Ultrabay

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UltraBay drives

IBM/Lenovo Ultrabay

Ultrabay is IBM's, now Lenovo's, name for the swappable drive slot. With IBM's words:
"The ThinkPad UltraBay1, also standard with the system, is an intelligent bay that switches its pinout signals to allow the installation of standard and optional features in what would normally be just the FDD bay."
Introduced back in the times of the 750 ThinkPads, this technology has gone through redesigns with almost every new generation of ThinkPad models, possibly leading to some confusion that is hopefully cleared up here. The following table gives an overview of the different Ultrabay types, in which models they occurred and what drives are available for them.

Note that the optical drive slot in G series ThinkPads is not an Ultrabay: the drives are fixed and not removable.

Over the course of time a number of different form factors have been used for the Ultrabay. These are usually not compatible, but see below for details. Current Thinkpads use either the Serial Ultrabay Slim (accommodates drives up to 9.5mm high) or the Serial Ultrabay Enhanced (accommodates drives up to 12.7mm high). See Ultrabay Devices for a list of all Ultrabay devices.

Compatibility

Overview over Ultrabay types and available devices
Ultrabay Type featured in available drives
Icon20 ultrabay.png UltraBay 355, 355C, 355Cs, 360, 360C, 360Cs, 360P, 360CE, 360CSE, 360PE, 370C, 750, 750C, 750Cs, 750P, 755C, 755CE, 755Cs, 755CSE, 755CV, 755CX, 760C, 760L, 760E Floppy Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery, 2.88 MB diskette, PCMCIA Cartridge, IBM Wireless Modem ARDIS, IBM Wireless Modem
Icon20 ultrabay.png UltraBay Thick 755CD, 755CDV, 760CD, 760E, 760ED, 760EL, 760ELD, 760LD, 760XD, 760XL, 765D, 765L, SelectaDock I, SelectaDock II Floppy Drive CD-ROM Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery, 2.88 MB diskette, PCMCIA Cartridge, IBM Wireless Modem ARDIS, IBM Wireless Modem
Icon20 ultrabayii.png UltraBay II 770, 770E, 770ED, 770X, 770Z, SelectaDock III Floppy Drive 100MB Zip Drive 250MB Zip Drive CD-ROM Drive DVD-ROM Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery
Icon20 ultrabayfx.png UltraBay FX 390, 390E, 390X, i Series 1720, i Series 1721 Floppy Drive CD-ROM Drive DVD-ROM Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery
Icon20 ultraslimbay.png UltraslimBay 600, 600E, 600X, UltraBase, Portable Drive Bay Floppy Drive SuperDisk LS-120 Drive 100MB Zip Drive CD-ROM Drive DVD-ROM Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery
Icon20 ultrabay2000.png Ultrabay 2000 A20m, A20p, A21e, A21m, A21p, A22e, A22m, A22p, A30, T20, T21, T22, T23, Dock, Dock II, X2 UltraBase, Portable Drive Bay 2000 Floppy Drive SuperDisk LS-120 Drive SuperDisk LS-240 Drive 100MB Zip Drive 250MB Zip Drive CD-ROM Drive DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery
Icon20 ultrabayplus.png Ultrabay Plus A30, A30p, A31, A31p, R30, R31, R32, R40, T23, T30, X3 UltraBase Floppy Drive SuperDisk LS-120 Drive SuperDisk LS-240 Drive 100MB Zip Drive 250MB Zip Drive CD-ROM Drive DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery, WorkPad Cradle, Numpad
Icon20 ultrabayslim.png Ultrabay Slim T40, T40p, T41, T41p, T42, T42p, T43, T43p, T60, T60p, T61, T61p, Z60t, Z61t, Z61p, X4 UltraBase, X4 Dock, X6 UltraBase, X6 Tablet UltraBase DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery, Serial/Parallel Port Adapter (T60/T60p)
Icon20 ultrabayenh.png Ultrabay Enhanced R50, R50e, R50p, R51, R52, R60, R61, R61i, Z60m, Z61m, Advanced Dock DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery
Icon20 s ultrabayslim.png Serial Ultrabay Slim T400, T400s, T410, T410i, T410s, T410si, T500, W500, X200 UltraBase, UltraBase Series 3 DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter (Ultrabay Slim battery, see Characteristics), Blu-ray drive
Icon20 s ultrabayenh.png Serial Ultrabay Enhanced R400, R500, T510, W510, W520, W530, T430, T510i, W700, W700ds, W701, W701ds DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter (see Characteristics), Blu-ray drive


