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E Module Bay 2.5" drive.

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by geoffct, Jan 17, 2009.

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  1. geoffct

    geoffct Newbie

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    So it seems everyone is up in arms about the 1.8" drives in the modular bay, vs the standard 2.5" in the old D-series machines. I may have found both a cause of Dell's decision and a solution.

    The new e modular bay is basically an sata optical drive, with a latch. Lenovo uses virtually the same setup in their new T400/T500 ThinkPads. See this:
    http://www-307.ibm.com/pc/support/site.wss/MIGR-70090.html
    and there are some good pictures on a $40 ebay item, but I will let you find that:
    http://www.google.com/products?q=43r1980

    So my theory is that Lenovo patented this adapter and since the Dell one would be so close they can't actually make it.

    Anyway it looks like this could work to give us another 2.5" hard drive, but I would really like to see if someone here has access to both a T400/T500 and an E-series lattitude. If you could compare the optical drive and even see if they can be swapped.

    Thanks,
    Geoff
     
  2. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    I have a different theory: The E series media bay is only 9.5mm high and a 2.5" HDD is 9.5mm thick, so there won't be room for a 2.5" HDD inside an enclosure, because of the thickness of top and bottom. 1.8" HDD are only 8mm thick. Therefore Dell needs to create a cradle without top and bottom (or maybe a very thin bottom to protect the HDD electronics) and with the HDD held in place by screws on the sides.

    That Lenovo unit appears to have a bottom but no top but it does contain the HDD to ODD SATA adaptor. So, electronically, it should work even it it has to be physically slimmed.

    John
     
  3. orjan

    orjan Notebook Consultant

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    We used to have a couple of the Lenovo 2nd HDD adapters at work and if I find on sure I could try it out in my E6400. I don't think it will fit though because Lenovo uses a different latch mechanism to keep the drive in place. If you are willing to use the adapter without latch it might fit.

    I am not very fond of the Lenovo 2nd HDD adapter. First of all to make a disk fit properly you need to have the thin metal and plastic encasing for Lenovo hard drives that you can only get by purchasing a Lenovo branded hard drive. Without it you risk short-circuiting the connectors on the bottom of the drsive. You can use some thin plastic film instead but it will not be perfect. In addition, the latch that will keep the drive from getting loose from the IDE or SATA connectors is not long enough so the drive might get loose anyway.

    Örjan
     
  4. davenport

    davenport Notebook Guru

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    you should be able to remove and swap the latch adapters on the Dell/Lenovo optical drives. I've taken the Dell optical drive latch off with little effort. I'd also like to know if we can slide the lenovo Blu-ray in our machine or e-modular bay.
     
  5. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Who can look at a Lenovo T400 / T500 optical drive module?

    Two questions: (i) is it 9.5mm thick; and (ii) does it use the standard ODD SATA connector on the back or is there an adaptor.

    If it is like the Dell unit - a standard 9.5mm thick SATA optical drive with just a release mechanism added on - then there should be no problem to adapt the Lenovo media bay module.

    John
     
  6. geoffct

    geoffct Newbie

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    Wow thanks for the replies, the guys in the lenovo forum weren't quite so helpful.

    I understand about the 9.5mm height issue, that's why I considered the lenovo deal, it has no top, and presumably a very thin bottom. And the adapter is ODD SATA connector, atleast as far as I can tell. Keep in mind the older thinkpads use a proprietary connector, but a very very similar casing.
    I am linking to ebay only to show the difference not to promote any item or seller:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/IBM-43R1980-SAT...R400-R500_W0QQitemZ360123088598QQcmdZViewItem

    The only concern I have is about the latch, and if lenovo added a sheet of plastic to bring their standard optical drives up to say 9.75mm or something.

    I was initially going to rapid prototype up some sides mounts for my drive, but making the ODD to std sata adapter board was going to end up being rather pricey. So I went searching, until I found this. It might even worthwhile to buy one of these for the adapter board alone, but I thought I would see if anyone had one to try directly.

    Thanks Again,
    Geoff
     
  7. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Are you sure about the thickness of the Lenovo media bay module? Maybe the photos at that ebay link are misleading, but the new module looks to be the same as the previous T series module and thicker than a 9.5mm ODD (see attached). The plug adaptor should, however, still be useful.

    John
     
  8. davenport

    davenport Notebook Guru

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    That one is too thick.
     
