TS11 tape transport

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The TS11 tape transport was the magnetic tape drive of the TS11 Subsystem. It contained an integrated formatter, which used a custom microprocessor for overall control. It communicated with a TS11 controller over a serial bus. The transport was packaged with its associated power supply in a standard 19-inch rack mountable frame.

Reading and writing are performed at 45 inches per second, and data is recorded at 1600 bits per inch, using PE encoding. Use of ANSI standard format recording allows data to be transferred easily between computer systems.


The formatter and on-board electronics consisted of a number of PCBs, some mounted on the main deck-plate of the transport, and connected to other boards by harnesses, but most plugged into specific, numbered slots in a custom backplane in a logic rack:

Board Location Function
G057   TS04 Read Preamplifiers
G157 (x2) 1,2 TS04 Read Amplifiers
G158   Reel Servo
G159   Capstan Servo
M8922 7 Branch Logic and VCO Control
M8923 3 Read Control
M8924 (x3) 4,5,6 PE Formatter
M8929 13 Write Control
M8962 8 Microprocessor Board 1
M8963 11 Microprocessor Board 2
M8964 9 ROM Board
M8965 15 I/O Section 1
M8966 14 I/O Section 2
M8967 12 I/O Section 3
M8968 10 ROM Extension Board


  • Performance:
    • 114 cm/sec (45 inches/sec) read/write speed
    • 72,000 bytes per second transfer rate
    • 380 cm/sec (150 inches/sec) rewind speed
    • Bidirectional reading capability
  • Capacity:
    • 1600 bit/in phase encoded ANSI compatible recording
    • 15.24 cm to 26.67 cm (6 inches to 10.5 inches) tape reel capacity
  • Reliability /Data Integrity:
    • Automatic error correction
    • Read after write check
    • In-line diagnostics that run continuously during drive standby mode
    • Off-line self-diagnostics

External links