User talk:Gandalf/hw/filestore 2

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tape drive - what kind of tapes?

The tape drive is interesting. Is 1/2 inch (I'm guessing that means that the tape itself is 0.5 inch wide) tape the same as "9-track tape"? And, is this the same as CCT (Computer Compatible Tape)? In A recent haul, I got some 0.5 inch wide tapes, but I don't have a tape drive. --Torfinn (talk) 11:28, 25 June 2016 (UTC)

The half-inch tapes are CCTs, and, in this case, 9-track CCT. But there was also 7-track CCTs, an earlier standard. Your tapes are probably 9-track. No markings at all? If you see 6250bpi or 1600bpi anywhere, it's 9-track. If you see 800bpi it's almost certainly 9-track too, although that density was shared with a tiny selection of 7-track drives for a short time window, afaik. ND used only 9-track CCT drives. The drive in the picture looks quite similar to some drives we used at work, although I don't recall them to be StorageTek. But we also had the CDC small division SCSI disks at the same time (630MB formatted), so it's possible. Those drives had problems with CCTs from long storage, if they had become sticky. I would run the tape once through an Anritsu DMT 2820 drive first, then read the tape successfully in the ND drive (I own that Anritsu now, I used it later to read my old ND (and a few VAX) tapes, after the last ND computer was gone. Had to write some software first, of course). --TArntsen (talk) 21:41, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
The spools of the tapes I have have various combinations of "Racal-Zonal", "CALCULUS COMPUTER TAPE" and "Fully Tested to 3200 F C I" written on them. The "index paper" (aka file listing") with each tape have dates in the 1978 and 1977 range. --Torfinn (talk) 09:11, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
That would be 9-track CCT with those dates. Racal-Zonal is the tape provider (like 3M, Verbatim..). What architecture it's for is another question. But it could be in ANSI format, as used by VAX/VMS. Which is easy to translate. --TArntsen (talk) 09:21, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Well, the "index paper" says that the tapes are file backups from ND machines. --Torfinn (talk) 14:50, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Ok, in that case it's definitely 9-track! Probably in backup-system format (an extended ANSI format). --TArntsen (talk) 07:17, 27 June 2016 (UTC)
Yes, it's a 9-track tape. (Had to read up on the subject first. :-) ) I'm suspecting that it is a later model than the 1950. It is a StorageTek at least but the card crate has fewer cards than the service manual for the 1950 shows.
Since it is a SCSI unit it should be quite easy to connect a linux computer and test the drive. If it is working I should be able to image any tapes.
So far I've only tested to run the drive manually without any tape, just powered it on and played with the operators panel. It seems to be working so far, tries to load tape, rewinds, operator panel works.
It also automatically loads tapes without problem, detecting the BOT/EOT marker and the density of the recording. My PC have a disk problem so the final test to read and write a tape has to wait a while longer. --Gandalf (talk) 09:17, 28 June 2016 (UTC)
Just found a quick guide on sintran.com. The drive was called ND-110324 Magtape by ND. I still would like to know the storagetek model number to be able to find a service manual. --Gandalf (talk) 22:47, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
Found a label inside the drive, it's a StorageTek 2920, but I haven't found any manuals for it. --Gandalf (talk) 23:24, 25 June 2016 (UTC)
This is my media library except floppys, I need a 80 Mbyte SMD cartridge drive to read the large disks packs. The two boxes at the floor contains tapes and there are 8-10 tapes on the table too. The rest is disk packs for cartridge drives of various kinds. I probably need some more cartridge drives too but at the moment I don't know what.--Gandalf (talk) 11:03, 26 June 2016 (UTC)
Filestore with doors closed.