'Hachti' in Germany got himself a Honeywell tape drive to use with his Series 16 computer. His experiences are documented here: http://h316.org/stuff/tape_drive/ Even though his kit is all Honeywell the tape drive native electronics is Series 200 technology and involves an interface with uPac technology to work with the Series 16 - and apparently that was Honeywell's official way of doing things. I know a former Series 16 engineer who had to work on the interfaces between the two technologies at Honeywell and apparently they had different signals, timings, protocols, pretty much everything. Honeywell did tend to acquire technology from other companies rather than sticking to their own brand, which is why I'm trying to keep to just their own original technology in my Series 200 project. Hachti has to contend with getting the Series 200 logic to work as well as the Series 16 and on top of that he has failures in the vacuum system because old rubber diaphragms are leaking. Some months ago I sent him some replacement vacuum sensors from my collection to fix the leaks, but he's probably still got a lot of work to do to get the thing working and it is really well-made really heavy equipment. Therefore I agree that looking for any drive of any vintage in any condition may be unwise.I would love a vacuum column type drives of any vintage or condition to use with a pdp8 straight 8
Personally I do have some parts from Honeywell tape drives but wouldn't want a complete drive. I still have tape reel motors with hubs, a pressure/vacuum pump and some solenoid valves with the electronics to operate them, but I'm hoping that I can eventually use them another way in my Honeywell 200 project. If we ever finish building the machine I'd like to equip it to whistle Land of Hope and Glory while drinking a glass of water to give it a bit of British flair even though that capability wasn't in the original American specification. I think that would be a better conversation piece than a tape drive. There have been suggestions that our respective replica projects are mad but there's a subtle difference between being mad and being British. Maybe one day I'll find out what it is.