Recreating motion o...
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Recreating motion of a IBM 729 tape drive using L298N  


New Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 2
2019-10-13 7:15 am  

Hi everyone,

Firstly I am new to Arduino and to this forum, so I apologise in advance for any dumb questions.

To keep this post short I'll get straight to the point. I am building a static "upcycled" robot similar to the ones created by this chap: however I'll be making all the components myself.

One of the main features I want to include is a miniature version of the IBM 729 vacuum column tape drive
as seen here:

(skip to 1:15) I would like to recreate the random motion using an Arduino Mini or Uno and a L298N motor controller and one DC brushed motor.

I have worked out all the mechanics of the project however, my major failing is understanding Arduino coding, I am trying to get to grips with it (done some of the basics) but I am struggling.

I have searched around various forums and have found code that gives a random speed and direction but nothing that fits my requirements. Does anyone have any code that they have used for a similar project that I can use? I want to use this project as a trainer on Arduino and coding so any help and advise would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks in advance.

M4krD4d liked
Member Admin
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 660
2019-10-13 11:09 am  


Hi Jase, welcome to the forum!  Looks like you've got an exciting project ahead of you!

And I suggest everyone watch the entire video as well, it's very interesting.

You mention only one motor, so how are you simulating the two tape reels.  Do you have your motor running at all?  While leaning how to control the motor I would suggest getting it running in one direction first, then varying the speed in between stopped to full speed, before doing the same thing in the other direction.  After you have that process successfully completed I would move on to having short periods of running one direction then the other direction for the same time period.  Eventually you could introduce the random time into you running times to simulate the tape moving back and forth at different speeds and for different time periods.


New Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 2
2019-10-13 12:55 pm  

Hi Steve G,

Thanks for your reply,

The single motor drives a single belt that is connected to both tape reels and capstans. Each tape reel is driven by a pulley on the back, one reel has a large pulley the other a smaller one. When running this will simulate the effect of having one spool full of tape and the other near the end.

Remember this is a very small recreation of the real thing my tape reels are only 50 mm in diameter. The control panel will be illuminated by SMD led's which I want the Arduino to control, for example when the tape reels go into reverse I want the rewind lamp on the control panel to light up. This will be additional code that I will need to build into the motor control code.

I'll do as you suggest and get the motor to function in a simple manner then expand upon it.  There is an article on this site that covers motors and L298n it was the random operation that baffles me.

Thanks again for your help.


Active Member
Joined: 3 months ago
Posts: 6
2020-04-19 6:23 pm  

Vacuum mechanical HDD cache for improved I/O. 

Tech has come a long way. I don't think we can claim victory on storage I/O bottlenecks yet. 😉

Thanks for sharing.