DAT tapes are a tricky business. I am unable to determine from your post
and examination of the tapes as to whether you are encountering
stick-shed syndrome or some type of mold contamination. If it is indeed
sticky-shed (somewhat rare in DAT tapes, but not unheard of), then it is
possible that either baking or treatment with vacuum moisture extraction
could be a solution. Personally, I would only consider baking the tape
as a last-ditch effort if everything else has failed, though.
Also, have you ruled out the tape housing as a problem? There were some
fairly well-known issues with out of spec housings manufactured by a
couple of different tape suppliers, which will tend to bind the tape
pack, and could be misinterpreted as stick-shed. You don't state the
manufacturer or age of the tapes, so it is hard to tell.
In any event, I would _not_ recommended trying to wind DAT tapes by
hand. Besides being horribly time consuming, it will result in a poor
wind, which could further damage the tape. Also, it does not address the
core issue of either sticky-shed or mold. Even if you can get the tape
to play, you are probably going to see fairly high error counts, as well
as causing damage to the heads and tape path. Given the cost of parts
and calibration for most DAT machines (assuming you can even get them),
you don't want to add to your problems (unless you have the luxury of
owning a lot of machines in working condition!)
There were a couple manufacturers of 4mm DAT tape cleaners about a
decade ago. Not a cheap solution, but probably the best one. There are
companies which specialize in cleaning of data tapes, which might be the
most cost-effective route.
In any case, you first need to identify what the actual problem is.
Otherwise, you risk further damage to the tapes.
Scott D. Smith CAS
Chicago Audio Works, Inc.
On 8/8/2012 4:22 PM, McLane, Alec wrote:
> An acquaintance has asked me for advice on the possibility of a solution that would clean sticky DATs, avoiding the need to rewind them manually. I have no idea if there exists such a thing or how it would be applied, so I'll forward this to the list. Please include me in the reply if you decide to email the requester directly.
> Alec McLane
> Alec McLane
> Music Librarian/Director
> of the World Music Archives
> Olin Library Phone: (860) 685-3899
> Wesleyan University Fax: (860) 685-2661
> 252 Church St. mailto:[log in to unmask]
> Middletown, CT 06459 http://www.wesleyan.edu/libr/collections/music/index.html
> From: Alex Dea [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
> Sent: Monday, August 06, 2012 8:03 PM
> To: McLane, Alec
> Subject: Question about digitizing in Java (the land, not the language... or the drink).
> Of the problems (and questions I hope you can answer or point the way to), the worst is the DAT tapes. They tear cleanly at some point during playback. With some research and a 10x loupe, I identified some (not so many, at least without a super microscope) tiny spores. These spores seem to have tiny feet/tentacles which hold on to the tape, and when the player gets there, the transport pulls and tears cleanly at that spot. Searching the internet turned up a blog with writer Alice In Wonder who recommended hand-winding slowly. When a slight hang occurs, most likely a micro-spore will be there. By gingerly continuing to wind, the tape is able to disentangle from the spore. After a whole spool is rewound, then the tape can be played to hard disk.
> I wonder if there is a better way to solve this problem. Is there any chemical or solution which might kill and release the micro spores?
> Any tips or pointers to other webpages or institutions which may have a solution are much appreciated.
> thank you,
> Alex Dea