How do I eject a tape from a Sony SDT 9000 DDS3 tape drive that is not responding?

Posted on 2006-04-12
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
I've got an external Sony SDT 9000 DDS3 SCSI tape drive, plugged into a Mac running OS9 and Retrospect.

The Tape Drive has gone wrong, and is refusing commands from Retrospect.

I have connected another similar external drive that is working fine.

The Question.

Any ideas on how I can eject a tape that is in the drive?  

The drive, when unplugged from the Mac, is ignoring me pressing the eject button.

The busy light just keeps blinking.

I have put the drive into another - good - box.  Makes no difference.

I have blown air through it from every direction.

Is there a trick - like using a paperclip on a CD drive - to get the tape out?

Or should I physically dismantle the drive - probably trash it - to get the tape out?

I can buy another drive on Ebay.

Any ideas?  
Question by:nordentoft
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    Probably the tape is broken or has become stuck on the rotating head. If this is the case your only chance is either to get the device serviced by authorized personel. The other chance is for you to open the case and carefully try to remove the tape. You must be very carefull not to touch the rotating head. Wear surgical gloves or something similar.

    Author Comment

    Buying another on Ebay is cheaper than getting it serviced.  

    Can a particular tape cause a tape drive to blink its "in use" blinker indefinitely?

    I will try and dismantle the drive to get the tape out tomorrow - but it does not look easy.

    Anyone ever dismantled a DAT tape drive?

    Are the sensors likely to be the cause of my problem?
    LVL 87

    Expert Comment

    I've mainly had problems if the tape got stuck, and I was able to remove the tape, but of course the tape was unusable after that. This can happen if the tape is old or was used a lot, is bad quality (which all DDS tapes are, compared to other types), and also if the cleaning tapes aren't used regularly. Some drives use different LED blinking codes, so it doesn't necessarily mean it is in use. If you have a service manual there might be a listing of what the blinking LED means.
    LVL 15

    Accepted Solution

    Try this:

    Power off the drive.
    Press the Eject button and while keeping it pressed, power on the drive. Keep the button pressed for a while (try 10 sec, 20 sec, 30 sec etc) and then release it. Some drives have firmware that recognise this as a command to Eject the tape regardless of what other sensors are telling it.

    DDS Drives usually have a top cover that is fairly easy to remove, although sometimes you have to remove the front panel, which can be tricky to get back on because of the spring for the flap in the front panel slot that the tape passes through.

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