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1403 Printer Carriage Control

- with the assistance of Frank King :-))
updated March 2018, see item a) below

Wikipedia has a very short article, with reference to the IBM 407 and IBM 1403
side view


Along with the expensive 1403 printer you got:

Here are a few comments about the 1403 line printer Carriage_control_tape system

  1. In March 2018, a carriage control tape got broken. A postmortum indicated that maybe "too many cooks in the kitchen" was a basic cause. - ?confusion in the cockpit?
    - Frank reminds people that "They are a little tricky to install with just the right amount of slack."
    - Stan reminds us that "The carriage tapes we have are very tough, However, if you put them on the printer too tight, they can wear out the sprocket holes real quick. I am concerned because we only have six carriage tape punches and 20-30 virgin tapes. (:>)"
    - Ed notes that the current price for paper printer control tapes on e-bay is $9.99 EACH, plus shipping

  2. The Carriage Control tapes were frequently made of (tough) mylar rather than (more fragile) paper. The mylar seemed to have an aluminum foil imbedded in it (for additional dimensional stability?) ( At least that was my experience at G.E. )

  3. The length of the tape loop was made with the same number of sprocket holes as the number of lines of the printer paper form (or if loop too short, a multiple of the lines of the printer paper form)

  4. The ends of the loop were typically glued with a tough red glue. If using tough mylar, that tough red glue was the only point of tape failure.

  5. Customarily, the channel 1 hole indicated top of form

  6. The printer operator was responsible for aligning the top of paper form with the hole in channel 1

  7. When the programmer wanted to position the print paper so the next line would be printed at the top line of the form, a command "slew to channel 1" was issued to the printer.

  8. Other interesting lines of the form would have separate "channels". Possibilities included: Customer name, Dollar amount, Comments, ...
    Robert Garner found:
    "I have a funny (not funny then) story where my assistant put on the wrong forms control loop during a payroll check run and everybody's paycheck in the entire company had the correct amount but the stub had the detail of the person preceding them alphabetically."
    (down in the comments part.)

  9. If the programmer slewed to a channel that didn't have a hole, the printer would slew until manually stopped or out-of-paper. (Big excitement, typically, the top of form - channel 1 - also had all other channels punched to avoid this excitement.)

Pictures and text from pages 12 and 13 of IBM-1403_Manual_A24-3073.pdf IBM 1403 Printer Component Description

Page 12

Page 13

Page updated March, 2018