DEC PDP-8 Paper Tapes? What are these?

From: Ethan Dicks <>
Date: Sun Jan 12 02:57:00 2003

--- Dave <> wrote:
> I have some of the paper tapes too with Digital Equipment Corp on them.
> Mine also have various tests on them and some say Basic. However mine
> are not in spools--mine are folded over on top of each other like 8
> inches long before being folded back on itself and then they are stored
> in a fancy blue case where you slide each folded stack into.

Fan-folded tape was what was used with "high speed" readers like the
PC04 and PC05. I have some PDP-8/i and PDP-8/e tapes like that.
Spooled tape was more common with low-speed readers, like the one
on the side of an ASR-33.

> I am trying to figure out if these are any good to anybody...

Almost certainly. With part numbers (if any are present), we could
probably determine if copies were already available online or not.
In any case, they are useful to someone who has a paper tape reader
(fan-fold tape can be read by an ASR-33 or a PC04, but I wouldn't
want to put spooled tape in a PC04... probably would snarl).

> ... or whether they are only good on one specific system.

Depending on exactly what you have, chances are that they are
good for one _family_ of computers (some PDP-8 stuff works for
every thing (FOCAL, assemblers, other utilities), some stuff
is model-specific (diagnostics, some utilities)). Need more
info before we could make a determination.

> Can someone help me out here.

Yes. Can you give us a listing of what's typed/written on the
first fold? Putting several stacks in a flatbed scanner and
making the picture available on a web page somewhere might
be equally useful... folks could comment on what they recognize.

> I am pretty sure they are from a large DEC computer used in a
> university in the 1960s and 1970s becuase the
> dates on them are from 1965 to 1978.

There were no PDP-11s in 1965, and most of the models of stuff that
_were_ available in 1965 were not getting new software from DEC in
1978. It's possible you have tapes from several types of machine
mixed togethe. It's also possible you have, say, PDP-8 tapes, from
a wide range of years (the PDP-8 was available in one form or
another from 1965 well past 1978).

Descriptions or pictures would be most helpful


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Received on Sun Jan 12 2003 - 02:57:00 GMT

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