I have recently begun to create an archive of all my personal data, and since LTO2 tape drives offer significant capacity (200GB/400GB) per tape, longevity is very high (up to 30 years in archive), & relatively low cost, this is the technology I’ve chosen to use for my long term archiving needs.
Unfortunately, this drive was DOA, due to being dropped in shipping. This drop broke the SCSI LVD connector on the back of the unit, & bent the frame, as can be seen below.
As this drive is unusable, it made for a good teardown candidate.
Here the top cover of the drive has been removed, showing the top of the main logic PCB. The large silver IC in the top corner is the main CPU for the drive. It’s a custom part, but it does have an ARM core.
The two Hitachi ICs are the R/W head interface chipset, while the smaller LSI IC is the SCSI controller.
The tape transport & loading mech can be seen in the lower half of the picture.
Close up of the main logic.
Here the main logic PCB has been removed, showing the tape take up spool. The data cartridges have only one spool to make the size smaller. When the tape is loaded, the drive grabs onto the leader pin at the end of the tape & feeds it onto this spool.
The head assembly is just above the spool.
Bottom of the drive with the cover plate removed. Here the spindle drive motors are visible, both brushless 3-Phase units. Both of these motors are driven by a single controller IC on the other side of the lower logic PCB.
The head is moved up & down the face of the tape by this stepper motor for coarse control, while fine control is provided by a voice coil assembly buried inside the head mount.
The face of the tape R/W head. This unit contains 2 sets of 8 heads, one of which writes to the tape, the other then reads the written data back right after to verify integrity.
The tape cartridge loading motor. I originally thought that this was a standard brushed motor, but it has a ribbon cable emerging, this must be some sort of brushless arrangement.
A replacement drive is on the way, I shall be documenting some more of my archiving efforts & system setup once that unit arrives.