from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
MicroVox logo

MicroVox is a digital magnetic tape system ( tape drive ) for storing computer data. It was introduced in 1976 by Micro Communications Corporation based in Waltham, Massachusetts , USA. The storage takes place on very small magnetic tape cassettes, so-called wafers. Only the drives themselves, that is, without a motor and power supply, and the tapes were manufactured. The drives were also used from 1978 for the Exatron Stringy Floppy System (ESF), which was used in particular for the Tandy TRS-80 Model 1 , and around 1979 in early database devices / desk organizers / PDAs .


The MicroVox Communications Peripheral drive was sold for $ 895 in 1976. It is connected via the RS-232 interface. Five straps, each 35 feet long, were included. The price for additional media was initially $ 3.50.

Also offered in 1976 were dual drives such as the MicroVox Model 31-001 and Model 30-002 MicroVox Dual Magtape Microprocessor Peripheral . One drive was used for reading and the other for writing. 50-foot tapes were offered.

In May 1976 the system for ship measurement ( hydromechanics ) of the University of Delft was used.

In 1976 it was used by the New York Telephone Company for backup purposes of customer data for the COMCORE system.

Around 1979 the drives were installed in early PDAs from California Technology International , based in Santa Clara, California (models CTI 1008-A , 1016 and MR 2000). 16K and 32K tapes were used. In Germany such devices were marketed as the Chef Memo - the electronic secretary for your desk with hardware from CTI.


The endless belt is 0.07 inches thick. They were available in lengths of 5–55 feet and had a capacity of up to 528,000 bits (unformatted). The transport mechanism is 1 × 3 × 1 inches in size and has only three moving parts. The size of the ribbons corresponds roughly to that of a matchbox (about 6 cm long). The speed is 3 inches / second. With compression, data rates of up to 2400 bpi ( baud per inch) are possible.

Two 16-pin cables are used for connection. The drive can be operated with 5 or 12 volts.

Similar systems

A similar system of that time was the Memodyne Corporation Model 171 Magnetic Tape Recorder , which however is larger and can only record.

The system was intended to be a replacement for punched tape systems and was not only cheaper, but also smaller and also enabled mobile use, especially for entertainment electronics. Depending on the intended use, other tape drives, such as the Datassette or QIC drives, could also be used, but these were mostly larger.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. September 1976 Dr. Dobb's Journal via vintagecomputer.net
  2. Computerworld, Vol X, May 3, 1976
  3. Microcomputer Digest Apr 10, 1976, page 14
  4. TU Delft Report 76-1 Design Development of a Hull Measuring Device
  5. Microcomputer Symposium Dec 1976
  6. Kennettclassic CTI-1008-A
  7. Microcomputer Symposium Dec 1976
  8. ^ IEEE Transactions on Consumer Electronics, Volume: CE-23, Issue: 3, Aug. 1977
  9. September 1976 Dr. Dobb's Journal via vintagecomputer.net
  10. ↑ Pin assignment , MIDAS-FLD system
  11. Calhoun: Software design for a fatigue monitoring data acquisition system