tape drives

Mr Ian Primus ian_primus at yahoo.com
Thu Apr 24 14:07:35 CDT 2008

--- "Roy J. Tellason" <rtellason at verizon.net> wrote:

> There are two of them,  and this was a part of a
> whole IBM SSA system that 
> I've been dealing with bits of here.  Pushing open
> the little door I see 
> something that sure looks like a helical-scan head, 
> though somewhat smaller 
> than the one normally seen in a VCR.

Yup. That's an Exabyte. It's a helically scanned 8mm
tape media, based closely on video-8.
> I'm told that these hold 20G on a tape.  The guy I
> got 'em from unfortunately 
> doesn't have any tapes to go along with them.

> Does anybody have any tapes that will work on these,
>  or can any of you guys 
> point me toward where I could get a hold of some
> without getting into crazy 
> expense?  I'd sure like to make some backups with
> one of these units.

Depends on the drive. If the drive you have is really
capable of holding 20 gigs of data, then it's going to
be a "Mammoth" drive. The earlier drives (8200, 8500,
8505, etc.) all used Metal Particle (MP) tape. This
was pretty much the same as 8mm video tape, and yes,
you CAN use regular 8mm video tape in these drives. It
works fine, although some brands aren't as reliable. I
found that the Fuji tapes at my grocery store work
just fine in the 8200 drives on my Prime computers.

The "Mammoth" drives, on the other hand, store more
data by using a more advanced type of tape. These are
called AME tapes. (Advanced Metal Evaporated, or
something like that). You need to find some AME tape.
Shouldn't be too expensive on eBay, although I have
never looked for any.
> Think I can get 'em going under linux?  :-)

You most definitely can. I have done it many times
with 8200, 8500 and 8505 drives. Works just fine with
normal *nix tape commands - tar, mt and the like. I've
even used an ancient 8200 drive with a commercial
backup software on a Macintosh, just for fun. It works


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