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Thread: QIC cartridge tape belt residue removal advice

  1. #11
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    Well, the belts themselves are pretty much a polyurethane formulation. Contacts at Imation state that the belts are punched as rings from a flat sheet of PU, then a special machine twists them into their final cylindrical shape and applies them. He tried to find the "manual" version of the belt application tool in their labs, but turned up nothing. You can see this annulus-to-cylinder transition in reverse by taking a fairly fresh belt and boiling it for a few minutes in water--the belt reverts to a ring shape.

    The next thing that I'd try would be to take some 91% isopropanol and, with a clean tissue soaked in it, wipe both the discolored area on the belt and the corresponding area on the tape. See which one sheds. I'm of the opinion that it's the tape that's shedding.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebirdta84 View Post
    I hadn't even considered the belt removing the oxide as an option.
    That is EXACTLY what is happening. The 3M cartridge design is broken in that the belt contacts the OXIDE side of the tape
    and not the backing. As the belt dries out, it binds to the tape binder on the oxide side gluing the binder to the belt. If you
    are unlucky, the tape wasn't rewound into the BOT/EOT zone and it lifts the binder in the data area. Even if it is in the BOT/EOT
    zone, you can end up with a situation where so much binder is gone that it confuses the EOT/BOT optical sensors. Neither Chuck
    nor I have come up with a way to cover the bare area up enough to fool the optical sensors.

  3. #13
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    I've thought about, but not tried 9-track BOT/EOT sense tape. They shouldn't stick to the tape inappropriately. There also the audio tape variety--all 1/4"
    Last edited by Chuck(G); March 19th, 2015 at 11:48 AM.

  4. #14

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    Wow, guys, thanks. This is very eye-opening for me.

    So, can anyone comment on the picture that posted where the Kyread shows what appears to be a good magnetic signal even into the area of the tape that was affected by the belt?

  5. #15

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    I have only empirical evidence to offer. I have not studied this scientifically, but I have literally hundreds of tapes where this has happened, and my conclusion is that the majority of what is going on there is that the belt is leaving residue on the tape. Most of the read errors I have encountered on those parts of the tapes seem to be due to increased drag over the head (including sticky build-up on the head pulling oxide off that way), or having the oxide not in perfect contact with the head (due to the film of residue).

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by bear View Post
    my conclusion is that the majority of what is going on there is that the belt is leaving residue on the tape.
    Thanks for that, Bear. I appreciate the varied input from everyone here.

    Bear, have you tried baking the tape, and observing the area where the residue may be, to see if it drips off, or becomes easier to wipe off in that heated state, either with a dry Q-tip or one with Isopropyl Alcohol?

    Something like this is what I'm thinking of trying next, given everyone's feedback. If it is this, I stand a chance at restoring the tape enough to read it. If not, the oxide is already damaged, and then there is nothing to loose in this process.

  7. #17
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    If it really is residue on the tape in this case, then another approach might be to scrape the residue off. Note that 9-track drives usually use a sharp ceramic blade to clean the tape; tape cleaning machines also do this--mine has a carbide blade to do this.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebirdta84 View Post
    wipe off in that heated state, either with a dry Q-tip or one with Isopropyl Alcohol?
    REALLY DANGEROUS to use alcohol. The binder is thin, and it is really easy to wipe right through it.

    Common problem is shed buildup on the tape at the points where the tape serpenines. It is very difficult to remove.
    All I've ended up doing is smearing it out, which sometimes is enough to read the block, but it often wipes out an
    adjacent track.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by firebirdta84 View Post
    If it is this, I stand a chance at restoring the tape enough to read it.
    are you using a Tandberg tape drive?

  10. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Kossow View Post
    are you using a Tandberg tape drive?
    Yes, Al, I am using the TDC-3620 model you recommended. So far, it has been wonderful. Thank you for that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Kossow View Post
    REALLY DANGEROUS to use alcohol. The binder is thin, and it is really easy to wipe right through it.
    I will heed this warning, Al, thank you.

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