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DLT 40/80 Internal Tape Drive Lights

Posted on 2006-07-20
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Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hello,

I bought a Compaq Proliant ML370 server from eBay for $100. It came with an internal SCSI DLT 40/80 GB tape drive. I haven't used the tape drive yet but I am not sure if it will work. All the lights are flashing.

The following indicators are flashing:

Write Protected - Flashing Red
Tape In Use - Flashing Orange
Use Cleaning Tape - Flashing Orange

Green: Operate Handle

Does this mean the tape drive is hosed, or what else could it be? Would a simple cleaning clear all the errors? How can I test this drive out?

Thanks,
John
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Question by:jhieb
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Expert Comment

by:foochar
ID: 17153233
I've seen this before on those drives, and from my experience the drive is hosed.  In my experience the lifetime of those drives is somewhere around 3 to 5 years before they go out, and if that server is an ML370 G1 then it is at least that old.
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by:Danny Child
ID: 17154115
I think it's bad too, but no harm in trying the Sage testing tools here:

http://www.quantum.com/ServiceandSupport/SoftwareandDocumentationDownloads/DLT8000/Index.aspx#Diagnostics

checking some docs too, more soon......

Danny
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by:jhieb
ID: 17154163
I have to ask this question. The drive is connectecd to the internal connector of the SCSI card. Does the card need to be terminated? Currently, it is not. If the card needs to be terminated would it cause the lights to flash without the terminator?
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Danny Child earned 2000 total points
ID: 17154174
The most common fault on dlt drives was the tape leader getting detached.  These drives work by inserting a thin semi rigid plastic tongue into the cart, hooking it thru an eyelet, and then reeling the tape out onto a fixed reel in the drive.  Often, these leaders would get damaged, or detatched.  If you remove the drive, and check through the clear plastic cover, then you should see whether this has happened.  
You should see the leader wound round the reel, out to the back of the drive, and then round the side to the front, where it hooks onto a small catch to hold it in the right place..

Easy enough to fix for anyone of a slight mechanical bent, just need a screwdriver to lift off the 3 catches that hold the cover, and then to reroute it nicely.  

Often also, you could hear the drive spin up, then spin down again as it attempts in a loop to fix itself.  

p100 of this (or 2-46)
http://downloads.quantum.com/dlt8000/dlt8000productmanual.pdf?bcsi_scan_457A0C43747AE3D4=0&bcsi_scan_filename=dlt8000productmanual.pdf

says that all lights blinking indicates a System Fault - if it occurs after a reboot, contact your system representative..
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Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 17154187
Termination? from memory, not needed, but I'm not 100% on that.  I think they could self terminate.
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 17154292
That's what I thought. Btw, what is a popular backup format these days. I've been out of the loop for a couple of yeasrs. When I was researching new drives two years ago SDLT and LTO drives were the most popular. Now, I would recommend backing up to external drives.
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Author Comment

by:jhieb
ID: 17157193
I tried to run the software but noticed that when I insert the DLT tape I have to hold it in to close the door. My experience is that when you put in the tape usually the drive holds it before you close the door. I have to hold it in or it will bounce out.
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Expert Comment

by:Danny Child
ID: 17183980
There's normally a solenoid on the right that holds the tape in place.  Check it for any faults.

IMHO, SDLT and LTO are still solid formats.  SDLT is good if you want to READ, not write to, old DLT IV tapes.  LTO is multi-vendor, so should be cheaper.  Still all in the 4-figure $$$ or £££ for the drive tho, so poss overkill for this 2nd hand server.  

Tapes still have the edge for me in terms of £/gb, and also make more sense when doing Grandfather/Father/Son rotations.  

ta for the points and grade, btw...
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