HP Kittyhawk Hard Drive
In 1992, HP introduced a breakthrough in hard drive technology - the 1.3" Kittyhawk microdrive. It was an amazing little creature, offering 20 and 40 megabytes of storage in what was then an astonishingly small package. Among the special features was a tiny motion sensor that would park the heads if it detected the device being dropped.
Today, though, the Kittyhawk is probably most famous for being used as a textbook example of how not to bring breakthrough technology to market. The Kittyhawk flopped. See "The Innovator's Dilemma" for details.
Market flop or not, it's a damn cool drive - and I was very happy to get ahold of a couple to use as the primary storage for Magic-1. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to find much technical info about the drive via Google, so I thought I'd create this page to record what I've discovered. It turns out there are quite a few Kittyhawks floating around in for hobbyists to play with. Future-Bot Components has a stash, and they crop up on eBay from time to time as well.
First, a request - if you have additional info on these drives, please contact me and I'll add the info to this page. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyway, on to what I've learned.
First, there are two sizes of the drives, 20 and 40 MB. The 40 MB versions are somewhat hard to come by, while there are lots of 20s around. If you want a 40, one of your best bets is to buy a Dauphin DTR-1 palmtop computer on eBay. This was one of the few commercial products to use the 40MB Kittyhawk.
There also appears to have been a PCMCIA version as well - Type III in 20 and 14 MB versions.
The basic HP part number of the 20 MB version is C3013, while the 40 MB version is C3014. Additionally, there is a suffix on the part number. I have seen both "A" and "B" for the 20 MB, and "A" for the 40.
The drives are IDE drives, which should make them easily usable. However, the drives were introduced during the time that the IDE spec was moving from old cylinder/head/sector (CHS) addressing to logical block addressing (LBA). Some Kittyhawks support LBA addressing, and some only support CHS. Note also that I have run across a 40 MB Kittyhawk that supported LBA, but reported the total LBA addressable sectors using the wrong "endianness" so it's total had swapped bytes. Depending on your bios, such a drive might report a wildly overlarge capacity (something like 800 MB).
Following is a table describing the basic info of a few Kittyhawks that I've tested.
The Kittyhawk can be used via a 2.5" IDE cable adapter (commonly used to adapt notebook hard drives to desktop systems). There is a significant warning, though. You MUST NOT plug the drive in backwards. Modern drives can typically survive being put in backwards. The Kittyhawk, though, will not. If you plug it in backwards, it will be destroyed.
Newsgroups: comp.sys.palmtops From: email@example.com Subject: Re: HP announces 1.3" 21MB disk Date: Thu, 25 Jun 1992 07:23:04 GMT This is a summary of the specs for the HP 1.3" disk drive: Capacity: Formatted: 21.4 and 14 MB Unformatted: 35.4 and 23.6 MB Disks: 2 and 1 Data Heads: 3 and 2 Recording Density: Bits per Inch: 51,000 Tracks per Inch: 2400 Areal Density: 111 MB/sq in Recording Zones: 6 Seek Time: < 18 ms Sustained Transfer Rate: 0.9 MB/s Burst Data Rate: 1.2 MB/s Spin-up: ~1s Latency: 5.56 ms (5400 rpm) MTBF: 300,000 hr Start/stops: 100,000 Service Life: > 5 yr Error Rate (per bits transferred): 1E14 (recoverable) Voltage: 5 VDC +/-10% Start Peak Power: 2.8W, avg 2.2W Read Power: 1.5W Write Power: 1.7W Sleep Power: 0.015W Shock (max @ 3 ms): Operating: 100 g Nonoperating: 225 g Random Vibration (5 to 500 Hz): Operating: 0.015 g Nonoperating: 0.04 g Swept Sine (5 to 500 Hz): 1 g Temperature Range: Operating: -5 to 55 degrees C Nonoperating: -40 to 70 degrees C Relative Humidity: Operating: 8 to 80% noncondensing Nonoperating: 5 to 85% noncondensing Altitude: Operating: -100 to 10,000 ft (-30.5 to 3048 m) Nonoperating: -1000 to 50,000 ft (-305 to 15240 m) Accoustic Noise: 4.2 bels seeking 4.0 bels idling Height: 10.5 mm (0.414 in) Width: 36.5 mm (1.44 in) Length: 50.8 mm (2.0 in) Weight: 28 g (1 oz) Supported: ATA ATA and PCMCIA power-saving modes Compatible with Type 3 physical format of PCMCIA
Citizen Watch Company manufacturing
21.4 MB, 18 ms average seek time
$250 in quantity (later $100?)
Reference to PCMCIA version