QIC ( Quarter Inch Cartridge ) drives have been around since Moses was an intern, and justifiably so. They were relatively inexpensive, rock-solid devices ever since they were standardized in 1983.
The capacities ranged from 60 Meg to 10 Gig, and the drives were often connected via floppy cable.
This particular specimen was taken from a server that I removed from service about 8 years ago. It was the last in a long line of servers that all had QIC drives in them. We used them in our remote offices ( our backups were usually less than 100M ), and had little or no trouble with them, mechanically. Taking this particular machine out of service was one of the first tasks that I was assigned when I started with this company. The office was moving and we decided to upgrade the server which was, as I recall, a 133Mhz Intel with about 64Mb RAM, and a 350Mb HDD. The OS used a Linux kernel to boot, but ran a custom OS called PickPro. I remember that the server was tucked under the admins desk, and when I lifted it up to remove it, roaches ran out - uuuugh.
Does anyone have any stories of IT workplace condition "h-e-double hockey sticks" (as the kids say)?
After that little digression...Our goal here it to see what makes our intrepid unit here tick.
Here we have the first of many frames featuring our Sankyo CP-1508. The sturdy eject button, and a singular status led.
When the door is closed behind the tape, the slide plate shown earlier draws the QIC into the RW heads and the drive wheel (green arrows).
The drive wheel, as we will see later, is fixed in its position, save for a couple of pivot pins and a small spring.
I "borrowed" my daughters Eye-Clops (highly recommended by me, by the way) and took a picture of what I believe is the erase magnet part of the head.
The Eye-Clops requires quite a bit of light (works best in sunlight), which I did not have much of in the the winter February months that I took the pictures in, but overall, I think it is a pretty cool extreme close up. Notice the tooling marks. You'll get a much better view by clicking the image to enlarge.
Now that the bracket and pins have been removed, we get a better look at how this works. The motor turns a worm gear (red arrow - barely visible yet) at varying speed against the black one. The black gear (we will see) has threads inside that force it up or down (green arrow) when driven by the worm gear. This allow VERY fine control of our RW head. This also allows manual adjustment of the head during maintenance, via the hex bolt shown in the 6th frame.
A good look at the photo eyes and receivers here in green. This whole mechanism was pretty interesting - a mirror is mounted at an angle in the QIC and reflects the 'light' towards the receiver. During normal operation, the circuit should remain open - but when the two small holes in the tape come along (in a later frame) the circuit closes and tells the drive that it is at the end of the tape, to which it can react accordingly.
Now we remove the bracket that holds our drive motor in via the two screws in red.
It is also a good time to show the range of motion of the drive wheel - shown by the small green arrow. It leans "in" by default, and when the GIC is fully loaded, it pushes against the wheel ensuring adequate friction.
We can see the two holes marking the end of the tape, as discussed in a previous frame. We can see the mirror behind it, the small window of top of the tape, and get an understanding of how the photo eyes on the drive work.
The wheels in this and the next frame show the ONLY thing that kept the drive belt in place. No, no grooves or guides as I would expect, but barely perceptible raised ridges. That fascinated me really.
This belt was made from a really curious material - it had a bit of a texture, and was flexible, but not like a rubberband as you would expect. It was a lot like the material that is used to insulate power cords - a flexible plastic if you will.