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Don Burleson Blog 







ORA-01801: Date Format is Too Long for Internal Buffer

Expert Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonFebruary 15, 2015


Question:  I am using a query to fetch records from a table in a iterative manner.  In this situation, let's say the table has 600 records but it's able to fetch only 599 records.  For the last record I am getting the following error:

 ORA-01801: date format is too long for internal buffer.

 I checked the DB for the date format and it is the same for all the records, so why am I getting this error for one record only and other 599 records are getting processed successfully?

Could anyone help me to understand why I am getting the ORA-01801 error?

Answer:  To diagnose any error, you start by using the oerr utility to display the ORA-01801 error:

ORA-01801: date format is too long for internal buffer

Cause:  The date format string was too long to process. This should occur only if several long literals are specified as part of a date.

Action: Remove long literals from the date format string.

It sounds like a bad piece of data was added to your table. Do you have any way to determine which record is the bad record?  If you can identify the bad record, you might be able to update the date value to a valid value or null it out without actually reading what the value is.

If you are doing a to_char on the field, try selecting just the column name instead of to_char(column_name).

You can usually resolve this type of issue, but it takes some time and patience.

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