Reading and Writing on Magnetic Surfaces
Information read from or to be written to the disk is usually held in a dedicated part of thecomputer’s RAM memory. The system then accesses the data from this memory location atspeeds compatible with the microprocessor.TheR/Wheadconsistsofacoilofwirewrappedaroundasoftironcore,asdepictedinFigure2.Asmall
inthesoftironcore.Attheairgap,thelinesoffluxdipdownintothedisk’smagneticcoating due to its low reluctance (compared to air). This, in turn, causes the
intherecordingsurfacetoalignthemselvesinadirectiondictatedbythedirectionof currentflowinthecoil.Themagneticdomainsofthesurfacecanassumeoneofthreepossi- ble states, depending on the direction of current flow through the R/W head:
Un-magnetized (randomly arranged domains)
Domains magnetized in a positive direction
Domains magnetized in a negative directionDataisreadfromthediskinareversalofthisprocess.Asthemagnetizedspotsonthesurface passbythehead,changesinmagneticpolarityinducelinesoffluxintotheironcore.This,inturn, induces a small voltage in the coil. This voltage is sensed and amplified to the proper digital logic levels by the drive’s read circuitry. One significant difference exists betweenreadingandwritingonmagneticsurfaces,however.
candetectonlyfluxchanges(suchas the boundaries between zones of differing polarity).
HOW MAGNETIC DISKS WORK 3
Dataisreadfrom,orwrittentothediskonesectoratatime.Toperformareadorwriteoperation, the address of the particular track and sector to be accesses is applied to asteppermotor,whichmovesa
overthedesiredtrack.Asthedesired sector passes beneath the R/W head, the data transfer occurs.
Figure 2:Typical R/WHead