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 UltraBay,1 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 bay in G series ThinkPads is not an Ultrabay in that the drives are fixed and not removable.

On the media side different Ultrabays relate to the form factor of the drives they accept, e.g early A, T and X series models can accept Ultrabay devices up to 12.5mm in thickness, whereas current T and X series machines are limited to devices no more than 9.5mm thick.

Overview over Ultrabay types and available devices
Ultrabay Type featured in available drives (see Ultrabay Devices for details)
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, ThinkPad X4 Dock, X6 UltraBase, X6 UltraBase Tablet 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, ThinkPad 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 DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery (Ultrabay Slim battery), Blu-ray drive
Icon20 s ultrabayenh.png Serial Ultrabay Enhanced R400, R500, T510, W510, T510i, W700, W700ds, W701, W701ds DVD-ROM Drive CD-RW/DVD-ROM Combo Drive DVD Multi-Burner Drive Harddisk Drive Adapter Battery*, Blu-ray drive

(* see Characteristics)

Compatibility Matrix (read columns as slots with rows as devices that are compatible)
Slots
Devices
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

Link title

Characteristics

  • UltraBay: no hot swapping
  • UltraBay Thick: thicker version of UltraBay to support CD-ROM drive
  • UltraBay II: supports hot swapping, blending has cut out edge on the right
  • UltraBay FX: the combined floppy drive and CD-ROM, DVD or CDRW mechanism found in the 390/390E/390X
  • UltraslimBay: supports hot swapping; frame, rectangle like blending
  • Ultrabay 2000: supports hot swapping; frame, blending has cut-out edge on the right
  • Ultrabay Plus: same as 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; cut-out right edge in blending
  • Ultrabay Enhanced: supports hot swapping; thicker (12.7 mm) than Ultrabay Slim, but accepts Ultrabay Slim devices
  • Serial Ultrabay Slim: supports hot swapping; same dimensions as the Ultrabay Slim; curved panel; supports Ultrabay Slim battery in select models (not in the ones supporting slice battery attached to the bottom of the laptop, like T410/T510)
  • Serial Ultrabay Enhanced: supports hot swapping; same dimensions as the Ultrabay Enhanced

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.

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.

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.