Destructive Imaging of DECTAPE II Media

Mike Stein mhs.stein at
Tue Jan 27 20:51:54 CST 2015

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Brent Hilpert" <hilpert at>
To: "General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts" 
<cctalk at>
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2015 7:32 PM
Subject: Re: Destructive Imaging of DECTAPE II Media

On 2015-Jan-27, at 3:58 PM, Mike Stein wrote:

> I can't find it at the moment but somewhere I have a Burroughs digital 
> cassette drive, capstan-less and capable of high-speed bidirectional seek. 
> AFAIK it uses the standard half-track mono tape format, one track for data 
> and the other for the clock.

That description fits the tape system used in the HP9830. The tape transport 
is actually a "DigiDeck" OEM'd by International Computer Products,  out of 
Dallas, Texas. The head is non-standard though, in that it R/Ws both 
half-tracks simultaneously.

> Don't know if it'd be useful and not sure if I want to part with it 
> permanently, but keep it in mind if nothing else works out and you get 
> desperate ;-)

I don't think it would be of any benefit to the OP's interest over what he 
already has to work with.=

----- Reply -----

Probably not, but I thought I'd mention it just in case; it doesn't use a 
pinch roller though, and it is completely digital, FWIW.

I don't recall whether it was a DigiDeck, but ISTR that I compared the BBM 
unit to another digital deck that was (relatively) popular way back when, 
and I'm pretty sure that they were different.

They were mostly used with Burroughs Series L machines, but I think some of 
the small B series could also be equipped with them. I've still got a few 
boxes of utility, game and program tapes for Burroughs L series machine, but 
working L's are pretty thin on the ground so I sometimes toy with building 
an emulator; that's why I still have the tapes and the drives (although 
unfortunately I threw out a lot of paper tapes a long time ago), but that 
project is pretty far down on the list...

Just a thought...


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