[BBC-Micro] Digital Services Digistore Tape Drive

Ian Wolstenholme BBCMailingList at beebmaster.co.uk
Wed Dec 20 12:16:51 GMT 2006


Thanks for this, I have been inside the box now.  The drive itself
is an Archive 2060S which, according to the M Farris website I
refer to a lot, is a 60MB half-height 5.25" SCSI tape drive.

I am as certain as I can be that it's intended for a Beeb.  The
37-pin D-type connector on the back is marked 1MHz bus and
it's made by Digital Services, who also did a version of Level 2
Econet.

Inside the box apart from the drive is a genuine Acorn Winchester
Disc host adapter and power supply.

It came with an Acorn Winchester Disc 130 and I'm told that
both of these items were used on an 200-station Econet at a
Bristol technology college.

I wonder if it's supposed to plug into the back of the Winchester
Disc given that the tape unit only has one 1MHz connector?  I
can't see that would help in terms of getting it running though,
I am sure special software would still be needed.

I'm wondering who Digital Services were, since they have used
an actual Acorn board inside this unit, and the overall design
is practically identical to the Winchester Disc. I can't recall having
seen actual Acorn gear inside third party products before.  I wonder
if they were some sort of subdivision of Acorn or spin-off 
company?

Best wishes,



Ian



----- Original Message -----
From: Jules Richardson [mailto:julesrichardsonuk at yahoo.co.uk]
To: bbc-micro at lists.cloud9.co.uk
Sent: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 05:53:09 -0600
Subject: Re: [BBC-Micro] Digital Services Digistore Tape Drive

Ian Wolstenholme wrote:
> Does anybody have any information about this item?
> Visually it's very similar to the Acorn Winchester disc,
> same size and colouring with a 1MHz bus connector
> at the back and a fan and a black metal front plate
> with the tape drive accessible from there.

Does it actually *say* it's for a beeb and that's a 1MHz bus connector? Tape 
drive vendors back in the day were notorious for producing drives which needed 
custom hardware in the host machine (rather than just using something common, 
like SCSI).

I've certainly seen drives in cases that are painted various combinations of 
beige / brown, and drives which use a variety of cable widths to connect to a 
host system. Unless it specifically said '1MHz bus' on the back I'd be worried 
that it was for some other system entirely...

> It takes very chunky DC600A tapes, these are the
> biggest tapes I have ever seen at 6 inches across!

They're reliable as hell though - along with DLT, the old QIC tapes such as 
these seem to age really well and typically are still error-free even after 
all these years. Plus they're nice in winter as the baseplate gets lovely and 
toasty after use - good for warming cold hands when you take the tape out :-)

The major problem with these sorts of drives though is the rubber roller 
(visible about halfway down the left side of the drive inside) as it often 
decays and goes mushy due to natural breakdown. It'd be worth checking on 
yours to make sure that it feels solid...

> The unit seems to work, it powers up OK to all 
> intents and purposes and will rewind a tape if you 
> wind it on a bit before inserting, but I can't get
> the Beeb to recognise it.

Any chance of some photos, or at least details of protocol boards inside and a 
make/model number of the drive itself?

cheers

Jules

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