Scott's post made me thing of one other DAT issue.
If you're not sure that the tapes are physically sticky, are you sure they won't play well in a
different machine? I purposely keep a Sony and Panasonic machines in the rack because oftentimes a
tape that is full of errors and dropouts on one will play OK to good on the other. No idea why. The
Sony machine, which is of a lesser price and grade than the Pansonic 3700, is more tolerant, in
general. In other words, what won't playback on the Panasonic will often playback on the Sony,
whereas it's not as common vice-versa. It reminds me a little bit of my JVC and Panasonic VHS
machines. The Panasonic seems to be factory-built with tracking alignment not standard. But the JVC
machine is tolerant enough to play tapes from the Panasonic machine with good picture and HiFi
audio. Reverse is not true - the Panasonic can't track tapes from the JVC machine. Meanwhile, tapes
from the JVC machine play well on most other VHS machines whereas tapes from the Panasonic do not,
which led to my conclusion that the Panasonic was incorrectly aligned at the factory.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott D. Smith" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, August 09, 2012 3:11 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] DAT question
> 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
>> 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
>> 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
>> thank you,
>> Alex Dea