Do-it-Yourself Cartridge Repairs Anyone?

By Brian Kelly

Have you ever watched a TV show featuring some dangerous activity and the warning comes up “Do not attempt this yourself?” It’s usually good advice and reminds me of an experience I had recently.

I had the pleasure of co-presenting at “The Reel Thing,” a part of the Association of Moving Image Archivists Conference in Portland, Oregon with Steve Kochak from Digital Preservations Laboratories. During my part of our presentation I was able to explain to the audience how an LTO cartridge is made and explained in detail each of the different components in a cartridge and what their functions are.

Steve then had a presentation set up to show how one can disassemble a cartridge and reattach a Leader Pin.  The audience was very excited and curious to see the inner workings of a cartridge and the reattachment of the Leader Pin. During the Q&A part of the presentation, after seeing Steve successfully disassemble and reassemble a cartridge and reattach a Leader Pin, the common theme in the questions being asked was, “can I repair my cartridges myself?”

While the answer in some cases is yes, especially with the correct tools, my advice for the audience was that we do not recommend repairing your cartridges yourselves and that we at FUJIFILM Recording Media U.S.A., Inc. accept returns from customers for analysis and repairs. Our technical support team in our U.S.-based factory just outside of Boston handles the cartridges with special care inside of a clean room environment to make sure that no debris comes into contact with the tape, especially in cases where the cartridge has to be opened. With Leader Pin reattachments, we put the cartridge back through the clamping process to make sure it is done properly. We take extra care of customer returns to ensure protection of the cartridges, as well as the customer data that may be saved on the tape. Performing these repairs yourself could lead to further damage and potentially the loss of data, especially if not done carefully or in the right environment.

So “don’t attempt this yourself” and risk losing your data. Leave your repairs to the professionals, we are more than happy to help!

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