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132T frequent obstruction errors

I'm coming in a lot and finding failed backup jobs caused by hardware errors. When I look, the error is almost always OBSTRUCTION - CHECK PICKER. When I pull the magazines and look around, though, there's rarely a problem. Occasionally I'll have a tape stuck in a drive, but, normally, no tapes are sticking out, the drive is empty, there are no labels or foreign objects interfering, the IE slot is clear, and the picker has a clear path to move completely from one side of the unit to the other. Dell support suggested new tapes might be in order, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I can try first since I don't think the media is that old. I do have one bad drive in the unit (leaving one good one) which I've disabled through BackupExec, in case that triggers any thoughts.

I'm at the point where I'm losing half my nightly backup jobs to these errors and I can't keep on missing them much longer.

Thanks for any suggestions

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Re: 132T frequent obstruction errors



i had a similar weird problem ... however it was tracked down to cleaning.


examine the tape case for any sort of substance - use a white cloth to see if there is any residue on the tape case.  if the case feels slippery to your fingers, you can bet it is slipping in the grippers causing a misalignment.  in either case - clean the cases with alcohol prep pads obtainable from your local drug store - I use them because they are convenient  (and not saturated).  try to determine the source of the contamination and eliminate it for future longevity.


2nd cleanliness exam:  The picker fingers.  there are 4 clear sticky pads.  2 on each side of the grabber.  DO NOT USE alcohol to clean these.  i use a micro fiber cloth with a shot or two of fantastic or 409 cleaner just enough to clean any residue off the pads.   this cleaning can be done by removing the front tape carriers (power off) ... slide the picker assembly over or power cycle the library to get the picker in good position to clean it.  leave a tape in the left furthest slot to cause the picker to seek as it will be the first slot it tries to go to w/out the front 2 carriers in place (hold your finger over the front door switch if it complains about the door being open)  anywho - power it off - clean it and that usually does it.


the reason for the hang and recovery is when the error isn't electrical, the picker will try to correct the error but not before telling the library control module which tells the backup program it encountered a problem thusly the missed backups.  this is in the library firmware and cannot be corrected unless ADIC or DELL decides to change it so not to mess up the backup program.  backup programs can be smarter by knowing the error is recoverable and if the library had in fact recovered from the error based on the actual error code (recoverable / recovered) thusly to help eliminate missed backups when a correctable error occurs.


a third and LAST resort is to verify the bottom finger on the tape grabber.  it must be at a 90 degree angle to the assembly - I've had to occasionally TWEEK this arm gently with a pair of needle nose pliers - this has fixed many Grabber misalignment errors..  this procedure requires the removal of the picker assembly - grab yourself a #10 torx driver ... 5 cover screws and 4 rail screws ... disconnect the umbilical cord (flat white cable & clip).  quick note ... while reassembling the unit ... reconnect the flat white cable & clip before securing the travel rails (just a bit easier to do).


as far as tapes stuck in the drive ... drives me nuts too ... usually the unload cycle fails and the only way to fix that most times (barring a busted leader or tape) is to power cycle the drive which in most cases clears the leader and allows for an eject cycle to complete.  it is a good bet the unloader/leader is becoming worn (stretches out of sync) and would require service in the future.  have a backup drive available with the same part number and firmware revision.  changing a drive on a PV132 frame shouldn't take more than 30 minutes and only requires a #10 torx.


you might also want to check the backup program is issuing an eject at end of backup if the tape isn't actually "STUCK" - occasionally i've found tapes just hanging out b/c of a missed command ( or lost in cyberspace ) ... an occasional glitch.


it wouldn't be a bad idea to remove the defective drive and replace it with a cover plate - easily obtainable from many sources.  2 points would be you are not wasting power on a defective drive and there is absolutely no doubt the drive is not interfering with the operation (trying to control and/or send signals to the library controller). 

good luck



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GWK in Jackson
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Re: 132T frequent obstruction errors

Potential solution to the dreaded obstruction errors (April 17, 2018):

I found that the picker in my PV132T was getting stuck with the usual Obstruction Error – Check Picker, most of the recommendations I found suggested cleaning the picker tabs with Fantastic or 409 which did not consistently help for long. I started watching the picker in motion and found that when the picker got near the bar code reader is when it typically would get stuck and fail. Watching the process through the mail slot, I noticed that the tape carriage would tilt a little bit clockwise when it was getting near the bar code reader or ejecting a tape. I removed both drives so I could have a better view of what was going on from the back, I saw that the cord for the bar code reader was getting in the way of the picker motion, enough to cause the tape carriage to tilt, thus causing a misalignment at the minimum and would frequently cause the picker to get stuck resulting with the obstruction error. I pushed cord going to the bar code reader toward the front of the unit and tucked it behind bar code reader assembly to get it out of the way, so far, although it has only been a few days, I have not had any tape handling issues.

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