Peripheral Products

Quarter Inch Tape Cartridges

Storage - Magnetic Tape Drives Selection:

Name: 88140SC Tape Cartridges
Product Number: 88140SC
Introduced: 1981
Original Price: $169
Catalog Reference: Does not appear


Data cartridges for HP quarter inch tape drives. Cartridges for the 9144A, 7908/11/12/14, 7942/46 - 88140SC (16MB, 150 feet box of 5), 88140LC (67MB, 600 feet box of 5 - $219). Cartridges for the 9145A - 92245S (32MB), 92245L (133MB).

Collector's Notes:

Over time, these quarter-inch cartridge tapes become problematic. Our experience is that about 50 percent of tapes up to 15 years old are readable. 35 percent of tapes between 15 and 20 years old are readable. Less than 10 percent of tapes over 20 years old are readable (almost no tapes are readable after 25 years). By comparison, floppy discs have proven to be a far more durable storage medium over time. Our experience is that over 90 percent of floppy discs between 30 and 35 years old are readable.

The problem with the cartridge tapes is the internal elastic drive belt. This belt stretches over time. It eventually becomes so loose that the magnetic tape will unspool within the cartridge. It is very hard to recover a tape once that happens. If you have an old cartridge tape that you want to read, DON'T put it into a tape drive (unless it is less than 10 or 15 years old). Replace the elastic drive belt within the cartrdige with a new belt. You can get a replacement belt from a new QIC tape cartridge (which are still being made). Please let us know if you find a way to source the belts by themselves. Most tapes can be "saved" (even older tapes) by replacing the drive belt.

To remove the old drive belt, remove the two (or four) screws on the back of the tape cartridge that secure the front plastic cover. Turn the tape back over so the front is facing up. Using fingers, gently pry the plastic cover from its base. Then remove the old belt.

After removing the good belt from a new tape, you will find that the belt curls up into a bunch (unlike the worn belt from an old tape). This is a GOOD thing. The curl makes the belt more difficult to handle, but it means that you will have the right tension.

Installing a new belt is very tricky. It is easy for the take-up reels to unspool. It is also easy for the roller wheels and drive wheel to slide up and down their shafts while you are trying to thread the new belt. The recommended procedure is to loop the new belt around the drive wheel, then secure the drive wheel with a small clamp (see photos under "More Images"). After clamping the drive wheel, secure the two take up reels with a rubber band, being sure to keep the new belt under the rubber band. Then, loop the belt around one of the roller wheels and secure that wheel with a small clamp. Finally, while using your thumb to press down on the near take up reel, stretch the belt around the remaining roller wheel. Once the belt is in place, remove the clamps and rubber band. By hand, advance the tape, being careful not to let the roller wheels ride up on their shafts. You want to have the drive belt positioned in the center of the tape that it is touching. Take up any slack on the tape spools by securing one of the take-up reels with one hand while manully advancing the other wheel with your other hand. The drive belt should not move while the slack is taken up.

HP made these cartridge tapes in lengths of 600 feet and 150 feet. When replacing the drive belt in a cartridge, it is best to use a replacement belt from a cartridge of the same tape length. We have succeeded in using a belt from a 600 ft tape cartridge in a 150 ft tape cartridge. However, we have not succeeded in doing it the other way around.

The drive belts will stretch over time, and then fail. However, while in use, the drive belts will constrict slowly. If a tape gets a lot of use over an extended period, the belt may constrict to the point where the motor can no longer drive the tape (and produce a clanging sound and FAULT light). This problem can be fixed by removing the top cover of the cartridge and manually stretching the drive belt, but this is not really recommended. A better solution is to not use a tape for an extended period.

If you have cartridge tapes with original HP software, you should copy to tape to disc (while you still can), and then image the disc.

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