Compatibility Matrix (read columns as slots with rows as devices that are compatible)
Bay
Device
Icon20 ultrabay.png
UltraBay
 
Icon20 ultrabay.png
UltraBay
Thick
Icon20 ultrabayii.png
UltraBay
II
Icon20 ultrabayfx.png
UltraBay
FX
Icon20 ultraslimbay.png
UltraslimBay
 
Icon20 ultrabay2000.png
Ultrabay
2000
Icon20 ultrabayplus.png
Ultrabay
Plus
Icon20 ultrabayslim.png
Ultrabay
Slim
Icon20 ultrabayenh.png
Ultrabay
Enhanced
Icon20 s ultrabayslim.png
Serial
Ultrabay Slim
Icon20 s ultrabayenh.png
Serial Ultrabay
Enhanced
UltraBay yes yes Adapter - - - - - - - -
UltraBay Thick - yes Adapter - - - - - - - -
UltraBay II - - yes - - - - - - - -
UltraBay FX - - - yes - - - - - - -
UltraslimBay - - - - yes - - - - - -
Ultrabay 2000 - - - - - yes yes - - - -
Ultrabay Plus - - - - - - yes - - - -
Ultrabay Slim - - - - - Adapter Adapter yes yes - -
Ultrabay Enhanced - - - - - Adapter Adapter - yes - -
Serial Ultrabay Slim - - - - - - - - - yes yes
Serial Ultrabay Enhanced - - - - - - - - - - yes


Characteristics

UltraBay 
no hot swapping
UltraBay Thick 
thicker version of UltraBay to support CD-ROM drive
UltraBay II 
supports hot swapping; cutout lower right corner of the bezel
UltraBay FX 
combined floppy drive and optical drive found in the 390/390E/390X
UltraslimBay
supports hot swapping; frame, rectangular bezel with beveled lower edge
Ultrabay 2000 
supports hot swapping (except in ThinkPad Dock I); frame, cutout lower right corner of the bezel
Ultrabay Plus 
like the Ultrabay 2000 but can take the Ultrabay Plus Device Carrier which in turn can hold the Ultrabay Plus Cradle for the WorkPad C500 or the Ultrabay Plus Numeric Keypad
Ultrabay Slim 
supports hot swapping; thinner (9.5 mm) than the Ultrabay 2000; cutout lower right corner of bezel; the 4x and 5x series have different battery connector from the 6x series
Ultrabay Enhanced 
supports hot swapping; thicker (12.7 mm) than the Ultrabay Slim but does accept Ultrabay Slim devices
Serial Ultrabay Slim 
supports hot swapping; same dimensions as the Ultrabay Slim; supports Ultrabay Slim battery, but not in models supporting slice battery attached to the bottom of the laptop, e.g. T410/T510 (even then there seems to be some mechanical difficulties—see discussion); some versions with a flat bezel, some versions with beveled lower edge
Serial Ultrabay Enhanced 
supports hot swapping; same width and depth as the Serial Ultrabay Slim, but is 3mm higher; slim devices work fine, but do not fit accurately and (may) disconnect on movement; see the Serial Ultrabay Slim notes about battery

Unofficially compatible

A CDRW/DVD-ROM Superdrive (scavenged from a Mac iBook) will fit in an Ultrabay 2000. The original face won't fit in the bay, leaving a bare metal front. When the drive spins up, it blows a lot of air out. Maybe that's an anti-dust measure?

In general, Ultrabay 2000 CD drives have a standard connector, and can therefore be replaced by most other 12.7 mm drives. You might have to do some cutting of the plastic face plate.

The Ultrabay Slim CD drives however, have a proprietary connector. You can not replace them with any 9.5 mm CD drive.

Linux support

The pinout switching is done by the BIOS and hardware, so that it is completely transparent to the operating system.

  • Floppy drives are supported by the standard floppy driver.
  • ZIP drive support is possible through the ide-disk driver.
  • IDE hard disks and optical drives are supported by the ata_piix or older ide-disk driver in the linux kernel.
  • Batteries are automatically handled by the hardware, but can be controlled further by using tp_smapi.
  • UltraBay Plus devices should be handled by the USB subsystem, but if the actual devices are is not known.

Hotswapping

See also How to hotswap Ultrabay devices.

External sources


FOOTNOTES [Δ]
  1. IBM originally used the spelling "UltraBay" with a capital letter bee but later switched to "Ultrabay" with a lower-case bee.
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