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Kalok Cartridge System

famicomaster2

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Hello again, this will be my third post about my little hard disk collection. This group is not nearly as large as the Kalok Octagon collection or the Computer Memories collection, but I feel it is still worthy of it's own little post, as these drives in working condition are rather uncommon, and it's even less likely to find them all in one place side-by-side like this.

From left to right:
Kalok P3-250AR
TEAC SD-3360N
JTS Palladium P1000
JTS Champion C2500
JTS Champion C4300

IMG_20230119_230050427.jpg


The design for the Kalok P3/P5 cartridge system shows up around 1992 or 1993 and continues through to the end of Kalok's business in 1994. During that time, the cartridge system was called P3, P5, K-STOR, and was licensed to TEAC who sold it under their brand as "TEAC-STOR." In 1994, Kalok shut their doors and most of their assets were purchased by the JT Storage company, who immediately ditched Kalok's Octagon II line of bottom-dollar stepper actuated hard disks, but kept the cartridge system alive. The drives were given a slightly different controller to break out the regular Molex power and IDE connectors, as well as the configuration jumpers. To make the drives the correct height, as the cartridges are "Ultra Slim" at 0.25" tall, JTS used spindly little metal angle brackets on the bottom, affixed with torx screws. It looks as bad as you're imagining. These drives were sold as the CHAMP and Palladium drives, of which you can see the P1000 here. These drive are essentially unchanged from the Kalok units. The later Champion drives, like the C2500 and C4300 on the right have a different bottom half of the chassis, with a structural reinforcements, real cast mounts, and room for a deeper spindle to facilitate the addition of extra platters.

Kalok and by proxy TEAC sold their cartridges in sizes of 250MB, 360MB, and 540MB (P3-250AR, P3-360AR, P3-540AR, SD-3250N, SD-3360N, SD-3540N). It's clear that Kalok was working on drives of at least 1GB as within months of the JTS buyout, the CHAMP C1000 and Palladium P1000 become available.

I've heard rumors both that these Kalok cartridges were intended to replace the Octagon II later on as their own standalone drives, and that they were simply meant to become a higher option to Octagon II drives, and that Kalok was working on further stretching that age-old design. I think that would have been an interesting future - If Kalok could have kept their doors open another year or two, or if JTS hadn't shelved the Octagon II immediately, would we have 240MB, 360MB, 500MB stepper drives? The much more modern but more expensive and worse performing Daeyoung DX-3120A adds an interesting page to this story - The density was obviously continuing to go up, using this technology, it would have been totally plausible to get a 240MB drive in the 3.5x1" form factor, even in 1994.

Anyways, that's just my tinfoil hat theory on old hard drives.

Hope you learned something or at least enjoyed. Questions, comments, concerns are all welcomed and encouraged. Thanks for reading!
 

Chuck(G)

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I picked out the JTS drives immediately--they stick out a lot more than a regular 3.5" drive. I discovered that when I tried to install one in one of those 3.5" drive "drawers". My 1GB unit didn't last more than about a year anyway. Typical Juggi Tandon quality, IMOHO.
 

krebizfan

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The Tandon line of hard drives became the Western Digital hard drives in the late 80s. Much better quality than anything proffered by Kalok, even after the bankruptcy changes that resulted in JTS.

In 1992, Xebec bought the rights and factory for Kalok's stepper motor designs and continued production for about another year but switched to voice coils in 1993.
 

famicomaster2

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The Tandon line of hard drives became the Western Digital hard drives in the late 80s. Much better quality than anything proffered by Kalok, even after the bankruptcy changes that resulted in JTS.
I would personally dispute that, the biggest issue with the Kalok drives was lack of parking + unlubricated media. The last Tandon drives, the TM-262/TM-362 etc have lubricated metallic media instead of the older style ferrous oxide media the KL-320, KL-330, KL-34x used.
In 1992, Xebec bought the rights and factory for Kalok's stepper motor designs and continued production for about another year but switched to voice coils in 1993.
Xebec licensed the design, they did not buy it outright. Kalok was still producing the Octagon II right up until they closed doors. Both of my Kalok branded KL-3120s have date codes in mid 94, and my Xebec XE-3120 has a date code in late 93.
 

3lectr1c

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First time I've seen that Kalok logo, looks way better than the one seen on the Octagon drives. Also would be interesting to hear what these sound like, as well as the insides. I'd completely understand not wanting to open one of these though if it worked!
 

famicomaster2

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First time I've seen that Kalok logo, looks way better than the one seen on the Octagon drives. Also would be interesting to hear what these sound like, as well as the insides. I'd completely understand not wanting to open one of these though if it worked!
I like the older logo better myself, but that's because I'm partial to the color blue. This one also seems nice and bland to me, it's just italic text in gray.

They don't sound like anything, they're just regular ol' voice coil drives. Once you've heard one, you've heard them all.

TEAC's manual actually does have a technical drawing of the insides, I could post that up if you like. It just looks like a regular 3.5" voice coil drive, though.
 

krebizfan

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I would personally dispute that, the biggest issue with the Kalok drives was lack of parking + unlubricated media. The last Tandon drives, the TM-262/TM-362 etc have lubricated metallic media instead of the older style ferrous oxide media the KL-320, KL-330, KL-34x used.

Xebec licensed the design, they did not buy it outright. Kalok was still producing the Octagon II right up until they closed doors. Both of my Kalok branded KL-3120s have date codes in mid 94, and my Xebec XE-3120 has a date code in late 93.
Xebec buying the factory from Kaloc but agreeing to continue manufacture. https://www.storagenewsletter.com/2...ok-to-sell-philippines-hdd-facility-to-xebec/
Transfer of technology to Xebec (referred to as manufacturing subcontractor) https://www.storagenewsletter.com/2020/09/08/history-1993-innovative-plans-of-hdd-maker-kalok/
 

famicomaster2

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