8mm tape query --summary of responses

From: Sandy Napel (snapel@irus.rri.uwo.ca)
Date: Fri Dec 15 1989 - 08:27:26 CST

Thanks to all of you who responded to my query about media errors on
the exabyte, and about tape brands used. I've gotten 19 replies, and in
addition, talked to a tech support type at exabyte in boulder. Here's
what he said:
 "sony makes tapes labeled exabyte which exabyte sells. These tapes
  have been tested to higher standards than those that you can obtain
  from the video market. Sony also makes a D-8 (D for "data") labeled
  exabyte which is tested even more stringently. However, standard
  Sony P6-120MP tapes seem to work fine in most instances. Also, if
  you let your tape heads get dirty (which we did), the residue on the
  heads may permanently damage your tapes by scratching them."
So it seems, keep the heads clean (exabyte sells a cleaning kit), but
if tapes start generating media errors DURING WRITING, get rid of them.
He also said:
 "the read after write check done by the internal firmware requires
  that the write was PERFECT, i.e., even if correctable by ECC, it is
  not good enough. Re-writes (on new portions of tape) will be
  tried a huge number of times (I believe he said 40 for a certain
  type of error and 10 for another) before a media error is flagged.
Now as to a summary of responses:
 - Nine of you said Sony tapes are all you ever use and 8 of these 9 said
   that they never cause problems. The other said 5% of these fail as well.
   Some of the above reported that SONY is the only tape recommended
   by exabyte.
 - One person said every TDK tape ever bought has failed. Another said
   TDK works as reliably as SONY.
 - Two said exabyte tapes are all they ever use, and have never had problems.
Many offered additional help which was also useful -- I think for now
we'll go with the dirty head/bad tape assumption and see if we can
get running again.

Thanks to all for your help.

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