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Thread: CDC CE Disk 847-51

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012

    Default CDC CE Disk 847-51

    I have here a blue IBM-5440 type Cartridge, labeled CDC 847-51, "ce use only"
    Strangely enough it has no sector slots, just one index slot.

    What is it for, does anyone need it ? ( No CDC systems in house here, and I intend to keep it that way ! )


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Baton Rouge, La.


    I have no idea if this is correct, but a search for "CDC 847-51" brought up exactly 1 match: CE 5MB Control Data Corporation CDC-847-51 Pack HARD Disk Cartridge.

  3. #3


    "CE" means "customer engineer" and is someone, generally employed by the equipment manufacturer such as IBM, who visits customer sites to maintain and/or repair equipment if it is/was leased or if they had a maintenance agreement. If a third-party maintenance agreement was held, it was performed by the service company's CE. The majority of those visits by CEs usually were for "PM," or "preventative maintenance," on the equipment, rather than actual repairs.

    From what I remember, the contents of the disk packs or disk cartridges marked as "CE use only" were highly variable depending upon the manufacturer or equipment. For PM or repairs to the disk drive or the whole system the CE pack/cartridge could contain diagnostic program that the CE used during this PM or repair. I remember our CE for our old IBM System/3 Model 10 Disk system mounting the black CE cartridge, clearly branded as an IBM cartridge, in the top 5444 disk drive whenever he ran diagnostics on our system.

    From what I understand, some CE packs or cartridges had tracks and sectors with special data that were used in disk drive head alignment. Some CEs used an oscilloscope to make small head alignments with designated tracks on the pack or cartridge, although our 5444 drives apparently never needed this type of alignment. While I believe ANY disk pack or cartridge could have been used for head alignment procedures (someone correct me if I'm wrong here) the CE used a CE pack or cartridge to eliminate the chance of customer data destruction if something were to go wrong during the alignment, like a head crash.

    It appears that this cartridge was not for IBM hardware. The only CDC drive that I know of that used the 5440-style cartridge was the Hawk drive. It could be that it was an alignment-only-use type cartridge for the Hawk drive, or it may have had diagnostic programs on it for use for the whole system it was connected to. I'm not sure on this.


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