Summary : Physically Moving Disk Drives

Date: Mon Apr 02 1990 - 12:41:05 CDT

Hello Managers,

Some time back I had posted to this list asking suggestions for
moving physically disk drives. I got quite a few replys and thanks
for all those replied.

To summerize what I received :

1) Most of the newer disk drives come with some sort of electromechanical mecha
nism to park the head when powered off. When parked, they can
take resonable amount of shock. However rolling on the wheels of the
disk drive cabnet was not recommended. Instead use a hand truck or
something like that with bigger wheels.

2) Other suggestion was to physically remove the disk from the cabinet
and hand carry it and install it in the new location. This seems to
be a better solution for long distances and rough terrains.

3) Our disk drive is Fujitsu M2333. It comes with the auto parking
mechnism (I enquired with our locak SUN office).

from : (Daryl Crandall)

Fujitsu 2351A (Eagles) require that you "lock" the heads manually.
Fujitsu M2382K disks automatically "park" the heads in a safe place forgentle t

4) If your disk drive dose not have this auto parking, then
you have to lock the disks manually (consult your manual or

5) All SCSI disk seems to have the auto locking mechanism in built.

We will be moving our systems today, if we have any peculiar problems
I will post it here.

Finally for those of you who want to know what I received, Here are
responses I receive.

Again thanks for all those replied.

++++++++++ HERE ARE THE REPLYS I RECEIVED +++++++++++++++++++++++


Be safe -- take the disk drive out of the cabinet and hand carry it.
I've move disk drives in a car without problems -- they're pretty
resilient, but I wouldn't be careless with one...
Most modern disk drives park the heads on power down...
Tape doors on cabinets shut, esp. back covers and tape drive doors...


jhm@EBay.Sun.COM :

On the old Eagle drives, there are 3 mechanical locks you must activate,all oth
er drives have electric locks and you don't have to worry about
them. Make sure that the drives are locked into the racks so that they
don't slide out.

John Mc Cartney
Sun Repair Center

////////////////////////////////// (tom slezak)

You didn't specify what the drives are...but if they are SMD drives in
a wheeled cabinet, I'd suggest (carefully!) removing the drives from
a wheeled cabinet, wheeling the cabinet to the new location, hand-carrying the
drives gently to the new spot, and re-installing them in the cabinet.

The drives "park" automatically. Small periods of time in other orientations
should be OK (without excessive jarring).

If you could get the whole cabinet on a pneumatic-wheeled trailer of some
sort, you could presumably risk moving it SLOWLY to the new location without
extracting the drives from the cabinet. I consider the coaster wheels
just barely adequate to move around inside buildings.

good luck!

tom slezak
Lawrence Livermore National Lab


tai@Mot.COM (Hermann Tai)

When I received my Sun-3/260, our colleague just made a full backup,
shut down the system, and power off the two cabinets. Then, they hired
a special moving company to move those two w/s to our site. I didn't
see they had done anything like park or disk head lock during the
Fortunately, the system worked properly after we received it. Now, I
own one more Sun 4/330 and plan to move to a new building next month.
Since I was planning to just 1) back up the system, 2) shut down the
system, and 3) power off the hardware in the forthcoming move, I'd
like to know if there is any way to lock the disk heads or any
I really should follow for the move. If nobody knows the answer, I can
call our field service engineer for it.

Good luck.

Hermann Tai
(Host, Mot.Com;



Drive heads are usually parked when the drive is shut off.

It sounds like your drives are a bit massive. Rolling is ok in the
computer room, but probably not safe for a distance over unknown (severe)
terrain. I would recommend a cart or something to place them on, with
nice padding.

Alexander Lopez
Engineering Systems Administration
Tektronix metallic and fiber optic cable test equipment


All of the newer drives that Sun uses automatically park the head when powered down. The only drive that I ever saw (that Sun sold) that didn't do this was the old Eagle (2351 I believe). We moved an old 3/180 a couple of years back and had to explicitly lock the heads before and unlock after.

I'm not sure about SCSI drives but then, most of them are not in larger wheeled cases!

////////////////////////////////// (Jon J. Brewster)

It depends on the type of disk drive you're dealing with. Our Fujitsu Eagles, for example, and our DEC RA series drives, have mechanical locks which are activated by opening the drive and repostioning a lever. Our Super Eagle and RD series drives have no such provision. I suppose that there is an electromechanical head locking device which acts automatically, but that's only a guess. We have moved our machines a couple of times, without incident and without original packing. One move was done by department personnel with handcarts and one was done by professional movers, but neither time did we pack the machines.


ecn! (Marcel Bernards)

I moved a _complete_ 4/280-S on my own on the wheels of the cabinet. The distance was about 300 yards. I think that most drives have a electronic 'autopark' or spring mechanism nowad ays. Most newer PC's have such disk also. I'm almost certain that my DK815 has also. When I get off the main supply, the drives vibrate about 1 second.

////////////////////////////////// (Ron Vasey)

You don't mention the size of the drives, model, configuration, etc.; however, I'll assume it's more than something PC-size. Also that your drives are NOT on a maintenance contract that requires FE supervision.

