Back in Time on the Memory Lane

HAWK & SMD Drive Alignment Tools

In the company our department has now moved to a new building. As is usual at these occasions everyone went through his/her stuff to identify things, which are no longer needed and can be put into the trash.

In between my things I found these two tools in the picture. They originate from the beginning of my career in computer technology. They must be around 20 to 21 years old. That would place them into 1985 or 1986.

These two tools were used to adjust the read/write heads of the HAWK and the SMD disk drives. I don’t remember, which company actually produced these drives, but they were known under the names HAWK and SMD (Storage Module Drive).

The HAWK drive had a capacity of two times 5 Mb, consisting of a fixed and a removable disk (pack) with overall 4 read/write heads (all 4 surfaces were used). From the picture the left tools was used to adjust the heads. A special CE-pack was used to align the heads on the correct position, so that the interchangeability of the removable packs between different drives was assured.

The SMD drive had only removable disk packs. Each pack consisted of 5 platters, the top and the bottom platters only for protection. 6 surfaces from the middle 3 platters was actually used. Only 5 surfaces were used to hold the user data. The 6th surface didn’t hold data, but was written with specific servo information, which was used to position the heads. Again special CE-packs were used to align the heads to the correct positions with the right tool from the picture, so that interchangeability was assured. The first drives I learned to know utilized 411 tracks which resulted in a capacity of about 33 Mb. Later versions used 822 tracks, which doubled the capacity to 66 Mb.