SUMMARY: 8mm 8705DX Tape Drive Setup

From: DP2 David A. Wanamaker (
Date: Tue Jan 06 1998 - 16:13:10 CST

Thanks to the following people for their quick responses:

Scott F. Woods []
Joel Lee []
David Foster []
Kurt Rees []
Bismark Espinoza [bismark@alta.Jpl.Nasa.Gov]
Kevin Warren []

And special thanks to Ron Spillane [] for providing me with the correct configuration.


I recently recieved an 8mm 8705DX tape drive for backup purposes. I tried to setup the tape drive under an Ultra1 running Solaris 2.5. I've done a probe-scsi-all at the prompt and the system can find the device with no problems. I can do a 'mt -f /dev/rst4 status' at the shell prompt and its detected. However, when I try to read or write to the tape, I keep getting an I/O error. I have tried using 10 different (brand new) 8mm tapes (112m and 160m) and I have cleaned the drive twice. And I'm still getting errors.


Solaris 2.5 and 2.5.1's kernel do not support the 8705DX tape drive, which meant a little manual configuration to the /kernel/drv/st.conf file. The following lines were added to the st.conf file:

# "EXABYTE EXB-8505", "Exabyte 8mm EXB-8505", "EXBT-8SC",

#EXBT-8SC = 1,0x35,0,0xce39,2,0x15,0x8C,1;

It's important to know that the 8705DX drive only works at two densities: medium (/dev/rmt/0m) and compressed (/dev/rmt/0c). It's also important to know that (as I just found out the hard way), any tape that is not written with the medium or compressed density can not be read by the DX tape drive. BUT, the XL drive can read both medium and compressed densities. (I may be forgetting to do something on my end to fix this little incompatibily problem, if so, please let me know.)

DP2 Wanamaker

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