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Tape drive not working.

Posted on 2010-09-20
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Recently a tape drive at a client started not taking tapes... basically just spits them back out.

I also noticed that the cursor keeps changing to the CD icon, as if it's reading a CD. Well, the CD
drive is empty, but when I looked under CD Roms in device manager, I noticed this listed:

HP Ultrium 2-SCSI SCSI CdRom Device

If I uninstall it, it will be found again as the same.

I downloaded the latest driver, and no change.

I am assuming it should be listed as a tape drive, not a CD, I suppose I could be wrong.

Any ideas? Here are the specs:

Windows 2003 Server, SP2, Symantec Backup Exec
HP Ultrium 200/400Gb External tape drive.

Everything was fine for a few years, then it just stopped accepting tapes.
(Rebooted, power cycled tape drive.)
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Question by:com2irq3
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Expert Comment

by:chirkware
ID: 33722141
Been a while since I've used tape drives with Backup Exec, but older versions of Backup Exec provided their own drivers for the tape drives.  The installation of BE would ask whether you wanted to use BE's driver or a different driver.  I always went with BE's drivers, and it always worked.  

Perhaps a BE driver is what was in use all along, and was working fine, but for some reason (perhaps Windows Update), a "newer" driver replaced it and resulted in this new "feature".

Good luck!
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Expert Comment

by:blaslett
ID: 33722249
Physical ejection of the tapes is usually a mechanical fault with the alignment of the the tape mech in the Ultrium itself. Sorry!

You could crack the lid and have a look for obvious issues, ie. tape lables that have peeled/fallen off and jammed in the mech (seen it before!)

In short, this is not a driver/software issue IMHO, the actual tape mech will need some attention.

BTW, HP dont support component level repair of these things, only spare [part listed is a complete replacment !!

I hope its just as rogue label in the mech! Good luck.
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Expert Comment

by:arweeks
ID: 33722317
If you haven't tried it, it might be worth downloading the HP Library and Tape tools.  This will run diagnostics on the drive and see whats going on with it.  If you were to call HP, this is usually the first thing they ask you do run

http://h18006.www1.hp.com/products/storageworks/ltt/index.html

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Accepted Solution

by:
TapeDude earned 500 total points
ID: 33723441
Drives will often spit out tapes if the drive heads need cleaning.

Ordinarily, there is an LED on the front bezel that will come on to indicate the drive needs cleaning; but these have been known to fail.

Have you tried putting in a cleaning tape?
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Author Comment

by:com2irq3
ID: 33724987
chirkware: I went into BE and ran the wizard to install drivers, no change.

blaslett: I'll crack it open after running a cleaning tape, if needed.

arweeks: Downloaded, says it doesn't support my drive.

TapeDude: Got one on the way, when it arrives, I will let you know.
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 33725223
The fact that the driver is identifying itself as a CD is a bit worrying - it suggests the drive isn't identifying itself as a sequential device when replying to the SCSI SCAN command. This can be the result of a hardware fault either in the drive itself (which would be congruent with the spitting out of tapes, if it's not a cleaning request) or somewhere along the signal chain (terminator->drive->cable->HBA->terminator).

That HP Library & Tape tools isn't recognising the drive is also consistent with this.
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Author Comment

by:com2irq3
ID: 33725259
TapeDude: HP Library & Tape Tools recognized it, just stated that it does not support it.
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Expert Comment

by:TapeDude
ID: 33725596
Sorry, I miswrote - it's probably not supporting the drive because the drive/driver are reporting it's not a sequential device.
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Author Closing Comment

by:com2irq3
ID: 33791260
After finally receiving the cleaning tape, ran the cleaning cycle, powered the drive off and back on, and the CD icon went away, and the tape stayed in. Ran an inventory, sees the tape, all appears good to go.
Thanks for your help.
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