HP2648A tape drive capstans

Joe R. rigdonj at cfl.rr.com
Mon Feb 6 10:00:54 CST 2006

At 07:11 AM 2/5/06 +0000, you wrote:
>Tony Duell wrote:
>>> I'm a little curious--what kind of success might one have reading old (20+
>>> years) HP tapes written on an HP9835?  I was asked this recently and I
>>> opined that based on what I'd heard, particularly from the HP calculator
>>> group, that the chances of retrieving error-free data was not all that
>>> good.
>>> Was I accurate?  Or are the 98xx tapes an exception?
>> Alas fairly low. The tapes for the 98x5 machines are much the same 
>> construction as those for the HP85. The problem is that the belt sticks 
>> to the oxide layer on the tape, and/or the tape sticks together, and you 
>> get major loss of the magnetic coating when you try to read the tape. 
>> Needless to say this makes it unreadable.
>Is that specific to the HP tapes, or are all the similar tapes just as 
>bad?  And is there a way to prevent this, like maybe taking it apart and 
>removing the belt first?

  I don't know of any way to prevent it. The case of NIB HP tapes that I
had had been stored inside in an airconditioned building on an Air Force
base so storage conditions don't seem to be a factor. Other brands of
compatible tapes such as the DEC CompacTape (or whatever they call it) and
the PC 40 Mb tapes seem to have the same problems but not as often. But I
think they're all going to deteriorate soon. I THINK the DEC and PC may be
a bit newer.  The HP Journal that talked about these tape drives said that
the tapes and drives were developed by 3M and HP. So I believe HP was the
first to use them so the HP tapes are probably the oldest out there.

   I don't know what good taking the belt off would do.

   I urge everyone to gather their tapes up and try to have someone read
them and store the contents to disk or some other media.



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