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Pertec ISA interface card

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    @ Chuck and NeXT,
    Thanks guys, for your replies.

    So, Chuck, I am really interested in your project. Please let me know what is going on this project. On "my side", I do not know **yet** if I will stick with an ISA interface ( My own design ?? ).
    On the other hand, SCSI could be a good choice too, but all of these let me with my initial question :
    How easy ( or hard ) is it to find ( obviously used ) tape drives ( either Pertec or SCSI interface ) and how much does it cost ???
    Bear in mind that I am from Paris ( NOT Texas, FRANCE !! ) and that in Europ, by now, it's almost impossible to find this kind of things.
    May be in Germany, but 1- "Advertising" is in German, 2- I do not speek German, 3- German often ship only within their country ( for used goods ) ... so it will not be easy.
    AND, buying one from US will cost me "an arm" in packing and shipping to Europe, but I think, it gone be the only choice, isn't it ??


      I'm going with serial in my design because that's likely to appeal to the broadest base. I could probably do USB, but that's easy enough to get with an inexpensive USB-to-serial adapter.

      I can't speak to the availability of Pertec-interface drives outside of the US, except to note that they were very common. A lot of old Sun systems used them, as well as many DEC installations. On the other hand, you may be better off looking for a SCSI-interface drive, as they were very common also.

      Yes, they can be very heavy (my Fujitsu probably weighs 75 Kg) and shipping will be expensive. On the other hand, there were some small streamers made by Overland Data that probably weigh less than 15 Kg. Not lightweight, by any means, but lighter.


        Got an QUALSTAR 1052 )

        OK , gentlemen, a quick update ....
        I really "joined" the club by now, as I bought a Qualstar mini-streamer 1052.
        So now, I will look very actively for and ISA interface.
        I see three options :

        1- Buid my own, on an ISA "prototype" card. I would probably go "parallel", I means something "looking like" an EPP port, based on 8255 chip ( chipS ?? )

        2- "join" Chuck's design ( If he agree ) and, may be offer my help.

        3- Buy *** IF I FIND SOMETHING UNDER $300 *** a card like PCDT ones
        but I have a BIG QUESTION on that : Where can I find MANUALS , Documentation and DRIVERS for such ???
        I browsed the web, and did not find anything !!! Computer Logics Cie seems defunct, with anything left ( or at least, I was not able to find it ... )
        Also, what "kind" of drivers I have a chance to find ?? I mean for what OS are they designed for, mostly ???
        DOS, Linux, Unix, Windows .... all of them ????

        Any help will be really appreciated.
        Have a very pleasant week-end, All.


          I have never had luck with finding drivers/software or manuals for controllers. I have an Everex QIC-02 drive and controller and never got it to work because I could never find out what the dip switches meant. With the PCDT cards I'm sure however you might be able to bum files off some of the members here who still use those cards.
          [Need something to waste time on? Click here to visit my YouTube channel CelGenStudios]
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            I might have the driver for your PCTD--let me look to see if it includes PCTD II.

            Most QIC-02 cards are just clones of the Wangtek PC-02. My Alliance Technology QIC-02 cerrainly is. QIC-02 cards in general are little more than simple bus interfaces--there's no intelligence on them; just an address decoder and some DMA/IRQ handshaking logic.

            QIC-36, on the other hand, is a different matter.


              Thank you ,guys for your answers. I appreciate.
              @ Chuck(G) : The PCTD card I *** may *** get is a PCTD 16, not PCTD II. Any comment on this "choice" ?
              ( From previous treads, I understood that is is a reasonably good choice . Right ?? )
              What will be a reasonable deal, in your opinion ?? around $90 ??
              Anyway, please tell me if I have a chance have you to have manuals and drivers for it.


                Yes, the PCTD-16 is a good one and I do have drivers for it, but (I think) no manuals. As to what price is reasonable, you'll have to be that judge; there's not enough traffic in 1/2" tape controller cards to set a firm price. Be sure that whatever box you're going to put it into has a full-length slot available. Were both Overland TX-16s posted the other day on this forum already taken?


