, I'm close to acquiring one of these guys and its in awesome condition.

http://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/ampex/TM-2_Tape_Transport_Technical_Manual_Aug62.pdf

Stored inside since the 60's. I believe its 61 vintage.