TE16 magtape drive

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TE16
Media: 1/2", 10-1/2" reel
Tape density: 800 bpi (NRZI)
1600 bpi (PE)
Tape speed: 45 ips (Forward/Reverse)
150 ips (Rewind)
Size: 19"W x 25"D x 26"H
Weight: 150 lbs


The TE16 is a classic big magnetic tape drive from DEC; it is an updated version of the TU16, with detail improvements to the electronics and mechanicals.

The improvements include:

  • Electronics
    • Improved G066 head read amplifier card
    • New logic and write module, with auto-load
    • New power and servo module with support for dynamic braking and auto-load
    • New voltage regulator module with increased power output
  • Mechanical
    • Various tape path improvements, including another roller guide
    • Fixed take-up reel
    • Snap-lock lower hub

It is able to store 5-46 Mbytes on a 2400' 0.5" wide tape, on a standard 10-1/2" reel. It supports 7-track operation at 200, 556, and 800 BPI, and 9-track operation 800 and 1600 BPI. The tape transport utilizes a single capstan, with vacuum columns.

On-board electronics

The TU16 drive contains a fair amount of electronics, in the form of several boards in a 4-slot hex-high backplane:

  • G066 - Read Amplifier (compatible with the earlier G056)
  • M8916 - Logic and Write
  • M8911-YB (M8931 in later models, required for TM03) - Slave Clock, Motion Delay
  • M8912 - Slave Test Function Generator

The G066 and M8916 are hex cards; the others are dual. In addition, that backplane normally also contains three dual-high cards which interface to the drive bus:

  • M8913 - Data driver
  • M9001 - Bus Connector
  • M9001-YA - Bus Connector

This set of three cards was later replaced with M9039. On the last drive on the bus, these cards are replaced with:

  • M8913-YA - Data driver
  • M9001-YB - Bus Connector
  • M9001-YC - Bus Connector

Controllers and Drive Variants

To connect to UNIBUS PDP-11's, one of three controller types can be used.

The TE16 is normally used with a TM02 or TM03 controller, which is a MASSBUS controller; a TM02/03 can handle up to eight TE16 drives.

The TE16/TM02 with an RH11 MASSBUS interface is denominated as a TJE16; with the RH70 MASSBUS interface of the PDP-11/70, it is denominated as a TWE16.

The TE16 can also be used with one of the TM11 series of magtape controllers.

To connect to these controllers, in the first drive, the three dual-high bus interface cards (above) are replaced by an M8926 interface board; this produces a so-called TE10W 'Master' drive.(Details of the controller-Master interface are given here.)

Additional TE10W 'Slave' drives (essentially a plain TE16 drive), up to seven of them, may be connected to the TE10W Master drive.

Replacing the three dual-high bus interface cards with an M8927 interface board creates a TE10N negative bus 'Slave' drive; this drive can replace a TU10 Slave drive, and may be used any place a TU10 Slave would be (e.g. with a negative bus controller such as a TC58 OMNIBUS controller or TM10 controller).

Again, additional TE10W Slave drives (up to a total of 8 drives, including TU10 drives) may be connected to the TE10N Slave drive.