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View Full Version : Reel-To-Reel on Modern PC?



amedic
April 21st, 2006, 11:31 PM
Alright guys, so I was wondering is there any sort of reel-to-reels out there that I can interface to my computer? I want to be able to store some stuff on it just for the hell of it, besides the long term storage. If anyone has any info about reel to reels on computers as data not music that would help. Thanks!

CP/M User
April 22nd, 2006, 01:48 AM
amedic wrote:

> Alright guys, so I was wondering is there any sort of
> reel-to-reels out there that I can interface to my
> computer? I want to be able to store some stuff on it
> just for the hell of it, besides the long term
> storage. If anyone has any info about reel to reels
> on computers as data not music that would help.
> Thanks!

Reel-to-Reel tape players?

Well if your reel-to-reel has a Microphone & Earphone, then I
don't see why you couldn't Record & Play software onto it -
assuming you mean reel-to-reel tape. Wouldn't it just be like
an external tape player available for any computer?

CP/M User.

carlsson
April 22nd, 2006, 03:09 PM
It would probably require you to zip together batches of data, open a wave program that is capable of loading any raw data as a specified format of your liking, and playback the zip archive as audio, recording to a tape. However, when you load it back, it is possible that the zip program won't recognize the archive anymore.

Are there some other solutions involving a A/D - D/A converter and special software? It got me thinking about using VCRs for data backup.

S-100 VCR backup: http://freepatentsonline.com/4530048.html
Video Backup: http://www.stuartcheshire.org/rants/VideoBackup.html

Good luck with your experiments none the less.

amedic
April 22nd, 2006, 03:23 PM
Alright, some of this helps, like I realize that there is softwar to hook up casssete players like from the Commodore to your soundcard, and I was wondring if this possibble for Reel to Reels.

carlsson
April 22nd, 2006, 03:39 PM
I believe the X1531 cable hooks up the C2N to parallel port, not sound card. The C2N already contains an A/D - D/A converter. You can route the audial representation of a tape through the sound card though, but that format is customized so the length and frequency of the tones will carry through. Perhaps there is a program which would "encode" any data in a similar manner and a given baud rate.

blubeard11
October 20th, 2006, 03:15 AM
10 years ago i was using reel to reel at work for a high speed printer. I later bought a laguna data 8 bit pc "pertec"card and software documentation and cable. I paid 500 dollars for it 10 years ago.(I still have it) I also have 3 reel to reel tape drives ( 2 work, 1 needs a 110 power supply) 2 tape drives weigh about 250 lbs. each, the other weighs about 50 lbs. I also have a working 386 with 387 coprocessor with empty 8 bit slots. I even have an old expansion backplane and cards for the old xp to have another 7 slots ( needs desktop case for power supply ) dont know what happened to the old xp expansion case ???

Shipping 250-300 lbs freight would cost alot if you were interested.

I have lots of cables and old cards for different things, im thinking of listing them here or on eBay.

Ill put together a list if anyone is interested..

a little off this topic.. anyone know what a 1280 X 1024 pixelworks full length 16 bit card is worth ?? it came out of an 1989 graphics workstation.

daflory
October 20th, 2006, 06:41 PM
I think you're thinking of a 9-track tape drive. These were used on old mainframes and often appeared in movies because they looked so cool.

As long as they use SCSI (and most do), you should have no trouble running one off a modern (or vintage) PC. Of course, they are completely obsolete, huge, and very expensive to ship. They would definitely be a very cool addition to a vintage machine, though.

blubeard11
October 20th, 2006, 07:03 PM
yes i have (3) 9 track 1/2 inch mag reel to reel tape drives that can be used on main/mini frames or pc's

carlsson
October 21st, 2006, 08:20 AM
I've thought more about the X1531 type of cable. Usually it is used with software like mtap for reading/writing 8-bit Commodore type tape formats. I think the software is under some GPL or other license, and in theory it would be possible to generate your own data format that is transmitted to the tape recorder and store. I suppose you can't go much beyond 3000 bps (rough estimate) to get a reliable recording. I believe the Commodore 64 turbo tape format reaches those values.

Assuming you can store each byte as it is without padding or stop bits (?), it would record at a speed of 0.36 kB/s. A file of 100 kB would take 4m37s to load. A file of 1 megabyte would take about 1h10m, assuming this speed is achievable. Already here we see a flaw: C90 holds 45 minutes per side, the uncommon C120 holds 60 minutes. There were some extreme, ultra-thin C180 tapes that in theory could hold a 1 MB file using this transfer speed, but the risk of tape breaking doesn't make it worth the trouble. Much better go for a DAT or other real computer tape solution, if CD-R/W etc isn't enough for you.