                  Hello all,
                  More specifically for Chuck :
                  In your opinion, ** IF ** I have a choice, what is best : PCDT 16 or PCDT II ??
                  Which is "the less older" and which one has the biggest buffer ?
                  ( Host system is of no importance as I have ** many ** PCs, starting from 486 and have even access to an 8086 !! )
                  Could you, if I buy one of these, provide me with copies of Drivers ( DOS / Windows ?? ) and Manual(s) for theses ??
                  On an other point how is going your serial design ?? May I offer any help for it ??


                    Gérard, I'd go with the PCTD-16, simply because I think it's easier to find information for it! It uses the standard 62-pin connector.

                    I'm still thinking about the adapter--it's not high on my list of projects, so it may be some time. Oddly, I was thinking about implementing it using an 80c188 CPU, as tools are easy to come by and the chip itself has two channels of DMA (lots of memory makes for better operation with streaming drives).


                      Does this connector look like a Parallel port but way wider? If so I may have cables, two controllers, and an adapter to external SCSI centronix, as well as a four-IDE-device bay that uses the same plug, and a weird tape drive (not vaguely similar to what you have).
                      More commonly known as "Yushatak" -
                      Focused on 486 and Pentium Machines
                      I collect All-In-One PCs and Keyboard PCs, especially Compaq.


                        Thank you Raven, for your help !!
                        Connectors look like this : see the "Pertec drive cabling" file on this forum or this link, if it works :
                        Connectors are EITHER 50 pins or 63 pins, that is part of the "problem" ...
                        So far, I have a 50 pins cable and NO controller ( either 50 or 63 :--(( )
                        Anyway, can you tell us more about your controllers and / or "weird tape drive" ??
                        Thanks a lot


                          I'll get more information and maybe pics tomorrow, but the odd tape drive has a very tiny tape slot with a handle not unlike most 5.25" floppy drives. It is two layers, with a big-ass controller card (or something) on the bottom and the drive on the top. It has a big rainbow-colored ribbon cable going from the drive to the internal connector on a controller labeled Power Convertibles. I found it in a box of my Dad's computer stuff from who knows when that he probably got somewhere for cheap or free and never used. On the back of that card is a connector that looks like a parallel port (two rows of pins, way longer than parallel port) - a connector that some of my other gear has. It's branded DEL-MAR, a local company that does medical computing (or did, rather). After becoming more familiar with odd custom equipment I notice that this card also says "Multi Sample Acq.", which leadsm e to think the back port is for some sort of data collecting equipment. I've seen the same connector on element sensors that I had from a university. The internal connector actually looks like it COULD be IDE - but it's probably some sort of SCSI or proprietary stuff. I have cables for the wide connector that convert to external SCSI, and a straight-through. I have a quad-IDE bay intended for CDROM drives, but I think 3/4 of the CDROM drives that were in it are dead - I removed the working one to use outside of the enclosure in a machine, because they were asthetically nice caddy drives. They're standard IDE on the inside, though, so you could put modern DVD burners in it, lol, doesn't matter. My other card with that connector on the end is also an MFM controller, and was made by Data Tech. Corp.. That one was pulled from my Zenith Z-200 286 backplane-based machine iirc. Both of these are 16-bit ISA full-length.

                          I don't use tape drives (can never get them to work, can't get tapes, can't find controllers, etc.) so I'd be willing to part with any/all of this stuff for whatever the best offer is.
                          Last edited by Raven; April 10, 2010, 08:42 PM.
                          More commonly known as "Yushatak" -
                          Focused on 486 and Pentium Machines
                          I collect All-In-One PCs and Keyboard PCs, especially Compaq.


                            "Power Convertibles" is a maker of DC-DC hybrid converters, so the label is a little strange. I suspect that your tape is something like QIC-02 or QIC-36, but there are stranger interfaces out there.

