Name that Ware, October 2016

The Ware for October 2016 is shown below:

I like this one because not only is it exquisitely engineered, it’s also aesthetically pleasing.

Sorry for the relative radio silence on the blog — been very heads down the past couple months grinding through several major projects, including my latest book, “The Hardware Hacker”, which is on-track to hit shelves in a couple of months!

18 Responses to “Name that Ware, October 2016”

  1. Jeff Epler says:

    Hard drive read head.

  2. Adrian says:

    I will go with a 3.5″ floppy disk head.

  3. pidgin128 says:

    hdd and fdd both seem reasonable, actually fdd more than hdd, because of the apparent height/thickness. these both amuse me in retrospect because my first thoughts were record player stylus head, or possibly a 3d printer’s extrusion nozzle?

    it is visually interesting, and it appears to be something that could be visible in operation, which explains the thicker coating on the flexible ribbon as it exits the assembly. strange that the pointed end of the board seems to feature the least attention. maybe it only exists to key/orient the board?

    actually, since the theme seems to be magnetic media, could this be a magnetic card reader? a-la square, via headphone jack [or the similar designs from competitors?].

    my mind then wanders to chip reader [emv], but while it has sufficient pinout, it seems an unlikely form factor. the vertical bar left of center looks like a presence switch to detect something being inserted, but could just as easily be a mount to separate the top and bottom halves, again leading towards fdd read/write head.

    and then one must wonder if antennas could be valid.

  4. Carl Smith says:

    My first thought was hard drive read head as well. Floppy drive heads typically had a large (relatively) white ceramic looking square head with a dark line across the middle, like this pic on Wikipedia:

    Or it could be the read head from something more obscure like a Zip drive. I couldn’t find any images of Zip drive read heads online.

  5. Ketturi says:

    It is magnetic head from hard drive, I would think disc from early 2000, maxtor or seagate, maybe even fujitsu. I think modern and more common style is connecting head to main flatflex is microwires, but sometimes flatflex all the way to head was used.

  6. Eric Hill says:

    Might be a hard drive head, but might also be a close-up of an RFID chip.

  7. This is a Magnetoresistive technology based hard drive head. The resistance of the head is varied in the presence of a magnetic field. So a sensor can easily read the strength of the magnetic field on a particular spot on the disk. Older technologies are based on using a coil of wire which has lower resolution than magnetoresistive.

    The chip looking portion in the middle is the magnetoresistive material and the wires leading down the arm to allow sensors to read the resistances of the material. I’m not sure if it reads 3 bits at a time (2 wires per bit) or if some wires provide control or power.

  8. rasz_pl says:

    Ketturi got it. HDD head slider. White lines on blue rectangle are air bearing outlines.
    Normally you would expect 4 pin connector: two wire pairs for read and write heads, this one has additional pair for thermal adaptive flying-height control (heater) = head is from something past 2007?

  9. Doug says:

    Agree that it is a HD read/write head.

    Curious as to the interesting wavy design of the flex ribbon…
    Does it serve any purpose? Dampen vibration or maybe allow for some stretch or “flex” during assembly?

  10. Thomas says:

    Not a magnetic head. Those have a very flat side. Here I see that the side towards teh viewer is teh flattest, but with the flex cable and the blue ‘business’ bit it will make for a very scratched disc.

    The back side has these metal bits sticking out. Also not something to touch the platter.

    And there are two metal parts. HD head mounts have only a single metal piece. Also note that the rear piece of metal has a bit inserted in the front piece. It seems this can be moved to adjust something.

    • Thomas says:

      I’m wagering it is to measure some force applied from behind the image. The blue block looks like some cantilever design. The symmetrical wiring may cancel out some LF interference from the surroundings.
      Again it is not in a high speed disc drive as the wobbly flex will catch too much wind and throw everything off balance.

  11. Myself says:

    It’s fascinating how much of this design could also apply to a phonograph cartridge. Imagine if such things had been engineered from scratch, a century later!

  12. voxadam says:

    Atomic-force microscope head?

  13. Kristoffer says:

    Could it be a squid sensor?

  14. Sourcerer says:

    I would vote for the read/write head of a Western Digital harddisk

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