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Picture of VHS Tape Storage Drive
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This project turns a old VHS Tape into a USB storage drive. It looks like a normal VHS cassette tape except for the USB cable that sticks out of the shell. All of the project guts are hiding in the areas around the clear windows so that when you have a quick look at the front of the tape all seems normal. When plugged into a computer the VHS Tape Storage Drive will act as a normal USB drive except when the drive is accessed the tape reel will turn and the windows will light up. This will keep at least one of my VHS tapes out of the landfill.

The operation is quite simple, the USB cable connects to a thumb drive inside the device. The thumb drive has been cracked open to expose the circuit board, USB power and the drive LED output has been tapped into. These 3 points are wired to a small circuit board, there is a circuit that stretches the drive pulses into an on or off signal that is buffered by a transistor to power the internal motor and LED lights. The pulse stretcher was needed since the USB drive would flash when it was being accessed. This would have caused the motor action to be very jerky and the internal lights would also have flashed.

The cost to purchase all the parts for this project should be between $10 and $15 depending on the deal you can get for the USB thumb drive and assuming that you have a few items in your parts junk box. Construction time should be 3 to 4 hours but it took me longer since I took a ton of pictures along the way and has some belt drive (or should I say rubber band drive) issues.

I am posting this project here since many of you may not have seen it on Hacked Gadgets.


 
jbaker223 years ago
It can hold 70 gb then?
Kiteman6 years ago
This is a nice project.

In the next iteration, though, why not make the cable detachable? That would make it possible to make it a kind of "secret safe" that can store important files safely on your shelf of VHS tapes that no thief would even think of carrying off.
Yes,and you could even put a HDD(Maybe a laptop HDD in there) And an IDE to USB adapter in there(Probably just the board by itself to fit) You could store your whole OS in there,and now that tapes are becoming older,and less valuable,a theif will not bother looking at it
MaDoGK Kiteman6 years ago
That shouldnt be a problem, just turn the USB thumb drive around, so it faces the other direction. that way there would be room to d/c the extention cable.
i think it would look way better if there was a socket to plug the usb cable into so you did not have to have the wire...this would also make it 'secret!'so you could hide important files....cooool instructable though....
if you used a short usb extension cable (got one here only 10cm long), you could probably hide the cable in there with no problems. You just would need to get some of the plastic under the cover out i think.
notanemo6 years ago
the cable should be retractible, that way you cant see it in storage, and you could add a infra red light from an ipod-to-tape thing and you could plug it in the tape player as well as USB
Marrock6 years ago
The takeup reel is turning the wrong way. Nice build otherwise.
HarryM6 years ago
Great work, especialy the turning wheel is cool :-) But i think i won't build one, because one vhs pluged into another looks wierd ;-)
sweet computer I want one