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HP DLT - DLT Cleaning and Media Cartridge Compatibility

HP ships a range of different technology DLT drives including the DLT40, DLT70 and DLT80 (these are sometimes called DLT4000, DLT7000, and DLT8000) as well as DLT1 and DLT VS drives.

Media compatibility

DLTtape VS1 written by VS160
DLT IV tape written by DLT1 or DLT VS
DLT IV tape written by DLT 40
DLT IV tape written by DLT 70
DLT IV tape written by DLT 80
DLT III tape
DLT 1 / DLT VS can read
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
DLT1, DLT VS can write
No
Yes
No
No
No
No
DLT VS160 can read
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
DLT VS160 can write
Yes
No
No
No
No
No

The HP StorageWorks DLT1 and DLT VS80 drives can only read and write new DLT IV tapes. Tapes pre-written by other drives (for example the DLT40, 80) cannot be overwritten by the DLT1 or DLT VS drives. Re-using media that has already been written by a DLT80 drive requires degaussing. While degaussing media will erase the information on tape, the media should not be treated as new, as it has already been used for a significant amount of its specified life. HP recommends the use of new media over degaussed media to prolong drive life and ensure reliability. Read document lpg50141 - Degaussing used DLT IV tape media .

  • The part number of the HP DLT IV data cartridge is C5141F

  • The part number for the DLT1 and DLT VS cleaning cartridge is C7998A

  • The part number of the HP DLTtape VS1 data cartridge is C8007A

  • The part number for the HP DLT VS160 cleaning cartridge is C8026A

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Tape format compatibility

Due to the different mechanical design of the tape drive heads (the DLT1 and VS drives use Magneto Resistive (MR) heads compared to the ferrite heads used in DLT40, 70, 80) there is limited compatibility between the different formats.

Tape Drive
Tape Format
DLT 40
DLT 70
DLT 80
DLT 1
DLT VS80
DLT VS160
SDLT 220
SDLT 320
SDLT 600
DLT 40
R and W
R and W
R and W
R only
R only
No
R only
R only
No
DLT 70
No
R and W
R and W
No
No
No
R only
R only
No
DLT 80
No
No
R and W
No
No
No
R only
R only
No
DLT 1
No
No
No
R and W
R and W
R only
R only
R only
No
DLT VS80
No
No
No
R and W
R and W
R only
R only
R only
No
DLT VS160
No
No
No
No
No
R and W
No
No
R only
SDLT 220
No
No
No
No
No
No
R and W
R and W
R only
SDLT 320
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
R and W
R Only
SDLT 600
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
R and W

R = The tape drive can read the specified tape format.

W = The tape drive can write the specified tape format.

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Cleaning

Cleaning tape compatibility
Part number
DLT 40
DLT 70
DLT 80
DLT 1
DLT VS80
DLT VS160
SDLT 220, 320, 600
DLT1 cleaning tape
C7998A
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
DLT VS cleaning tape
C7998A
No
No
No
Yes
Yes
No
No
DLTtape cleaning tape
C5142A
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
No
No
No
DLTtape VS160 cleaning Tape
C8016A
No
No
No
No
No
Yes
No
S-DLT 1 cleaning tape
C7982A
No
No
No
No
No
No
Yes

HP StorageWorks DLT VS80 / VS160 drives have been developed to have a minimal cleaning requirement. The CLEAN/MEDIA LED(VS80) or the CLEAN LED (VS160) on the tape drive front panel will flash when the drive needs cleaning. Under typical conditions, the drive should seldom require cleaning. However, high duty cycles and adverse environmental conditions may require the drive to be cleaned on a regular basis to ensure optimum performance is maintained, and it is therefore considered good practice to clean the drive approximately every two weeks.

Figure 1: Cleaning cartridges

1 - DLT cleaning cartridge
2 - DLT1 cleaning cartridge
3 - DLT VS160 Cleaning Cartridge
4 - SDLT cleaning cartridge

Using a cleaning cartridge

To clean the heads, complete the following steps:

  1. If there is a tape cartridge in the drive, unload and remove the cartridge.

  2. Insert a cleaning cartridge.

    CAUTION: Before loading a new tape cartridge into the drive, make sure no blank labels or pieces of plastic wrapper are stuck to the bottom of the cartridge. These items could cause the cartridge to jam in the drive or damage the drive mechanism.
  3. The drive automatically cleans the heads. The more the cleaning cartridge has been used, the longer this will take because the drive must wind farther to a new portion of the cleaning cartridge.

  4. When cleaning is complete:

    • The Cleaning light goes off.

    • The Cartridge is ejected.

