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DiskSense 2 Hardware Unit

DiskSense 2 is built to last using the highest quality components including server-grade motherboard and CPU. It is equipped with the fastest, most reliable interface connections available.

The hardware is designed to handle damaged media. It includes a built-in oscilloscope for current monitoring and hardware write protection switch for source ports.

To ensure reliability and efficiency of our hardware imagers, we test them on hundreds of storage devices.

Technical Specifications

DiskSense 2 unit internals
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 7.9 x 2.6 in (190 x 190 x 63 mm)
  • Weight: 3.3 lb (1.5 kg)
  • Wide working temperature range: 0°C–50°C (32°F–122°F)
  • 2 built-in 10Gb Ethernet ports
  • Write protection switch for source ports
  • 6 Source ports:
  • 3 SATA 3.0
  • USB 3.2
  • IDE (via USB Type-C adapter)
  • Extensions:
  • SAS extension
  • Thunderbolt
  • Apple PCIe SSD
  • M.2 PCIe/SATA SSD
  • 4 Target ports:
  • 3 SATA 3.0
  • USB 3.2
  • Serial RS232 port
  • Operation LEDs for all ports and a buzzer
  • Internal OS: Linux running a custom kernel
  • Control interface: Atola Insight Forensic (Windows application)
  • Supported hard drive interfaces: SATA I/II/III, USB 1.0/2.0/3.x, IDE
  • Interfaces supported via extension modules: SAS, NVMe, PCIe, FireWire, Thunderbolt 2 and 3 (2016 - 2017 models)
  • Flash card support via card reader attached to any USB port
  • Power consumption: 60 Watt average, 280 Watt peak
  • Supply Voltage: 100 - 240 VAC, 50-60 Hz

DiskSense 2: under the hood

DiskSense 2 unit inside

DiskSense 2 is essentially a small computer running a Linux OS. However, neither normal computer's BIOS, nor basic Linux kernel are suitable for handling of damaged drives because neither of them were designed to properly handle hard drive failures. We have invested significant R&D efforts to build a highly customized and fine-tuned Linux kernel that overcomes these limitations. Additionally, this kernel features:

  • Full low-level control over SATA, USB and IDE ports
  • Full native SATA support
  • Reset and SATA PHY control for optimal handling of severely damaged drives
  • High-speed DMA data transfers, up to 500 MB/s
  • All BIOS and standard kernel functions are disabled

DiskSense 2 also features our proprietary circuitry for ultimate hard drive's power control:

  • Current sensor for in-depth drive diagnostics
  • Automatic overcurrent and short-circuit protection
  • Overvoltage protection

These features are a must when dealing with damaged drives.

DiskSense 2 Forensic Unit

DiskSense 2 unit. Drive power control

For example, low-level control of the SATA, USB and IDE ports allows Atola Insight to deal with drives that do not properly initialize, have many bad sectors, or frequently freeze due to internal mechanical failures.

SATA PHY control allows resetting a frozen drive without a power cycle. This reduces the time while imaging, and the chance of further drive degradation and failure.

Current sensing allows Atola Insight to diagnose a failed drive even if it has electronic or mechanical damage. Please see Diagnostics for more details on how this works.

Overcurrent protection detects when a drive draws abnormal current and stops the attached device to prevent further damage.

Overvoltage protection circuit ensures that in the unlikely event of the DiskSense 2 unit malfunction, the attached drives are not damaged in any way.

DiskSense 2 unit is fully controlled by Insight software via 10Gbe interface, therefore, you need no Linux experience to operate it.