Summary: HP 6400 / 2000 DAT on Solaris

From: Bruce Feist (
Date: Tue Jan 14 1997 - 21:13:05 CST

The original problem was:

I recently bought a used HP 2000/6400 external 4mm DAT drive. This model accepts up to 90m tapes, and does not support data compression. It has two green LEDs in front. When I try to tar to the tape under Solaris 2.3 on my SparcStation 1+, it works... but very slowly, and I suspect with poor space utilization. While it operates, the left LED stays on steadily, while the right one blinks roughly twice per second.

The underside of the drive is marked with two apparent model numbers: C-1503B and C-1520B. One is on the external case, the other on the chassis inside. The person who sold me the drive mentioned that it had just been repaired by HP, within two weeks of the expiration of its warranty; this could explain the two model numbers.

I have used the drive successfully on two Macintosh, with Retrospect. On the Mac, SCSI-Probe reports that it uses a HP35470A mechanism, which I gather is a fairly standard older device. Based on information I found regarding this mechanism on HP's web site, I modified my /kernel/drv/st.conf file and boot -r'ed; this did not affect the problem. In fact, I'm not sure that it did anything, because the 'mt' command still reports the drive as a generic SCSI tape drive, instead of displaying the pretty-text name I gave it in st.conf.

For what it's worth, I have another tape drive on the system (a Sun QIC-150 model that internally is an Archive), which works well.

Any suggestions? I just bought the upgrade to Solaris 2.5; is there any chance that installing this will help? I had wanted to do a full backup before the upgrade.

I received a number of replies, many very quickly. I'd particulaly like to thank Al Slater, who went back and forth with me several times and ultimately got me through the problem. Other individuals gave me useful advice as well; they *could* have been the right answers, although they didn't happen to work out in this case.

Al told me the correct st.conf settings (which I basically had already), and mentioned the correct DIP switch settings, too; I had only seen the settings for a newer version of the drive. It turned out that for some reason I absolutely needed to change the settings to those that he described, although the defaults *should* have worked (according to everything I've seen, including Al's message). I hadn't tried this previously because the drive is an external model, and resetting the switches required disassemblying it. The correct settings are: 11111001.

The st.conf settings I'm using are:

tape-config-list =
  "HP HP35470A", "HP DDS1 DAT", "HPdat"
HPdat = 1, 0x34, 1024, 0x639, 3, 0x00, 0x13, 0x03, 2

I am not at all convinced that my system is processing this information, though; it looks to me as though it's still using generic SCSI tape settings, because 'mt status' reports:

st5: Variable record length I/O
SCSI tape drive:
  sense key (0x6)= Unit Attention residual = 0 retries = 0
  fileno = 0 block no = 0

The above st.conf should have been for fixed-length 1024-byte blocks, not variable record length I/O, if I understand these things correctly; also, I think the drive should have been reported as a "HP DDS1 DAT". But, it's working, and that's what counts (mostly).

John Benjamins suggested a more thorough job of boot -r'ing than I had done; he advised me to delete /dev/rmt/*, /dev/*rst*, and /devices/iommu@f,e0000000/sbus@f,e00010000/espdma@f,4000000/esp@f,8000000/st@*. I had done the first of these, but not the other two (I had to make slight changes to the third to conform to my system). Good idea (presumably), but not the culprit in this case.

Thanks, everyone who helped out!


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