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M4 Data 9914 R Tape Drive needs work

Jimmy

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I recently purchased a M4 Data 9914 R 9 track tape drive with a Pertec interface from eBay. The description was the tape drive was displaying a drive door error.

The drive was handled very roughly during shipping by UPS and the front plastic assembly was damaged. Attached are some of pictures of the front plastic assembly. Both door hinges are broken and will need replacing. The right front hinge is all there but is broken in several places. The left hinge is missing rounded part and the pin that rotates the door. The brackets that help attach the exterior case was bent but should be fixable. The back metal cover is bent slightly I believe from being dropped and the Pertec interface metal cover hitting. Hopefully the interface card is not damaged.

I believe I can fabricate or even 3D print what is needed to repair the front assembly. I did find a diagnostic manual on bitsavers. If any who has one of these drives and would take a few pictures I would appreciate it.

I am sure the drive has other issues, but I thought I would get the front panel repaired first.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jimmy
 

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Chuck(G)

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Are any bits missing? It's quite possible that the broken parts can be repaired with a good solvent cement, say, Weld-On 4? I've done a lot of repairs on old gear with the stuff. Active ingredient is methylene chloride (dicloromethane). If done carefully, the result is just as strong as the original and nearly invisible.
 

bolex

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Years ago, i had a similar issue and I took the broken parts to a local fabrication shop and they reproduced them for me. At the time, I thought it was reasonably priced but that was now 20 years ago (mine were similar hinges but for a high speed scanner). It might be worth a shot.
 

Jimmy

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One hinge all the parts are there but broken into 4 parts, the other about 3/4 of the hinge is still there. I may be able to repair one hinge and you it as a model to make a duplicate.

The good news I taped the door closed and powered on the drive. The drive goes ready. I do not a have a tape at home but will bring one out of storage tomorrow.

I did try the load button to see if the tape spindles would spin, the front spindle spins okay for about a minute and then displayed a no tape message which I expected. I don't know when in the tape load sequence the take up spindle starts. I will test tomorrow when I have a tape.

I do have a 16 bit Pertec card, cable and software.

Thanks for the suggestions.
 

Jimmy

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Thanks to Chuck G and others, I got the front panel repaired. Not very pretty on the under side but functional. I was able to fashion a new set of hinges from an old hinge I had in my shop.

The cable I have in not the correct cable on one end. Both the card and the tape drive require the same connector.

I need to research the correct pin alignment for Pertec Cable.

I have both a 8 bit and 16 bit card and software that's works with both Dos and Win9x.
 

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Chuck(G)

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Looks like the drive uses DC62 connectors for the 2 cables--or is that a DD50? What controller card are you using? I may have info.
 
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Jimmy

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Chuck it's a 50 pin. I got the card, cable and software from Joseph Minuti at Electro Value Inc. The card does not have a manufacture name or model number. I did email him asking if he had a different cable.

I thought I would try and research the cable interface in case he did not. I did read your paper about the Pertec interfaces.
 

Chuck(G)

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Jimmy, sorry to burst your bubble, but as far as I can tell, you have the SCSI interface 9914 there.
If it was a Pertec interface, there would be two connectors near the bottom of the rear panel side-by-side, labeled clearly "P1" and "P2".
Just that plug in the 4th picture tells me that it's SCSI and that plug is a SCSI terminator.
Now, you have to figure out if the interface is SE or LVD.
 

Jimmy

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Chuck:

Thank you, when I bought the drive I was told if had a Pertec interface, I doubt the guy who sold it to me was any more knowledgeable on the drive than I am.

I will do some research on SE vs LVD interfaces.
 

Jimmy

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Here are pictures of the card from the tape drive. I should have pulled the interface card first. It is clearly labeled SCSI.

We had a tape drive years ago that had a Pertec interface and I remember moving Pertec card from one computer to another and that the card had the 50 pin 3 rows of pins. I did not see how the cable connected to the tape drive.

How can I determine the SCSI type?

I can make up a cable to connect the tape drive. I have an Adaptec 2930 SCSI in the PC.

Thanks,

Jimmy
 

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Chuck(G)

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Looking at this document PDF page 9, your interface isn't listed; it has 768K onboard. But it follows the same general ordering, so I'm venturing that it's a safe bet that it's SE. But no matter; the 2930 controller has auto-detect for the interface.

As far as software goes, Windows has always been a bit of a mess when it comes to old tape equipment. However, Linux is perfectly happy with it, right up to the latest distros. I use Debian and can confirm that tape support routines are available in Bullseye as well as early versions. No matter the Linux distro, be sure to install the mt-st package. It has a lot of revised utilities that are tailored to scsi tape.
 
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Jimmy

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Chuck:

I will get a Linux machine up and running. After pulling the interface card and the cable connector, it will be fairly easy to crimp on a connector for a cable I own.

Thank you for all the help.

Jimmy
 

Chuck(G)

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We had a tape drive years ago that had a Pertec interface and I remember moving Pertec card from one computer to another and that the card had the 50 pin 3 rows of pins. I did not see how the cable connected to the tape drive.

I think it's more likely that the card had 62 pins in a DC62HD configuration. There aren't enough conductors in a DD50 to handle the interface.
s-l1600.jpg

The standard Pertec interface takes two 50 conductor cables. The 62-pin interface gets rid of some of the ground returns. Even so, the Pertec interface has 52 active signal lines.
 

Al Kossow

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Chuck:

I will get a Linux machine up and running. After pulling the interface card and the cable connector, it will be fairly easy to crimp on a connector for a cable I own.

Thank you for all the help.

Jimmy
Eric Smith's 'tapecopy' works fine with a 9914 for creating .tap images

the problem comes if you hit a bad block. scsi tape drives don't return the bad data, so you'll have holes in your files
 

Jimmy

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You are right, it was in the late 80's. We copied spool files from a Burroughs 4955 to a Dos based PC and then burnt them to a Panasonic WORM. At the time was a huge improvement over MicroFiche.

The table top drives were Burroughs but I think our CE said Kennedy made them.

My memory is shot since I have been sick,

Thanks,

Jimmy
 

Jimmy

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Al:

Thank you for the information, we have numerous old tapes from years past. They are not cataloged. We would like to read some of the old year end GL files, just for company history. There are several that are labeled source files from 40 plus years ago.

Thanks,

Jimmy
 

Jimmy

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I understand now what the guy that sold me the drive thought it had a Pertec Interface.

It has connections at the bottom but we're covered in what he probably thought was a shipping protector bar. The connections are part of the main or motherboard and labeled P1 and P2. I am guessing there was a separate logic board for Pertec.

I did modify the scsi connection and have it attached to an Adaptec 2930 card with Debian 11 installed.

The drive will read some tapes, but not reliably. The tapes I have are 30 years old.

The mechanics of the drive work fine and the drive can be controlled with the mt command.

I have cleaned the heads several times. I am sure the drive needs servicing but I have been unable to find a service manual.

I downloaded Eric Smiths tapeutils. Is there a manual for these?
 

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