Labelling HP41/67/97 magnetic cards


At the moment I am having my good old HP-41 card reader serviced.
From what I've heard so far it has come back to life, almost 20 years after the fatal day I dropped it and it broke into pieces.

Now I would like to reuse the magnetic cards I still have from
the eighties and early nineties. I think some of them may be
overwritten without the loss of important (or just interesting :-)) programs or other data.

However, in the old days most of these cards were labelled with a black overhead marker (Staedtler Lumocolor permanent SF). So the first question is how to remove this (with alcohol?) while the second, more interesting idea is to make a completely new label, preferably laser-printed.

So I made a kind of template in Photoshop, having the look and size of a blank HP magnetic card, so that individual text and other info can be easily added. My first idea is to print this on self-adhesive labels or adhesive paper, but - will the added thickness cause any problems while the card passes trough the reader?

Or maybe someone has a better idea?



Hi, Dieter;

I usually follow the manufacturer suggestion, so, based on the HP82104A manual, I'd not try adhesive labels on it. I am also taking into consideration the fine adjustment available with the pressure roller, and I think it is almost as fine as a paper thickness. Should check.

I use CD markers and have achieved good results. If you are actually going to remove the existing labels, I'd suggest backing their contents up (read all cards, save their contents into another media like disk, tape, MLDL2000 RAM, CLONIX series and related HEPAX stuff, then save it into the computer) prior to any cleaning procedure. Just in case... Then perform the cleaning and new labeling and check if contents are still valid.

I have cards written in the 80's that were all backed up about eight years ago. Most of the original cards still retain their contents, others I had to rewrite and just two of them (amongst 80) are lost.

Hope this gives you some perspective.


Luiz (Brazil)

Edited: 28 Aug 2010, 11:35 a.m.


Hi, Luiz -

I couldn't resist and made a sample card with an self-adhesive label. With the label attached the card is 0.32 mm thick, compared to 0.22 mm without. Since my card reader is being serviced at the moment I can't say whether this will cause any problems or not. On the one hand it's only 0.1 mm more, on the other hand it's about 50 percent. :-)

Back in the eighties I used black permanent marker pens, similar to what's today known as CD marker, just with an extra fine tip. About half of the cards still looks fine, i.e. with sharp contours, perfectly readable, while others appear somewhat washed-out.

Most of the cards hold programs that I would like to keep (if they can still by read). Others are less important and can be overwritten, and for these cards I'm looking for a way to remove the existing labelling and/or provide a new one. And, if possible, something that looks better than before. :-)

Backups? Disks? Tape? MLDL-stuff? Sorry, I don't have anything like that. Yes, some kind of computer connectivity would be nice, recently I read about this PIL-box thing. I think I have yet to get familiar with all this. I'm more interested in software and algorithms than in hardware. You know, I'm one of these guys with five left thumbs on each hand, as we say over here. ;-) Well... maybe using MCODE could be something I would like to try. But that's a different story.



from experience, DO NOT use adhesive labels. ;-(

The added thickness (which translates into resistance) stresses the pinch roller, dampening couple and therefore the motor.

I tried the clear adhesive lable type and they look fantastic but ended up ruining the the dampening couple which then cause me to enter the calc and repair the already repaired couple.

Cheers, Geoff

In the old days letroset worked but did smudge after a time.

Cheers again!!


Besides, new old stock magnetic cards are easily available at TAS (or at least they used to be).


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