DLT III tapes (TK85-K) and sticky-shed

Antonio Carlini a.carlini at ntlworld.com
Tue Sep 22 17:51:13 CDT 2020

I've seen plenty of complaints (here and elsewhere) about TK50 
cartridges being very difficult to read these days.

I'm trying to read TK85-K (DLT III) cartridges and I'm experiencing 
problems. I've had tapes ripped (although I've found that data 
elsewhere). So now I'm being particularly careful. If the drive asks for 
a cleaning tape, I run through a cleaning cycle until it is happy and 
then I try to load the tape again. However, by the time I've mounted the 
tape, the drive "Cleaning Required" light is on again. This happens 
repeatedly, I run a cleaning pass or two and then I get a green light. I 
might even get as far as loading the tape without and issue, but by the 
time the tape is mounted, the "Cleaning Required" light is on.

So is this likely to be sticky shed? Is the DLT III formulation known to 
have the same issues? Does baking help? (Not that I'm set up to do that, 
but I'm in no rush ...)

I suppose that it is possible that my cleaning tape is worn out and now 
past its sell by date. Has anyone cleaned a TZ87 or TZ88 head 
successfully? It doesn't seem to be terribly accessible, and I'm not 
sure what I can dismantle without wrecking the alignment.

Anyone got any useful suggestions?


Antonio Carlini
antonio at acarlini.com

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