HP-67/97 Mag Cards...Can they be marketed again?


Hi all,

Unless someone has the tech specs and it's not violating any copyrights or design patents, can newly minted HP-67/97 cards be created? Or are we left with scavenging for mag card stock or NOS off of third-party sites and auction sites? If we're left with scavenging for what's out there, how viable, reliable and magnetically stable would they be even after 30+ years?


As long as the magnetic material is not worn off, I'm sure it's just fine. I don't think the magnetic material itself ever degrades. I have an open-reel tape of Frank Sinatra that's 50-60 years old and sounds absolutely outstanding, sparkling clear! In fact, I have boxes of tapes, and the only problem I've found from age was the sticky-backing problem from when they were adding something to the opposite side in the 1980's to improve tape handling; but that has nothing to do with the magnetics. Quantegy and Pyral (formerly RMGI) are still making professional recording tape, including for digital tape recorders, and I'm sure you can get a reel of the right width (1/2"? 1"?) and bond it to plastic or cardboard of the right thickness and then cut cards to the right size. One reel would be enough to supply the entire calculator & hand-held-computer community indefinitely.


I was wondering if some of the thin "gift cards" from major retail stores could be retasked for this purpose? Most likely they could be bulk erased to leave a clean slate. If this worked it might not be too expensive to get a die cutter (most label/overlay print shops can make these) made to mass produce consistent pieces.



Hi Garth,

I have an open-reel tape of Frank Sinatra that's 50-60 years old and sounds absolutely outstanding

I too have many old tapes, a few are paper back tapes, that still play and sound amazing. The oldest tapes are from the early 50's. I'll take a tape recording over an old record any day - no poping/noise from the scratch/dirty discs, just nice clean sound.



I have no problem at all with my old mag cards for the 97 but how about the tapes for the HP-IL cassette drives? They are known for being unreliable after some years. Even writing a new data set on old HP-tapes is impossible most of the time.

In my personal experience tapes are much more prone to failure than cards. Old cassette tapes increase in static noise and often are unreadable after two or three decades (like my poor PET-tapes).


A Commodore PET? Boy, now THAT brings back memories! Especially those membrane keyboards. Remember those?


I remember those days well. I couldn't afford a Commodore PET, an Apple II or a TRS-80 at the time they came out in 1977. I ended up buying an Ohio Scientific Challenger 1P a couple of years later for around $350.

By the way, the Commodore PET had a somewhat unusual keyboard but it was not a membrane keyboard. The Atari 400 and later Timex/Sinclair computers were the ones I remember with membrane keyboards.


Well, there was a Commodore model I remember using which had a membrane keyboard. Which one could it have been?


I think you are right. A bit more research turned up this about the early Commodore PET computers:

"The cramped, unreliable, Chiclet-type keys had no tactile feedback and sat over membrane key switches that wore out quickly, so you couldn't easily tell whether you had pressed a key."

From:The 10 Worst PC Keyboards of All Time

I remembered the keyboards on the first Commodore PET version was a Chiclet-type keyboard. I did not realize it was on top of a membrane switch. The worst of both worlds!


Hi there,

Mini data cartridge tape can effectively be refurbished, please take a look at this post.

Hope you find it useful.



Hola, Diego. ¿Que tal?

Boy, I found this thread about a month ago and I cannot help accepting the fact that I'm only nothing but too anxious waiting for my mid-year vacancy time so I can explore these techniques. I have finally bought an 82161A with 1 (ONE) cassette. I have some new, never used regular cassettes (some FeCr, others CrO) and I'll pick one as a donor.

One question: should regular degausser be used with the driver heads? I am not sure about what kind of opamp is connected to the head coils, so I am afraid of burning something if trying to degauss the heads. Any advice?


Luiz (Brazil)


Save your old bus passes! The ones they use here in Cleveland have a mag strip that's about 1/2" (12.7mm) wide and about 3" long. It wouldn't be too hard to test one. Hold an HP mag strip on top of it and cut around it with an X-Acto knife. Or trace around it on the other (paper) side with pencil and cut out with scissors.

The usual bus pass is made with sort-of-thick-but-not-thick-enough paper. But when there's a special event in town (say, opening day for one of the major league teams), they'll do special bus pass cards on heavier or plastic stock that is much more durable (as a souvenir).

It would be too cool if you could go to a shop that makes letter stencils and get a punch made in the exact shape of an HP card. Get your bus passes and a rubber mallet and go into production!


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