Cipher Z External Drive Cartridge System

Discontinued and replaced by Sapphire Cipher External Drive Cartridge 


The Cipher Z external drive cartridge system is a fast and simple solution for securing any 3.5" or 2.5" SATA hard drive with Addonics AES 256-bit encryption. Drives are added or removed from the Cipher Z drive cartridge system like a VHS cassette. Encryption is activitated by a simple ion of a Cipher key on the back of the drive enclosure, like unlocking the door. There is no password to remember or special software to install. If the drive is stolen or lost, all the information is inaccessible without the Cipher key. The drive will appear as a blank drive without any traces of data when it connects to a system. It is the ideal solution for securing sensitive data stored in any hard drive or for transporting hard drives containing sensitive information via common carriers.

Constructed with a rugged aluminum body for tough handling and effective heat dissipation, the Ciper Z external drive cartridge system comes in choice of models with eSATA or a combo eSATA / USB 3.0 interface for easy connection to any Desktop or Notebook system.


      Cipher Z drive cartridge system connecting to Desktop or Notebook via eSATA or USB 3.0 /2.0 port


Drive sanitization
The Cipher Z drive Cartridge system can also be used sanitize drives, wiping clean all previous data on a used hard drive by using the following operation procedures:

  1. Install the hard drive that is to be sanitized into the Cipher Z drive cartridge system.
  2. Initialize and perform a standard formatting (not quick format) of the hard drive with the Cipher key.
  3. Transfer unimportant data to completely fill the hard drive inside the Cipher Z drive Cartridge system. This essentially write over every sector in the hard drive or the flash media with unimportant encrypted data that are not viewable to any OS. The drive or the flash media, when connects directly to a system, will appear brand new with no trace of any data
  4. Now connect the drive directly to any computer. Iinitialize and format the hard drive with any OS to use it as a brand new hard drive.

Simple to use
Similar to all other Addonics encryption products, the Cipher Z drive cartridge system is a pure hardware solution. This means that there is no software to run, no driver to install and no password to remember. There is very little user training required to use the Cipher Z drive cartridge system. All the user needs to do is use the correct Cipher key at the back of the drive enclosure before turning on the power. The Cipher Z drive cartridge system can be operated under any operating system. It is the ideal security solution for organizations with heterogeneous computing environments and legacy systems.

The Cipher Z drive cartridge system is equipped with the CipherChain ES which is a full disk encryption solution. This means that the boot sector, partition table and all the information on the drive is encrypted. If the Cipher Z drive cartridge system is stolen and the SATA drive inside is removed from the enclosure, it will appear as a brand new drive with no traces of any data if it's connected it to a computer. The AES 256-bit encryption provided by the CipherChain ES is considered the highest level of encryption standards, secure enough to protect classified information designated as "Top Secret."

Inside the Cipher Z drive cartridge system, data stored on the hard drive is encrypted and decrypted on the fly using a FIPS certified AES 256-bit crypto engine. Unlike software encryption products which depend on the system CPU to encrypt and decrypt data, the encryption in the Cipher Z drive cartridge system has no impact to CPU utilization. This leaves the system CPU to perform all its computing task at normal speed. There is also no measurable impact to the performance on the hard drive.

Cipher key
The AES 256-bit Cipher key used for the encryption/decryption in the Cipher Z drive cartridge system is the same Cipher key as used in the Addonics Diamond Cipher drive kit, Ruby Cipher drive kit, CipherChain and CipherChain-ES. As a result, you can share the same encryption key to operate on the storage device that has been encrypted by either the CipherChain, Diamond Cipher or Ruby Cipher drive kit. You may also order Cipher keys with the same key codes when you order multiple Cipher Z drive cartridge systems or Cipher keys. You may also re-programmed the Cipher keys to other codes using the optional key management system or sending the keys to Addonics for the re-programming service at no charge.

  • Great for the following applications:
    • Prevent sensitive data from unauthorized access when the hard drive is lost or stolen
    • Shipping or transporting hard drives containing sensitive data.
    • sanitization of used hard drives
  • Support following hard drive:
    • any 3.5" SATA hard drive
    • any 2.5" SATA hard drive or SSD using the optional Addonics 3.5" to 2.5" drive converter (model: AE25SN35SA)
  • Drives are added or removed like a VHS cassette. No special tool is required.
  • Connect to any computer via
    • eSATA port
    • USB 3.0 / 2.0 port using Addonics optional USB 3.0 - eSATA mini adapter (model: ADU3ESAM)
  • FIPS 140-2 certified Crypto Module listed in NIST
  • AES 256-bit encryption - the highest level of encryption standard
  • Full disk encryption. No traceable data when the encrypted drive is connected to any system.
  • Simple to use - no software to run or any password to remember
  • No training required. Encryption / Decryption via a hardware key , just like using a regular key to open a door.
  • High performance - up to 150 MB/sec
  • OS independent - can be used on any system

Note on Cipher key code
Each pair of Cipher keys is set with a unique key code. When ordering multiple Cipher kits and extra Cipher keys and wish that all the keys be set to the same key code, please provide instructions at the final checkout when placing the order at our online store. Customers may also e-mail the instructions with reference to the sales order number after final checkout. When ordering from an Addonics reseller or distributor, be sure to leave the instructions when placing the order. Keys can be sent back to Addonics at any time if re-coding is desired there is no charge for re-coding keys, the only charge is the return shipping of the newly re-coded keys.

  • Onboard AES 256-bit crypto engine
  • SATA I / II / III compliant
  • Connectorson back of unit:
    • eSATA
    • Cipher key socket
    • mini DIN 6 power input jack
  • LEDs:
    • in the front: green for power
    • in the rear - green for presence of Cipher code, yellow for drive activity
  • RESET at the back: To clear cipher key code and reset the CipherChain. This also remove the drive icon when the storage device is removed from the Cipher Z drive cartridge system connecting to hot swappable eSATA port.
  • Maximum throughput - 150 MB/sec
  • Dimension: 10.16 x 6.61 x 2.4 in (258 x 168 x 60 mm)
  • Weight: 3.64lb (1650 gram)
  • Operating temperature and humidity: 0 °C to + 70 °C, 5% - 95% (non condensing)
  • Storage temperature and humidity: -40 °C to + 85 °C, 5% - 90% humidity



AACSYSU2 (Cipher key management system)
AACSYSU2 Addonics Cipher key duplication and management system. Use as stand alone key duplicator or for generating key codes for the Cipher key.
Price: 699.00
CKEYEX6 (Cipher key extension cable, 6 feet)
6 feet Cipher key extension cable. Can be used to connect the Cipher key 6 feet from the CipherChain or any Addonics Cipher drive enclosure
Price: 17.95
AAENKEY256 (1 AES 256-bit Cipher key)
Content: 1 piece of AES-256-bit encryption key
Price: 9.00