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eeguru
January 7th, 2019, 06:06 AM
I have nearly a half dozen quarter inch cartridge tapes that need dumping. The biggest challenge so far has been finding a drive with solid capstan. I have 10+ drives (mostly Wang) and they've all turned to mush. However I did find a Sun QIC drive with solid rollers last week. So I was hoping I could dump a back-stock of tapes I've collected on the shelf.

But the drives aren't the only issue. Belts and rollers in the carts themselves wear out. In the past (10+ years ago now), I've had some limited luck transplanting the hardware from a new cart to an old one in order to read it in a drive. So after I found this working QIC drive, I tried some write/read test runs of NOS tapes I had on the shelf before I used them for organ donors. I tried 1 tape from 3 different NOS batches. Between 2 and 30 second of motor activity, all the belts snapped! So it's either this particular lone working drive is being rough on tapes, or the NOS DC600A stock is starting to brittle out as bad as the old tapes.

Any suggestions on how to a) refurbish the older tape drives, b) recondition old tapes to work in either this lone working drive or a reconditioned one, or c) any service I can send my current tape stock to be dumped and archived?

Thanks

Al Kossow
January 7th, 2019, 06:59 AM
Failure of belts on NOS tape is a known problem. Try finding 150 meg tapes which have different belts.

I've not had any luck using plastibands as 1/4" replacements (too narrow) or rehydrating old belts with warm water.

I've given up on archive and wangtek as drives and just use tanberg, preferably first or second generation imbedded SCSI.
So far, I've not had any problems with the capstans.

Chuck(G)
January 7th, 2019, 08:10 AM
I've replaced several capstans with silicone vacuum tubing (there was a post about 2 years ago from me with photos) with good success.

Belts are another story. I know how they were made, but getting enough interest to set up a replacement jig seems to be lacking. Plastibands, even the large 6" ones just don't last--and age in the packaging. Success there is hit or miss.

bear
January 7th, 2019, 12:59 PM
My biggest ongoing challenge has been the residue a decomposing belt will leave on the tape. It drags over the head, and will migrate readily, eventually creating a big headache. I know that Chuck likes cyclomethicone as an ablative coating, but I'm still hoping to find some way to remove it directly (or prevent it from sticking to the tape in the first place).

Unknown_K
January 7th, 2019, 01:44 PM
Is the end of tape sensor dirty or broken? I think the drive will snap a tape rewinding if that is messed up or dirty.

eeguru
January 7th, 2019, 01:49 PM
No I don't believe it's a problem with range sensors. To test the tapes, I loaded a new freshly peeled-shrink-wrap tape into the drive and started an uncompressed tar on a Sun SS20. All 3 tapes would start writing successfully. I had the cover off the drive and observed the rollers engage and the reels spin-up. They would all break a short duration in during a successful data-stream.

I've bought a Tandberg 3660 150MB drive off eBay today with some NOS 6150 carts. I'll see if that will work next once it arrives. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Al Kossow
January 7th, 2019, 03:29 PM
I think the drive will snap a tape rewinding

The tape isn't attached to the reel. If it gets to the end, it just falls off unlike a Philips cassette.

Al Kossow
January 7th, 2019, 03:31 PM
I've bought a Tandberg 3660 150MB drive off eBay today with some NOS 6150 carts.

Make sure you retension the tape first. 'mt -retension' which goes to the EOT then rewinds.

eeguru
January 7th, 2019, 03:58 PM
Make sure you retension the tape first. 'mt -retension' which goes to the EOT then rewinds.

Ah. I took the AT&T SVR3.2.3 386 tape I recently took a photo of - one of the tapes i need to dump - apart to check the condition. I noticed the spool on which the majority of tape is wound had 'settled'. It seems like 30 years on a shelf with entropy has caused the wound tape to sag un-evenly around the spool in an effective warped disk. Thus as I hand wound to the other spool, it would wind evenly on the uptake reel but not back on the storage reel. I supposed this is why it must be retensioned?

The good news is it looks like the belt in this tape is in good shape! yay!

Chuck(G)
January 7th, 2019, 04:02 PM
Um, be sure that the belt has adequate tension. It's not uncommon for a failing belt to lose tension before it finally breaks. This can result in mess when a drive attempts to spin the tape. The Tandberg 3600 series is at least a slower drive than the more modern SLT drives, so your chances of not mangling the tape are a bit better.

iz8dwf
January 8th, 2019, 09:13 AM
Failure of belts on NOS tape is a known problem. Try finding 150 meg tapes which have different belts.

I've not had any luck using plastibands as 1/4" replacements (too narrow) or rehydrating old belts with warm water.

I've given up on archive and wangtek as drives and just use tanberg, preferably first or second generation imbedded SCSI.
So far, I've not had any problems with the capstans.

I've all three incarnations here, tandberg, wangtek and archive. I've succesfully replaced the capstans with the right size of rubber pipe, automotive pipes do have a suitable size (I think sometimes I needed two different sizes coaxially inserted into the metallic part of the capstan. I like the archive's one, I could change a 320M drive into a 525M one by upgrading the firmware (new EPROM), I don't know why some older models didn't want to use 6525 tapes but only up to 6320 ones anyway.
I haven't find a cure for belts failing, so I stopped some time ago using these tapes even for backup of my vintage systems. I have several dozens of all kind of tapes around, probably I should try to archive their contents too (there're quite a few installation images of SunOS for example, but even quite some SysV software and backups of Olivetti LSX-3000 series.
So few time...

Frank

paul
January 8th, 2019, 10:16 AM
I also used automotive high-pressure fuel hose to refurbish the roller on an Archive 2150S I acquired recently. Fortunately the belt was still good.
To cut the rubber tube to length I pushed a portion over a drill bit, lubed it with dish soap and slit it with a box cutter while spinning on a drill motor.

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Chuck(G)
January 8th, 2019, 10:27 AM
I tried fuel line and found it difficult to cut and anything but radially symmetrical.

Here's my fix using silicone vacuum hose that I've used on both Archive and Wangtek drives. A tight fit and no glue necessary.

https://i.imgur.com/W2dOdTM.jpg

Al Kossow
January 8th, 2019, 10:47 AM
[QUOTE=Chuck(G);552626]I tried fuel line and found it difficult to cut and anything but radially symmetrical.


Norprene tubing works as well, which is what I used on HP 9144 and 9145
Pretty easy to get a straight cut using a wooden dowel.
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