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I got a Wangtek 5150EQ tape drive that connects to a dumb (made of a bunch of 74-series logic chips) 8-bit ISA tape controller card. The controller card has a bunch of DIP switches which I used to configure it to port 300, IRQ 5, DMA 1. Some research leads me to believe that drive and controller follow the QIC-02 interface standard. I have ordered appropriate DC6250 and DC6150 tapes off ebay already. Here is some information I found about the tape drive.

I want to use the tape drive in my 80286 PC (20 MHz CPU, 4 MB RAM) running MS-DOS 6.22 and Minix 2.0.3. Some research showed that at least FreeBSD (through the wt(4) driver) and Linux had support for this tape drive, however I have neither found DOS software nor a Minix driver for it.

Is there any software for MS-DOS or Minix 2.0.3 I can use to talk to this drive, at least to confirm that it is functional? The software should run on my 80286.

  • The "31040 PCBA" might be an essential thing: Could this drive been made with multiple dissimilar interface schemes? It seems that there were also SCSI versions of the 5150EQ... – rackandboneman Apr 29 '18 at 15:56
  • @rackandboneman Yes, I think so. The guy who gave this tape drive to me said that he also has some SCSI models of the same drive. He gave me the QIC-02 drive because he has no use for it as it does not use SCSI. – fuz Apr 29 '18 at 16:48
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First, don't know anything about Minix; if it's anything like early x86 Unix/BSD/Linux it will have a Wangtek driver that Just Works (caveat: haven't tried a non-SCSI QIC drive in 20 years...YMMV). Second, there's two parts to this one for DOS:

  1. Driver - you'll need a driver for the card. This will dictate a lot about what runs. Since it's not SCSI, you'll need the one specific to the card/drive combo. Some stand-alone backup programs had their own driver, but Wangtek also shipped a generic driver, that many programs used.
  2. Software - There were dozens of mostly proprietary backup programs that could use this combo. That said, when I was involved in this era of tape tech, Sytos seemed to be the the most common, followed by Central Point and (distantly) EzTape. I recall Wangtek bundled a basic version of Sytos with the drive for quite a while. I've never heard of TIP mentioned above. I think the MKS Unix utilities for DOS software could use the generic Wangtek driver for dd/tar/cpio, etc., but I could be misremembering. I know I used a DOS tar on QIC-02/36 in the late 80s to move files to SCO Unix machines. You can probably find all sorts of gems on whatever is left of the Simtel archives or equivalent.

Please note that QIC tapes are somewhat notorious for the rubber drive bands in the cassettes and drive having turned to goo or dried out. Consider replacing them before you try to read/write anything important.

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I don't know where you'd get a copy, and there were multiple non-interoperable backup solutions, but from memory, the TIP (Tape Interchange Program) backup program was one of the most popular for QIC02 tapes.

Common sense says it should have been called TIP-02, but memory insists (possibly fallibly) that it was called TIP-20.

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