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Iomega REV Drive (Internal ATAPI)
By CPU-zilla
Category : Storage
Published by Jimmy Tang on Friday, 17th September, 2004
Rating : 4 out of 5 stars  

The REV Technology

Similar to the old Iomega Jaz drive, the Iomega REV uses removable disks with a magnetic media while the read heads and electronics remain within the confines of the drive itself. This helps keep the cost of the medium low. However, unlike the Jaz, the Iomega REV incorporated its own spindle hub and motor into the disk cartridge. This reduces the number of available openings which could potentially introduce dust and contamination onto the disk surface.

In order to create a robust storage product based on existing hard disk drive technology, Iomega had to redesign the drive so that it offers the capacity, as well as the reliability that users require. Besides starting off with a set of clean materials and sophisticated cleaning process, Iomega has put in much effort to ensure its cartridge design stays clean under normal usage conditions.

The main reliability killer is dust. The worse is when these contaminants are generated by the cartridge itself. Constant ejection and insertion can create particulates that either contaminates the read head, or disk surface. In view of this, Iomega designed the REV cartridge with minimal moving mechanisms. One of the ways to achieve this is to incorporate the motor into the cartridge. This eliminates the need for a large motor access hole and an additional mechanism to block such a hole. Drives (like the Jaz) which use such spindle mechanism depend on an anti-gyro mechanism to lock the disk to the motor to avoid separation during motion, and this could possibly result in rubbing and debris formation. However, the REV does not require such mechanism as the motor has already been incorporated in the disk cartridge. This method has eliminated a large potential source of debris which could drive the reliability of the drive down.

Next, Iomega incorporated a simple rotating door to seal the head access hole. Instead of a sliding shutter which can potentially generate debris during operation, Iomega has replaced it with a rotating door which uses two pivots and an elastomeric seal. Besides that, the cartridge has also been tightly sealed such that the top and bottom halves of the cartridge are assembled using interlocking circular walls. This method creates a high resistance path which prevents particles from entering the cartridge.

The Iomega REV disk. The only movable parts on the disk is the access flap on the front portion of the disk, seen here as the metallic cover.

The bottom view of the Iomega REV disk. Unlike previous ZIP or Jaz disks, the REV comes with built-in spindle hub and motor, thus eliminating the motor access hole.

Beneath the disk access flap, you'll see contact pads that power the spindle motor and a single glass disk platter.

All these measures are part of the REV's contamination control prevention which when compared to their older Jaz technology, is way better in terms of ensuring better operational reliability. However, keeping that cartridge and drive internals clean are just one part of Iomega's strategy as they have also incorporated a head cleaning mechanism which can be activated by the drive's firmware command, a process triggered by monitoring the heads' fly height. The fly height will be affected by the accumulation of contamination on the head and if it exceeds a specified limit, the head will move to the cleaning material and automatically executes the cleaning routine. This consistent monitoring and cleaning will ensure the drive's heads are kept clean so that data reliability is preserved, as well as preventing head and disk damage due to contamination.

The top view of the Iomega REV drive. You can see here that the entire drive assembly is tightly sealed.

If data error still continue to occur despite the cleaning measures, the REV drive uses its two-dimensional Reed-Solomon product code error correction code (RSPC ECC) to enhance data reliability. This is considered to be a more superior ECC method as compared to HDDs and previous Iomega drives.

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