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supply an image (and would be great if you could supply image from old broken one and new one)
I'm a bit confused though: if you have an internal working sdt-5000 that you want to put into an external broken sdt-5000, it should be as simple as getting the enclosure open, then swapping the internal drives; i.e. external enclosures usually still use the same spec internal drive so it would just be an ide or scsi connector cable.
Sounds like your tape drive or possibly the tape you are using is faulty.
check the following:
#1 - use a different tape
#2 - check that the read-only is not enabled on the tape(s)
#3 - run diagnostics on the drive (if it's come with software for diagnostics).
#4 - return it to the supplier to test and replace if under warranty.
this is probably due to a stuck microswitch in the tape drive unit as the locked tag presses a microswitch when loaded it is possibly these microswitches that are failing, as one of the switches detects if a tape is loaded and the other detects is a tape is locked, so problems with these switches would mean that it cannot detect if the tape is loaded properly.