Rescue update: DEC RC-25s + / was Re: DEC cartridge ID

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Mon Jun 8 09:06:41 CDT 2015

> On Jun 8, 2015, at 10:02 AM, Mike Ross <tmfdmike at> wrote:
>> ...
> Ugh OK, I've never laid hands on one as I said; for some reason I
> thought the cartridge on these was a sealed unit containing the heads,
> like some IBM drives, e.g. 3340…

No, and I don’t think DEC ever made any drives like that.  The removable cartridge drives are all variations on the RK05: one or more platters wrapped in a plastic shell that has an aperture for the heads to enter.  The heads are in the drive.

The RC25 was one of the last cartridge drives (before fixed drives came back in small sizes and exploding capacity), somewhat interesting because of its compact size, and very odd and hard to use because the designers threw in a fixed platter.  Perhaps they thought that it was a good idea because it gave you double the capacity at modest extra cost, but in practice it made for a major pain in the software and operationally.


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