Odd QIC-like tape

Frank McConnell fmc at reanimators.org
Sat Aug 18 02:03:44 CDT 2007

Tony Duell wrote:
> A few days ago somebody here was asking about a QIC-like drive that 
> didn't have optioncal BOT/EOT sensors, and wondered what tapes it used.
> Yesterday I obtained a car-load of HP150-related stuff. And amongst it 
> was a pair of HP tape drive,s the 9144 and 9145, which use special HP 
> pre-formatted tapes.
> Those had come to mind when I read the first posting, but I thought the 
> tape was an HP 'special' so not relevant to the OP's machine But while 
> looking at theAustralian museum (http://www.hpmuseum.net/), I found a 
> link to a site that impliex these tapes were standard 3M products of the 
> time ,the format was not custom HP, etc.

Yes and no.  At least on the HP3000, there was a sort of two-level format.

The low-level format was recorded at the factory, and I think it put down
the inter-block markers.

If you wanted to use one of these tapes as a :STORE medium, you had to
prepare it first.  :DOWN a tape drive drive device, insert the tape
into that drive, wait for the drive to finish loading it, then run
something like:


(7 in these examples is the logical device number of the drive)

If you got HP 88140 tapes, the FORMAT step was not quite immediate.
If you got 3M tapes, the FORMAT step took considerable time (minutes,
I'm thinking tens of minutes).

I found this out the hard way -- our purchasing agent (where I worked
in the early 1990s) was offered a deal on the 3M tapes and got one in
as a sample.  I tried it.  I recommended against; the savings in cost
would be wiped out by the backup or production guy (or by me) waiting
for the FORMAT to finish, or coming back to check on it, or whatever.

-Frank McConnell

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