[TUHS] reading 9 track tapes?
jfoust at threedee.com
Wed May 13 00:02:10 AEST 2015
At 12:46 AM 5/12/2015, Noufal Ibrahim KV wrote:
>The Internet Archive has a lot of hardware to extract information
>from old media though I don't know if all of it is available.
Yes, I'm sure they do - as does the Computer History Museum, or many
of the other computer museums, and a fair number of mailing-list houses,
as well as many collectors, all still have functioning 9-tracks.
There's a few on eBay at any given moment.
A few years ago I travelled to Bettendorf, Iowa, to drop off two failed
9-track drives I had. A fellow there (http://www.comco-inc.com/) has
one of the few - perhaps only? - remaining 9-track service and repair
businesses. At that time he was hoping to down-size and retire, and
was dreaming of finding someone to take over the business. It sounded
like he had a bunch of 88780-class 9-tracks that would go to the
scrapper. At the time, he offered to sell me a working 88780-style
drive for about $1800.
He said most people just want to read old tape data, not write
it, so he wished for a new method to be able to read 7- and 9-track
tapes just to recover data. One can imagine a flexible read head,
a digitizer, and the rest is software. Indeed, that's what a few
people have made as an experiment.
There's still some equipment and processes that require a real drive
and that do not work with tape emulators. He said there's a company
out there that makes a modern 7-track drive for the seismic end of
the oil industry at $50K a pop. He repaired and sold many 9914-style
drives because they handled a longer block length needed by some
oil industry applications. Another remaining market was a few
specific models of 9-track that work with old Alcatel phone switches.
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