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Advice needed: Apple Tape Backup 40SC / "liquid head&qu

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#1 Leografix

  • 6502
  • LocationSwitzerland

Posted 08 October 2008 - 02:49 PM

Alright, here´s another one. Two years ago I got myself one of these very rare Apple Tape Backup 40SC drives. Took it home, powered it up, inserted a tape - complete breakdown! The plastic / rubber transport head / roll of that drive has got liquid within milliseconds ruining the tape. After that I contacted TDK and the maker of the transport roll (some company in Japan) but never got an answer.
Now I´m trying to repair this one myself by looking for an adequate roll / head (the rest of the drive seems to be ok). Does anyone in here has the slightest glimpse of what exchange material might be useful?

Thanks for any information


#2 Charlieman

  • 68000
  • LocationLeicester, UK

Posted 08 October 2008 - 06:35 PM

The problem is a well known one in the calculator world. Articles like this one should give you a few ideas:
http://www.hpmuseum.... ... gi?read=57

The mechanism itself is a QIC tape, so look around for info about them. Information about tape speed (ie physical metres per second) should give an indication of the required mechanical properties of a replacement roller, home made or a subsitute from another device. A tape drive roller rotates more quickly than a roller in a printer or calculator, so good luck.

#3 Leografix

  • 6502
  • LocationSwitzerland

Posted 09 October 2008 - 01:47 PM

Thanks for this link! Looks like it will be quite difficult to get a replacement roller... J P.S.: once been to Leicester ;-)

#4 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 19 November 2015 - 07:02 PM

Ok so I finally fixed my 40SC tape drive... I ordered two "Surgical Rubber Hoses" from ebay... to replace the MELTED RUBBER CAPSTAN, The title was:

Now the catch is I ordered two different ones.. I think this is the one above.....
I also ordered:

I don't remember which one is which.... Either way IT WORKED!!! I cleaned the capstan down to the metal... and put this one.. The only tough part is cutting the rubber tubing and getting it straight... I didn't get it completely but as long as you have enough on the top and bottom of the capstan to catch the plastic wheel. I didn't even have to glue it onto the metal capstan.

#5 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 20 November 2015 - 06:32 PM

Yeah I think it was the bottom one.. The one with 1/2 OD.... So search ebay for 3/8" I.D. x 1/16 W - 1/2" O.D. SURGICAL LATEX RUBBER TUBING *BY THE FOOT*


Here is a pic of what it looks like when complete.... Again the only issue is the slicing of the rubber tubing... not easy to get a perfect slice..



#6 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 24 November 2015 - 01:43 AM

I will confirm the size of the rubber surgical tubing shortly.. The one's I posted I don't think are the correct ones.. 


Here is a video of it in action on a Powerbook 100 working great!!! This repair isn't for the faint at heart.. It can be very touchy.. I also recapped all the boards on the tape drive.



#7 Tiptoeturtle

  • 6502
  • LocationRødvig Stevns Danmark

Posted 24 November 2015 - 02:50 AM

It looks like you have enough tubing to repair another fifty or so units, if you can find that many.


I prefer the design of the cabinets of those Apple SCSI peripherals from that era.


When slicing the tubing, it may help to have a piece of wooden dowel inside the tubing to support the tubing while you cut through it.

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#8 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 24 November 2015 - 02:50 PM

I actually like the case designs as well... and they all match each other when stacked up... 40MB Hard Drive, 40MB Tape Drive, CD-ROM Drive.. they all perfectly match..

#9 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 25 November 2015 - 04:32 AM

Sorry to keep chatting about this post but it may assist someone one day.. I know many people could care less about a 40MB tape drive.. Well I have to try a different capstan solution.. the one I have now works but since the drive runs back and forth so fast and so often the surgical tubing wears down a little bit.. and it spits out tiny wearing down pieces of the tubing.. very small but can't keep it this way... So it's on to trying plastic tubing... I need something that will handle the stress.. Will post the results when I do it.. 

#10 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 02 December 2015 - 05:07 PM

Ok final note... I purchased the following rubber tubing below and it works real good.. Disregard the other tubing I posted.. That tubing breaks down and little particles from the rubber dirty the tape and the head... if you are going to rebuild one of these use this tubing below!!! Its a black surgical tubing at the perfect measurements for the metal capstan and the perfect width...



#11 techknight

  • 68LC040

Posted 02 December 2015 - 10:42 PM

a VCR/Cassette player/Reel to reel pinch roller kit will fix this thing properly. 

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#12 CelGen

  • 68000
  • LocationKamloops, Canada

Posted 10 December 2015 - 09:38 AM

Over 10 years ago now I did the same roller repair but used reinforced hose. (not by preference. It was the only size I could find that fit)




It did work but the second problem that came along was the tension band in the QIC tapes slacked up and eventually chewed my only good tape.

#13 aplmak

  • 6502
  • LocationNorth Providence, RI

Posted 11 December 2015 - 01:00 AM

CelGen THANKS!!!! And yes those tension bands loose their strength...

#14 BadGoldEagle

  • 6502

Posted 01 January 2017 - 06:51 PM

Really old topic but REALLY USEFUL. Was about to start a new thread but I got all I need. Thanks!!


Got three Tape Backup Drives last week, and all of them need refurbishment. 


In my case the roller isn't gooey but rock solid. Sticky as hell too.

It was really dirty so I took some alcohol to clean it, but then it broke off in three big pieces. Will order some of that hose.

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#15 techfury90

  • 68000
  • LocationCarrboro, NC, USA

Posted 12 January 2017 - 03:59 AM

That's the same problem I had with two Cipher 540F Plus QIC-150 drives for my IBM RT. I ended up getting a solution for those, which was to get two #11 O-rings from Lowe's and put them over the metal part of the capstan and use a small amount of superglue to hold them in place. It's not the best, but it worked enough for me. I imagine you'd have a different size though, as my drives are all full size QIC, and not the mini cartridge. Oddly, I also have had a Tandberg TDC 3600 (also full size QIC) from 1988 with a perfect roller as of a few years ago. Same with a TDC 4100 from 1996 as of last week. Something about those Norwegian rollers instead, I suppose...  :lol:


Edit: if there's an option in whatever backup software you use, retension each tape several times before you use it. That's a process for QIC tapes that essentially runs the tape all the way to the beginning, end, and back to the beginning. It helps loosen out slack with the tape and rubber band tremendously. I can't vouch for the mini cartridges, but aside from the (easily repairable) roller problem, the full size drives seem to be holding up very well. Media seems to be kind of hit or miss, but NOS media seems to be pretty good for me. 

Edited by techfury90, 12 January 2017 - 04:02 AM.

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#16 CelGen

  • 68000
  • LocationKamloops, Canada

Posted 13 January 2017 - 12:54 AM

The Tape Backup 40SC has its own program supplied by Apple. I do believe retensioning is available in one of the menus.

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