LTO-1 Tape Drive will not read new tapes. Used tapes are fine.

Posted on 2008-11-12
Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Have you ever heard of a scenario where a tape drive will have no problem with used tapes, but will not
read/write new tapes?

I purchased 10 new Fuji LTO-1 100/200 tapes for my Dell Powervault 110t LTO-1 drive.
I tried using the tapes and my job would fail.  I tried several of the tapes with the same
result.  I contacted Dell.  I downloaded and tran diagnostics.  I tested at least 5 of the tapes
and they all failed.  I tested a tape I had used before and it passed the test.  The conclusion
was the tapes were bad.  I returned the tapes to where I bought them and got 10 Maxell
LTO-1 tapes instead.  The same problem again, the new tapes did not work. Could not
get them to quick erase.  Contacted Dell again.  All ten tapes failed diagnostics.  Used tapes
passed with no erros. Dells conclusion again, bad tapes.   I bought two new tapes from a
local store and those tapes failed diagnostics. My supplier had me send the tapes
to a testing company they use.  The company reported the tapes were fine and to check my drive.
Back to Dell again.  There line the drive is fine, if the old tapes work and it passes diagnostics.
I plan to buy a couple of more new tapes from another vendor to test.  

Any ideas on how to determine with once and for all if it is the drive or the media?
I could understand some bad tapes, but 22 bad ones?

Question by:fcadmin
    LVL 63

    Expert Comment

    Any Tape cleaning done, Drive cleaning ?
    Weird issue, and it does sound Drive related.

    It almost sounds as if the drive is not writing.

    I would test that your backups are OK ..

    I hope this helps !

    Author Comment

    I ran the cleaning cart through the drive.  Yes, I will test my backups.

    Thank you for the feedback.
    LVL 61

    Expert Comment

    Could be tapes have to get "labeled" by software.
    As cartridge is not rejected by drive they are fine.
    LVL 12

    Accepted Solution

    It's not the new tapes.

    This is conjecture, but what I suspect is happening here is that the servo positioning detection isn't working properly. Even 'blank' LTO tape contains servo tracks for the head to position itself by; if the drive's servo detection isn't working, this wouldn't matter on tapes that have already been written to as the head can still position itself by data already written to tape; but on a pristine tape, there's only the servo tracks to go by, so it wouldn't know where to locate the head and thus stop.

    Did you get a SCSI error code? If you did, we can look it up and determine what the drive thinks is the problem.

    Author Comment

    For all of the other media, the software detects scratch media and labels it automatically.

    TapeDude, I think you have hit the nail on the head.  I'll see if this will convince Dell to send a tech out.
    I did not see any scsi error code.  Dell's diagnostics returned a sense code:

    xTalk Version 5.9.9
    Start: 11/12/2008 09:04:46
    Device: SEAGATE ULTRIUM06242-XXX HR01NVA 0:6:4


    Ready Test
    No Problem Detected

    Record Drive Settings
          Current Compression Status = Enabled
          Current Compression Mode  0  == Full SCSI control of compression
    No Problem Detected

    Drive Detection Test
          Drive Type:Ultrium 1
    No Problem Detected

    SCSI Interconnect Test
          Write/Read Pass @ 10 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 20 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 30 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 40 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 50 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 60 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 70 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 80 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 90 of 100
          Write/Read Pass @ 100 of 100
    No Problem Detected

    Drive Information Report
          Drive Type ---------------- : Ultrium 1
          Drive Serial Number ------- : HR01NVA    
          Media Changer Present ----- : No
          Vendor  ID ---------------- : SEAGATE
          Product ID ---------------- : ULTRIUM06242-XXX
          Product Revision Level ---- : 1614
          Product Family ------------ : 100.0 / 200.0 GB
          Servo FW Revision --------- : 2626
    Report Complete

    Quick Write Read Test
          Setting compression on
          Setting variable block mode
          Write 2 64k blocks with random data and 2 filemarks...
          Write 2 file marks
          Sense: CC: 03  ASC: 0C  ASCQ: 00  = "Write error  A Write operation failed. Most likely cause is bad media  but it may be hardware related."
          Problem writing 2 file marks
    Problem Detected

    Restore Drive Settings

    Test Summary
          Drive Detection Test -------- : Passed
          SCSI Interconnect Test ------ : Passed
          Pre Test Log Page 7 --------- : Skipped
          Tape Load Test -------------- : Passed
          Quick Write/Read Test ------- : Failed
          Small Buffer Wr/Rd Test ----- : Skipped
          System Level Test ----------- : Skipped
          Time Test ------------------- : Skipped
          Multi-Pattern Test ---------- : Skipped
          LTO Error Rate Test --------- : Skipped
          Collect Log Page 7 ---------- : Skipped
    Problem Detected
    Thank you for your feedback.  I'll let you know what dell says.

    Author Comment

    Dell has finally agreed to send me a replacement drive.  I will not be able to replace it until the
    24th as I will be traveling next week.  Once I have the new drive, that should settle this once and
    for all.  Thanks again for your input.

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you.  It was your input that convinced Dell to send me a replacement.

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