                            Probably not SCSI, I'm guessing.


                              Hello Everybody,

                              Does someone have drivers and manuals for a PCDT II card ???

                              Thanks !


                                I managed to get a Qualstar 1052 tape drive from Germany to Romania via e-bay. They do ship to other countries and in the European Union, packages get directly to the receiver's local post office without paying customs taxes (while packages from US or China or Israel are subject to customs fees in the EU). This tape came with an ISA adapter, it's called MCS-1. I have the MsDos drivers for it and also for the tape which I will try to attach here. the address is [w][w][w] (adjust the address). There are 4 folders: some MsDos utilities (including the driver), the "msdos stuff" containing the config.sys line for loading "mcstape.sys" with the proper address, some asm, C, cobol and pascal examples for accessing the tape via pertec interface (using mcs-1 controller driver) and also some tape drive utilities (disk2tape, tape2disk, tapediag, tapelist, tapeclone,tapebackup,taperestore and some more).

                                It is recommended not to use the flash when you take pictures of your tape drive (while it is working). You will sure trick the light-sensor on the tape (used for BOT and EOT detection - begin of tape and end of tape - both marked with a small aluminium foil to reflext the light emitted by a LED), the drive will believe it reached the end of tape and will spin it backwards. Big headache when you need to fit a lot of data into some tapes (the procedure is called "volume splitting").

                                There's another model of Qualstar Tape Drive, it's called Qualstar 1260 and it works on... SCSI. Now guess what is hiding under its hood? There's a Qualstar 1052 (yea, that one!!!) + a Pertec-2-SCSI adapter. So whoever of you are in the US, watch the e-bay for that tape and also keep an eye on the pictures and see the connector. This spring I had the chance to buy such a tape drive, but the high price (US$900) to ship the tape to Europe... stopped my dream.

                                If anyone can find the Qualstar 1260 tape drive service manual in a complete edition - there is a complete schematic of the pertec-to-scsi adapter. I do have the manual in PDF format but it is not complete. Guess what pages are missing... anyway the board is horrible. 3/4 the height of the qualstar tape drive. There are also other tape drives containing such an adapter. for example the state of the art tape drive ever built: the HP 88781a - a real masterpiece with amazing spin speed and also a few MBytes transfer rate. If you can get one of those - they are really heavy. I missed one of those on e-bay last year, also from Germany. 1 euro the price, 60 euros shipping. The wonderful thing is that as soon as the tape is connected to SCSI, any *NIX system will know there's a tape drive connected. There's no need for driver, *nix already has a generic SCSI tape driver included. If the controller manages to detect the tape drive at Power-on-self-test, then unix/linux will have no trouble. SCSI is preferred instead of pertec. You can send files to the tape in the same way you append data to a file. Also you can compress the data, so on a 6800CPI 2400ft tape you can transfer up to 700 MBytes. The driver will do the rest - spinning, rewinding, parity check, sector read retry and so on. But that's the dream in our lives that we all hope to become true. Unix/Linux have no ideea of Pertec standard. There was some pertec support in the FreeBSD 1.x but I could not find anything else. Need to finish some exams to get some free time.

                                @Gerardcjat - - that big big circuit board is the controller I have. Maybe you can find one of those in the same place you found the tape drive. It's called "MCS-1". Drivers are already here. Also there are tapes on e-bay. look for "9 track tape" on or "9 spur magnetband"/"magnetband" on There are tapes coming from Hungary and Ukraine at around EUR9.00 per set and around 15 EUR per transport.

                                Please let me know if these files are useful to you guys. I am interested in the pertec-2-serial project and I hope these files will help you a lot - with the functions I already wrote about: spinning, rewinding, error check (parity on track 9), bad sector request, erase data, write volume and so on.

                                With respect,
                                PhD Research Assistant
                                Petroleum and Gas University of Ploiesti, Romania
                                Last edited by skaarj; September 16, 2010, 06:53 PM. Reason: add info for @Gerardcjat