TK50 Formatting

Before you declare that old TK50 tape useless and un-formattable (or un-INITable), give this a go:


How to format a TK50 tape using a magnet
in 13 easy steps

An illustrated manual for the mechanically challenged

Caution: No guarantee whatsoever is given for the procedure described below! If you injure yourself or destroy your tape it’s YOUR PROBLEM!

What you’ll need:
1. An unreadable TK50 (Compactape) tape

TK50 Tape TK50 Tape
2. A large, strong magnet, or a bunch of small strong magnets

3. Something to help you unlock the tape; I used three of those old hinges:

Old hinge


Step By Step Procedure

Step 1: Observe the first tape movement lock

Tape movement lock
Step 2: Insert the hinge into the lock so that the plastic lever inside is pushed aside

Hinge inserted into lock

Step 3: Observe the second tape movement lock

Second movement lock
Step 4: Insert the hinge into the lock so that the plastic lever inside is pushed aside

Second lock with hinge inserted

Step 5: Observe the tape door lock

Tape door lock
Step 6: Press the plastic latch downwards and the door will pop open

Unlock door Door open

Step 7: Place an object inside between the tape door and the cassette body so the door would not snap shut

Door open
Step 8: Pull out the tape leader; if it is stuck, check that the two locks are properly unlocked

Tape leader pulled
Step 9: Pull out about 2 feet of tape, hold one side and make several passes with the magnets along the tape

Tape erased Tape erased
Step 10: Flip the tape on its back

Tape upside down
Step 11: Press the tape reel firmly in (but not all the way), and reel in the tape by slowly rotating counter-clockwise

Tape reel pushed inside
Step 12: The tape leader should be in its original, fully-wound position

Door open
Step 13: Take out all the locks and you’re done !

If you still cannot /INIT the tape, you can try and repeat the procedure with a stronger magnet, or add it to your collection of dead tapes.

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