Tape Drive

Here it is: the biggest, heaviest and loudest piece of hardware I have ever owned!

This is what I call real hardware: A data processing machine - I never thought that I would have to read pipe diagrams in order to understand a computer drive :-)

Some facts from the manual:

Model No.:4210
Serial No.:Will see...
Tape type:1/2" seven track (6 bit + parity)
Tape speed:16 inches per second forward/backwards
48 inches per second rewind
Write density:200 or 556 BPI
Power consumption0.96 kW
Weight:400 lb

Related visuals:

  • Here you can see the first images I have seen before visiting the machine for the first time.
  • Some more images can be found in the gallery!.
  • And now here are some more detailed images in the second gallery!.

Current state

At the moment I am very glad to have the machine standing in my collection room in the first floor. I have to thank Mark, Robert and Volker for helping me to get the machine upstairs. Moving that device is a bit like transporting a piano I think. It is really heavy. But now I can easily move it around on its wheels.
I have already repaired the capstan motor's cut wires and put the capstan motor back into the machine.
Then I powered it up - Uh, that's loud! Pushing the power button energises two fans (one in the missing backdoor, the other in the nearly empty "drawer UP" where the analog parts reside). Power switch lights. Cool. No fuse blows. Puh..
The next step was to push the "vacuum on" button. Now the main vacuum blower (vaccum cleaner) and a compressor start to work. I have succeeded in loading a scrap tape into the machine. The right vacuum column seems to work fine: If the loop gets too tight it first releases the brake and if it still gets tighter it starts to actively unwind tape from the wheel. If the loop becomes too long, it winds up some tape.
On the left side there is some problem with one of the emergency zone switches (the zone switches represent the pneumatic nightmare in every tape drive). It is too slow. The machine goes to emergency stop if I don't short the contact for the first few seconds. Perhaps I have leak somewhere in the vacuum system. Will further inverstigate that the next time I come to Alfeld. The second problem on the left side is that the wheel motor does not actively unwind. But I think I will find the problem.
When the tape is loaded the head is lowered to the tape but retracts immediately when in position. I have no clue why it is that way. Perhaps I have to take a look at the control signals coming from the non-existent electronics.

I think I will get the mechanics up and running befor the summer. Then we'll see what to do with the analog parts.

Help needed!

I don't have any software for the machine. I also know near nothing about the missing analog parts. So I'm asking for your help:
  • Who has the Honeywell Series 16 magtape software or parts of it?
  • Who has further documentation of this (or similar Honeywell) tape drive? I need better schematics and wiring diagrams!
  • Who has experience with tape recording and could help me with the analog parts? What is a sense amplifier in the read branch...
If you have any of the above or want to help me otherwise - please send me an email.
I am also highly interested in getting in touch with people involved in this kind of technology!

Mssing parts

Here ist my list of missing parts. If you know the way to them - let me know!
  • 8TRA7 - Read Amplifier
  • 8TSA6 - Sense Amplifier - 7 needed
  • 8TRW0 - Read/Write Special
  • 8TW10 - Write Flop
  • 8TCD0 - Current Driver
  • 8TAD0 - TAD Package
  • 8TRP1 - Relay Picker
  • 2JPA0 - Write Translator
  • 5JKV0 - Cable connector
The most wanted in this list is the 8TAD0 TAD package!