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RE: mystery tape drive

On 25-May-98 Will Lowe wrote:
> I've got an internal colorado tape drive with a big "250 MG" label
> embossed on the outside that came in an old 486 I bought secondhand from
> someone.  It sits on the normal IDE controller like a hard disk,  and the
> tapes I've been provided for it are labelled "DC 2120 Mini Data Cartridge
> Tape" ... any idea what driver I'd go about using for it?  I don't have
> the original docs,  so I don't know what the drive is called.

"It sits on the normal IDE controller like a hard disk" -- Check (= carefully
trace!) the cable connector between the tape drive and the IDE controller card.
It's possible it may in fact be connected to a floppy port, in which case I'd
suggest giving ftape and mt-st a try.

(The DC2120 Minis are the cartridges that worked with the original Colorado
Jumbo 250 which has a "250" above "MB" label embossed on it, in white on a
beige background, bottom left-hand corner as you look at the fron panel; it
seems quite possible you have the same. This drive *definitely* works off the
floppy connector and in fact comes with a special cable which enables the tape
drive and a floppy drive to share the same port on the card. The ftape/mt-st
drivers work very well with the Colorado Jumbo 250.)

One thing to note: unless ftape has moved on, you won't get compression when
saving to the tape, so you would only get about 120MB onto the tape.

Another thing: again unless ftape has moved on, you won't be able to format the
tape on Linux. DC2120s come preformatted in QIC-80 format, and this seems fine,
but if a tape gets corrupt it might need re-formatting before it can be used
again. In that case, unless you have access to the Colorado DOS software you'll
end up having to buy a new tape.

By the way: I'd suggest sticking to standard-length DC2120 tapes (120MB), and
not use the extra-length DC2120 XL (170MB). I have never persuaded the latter
to work, but have never had trouble with the former (at any rate those
manufactured by 3M).

Best of luck,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <Ted.Harding@nessie.mcc.ac.uk>
Date: 25-May-98                                       Time: 19:04:15

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