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Magnetic tape viewer
03-05-2020, 03:57 PM
Post: #1
Magnetic tape viewer
Here's a neat little tool I had never heard of before:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZOxn8ggX8w

Has anyone tried one of these on HP (or TI) magnetic program cards? Is the data on the cards coarse enough that you could actually extract the data bit for bit with a good enough magnifying glass?
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03-05-2020, 08:54 PM
Post: #2
RE: Magnetic tape viewer
(03-05-2020 03:57 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  … could actually extract the data bit for bit …

for the HP-65, YES.

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SlideRule
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03-05-2020, 09:17 PM
Post: #3
RE: Magnetic tape viewer
Back in the 1970s, there was a liquid version of this viewer, called "Magna See" which did the same thing, and this assisted the early PPC "pioneers" decoding the HP65 and HP67 instruction sets by applying the liquid to visualize the tracks on the mag cards. This discussion thread reminds me of that 1964 Sci-fi flim "First Men in the Moon", where American astronauts landed on the moon, only to find a British flag already on the surface, having been placed there many decades before :-)

Jake
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03-05-2020, 09:30 PM
Post: #4
RE: Magnetic tape viewer
(03-05-2020 08:54 PM)SlideRule Wrote:  
(03-05-2020 03:57 PM)Dave Britten Wrote:  … could actually extract the data bit for bit …

for the HP-65, YES.

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SlideRule

Cool, I'm tempted to buy this modern equivalent to use with my 65 program cards (among other things).

https://store.arnoldmagnetics.com/produc...wer-b-1022

I wonder if it would do anything useful with old floppy disks, or if the data density is too high.


(03-05-2020 09:17 PM)Jake Schwartz Wrote:  Back in the 1970s, there was a liquid version of this viewer, called "Magna See" which did the same thing, and this assisted the early PPC "pioneers" decoding the HP65 and HP67 instruction sets by applying the liquid to visualize the tracks on the mag cards. This discussion thread reminds me of that 1964 Sci-fi flim "First Men in the Moon", where American astronauts landed on the moon, only to find a British flag already on the surface, having been placed there many decades before :-)

Jake

It looks like there's actually a thin layer of a liquid suspension inside the viewer. Is it essentially the same stuff?
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03-06-2020, 01:19 PM
Post: #5
RE: Magnetic tape viewer
(03-05-2020 09:17 PM)Jake Schwartz Wrote:  … in the 1970s, there was a liquid version of this viewer, called "Magna See" which did the same thing … decoding the HP65 and HP67 instruction sets by applying the liquid to visualize the tracks on the mag cards …

Magna See is referenced twice in Magnetic Recording Handbook:

Bibliography and References
page 639. Magna-see. Reeves Soundcraft Co., New York, N.Y.

&

Bibliography and References
page 715 Magnasee, 29
MAGNETIC RECORDINGS MADE VISIBLE
The theory just discussed is verified dramatically by actually rendering a tape recording visible. When iron filings are sprinkled on or adjacent to a magnet, the particles align themselves to show the magnetic field direction. In the same way magnetic recordings, though much smaller, make themselves visible by attracting microscopically small particles under the proper conditions. The results are favorable when the particles are of micron size in a dilute liquid suspension. The finest grades of carbonyl-iron are suitable for the particles. Petroleum naptha is suitable for the liquid, as it dries quickly and is relatively nontoxic. The mixture is shaken vigorously and a few drops are flowed on to the surface of a magnetic record. Patterns of the recorded tracks develop out in a few seconds. Contrast improves after the liquid dries by evaporation. The pattern may be preserved by spraying with varnish or lacquer, or it may be wiped off with a cloth without harm to the recording. An alternative procedure that gives more uniformity is to dip a strip of the tape into the suspension for a short time, shake off the excess liquid, and allow to dry face up. Proprietary mixtures like the above are sold under such names as "Magnasee" (Reeves Soundcraft Co., New York, NY). Figures 2-10 and 2-11 show the patterns around wire recordings and tape recordings made visible by these techniques. Colloidal suspensions of much finer particles may be prepared to bring out detail according to Bitter techniques by which magnetic domains were first discovered.

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03-06-2020, 01:20 PM
Post: #6
RE: Magnetic tape viewer
The basic material it is called "ferrofluid" - iron particles suspended in some liquid.
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