The TU58 emulator device was developed in order to replace DECtape II dual tape drives used by DEC minicomputers. The emulator replaces two tape drives including original electronics board. Mechanical parts and unreliable and unavailable old magnetic tape cartridges are replaced by micro SD card whose contents may be easily backuped to PC. One micro SD card may contain up to one hundred tape images for each drive (200 total). Tape images are files 256 kB in length containing the contents of the whole TU58K tape cartridge. For selection of tape images are used front panel push buttons. Actual tape image selection can be seen on front panel display.
Unlike previous TU58 emulator design, version 3 of TU58 emulator provides removable storage media - micro SD card accessible on emulator front panel and has implemented all known features of original TU58 dual tape drive including support of reserved functions, special address mode and zero fill write. The TU58 emulator's firmware supports both Radial Serial Protocol (RSP) and Modified Radial Serial Protocol (MRSP).
Communication with minicomputer is ensured by standard serial line configured as RS-423 by default. The TU58 emulator is equipped with Ethernet interface which serves for easy firmware upgrade and for remote access to tape images on inserted micro SD card.
Dimensions of the TU58 emulator board and its mounting holes are the same as dimensions and mounting holes of TU58 tape drive so that the emulator can be built into system instead of one tape drive. Original data and power cables are used for interconnection.
- replacement of TU58 DECtape II dual tape drive including two hundred tape cartridges on one micro SD card
- removable storage media: micro SD card
- communication protocols: RSP and MRSP
- interface with respect to DEC minicomputer: RS-423 (default) or RS-422
- external interface for communication with PC: Ethernet, protocols FTP and Telnet
- baud rate selectable between 150 Bd and 38 400 Bd (default)
- possibility to use write protect function for individual drives
- possibility to choose No cartridge for each drive
- indication of read/write activity on each drive
- boot switch feature implemented
- data retention in micro SD card for at least ten years (depends on card type)
- micro SD card can be rewritten at least 100 000 times (depends on card type)
- power supply voltage +5V and +12V
- much better loading speed of all programs compared to original tape drive
- easy assembly into system
- easy exchange of tape images
- easy backup of tape images from micro SD card (via FTP or by using of card reader)
TU58 emulator 3.0
In case you find this solution interesting but are not sure if it is suitable for your purpose, you can try it by yourself. Do not hesitate to contact us and ask for availability of evaluation sample to borrow.