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DLT80 Drive needs to be cleaned every time a new tape is inserted

Richard Seepaul
Occasional Visitor

DLT80 Drive needs to be cleaned every time a new tape is inserted

Hello:
I Have a Netserver LH3000R with an HP Surestore DLT80i
We backup every night.
Once a week we do a backup for offsite storage. We use a new tape every time for this.
Recently the Tape drive cleaning light comes on every time a new tape is inserted.
We are using HP DLT tapes.
The light does not come on when the cycled tapes are used.
Has anyone seen this.
3 REPLIES
Michael Tully
Honored Contributor

Re: DLT80 Drive needs to be cleaned every time a new tape is inserted

Although I've never seen this on DLT's it is likely that the drive head has become mis-aligned. This could be the reason why old tapes are readable. If the drive is under maintenance, get it replaced.
Anyone for a Mutiny ?
David Ruska
Honored Contributor

Re: DLT80 Drive needs to be cleaned every time a new tape is inserted

I'm not aware of any head alignment issues with DLT drives. DLT tapes are not preformatted, so the issue is not an alignment problem with the new tapes.

The cleaning light comes on when the drive has difficulty calibrating a tape during a load, when it has excessive error corrections detected (during read or write), and when it encounters a hard read/write error.

It sounds like your drive may be seeing a higher error rate on new tapes verses the older tapes. There are different manufacturers of DLT tapes, and HP uses more than one supplier. Perhaps the new tapes are different than your old ones. The problem is probably not the tapes, but the drive is having a lower error rate on one verses the other.

The problem might be caused by debris or staining on the heads.

If you haven't cleaned the drive, then you should clean it with a non-expired cleaning tape (they are only good for 20 cleanings).

DLT drives normally do not require cleaning, if they are in a quality environment and kept streaming.

Head staining is one cause of cleaning lights, and is the easist to resolve with a cleaning tape.

Another cause, which is harder to correct is contamination. DLT drives are sensitive to debris like smoke, ash, dust, and even carpet fibre.

Using a cleaning tape on a drive with contamination typically just moves the debris around, but doesn't actually remove it. Also, the cleaning tape can pick up the debris, and move it to another drive. Thus, don't share cleaning tapes :-)

If the drive has a large amount of tape motion hours (you can find this in the Library & Tape Tools support ticket), it's possible that the head is worn, and this is contributing to a higher error rate.
The journey IS the reward.
Richard Seepaul
Occasional Visitor

Re: DLT80 Drive needs to be cleaned every time a new tape is inserted

Thanks for your responses.
The following appears to have solved the "issue", but time will confirm if it has been resolved permanently.

Cleaned drive with a new cleaning tape 3 successive times.
Insertion of a new tape from the same batch now does not cause the cleaning loght to come on.

I am inclined to believe the "new batch of tapes from a different HP source" is really the issue here.

I have seen this type of issue with other vendors "OEM" tapes .
I will post after a few weeks of no issues to confirm.