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Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

Tao Wang_1
Occasional Contributor

Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

Hi, there,
my lab has an old HP6400 48AL 4mm DDS2 tape autoloader. But I guess this is the best group which could probably answer my question.
I can use 'mt -t /dev/rmt/3mn rew' to rewind the tapes. However, when I tried to read or write the tapes with 'tar', the autoloader ran for a while and then the LCD showed the error message "Clean me and retry again". I applied the cleaning cartridge three times and got the same error.
How do you think of this problem? Is this a hardware failure or misconfiguration of SCSI?
I doubt that it is because of SCSI's misconfiguration since the rewinding is fine.
Thanks ahead.
6 REPLIES
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

You need to get a cleaning tape and insert it in the drive. It should run through a cycle which should clear the problem. If not, you may have a hardware problem.

This is rare among Unix error messages. A message that means what it says.

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Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
Sponsor: http://hpux.ws
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hpuxlinux
Founder http://newdatacloud.com
Patrick Wallek
Honored Contributor

Re: Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

Make sure you use a NEW cleaning cartridge, or one that hasn't been used much. Those things are only good for a certain number of cleaning.

If the cleaning doesn't work, you may have a problem with either the drive head, or the media you are using. Either one can cause strange problems.
Tao Wang_1
Occasional Contributor

Re: Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

Thank you for quick response.
In fact, I used brand new cleaning tapes and ran them for three circles. But nothing happened and I received exactly the same error.
I googled and read quite a few articles. One support document for sony tape drive says that this problem could mean
1) the head requires cleaning
2) if cleaning does not work, the head may need realignment
3) it could also be a problem of SCSI misconfiguration.

I am thinking about 3) and guess that it is not related to a misconfiguraton with SCSI since rewinding works well. How do you think?
Thanks!
Bill Hassell
Honored Contributor

Re: Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

The clean-me message is generated by the drive's firmware and has nothing to do with the SCSI interface. It is displayed when the error rate is too high and only caused by:

1. poor quality tapes
2. tape mechanism needs replacing

Note that it is not possible to align the head. The tape path and heads are so small that it requires a lab to perform the alignment. HP fixes these problems by simply replacing the entire tape drive. The DDS2 has a limited life based on the number of tapes run through the drive. You can buy another 48AL changer for about $50 on eBay. Of course, there is no way to determine how much life is left in a used product.


Bill Hassell, sysadmin
Steven E. Protter
Exalted Contributor

Re: Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

If cleaning doesn't work, replace the drive.

I've got a DDS2 drive sitting at work that you can get on ebay for $25-$50. Selling ours would be too big a pain to be worth it.

SEP
Steven E Protter
Owner of ISN Corporation
http://isnamerica.com
http://hpuxconsulting.com
Sponsor: http://hpux.ws
Twitter: http://twitter.com/hpuxlinux
Founder http://newdatacloud.com
Tao Wang_1
Occasional Contributor

Re: Tape drive showed 'Clean me and retry again'

The clean-me message is generated by the drive's firmware and has nothing to do with the SCSI interface.
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Good point.
Thank you all for clearing my doubt.