I recently acquired an old IDE QIC/Travan tape drive (for free) and I'm
trying to get it to work on FreeBSD 4.10-RELEASE. I don't know for sure
whether the unit is any good, but I would like to rule out operator error
before I throw it away.

Here's what happens: at boot time, the tape drive is detected as device
ast0:

/kernel: ast0: TAPE <Seagate STT20000A> at ata1-slave PIO4

When I insert a brand-new 4/8GB tape and run 'mt -f /dev/ast0 status' as
root I get the following output:

Mode Density Blocksize bpi Compression
Current: 0x01:X3.22-1983 512 bytes 800 none
---------available modes---------
0: default variable 0 none
1: default variable 0 none
2: default variable 0 none
3: default variable 0 none
---------------------------------
File Number: 0 Record Number: 0 Residual Count 0

but I get the following message in /var/log/messages:

/kernel: ast0: TEST_UNIT_READY - HARDWARE ERROR asc=0xf0 ascq=0x36
error=0x00

Similarly, if I run 'mt -f /dev/ast0 rewind', I get no output to the
terminal but the following in the logs:

/kernel: ast0: TEST_UNIT_READY - HARDWARE ERROR asc=0xf0 ascq=0x36
error=0x00
/kernel: ast0: REZERO - HARDWARE ERROR asc=0xf0 ascq=0x36 error=0x00

After either of these commands, if I run 'mt -f /dev/ast0 errstat' the
terminal displays:

mt: /dev/ast0: Inappropriate ioctl for device

So, does this suggest the drive is fried, or am I doing something wrong?
Google search shows that 'inappropriate' message popping up occasionally
for all manner of devices on both Linux and BSD, but usually the hits are
in the form of mailing list posts with few, if any, responses, and nothing
that seems relevant to my situation. Any ideas?

Thanks in advance,

-Brandon