[rescue] looking for a Multia

James Birdsall jwbirdsa at hotmail.com
Sat Aug 16 16:18:58 CDT 2003

> If you get an IDE or SCSI to CF setup, that might do it...

If only it were that easy. I actually tried this, and hit a lot of dead

There's a lot of SCSI-based PCMCIA readers out there. I tried three
different brands. The Nikon didn't even show up on the bus scan -- I think
it was just DOA, not surprising given its heavily-used condition. Another
one (sorry, I don't remember the names and they're all buried deep in
storage now) showed up on the bus scan but didn't grok CF -- it insisted
that there was nothing in its slots. The third one was achingly close to
working. I was able to partition the CF, create a filesystem, and install an
OS, but when I tried to actually boot from the thing, the SCSI controller
said there were errors and it wouldn't boot.

Scratch SCSI.

Then I tried IDE solutions. There's at least one PCMCIA IDE reader on the
market which can take all kinds of media, shows up just like an ordinary
drive, can boot from CF -- it sounds great until you actually buy it and
read the manual, where you find in the fine print that to boot from it
requires BIOS support for an IDE ZIP drive.

Scratch that.

The only solution which I have gotten to work, and it works very well, is to
actually buy a compact flash IDE drive. SimpleTech makes them, among others.
The 2.5" form factor units seem to be a lot cheaper than 3.5" units, enough
to make it worth buying a 2.5" and then getting a 2.5 to 3.5 adapter.
They're noticeably slow, but other than that they are indistinguishable from
an ordinary hard drive, and they're great for small single-purpose machines
like firewalls and routers.

The units that I have turn out to be a fuselage and plug adapter around a
PCMCIA card. One of my next projects is to see whether I can replace the 64M
card in there with a 128M CF card in a PCMCIA adapter.

--James B.

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