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Thread: Mystery Whatzis

  1. #1
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    Default Mystery Whatzis

    As part of an acquisition I received the piece of equipment shown below. It appears to be a tape backup unit, but I can't find any information on the name or logo.

    Anyone recognize this?

    Thanks,

    -CH-

    DSCN1292.JPG DSCN1294.JPG DSCN1295.JPG

  2. #2
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    Looks like a then fairly standard QIC tape drive but we can't see if it's passively connected to the ribbon cable (you'd be missing the controller) or if there's internal logic (onboard controller and plugs into an expansion bus?)
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    Looks like a then fairly standard QIC tape drive but we can't see if it's passively connected to the ribbon cable (you'd be missing the controller) or if there's internal logic (onboard controller and plugs into an expansion bus?)
    Thanks for your reply. Cover off, there appears to be a logic / controller board, PSU and drive inside. I've never worked in an environment where the QIC drive was used and I probably won't ever find docs for this thing. Is it worth picking up a tape to see if the drive functions?

    -CH-

    DSCN1296.JPG

  4. #4
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    Default

    Having the capstan turn to goo seems a fairly common problem with QIC drives so consider opening it up to ensure the state of the capstan before powering it.

    The drive itself looks to be a SCSI model so it might be adaptable to any SCSI system with an external 5.25" drive bay available.

    Popping the drive out of that case might also show the specific model of drive and which tapes are appropriate for it. There are a lot of different types of QIC tapes and most drives only work with a few.

  5. #5

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    This is a Radio Ranch X-Drive. It plugged into the external floppy port of a 6000/16 and allowed for backup to tape. There was a special patched version of the file maintenance disk for this.

    60 meg per tape.

    Worked ok, but was slow. FYI Radio Ranch is still in business. I've contacted them several times for a Q/A session and they have never replied other than to confirm it was them.

    I don't believe there was any additional logic, just a few cables re-arranged.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    Looks like a then fairly standard QIC tape drive but we can't see if it's passively connected to the ribbon cable (you'd be missing the controller) or if there's internal logic (onboard controller and plugs into an expansion bus?)
    There is no controller. It's what is called a "floppy tape". Uses the Shugart interface.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    Having the capstan turn to goo seems a fairly common problem with QIC drives so consider opening it up to ensure the state of the capstan before powering it.

    The drive itself looks to be a SCSI model so it might be adaptable to any SCSI system with an external 5.25" drive bay available.

    Popping the drive out of that case might also show the specific model of drive and which tapes are appropriate for it. There are a lot of different types of QIC tapes and most drives only work with a few.
    It is not SCSI, do not connect it to SCSI. It's a floppy tape. Plugs into the external floppy interface of a 6000, 16. Allows for backup under Xenix.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by clh333 View Post
    As part of an acquisition I received the piece of equipment shown below. It appears to be a tape backup unit, but I can't find any information on the name or logo.

    Anyone recognize this?

    Thanks,

    -CH-

    DSCN1292.JPG DSCN1294.JPG DSCN1295.JPG
    By the way, I'd be interested in buying this for a reasonable price. I used to use one.

  9. #9
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    Default

    It's a Cipher 525 drive. Bit of a pig on power, but otherwise pretty reliable for the time.

  10. #10
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    Default

    Thanks to all for their responses. I looked for "RR X-DRIVE" but wouldn't have known RR stood for Radio Ranch. Their logo does look like the letters RR were formed from a piece of rope, I guess. And thanks to Mr. G. with his encyclopedic knowledge of hardware. In a category all his own.

    I looked at the Cipher documentation and now know there is a specific cartridge approved for this drive. I don't yet know if I can find one, none were included in the purchase. But it makes sense that this backup was part of the package; this was somebody's system, probably from a commercial environment, possibly industrial.

    The purchase included this drive, a 5 Mb RS external disk drive, a 70 Mb RS external disk drive and a TRS-80 Model 16B. I have no idea what works and what is on the hard drives; a lot of work ahead of me, cleaning, identifying, testing. Maybe one day it all works together again.

    Thanks again, everybody!

    -CH-

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