Removing cartridge from LTO drive

Use these instructions to remove a stuck cartridge from an LTO-5 or LTO-6 drive.

About this task

Attention: If any customer cartridges must be removed, inform the customer, and have them remove the cartridges.

Data recovery for broken tapes

If the tape has broken inside the drive and needs to be recovered, do not try to remove the tape from the drive. Follow normal data recovery procedures and ship the drive with the tape still inside. Follow the steps on the Tape Recovery Process on the PFE website.

Attention: With critical customer data, you may not want to attempt to remove the cartridge in the field and risk damaging the media. Using local geography procedures, you may want to return the drive to IBM, with the tape still loaded in the drive, for cartridge/data recovery. If the customer has granted you permission to return the cartridge with the drive to IBM, contact your next level of support for advice and instructions about returning the drive to IBM.

In this procedure, you will remove a stuck tape cartridge, and visually check for any damage to the tape or the leader pin. If the inspection finds a problem, and it can't be resolved, the cartridges should be considered bad. However, if there is no obvious damage, follow the procedures in Removing dropped or stuck cartridges, then give the cartridge to the customer.

Unless the you determine that the drive is damaged, it can be re-installed (if removed) and the drive read / write test run to verify operations before returning the drive to the customer.

Note: When a cartridge is manually removed from the library, the customer must put it back into library and reassign to the correct logical library.


  1. From the TS4500 management GUI home page, select Actions > Accessor > Start Service. See Preparing for accessor service for more details.
  2. When the screen displays that the accessor is ready for service, open the library front door.
  3. If the cartridge is partially in the gripper and in the drive, continue at step 7. If the cartridge is in the drive, continue with the next step.
  4. Verify that the drive is powered on using one of the following options.
    1. From the rear door of the frame, view the indicator icons on the upper left of the drive canister. If any icons are illuminated, then the power is good.
    2. From the front door of the frame, view the drive bezel. If any indicators on the drive bezel are on, then the power is good.
  5. From the front of the drive, press and release the drive unload button and wait two minutes. If the cartridge unloads, remove it, and go to step 14.
  6. Check for a microcode problem, indicated by a 'hung' drive.
    1. Press and hold the drive unload button for a full 10 seconds to force the drive to reset itself. The single character display (SCD) will start changing when the drive resets. Release the unload button.
    2. From the management GUI home page, select Actions > Send Test Call Home.
    3. Select the Add a drive log to the call home test record check box.
    4. Contact your next level of support to determine if this drive log will be helpful to them. Ask them to forward the log to the product PFEs. Analyzing this log can reveal if this is a new problem or one for which a fix already exists.
    5. If the drive is empty (or has a tape in the ejected position), go to step 14. If there is a cartridge in the drive, press the unload button for 1 second.
      Note: After resetting the drive with a tape loaded, an error recovery procedure in the drive is automatically initiated. This error recovery procedure will very slowly rewind the tape to the beginning. Depending on the position of the tape at the time of the failure, this slow rewind can take as long as 20 minutes. So, if the tape did not eject, do not power cycle the drive. Wait 20 minutes, then press the unload button for 1 second. The tape should now eject. If the tape ejects go to the next step.
  7. Try to slide the cartridge all the way into the gripper. If you can move the cartridge into the gripper, go to Removing cartridge from dual gripper assembly, remove the cartridge from the gripper, then return to step 14 in this procedure.
  8. If you cannot move the cartridge into the gripper, slide the cartridge into the drive and continue to the next step.
  9. Move the lift and gripper assembly away from the drive.
  10. Push the drive unload button. If the cartridge unloads, go to step 14.
  11. Finish the drive replacement, if the drive is being replaced.
  12. Reinstall all communications cables removed during repair.
  13. Run Library Verify with One drive option to test the drive. When prompted about the Read/Write Test, select Yes.
  14. If the customer manually removed any cartridges, they will have to put them back into the library using their procedures. Advise the customer to install the cartridges using the I/O station.
  15. When finished, select Actions > Accessor > Complete Service.
  16. Return to the procedure that sent you here; otherwise, go to Ending call.