How to Remove a Stuck Tape From a DLT Drive

This is bound to happen to everyone who has a DLT drive.  Most of the times that this has happened to me it is because I over used a tape and it broke in half in the drive.  The rest of the time it didn't rewind the tape and thus cannot be ejected.  Regardless, one of the joys of DLT drives is that it has to release the handle for you to eject the tape, a stuck DLT handle = stuck tape.  Of course after this read the how to reattach the leader because I'm sure it now needs to be done.

(While these focus on an external drive it would be the same for an internal drive. You will just need to remove the drive from the server and remove the necessary screws from the DLT drive case - after that the instructions should be identical)
  1. Don't be an idiot - remove the power to the drive
  2. Remove the outside case.  For my Compaq/HP DLT drives this is just four screws on the bottom (Of course I think these are just re-branded Quantum drives)
  3. As you are looking at the front of the DLT drive - just inside the case on the top right is a sprint latch.  GENTLY pull this back (NOT THE SPRING - JUST THE PLASTTIC).  After you have pulled it back a little ways then you should be able to operate the handle to remove the tape.
  4. Gently release the latch back into place

Picture showing the DLT Drive internal latch circled in red

Erik Smith 2005
Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License