TU16 Tape Transport

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Tape speed: 45 ips (Forward/Reverse)
150 ips (Rewind)
Size: 19"W x 25"D x 26"H
Weight: 150 lbs

The TU16 Tape Transport is a classic big magnetic tape drive from DEC, basically an updated version of the TU10, with the original FLIP CHIP-based electronics replaced with more modern electronics.

It is able to store 5-40 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.

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

  • M8910 - Logic and Write
  • M8911 - Slave Clock, Motion Delay
  • M8912 - Slave Test Function Generator (two)
  • G056 - Read Amplifier

The G056 and M8910 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


To connect to UNIBUS PDP-11's, one of two controllers can be used.

The TU16 is normally used with a TM02 controller, which is a MASSBUS controller; a TM02 can handle up to eight TU16 drives. The TU16/TM02 with an RH11 MASSBUS interface is denominated as a TJU16; with the RH70 MASSBUS interface of the PDP-11/70, it is denominated as a TWU16.

The TU16 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. (Details of the controller-Master interface are given here.) Such a drive is a 'Master' TU10W drive; additional TU16 'Slave' drives (up to seven) may be connected to the Master drive.

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