[vcf-midatlantic] WTD: PDP-11 tape drive?

Dave McGuire mcguire at neurotica.com
Thu Mar 7 01:17:14 EST 2019

On 3/6/19 10:57 PM, W2HX via vcf-midatlantic wrote:
> Hi friends, back in December, I floated the idea of acquiring a 9-track reel-to-reel tape drive for a PDP-11/23  I am putting together. Well, I bit the bullet and purchased this one:
> https://www.ebay.com/itm/153390699884
> I paid $150 for it and a lot more than that for shipping to the US. They agreed to send along a power cable from a similar item they had listed elsewhere.
> As they were packing it up they contacted me with pictures of the packing job. They said they were very surprised to discover that these tape drives were actually new in box. And that they must have used a really shabby one when they took the picture long ago.  So there you have it. I received a brand new unit. Here are some pictures as they packed it:
> http://w2hx.com/x/VintageComp/Fujitsu-2444AC/New-In-Box/
> And while its great to get a new one (very happy) there are some downsides to this deal. First, it has the DB connectors on the back instead of the IDC (or whatever) is normally used for Qbus cards.  Second, it does not have the rack mounting hardware that can be seen at the base of the tape unit pictured in the auction. 
> I'll have to review the emails that came in in response to my inquiry in December, but I think I can remove the rear plate and get access directly to the boards and bypass these DB connectors. Of course this means I will probably also have to find the right cables. Not sure how that will go.  
> Thanks for the encouragement you guys gave me to move forward.  I will say, it is quite heavy. It will be quite the task to move it up to the attic where I have my DEC stuff.
> Now to get a) a set of cables and b) a QT13 (someone suggested I get this).

  Wow, I can't even imagine getting an M2444AC into an attic.  I've
moved a few of them.  They're every bit of 250lbs.

  But congrats on a great score.  Sucks about the lack of rack rails, as
they're pretty specific to this drive.  But don't worry about the
"wrong" connectors...they're not really wrong, there are just additional
ones installed.  Just remove them and you'll be fine.  The "right"
connectors for the Pertec 2-connector formatted tape interface are right
there...take off that partial back cover with the DB25/DC37 connectors
on it.  Each DB25/DC37 connector pair should connect to a single ribbon
cable, which goes to a 50-pin IDC connector that's plugged into the back
of the drive.  Unplug those, and there's your Pertec interface.

  I'm pretty sure the technical manual for this drive is up on
Bitsavers.  If you don't see it there, let me know, I have a paper copy
that I can either get into the LSSM's scanning queue, or just let you
borrow it.


Dave McGuire, AK4HZ
New Kensington, PA

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