  9. orjan

    orjan Notebook Consultant

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    I have had a look at DVD drives for Lenovo T400 (Serial Ultrabay Slim) and HP nc6220/nc6400. These are 9.5 mm drives like the drive in Latitude E6400. They are not exactly the same height though. The Lenovo drive is slightly thicker and it almost doesn't fit in the drive bay in E6400. The HP drive is about the same height as the Dell drive.

    The Lenovo drive seems to be physically compatible with Latitude E6400 but I didn't manage to eject the drive door when the drive was plugged in to the E6400. The door opened when I pressed the eject button but it somehow got stucked and I had to take the drive out of the laptop to be able to open the drive door. When I put a CD in the drive it would spin up but the drive didn't appear in Windows Explorer. So there seems to be some kind of compatibility problem.

    The HP drive is a PATA drive so I couldn't test if it worked or not. But if HP has switched to SATA drives on later models it might be worth checking them out since the height of the older HP drives is exactly the same as Dell.

    Update: I have got the Lenovo drive working properly in my E6400. I am running the SATA controller in ATA/IDE compatible mode and hotplugging the drive doesn't work properly. After doing a scan for hardware changes in Device Manager the Lenovo DVD drive was discovered properly and I could use it. I have been able to read files from a CD without problems.

    The drive door on the Lenovo drive leave a small rectangular hole to the right. It is actually quite good because it makes it possible to get a grip on the drive to pull it out.
     
  10. tc2007

    tc2007 Notebook Consultant

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    I have a seperate HDD module for Dell E6500. It has a 1.8" Drive. I only use it for taking backups etc so its fine as far as speed is concernd. When I bought it, I thought I would simply yank out the 1.8" and put the 2.5".
    But it doesnt work like that :)

    Your theory is right. The 2.5" HDD is the same height as the module itself + the 2.5" has a original SATA connector while the 1.8" has a micro sata connector. Now, if someone came up with a cable that works normal sata with microsata, then one can take a 2.5" SSD and remove the actual board (should be thinner) from the cover and then use that inside the bay module. That might work. But 2.5" Platter drive seems to be out of question. Let me know if you need to take any measurements with the original Dell HDD or DVD modules or 2.5" SSD. I have all 3 ;)
     
  11. John Ratsey

    John Ratsey Moderately inquisitive Super Moderator

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    Thanks. If the Lenovo optical drive will fit and work then the Lenovo bay HDD unit should also fit and work.

    I'm running AHCI but since I uninstalled the Intel Matrix Storage Manager as part of the investigation into latency then I need to manually search for the burner after the Dell power management has disabled it when running on battery. Time to reinstall MSM.

    John
     
  12. gardengnome

    gardengnome Notebook Enthusiast

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    Can someone tell if it is possible to get the 1.8" drive bay without a drive?
    In this case I would buy a Seagate Momentus 7200.4 500GB drive to be later accompanied by a 1.8" ssd.
     
  13. Slingshotz

    Slingshotz Newbie

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    Do you have the part numbers for that HDD module? Is that the module you can swap out with the DVD drive? Trying to find it on Dell's website and all I can find is the external HDD module.

    Thanks.
     
  14. tc2007

    tc2007 Notebook Consultant

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  15. tc2007

    tc2007 Notebook Consultant

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    See the ebay auction above. I got it for $110 including shipping with the Drive. I wanted to buy one without the HDD too. But couldnt find it anywhere. I doubt Dell makes it like that. What if you sell the Sata HDD that comes with it? Many modern tablets and netbooks might be able to use a 120gb hdd.
     
  16. gardengnome

    gardengnome Notebook Enthusiast

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    Awwww sweet! 100 bucks. This thing accompanied by a 60GB 2.5" SSD would be so fine.
    I'd go for it if there was a shipping service to europe. :/

    I suppose Dell wants at least twice the price.
     
  17. tc2007

    tc2007 Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah the price is good. I saw 1.8" 120gb hdds alone sell for 129 on ebay. On the other hand, 1.8" SSDs are still around 400 for 120gb.
     
  18. danceswithfrogs

    danceswithfrogs Newbie

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    by incident i talked to dell in the netherlands today about the media bay HDD adapter. (want to put a SSD into it). while i havent been able to actually place an order yet (10+ calls later...) a lady gave me a price of 40 euros plus VAT - which should work out to around 50 plus shipping, some 4-5 days after payment it can be shipped.
     
  19. CWhitney

    CWhitney Notebook Enthusiast

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    Can someone provide just the Dell part number off the tray? It should have a part number under the drive or next to the drive on the top.

    What was the final word on the Lenovo drive? Working with a 2.5in or not?
     
  20. ulub81

    ulub81 Notebook Enthusiast

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