      NOTE: Each cleaning cartridge can only be used approximately 20 times. If the Cleaning LED remains lit after finishing a cleaning cycle, the cartridge has reached the end of its life and the heads have not been cleaned. Discard the expired cleaning cartridge and use a new cartridge to clean the tape heads.

  5. Remove the cleaning cartridge.

  6. Mark the cleaning cartridge to record how many times you have used the cartridge. (For example, place an X in a box on the cleaning cartridge label.) Discard the cartridge after 20 uses.

  7. Return the cleaning cartridge to its plastic case.

Troubleshooting tips

Cleaning LED on after using cleaning cartridge

If the Use Cleaning Tape light still lights when loading a tape cartridge after using the cleaning cartridge:

  • Make sure that the cleaning cartridge had not expired when you tried to clean the heads.

  • The tape cartridge may be faulty. Try another cartridge to see if the Use Cleaning Tape light is lit again.

Cleaning LED flashes when tape cartridge is loaded

If the Cleaning LED flashes while a tape cartridge is loaded, the tape cartridge may be damaged. Follow these steps:

  1. If possible, copy any data on the cartridge that you want to preserve onto a new cartridge. To do this, load the cartridge and restore the data to a temporary directory on the hard disk. Then, back up this temporary directory to a new tape cartridge.

  2. Alternatively, if the data still exists on your hard disk, simply back it up to a new tape cartridge directly.

  3. Discard the old tape cartridge.

    CAUTION: Even if the cartridge appears to work satisfactorily (even though the Cleaning LED flashing), do not continue to use the cartridge. You put your data at risk and will probably need to use the cleaning cartridge far too often.

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Media use and cartridge care

Under optimum environmental conditions, Hewlett-Packard DLTtape IV and SDLT 1 & 2 cartridges are specified to 1,000,000 passes over any part of the tape. In operational terms, this can be translated to about 250 full backup operations for SDLT and 100 for DLT. Hewlett-Packard DLTtape VS1 media is specified to last 200 full backup or restore operations. Under severe environmental conditions, particularly where the tape drive is used at very low humidity or if certain areas of the tape are accessed frequently, the number of backup operations can be substantially less than this maximum.

Consider replacing your media if:

  • It has been dropped or its shell has been visibly damaged

  • It has been exposed to extremely harsh environmental conditions that exceed the product specification

  • It causes your backup application to report repeated or increased errors

  • It does not pass one or more of the cartridge inspection procedures ( read document lpg50025 - When to Inspect Media, and What to Look For )

    CAUTION: Ensure that only one label is located in the label area of the cartridge. Never use non-standard labels and never stick anything to the cartridge.

Using media

Only use DLTtape IV cartridges in temperatures in the tape drive's operating range from 10C to 40C (50°F to 104°F) and 20 to 80 percent relative humidity (no condensing). If exposing cartridges to temperatures outside the operating limits, stabilize them before using them. To do this, leave the cartridges in the operating environment for 24 hours. We also recommend using your tape drive in a “clean” environment, as dust contamination can also degrade the performance and reliability of your tape drive.

Storing media

  • Store cartridges at temperatures between 16°C and 32°C (60°F and 90°F) with a relative humidity between 20 percent and 80 percent.

  • Always keep the cartridges in a dust-free environment.

  • Always store cartridges in their plastic cases when not in use.

  • Store the cartridges vertically.

To maximize the life of media

  • Do not touch the tape surface.

  • Do not attempt to clean the tape path or tape guides inside the cartridge.

  • Do not leave cartridge tapes in excessively dry or humid conditions.

  • Do not leave cartridges in direct sunlight or near sources of heat or in places where magnetic fields are present (for example, under telephones, next to monitors or near transformers).

  • Do not drop cartridges or handle them roughly.

  • Do not locate more than one label onto cartridges; extra labels can cause the cartridges to jam in the tape drive.

  • Place identification labels only in the slide-in slot on the front of the cartridge.

  • Never use any type of adhesive labels on your DLT tape cartridge.

Avoiding condensation

Condensation can be a problem for tape drives and cartridges. To minimize the chance of condensation, stay within the specifications for using and storing cartridges above and observe the following guidelines:

  • Position the drive where the temperature is relatively stable - away from open windows, heat sources and doors.

  • Avoid leaving cartridges in severe temperature conditions. For example, in a car standing in bright sunlight.

  • Avoid transferring data (reading from and writing to cartridges) when the temperature is changing by more than 10°C (18°F) per hour.

If you bring a cold tape drive or tape cartridge into a warm room, allow time for it to warm to room temperature before using it. For example, if moving the drive from a cold car to a warm room, allow time for the drive to reach room temperature (up to 24 hours if the temperature change is extreme).

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