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Thread: 9-track magnetic tape unit maintenance and operation?

  1. #11

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    Very timely thread created here. I acquired a 9-track Cipher tape drive from a co-worker several years ago. I don't recall the model number off-hand, but it looks very much like this unit. It's been in mothball since then, because I never had any hardware to interface it to nor any software to drive it. Stumbled over it in storage a couple of weeks ago, and have been thinking I would pull it out and fire it up again and get on this forum to see if anyone has any PC interface hardware and/or software.

    The cable looks like it has a SCSI interface. The document cache on bitsavers.org has a ton of info on how to create an interface cable, so may add this to my list of projects.

    I have a couple of 9-track tapes in a closet from college days. They're mid-70's vintage, so could have the problems that Chuck G. mentions. No idea on the widths. Would share one, but they (hopefully) still have content I'd like to preserve. Also, they haven't been used in 35 years, so hardly "known good" specimens.

    Would be a hoot to browse the contents of those time capsules!
    Last edited by normanator; September 12th, 2019 at 06:37 AM.
    “The Bex religious order does have its collective side. As in: collect everything and hold on to it whether you remember where it came from or not.”
    —Alberto Fossa, Privateer II

  2. #12
    Join Date
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    1/2" mag tape is governed by ANSI specs--at least in the matter of width, they're all the same.

    Bake them before you read them. Also clean them, if you have access to a cleaner.

    It's no big deal to read 50+ year old tapes. It's really amazing how durable they are, even when infested with mold.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); September 12th, 2019 at 07:48 AM.

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