ECMA 46 tape standard

From: Tony Duell <>
Date: Tue Aug 5 16:09:00 2003

> I've been asked about a quarter-inch tape standard from 1976, called
> ECMA-46. It's apparently 63 bits per mm, phase encoded. I work that
> out to 1600 bits per inch. Now, is this one of the early QIC (Quarter-

I have here the manuals (user and technical) for a Penny and Giles 'Data
Logger' -- actually a QIC drive with a RS232 or current loop interface.
The user manuals says

Recording Media : DC300A, DC300XL or equivalent 1/4in. data cartridge
conforming to ISO4057 (ECMA 46)

Recording Format : 1600 bpi phase encoded data to ISO 4057

The technical manual (which includes full schemaitcs, of course) has a
circuit description which mentions ISO 4057 with regard to the preambles
and CRCs for each block.

What I don't know is wherte ISO 4057 and ECMA 46 are essentially the same
thing, or whether the latter just specifies the physical form of the
cartridge (The manual could be interpretted either way).

I am pretty sure, though that this drive is not QIC11 (I did wonder about
coverting it to that format once many years ago as I needed a QIC11 drive
for the PERQ). I also remember paying a heck of a lot (of the order of
\pounds 100) for the 2 manuals I have (the drive itself was essentially
free, as ever). However, Penny and Giles could still supply these
manuals, which put them fairly high up in my list of 'good companies'...

> Inch Committee) standards? Could it be QIC-11, the four-track system

There is also a 9 track QIC11, FWIW. However, the tracks are positioned
so that a 9 track drive will read a 4 track tape (with the drive
commanded to read the first 4 tracks). Writing suffers the same problems
as writing 40 cylinder floppies on an 80 cylinder drive (please let's not
have that again :-)).

> used on Sun-2 machines? Or is it something else entirely? And how
> could such a tape be read, nowadays?

What was it written on?

Received on Tue Aug 05 2003 - 16:09:00 BST

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