8 mm tapes

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Fri Sep 24 08:47:21 CDT 2010

On 9/23/10 5:57 PM, Steven Hirsch wrote:
>>> I've added a scsi tape drive to my collection. I hope to use
>>> it with my Sparcbook. It is a Sun box with a sticker on it saying
>>> that it is a EXB-8500C drive. Do I need special 8mm tapes
>>> with it? How do I know what tapes will work with it?
>>> I've never dealt with these drives before.
>> The 8200 (2.3GB) could use standard video tapes, but the 8500 (5GB)
>> requires data tapes. I tried video tapes in the 8500 when it came out,
>> but the error rates were horrendous.
> And, I don't want to dump cold water on anyone's backup plans, but I've
> found the 8mm DAT drives are by far the least reliable of any tape
> system ever used here. Not necessarily in terms of data integrity, but
> in terms of the _&)(*^^ drive itself dropping dead or developing problems.
> Probably threw a half dozen of them away in the past ten years. I have
> two working that I keep around only for laughs and data recovery.

   There is no 8mm DAT.  Do you mean 8mm Exabyte or 4mm DAT?

   Not that it makes much difference, as one is just about as bad as the 
other.  I will never go near helical-scan media again.  Give me DLT, 
SDLT, and LTO and I'll be happy.

   It's also kinda cool (for me) that DLT is a direct descendant of my 
old favorite: the DEC TK-50.  Yes, they're slow, finicky, and horribly 
unreliable, but I have a lot of good memories from my later childhood 
days hacking with TK-50s with my friends/mentors Ernie Perez, Bob Mader, 
and Mike Santiago.


Dave McGuire
Port Charlotte, FL

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