;1) Is it OK to roll the disk drive on the wheels it is mounted on ?

I have for short runs down the hall, but I wouldn't recommend it here -- no shock absorption whatsoever, and cracks and bumps abound on streets/walks. ;Or do we need to take special precautions like physically lifting ;it and carrying it without any vibrations. Nothing too fancy, but a cart with pneumatic tires (or at least big wheels), a hand-truck (dolly) or a piece of foam--or even a stack of cardboard--in a pickup truck bed help tremendously--both time-wise and for shock absorption.

;Can we carry it in any positions ?

Generally, yes. ;2) On PC I remember having seen a command called 'park' ... ;Is there anything similar on SUN machines or the disks are always ;parked when switched off ? Yes, some of the newer drives are self-parking; however, most big disks have a simple mechanism to manually "bolt-down" the heads/rotors in parked position. If you don't have a manual (or technician) who can definitively explain how to do this for your particular drive, I'd postpone the move until I found out. (Remember to unbolt before firing it up at the new location!) Usually your local distributor will be willing to describe the procedure for you briefly over the telephone -- just ignore the pleas for a service call. :^)

;Any other suggestions and precautions ... highly appreciated.

Hope this helps! __ /_) M.C.C. (ES-Kit) 3500 W. Balcones Center Austin TX 78759 / <>// uunet!!vasey (512) 338-3461

////////////////////////////////// (Dave Stuit)

In answer to your questions about moving disks: The answer is, "It depends."

As an example, under the cover of the Fujitsu Eagle SMD disks we had on our VAX 750 at college was a lever which screwed in place to lock the heads for transport. Many "modern" disks lock the heads automatically when the drive is off.

--dave -- Dave Stuit;;( or uunet!mti!dave ) Micro Technology, 5065 E. Hunter Ave., Anaheim, CA 92807 (714)693-2396



>1) Is it OK to roll the disk drive on the wheels it is mounted on ?

When in San Francisco last year, we moved some sun-4's around on their wheels between various parts of the Hilton hotel. We didn't have any problems, but I'm not sure if this was too clever.

Regards, Martyn Shortley

////////////////////////////////// ////////////////////////////////// (Robert Bruner)

We just moved across campus, using 'professional' movers, and had no trouble, though our disks were simply rolled along. I put 'professional' in quotes because I was not all that impressed with how carefully they moved things.

Of course, maybe we were just lucky. Hope you are too!

No warranties expressed or implied in the above story. ////////////////////////////////// (Daryl Crandall)

It would help to know what type of disks you are moving.

Fujitsu 2351A (Eagles) require that you "lock" the heads manually. Fujitsu M2382K disks automatically "park" the heads in a safe place for gentle transport.


king!maxz%contel0@uunet.UU.NET (Mark A. Maxwell System Admin ) I vote against rolling diskfull systems much farther than a few feet across a smooth floor..

1) Before anything else of course do a full backup..

Some older disk models such as the older Eagle drives had a physical mechanism to lock the heads, but most newer drives do not, nor is there a UNIX command to do so..

It also depends on the size of the system you are moving.. is it a 4/280 or a 4/60??.. big difference!! The 4/60 you can but on a cart w/ pneumatic tires the 4/280 I would remove the drives and hand carry them across the street.. ..but not until I did a full backup the labeled all the cabling..

////////////////////////////////// (David Dow)

The answer depends on the kind of disks you have. All of the SCSI disks that I know about lock automatically when powered off. For SMD disks this is not necessarily true. If you have the 380M fujitsu eagles, there is a locking mechanism inside the disk drive. Take the back plate off and the top cover and you should see a lever near the HDA which says "lock"..."unlock" or something similar. Lift the lever and slide it to the other side. BE SURE TO UNDO THIS WHEN YOU GET THE DISK IN PLACE. Powering up the disk drive while its locked is instant disk destruction. The 575M super eagle locks automatically. I'm not sure about other disks. If you have any particular disks you don't know about, call your Sun office or another note to the list with the specific disks.

Once the head is locked, either manually or automatically, they can take a *reasonable* amount of vibration. If the path to the other site is fairly smooth, you should be able to roll them in their racks. Naturally you should do a level 0 dump just before shutting down each system.

We moved a site which had hundreds of machines and disks. We used a commercial computer equipment moving company. There was very little damage, but the more equipment being moved, the more likely something will get damaged. If you're moving a lot of stuff, you should count on something breaking. Make sure the "powers that be" are aware that even with the best precautions, there may be damage. Then you're covered. Check with your insurance company to see if you're covered if something breaks. Call a commercial mover, they should be insured, so if anything breaks, they pay. It might be worth it, especially if your insurance won't cover you and the equipment is especially valuable. I was surprised how little they charged us, and they did pay for repairs on the couple items that were damaged.

////////////////////////////////// (John Sambrook)

You usually lock the heads on a disk drive before you move it. This is pretty easy to do on our Fuji Eagles, but might be more involved on your disks. Of course, I'm talking about big disk units here; the smaller SCSI disks typically don't have a head locking mechanism.

In any event, move them slowly and carefully. No sense rushing the job only to find you can't reboot your system. //////////////////////////////////

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