TZ8x DLT III cartridge - torn leader

Antonio Carlini a.carlini at
Tue Sep 1 11:19:25 CDT 2020

I've been trying to read data from some ~2000 era DLT III cartridges 
that were written on a TZ87.

The first one read OK. But the second one failed and it seems that the 
leader was torn off. I tried a new drive and a second cartridge has 
failed the same way (the leader was there, now it's not).

My immediate problem is that I now have two drives (a TZ88 and a TZ870 
that fail POST (all LEDs blink). I guess I need to open them up, fish 
out the stray leader and fix them up somehow. Does anyone have any 
experience of doing this?

My second problem is that I'd quite like to stop this from happening 
again. I'm guessing that it happened because the cartridge mechanism was 
jammed. I've just played around with a TK50-K cartridge and if I jam the 
two release mechanisms (using the "nose" of two pliers), open the "tape 
hatch" and gently pull the tape, it moves. Then I can "rewind" it and 
it's back to the way it was. I'm wondering whether this is safe to do on 
the DLT III tapes I still want to recover? Is it likely to at least tell 
me which tapes are likely to fail and which might load properly?

My third problem i that I have two cartridges without a leader. Is this 
something that can be rectified?

Thanks for any useful information.


Antonio Carlini
antonio at

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