Peripheral Products


Storage - Magnetic Tape Drives Selection:

Name: 9145A Tape Drive
Product Number: 9145A
Introduced: 1988
Division: Computer Peripherals Bristol
Original Price: $3980
Catalog Reference: 1989, page 712


The 9145A was a modular, quarter-inch, 32-track tape drive with an HP-IB interface. It had twice the data transfer rate as the 9144A (4MB per minute) and could read both 16-track (67MB) and 32-track (133MB) tape cartridges. The 9145A used the CS/80 instruction set.

Collector's Notes:

About eighty percent of the 9144 and 9145 tape drives in the museum work. A problem that affects over ninety percent of the drives on the market is gooey capstan wheel. The wheel becomes too soft to correctly advance the tape in the cartridge. This problem is easy to fix. Just scrape the gooey wheel off its base and replace it with an O-ring. The O-ring should have an interior diameter of 14mm and a cross section of 3mm. Glue the O-ring to the capstan base with urethane glue. In our original experiments with O-rings, we used a ring with a diameter of 12mm and epoxy glue. The 12mm O-ring provided a tighter grip around the 15mm-diameter capstan wheel. But, after a couple of years, more than half of these O-rings started to split, and some even came off of the capstan wheel. O-rings are designed to be in compression, not in tension. We have not had any problems with the 14mm rings and the urethane glue (more flexible than epoxy).


The captans can also be repaired using dipping vinlys (like Performix Plasti Dip). This method produces a more durable end result, but also requires much more effort. The capstan base needs to be dipped many times into the vinyl (and dried each time) in order to achieve the proper ring thickness. After the dipping is complete, the thickness of the new ring will not be uniform. To make the ring uniform, you can apply a drill (no bit) to the centre of the capstan wheel and spin it like a lathe. You can then slowly bring a wedged file into contact with the new ring. The thicker parts of the ring will contact the file first (and be shaved away).

Many problems with 9144/9145 drives are caused by tapes (worn, broken, wrong format). The upper left corner of the drive's rear panel displays a two-character self-test result, seven seconds after power up. As a quick check, you can power up the machine without a tape in it. If the left character of the self-test display is an "F", then the drive has defective internal components. If the character is a "P", then the drive itself is probably good (in about 80% of cases).

Be patient with these drives. After inserting a tape, it can take two or three minutes before the drive is ready to speak to a computer. A lot of spinning and whirring will happen before the drive is ready for use. This is also true when ejecting tapes. It can take two or three minutes for a tape to be ready for ejection after pressing the "unload" button. Do not try to force the eject button before the drive has gone through its entire unload routine. These drives can be very noisy but still function properly.

The 32-track tapes used in the 9145 cannot be used in the 9144. However, the 16-track tapes for the 9144 can be read by the 9145 (but not written to). These tape drives used pre-formatted tapes that are no longer being made. The Imation part number for old tapes that work is DC600/615HC (for the 9144A) and DC600XTD/615XTD (for the 9145A). Standard QIC tapes DO NOT work in the HP 9144 or 9145 (like the Imation DC600A).

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