TZ8x DLT III cartridge - torn leader

Antonio Carlini a.carlini at
Wed Sep 2 05:11:23 CDT 2020

On 01/09/2020 23:15, Zane Healy wrote:
> What brand tape?
> I’ve seen this done by a tech on a DLT7000 drive, maybe on a DLT4000, I think they’re basically the same.  I seem to remember the tech used a 9-Volt batter to rewind a stuck tape.  The leaders as I recall are very similar for TK50, TK70, and DLTIII.
> Zane

The torn tapes were both DEC "digital DLT CompacTape III".

I should be clearer about what I think I see. When you flick open the 
back of the cartridge you should see the reel of tape and a "hole" or 
loop at the end of the reel. On the torn tapes that part was missing. 
One of the tapes showed clear signs of "something got pulled and 
stretched until it ripped". The other was less clear, and in fact I 
guess it is possible that the loop has simply been wound too far in.

I've freed the cartridge that was trapped in the TZ88. To do that I used 
a screwdriver to turn the screw at the bottom of the drive (directly 
under where you would imagine the centre of the inserted cartridge to 
be) anticlockwise until I could see the cartridge tape pulled back into 
the cartridge. Then I gently pulled out the lever on the RHS (as you 
look from the front). There's a relatively large cylinder there, so it 
should be obvious where that is. That TZ88 still fails POST.

Neither that TZ88 nor the TZ87 that I've opened up show any sign of 
having the "small amount of tape" inside (that seems to be called the 
leader). Basically this stuff:

That's also not present in another DLT III drive that I have (and 
haven't ever tried to use before) that also fails POST.

So I'm rather confused about what's happened. More importantly, I don't 
know how to fix the drives I do have.


Antonio Carlini
antonio at

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