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#373674 - 05/01/2022 22:14 CF cards not working as IDE drives?
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4927
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Hi,

I suppose this message is aimed at Mark, but anyone who has converted an empeg to take CF cards recently can probably help weigh-in.

We have an industrial machine in our factory needing attention. Its controller is a white-box PC with AT motherboard (Socket 7 Pentium MMX) running Windows 95. Recently, the CPU cooler died causing the machine to shut down abruptly. While I have the PC out to fix that, I decided it would be a good time to replace the mechanical hard drive with something else.

The original hard drive is a 4.3GB Seagate IDE drive with one 2GB partition. The amount of data on the single partition adds up to roughly 340MB. I had an 8GB Transcend CF card on the shelf, but it was new in the wrapping. I think it was purchased within the last 2-3 years. First, I purchased a multicard USB 3.0 adapter to copy over the HDD's image I created with Mactrium Reflect. Reflect won't allow me to write the image to the CF card. OK.... I assumed that's because the multicard reader was assigned three drive letters in Windows, maybe some capability of the card is not being exposed to Refelct.

I order this adapter to use with my normal USB to IDE adapter that worked fine for making the Seagate HDD's image in the first place. The CF card is seen again in Windows 10 and Macrium Reflect's Windows PE boot media, but Reflect still doesn't want to write the image to the CF card.

It was at this point I made a GParted live USB stick. I hooked up the original ancient Seagate HDD to a laptop via USB along with the 8GB CF card via the multi-reader. At first, the GParted GUI was hanging trying to read the partitions on the HDD. After power cycling the USB-to-IDE adapter and rebooting a couple times, GParted GUI was now working fine. I copied the HDD's 2GB FAT16 partition to the CF card using the GUI. I didn't ask GParted to resize the partition, but it wanted to do that anyway. That part of the copy/paste sequence failed when I said I didn't want to convert the copied partition to FAT32 to facilitate the resizing I didn't ask for the the first place. Nevertheless, I now had a 2GB FAT16 partition on the CF card with about 340MB of data on it.

While everything was up and running, I grabbed another USB stick and mounted it using the terminal. I ran dd making an image of the HDD's 2GB partition to a file on the USB stick. Now I have a Macrium Reflect image, a CF card with the data, a 'dd' image of the data, and the original HDD still works. I think the data is reasonably safe now.

A few moments ago, I inserted the CF card in to the white-box PC using this bracket. I must be way out of practice with this stuff because the bracket has jumpers for 5v or 3.3v CF cards. I have no idea what the appropriate setting is. But, since the CF card was working with the previous 44-pin IDE to CF passive adapter, I assume this card is capable of 5v. The card has no mention of voltage. Maybe the packaging did, but that's gone now.

Anyway... it's after hours in the warehouse now, so I am not about to put this PC back in the equipment myself. I'm also not willing to power up the PC to see if it boots when not fully connected to its machinery.

This post is more of a rambling than anything, but I would like to know if CF cards exist that don't also work as IDE drives? Is there a way to ensure you're buying a CF card that will work in a legacy PC as an IDE drive? If this 8GB CF card should work like an IDE drive, why won't Macrium Reflect just work with it? If the CF card does not boot tomorrow, does anyone have experience with this strange SSD?

Thanks.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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#373675 - 05/01/2022 23:32 Re: CF cards not working as IDE drives? [Re: robricc]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31501
Loc: Seattle, WA
Quote:
I would like to know if CF cards exist that don't also work as IDE drives?


The "CFast" cards. They are SATA rather than IDE.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#373677 - 06/01/2022 01:19 Re: CF cards not working as IDE drives? [Re: robricc]
mlord
carpal tunnel

Registered: 29/08/2000
Posts: 14414
Loc: Canada
You should be fine with the 5V, as per your own logic there.

And if the CF card has the zillion-pin female connector on it, it's IDE compatible.

Should be fine.. BUT.. life expectancy will depend some on how much writing is done to disk (the CF card) by the operating system and applications it runs.

A true SSD should outlive the CF card, and maintain its fast speeds longer.

If you want to try a "true SSD", then there are lots of PATA compatible ones available (Amazon, eBay). They don't work in empegs, but will probably work in a fully fledged PC. That DOM you linked is an option, though it seems slow, and you might want to research its endurance rating.

Cheers

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#373754 - 08/02/2022 16:41 Re: CF cards not working as IDE drives? [Re: mlord]
robricc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/10/2000
Posts: 4927
Loc: Orange County, NY USA
Just an update to this...

Since the PC is difficult to remove from the machinery, I don't want to mess with it more than necessary. I took Mark's advice and bought a proper 16GB PATA SSD as it should last longer.

Macrium Reflect was able to write to the PATA SSD without a problem. The old socket 7 motherboard BIOS autodetected the drive right away and we're back up and running.

Thanks.
_________________________
-Rob Riccardelli
80GB 16MB MK2 090000736

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