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Old Sep 16, 2005, 7:09 PM   #1
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Help! I have a apple 4 gb microdrive, it is white, I think it is oem. It's Hitachi. I cant get it to read in my hp psc 2410 all in one. Theall in one has oneCF Type 2 card slot. I put it in there.It flashes red error. It will show drive i in my computer, but nothing else. I am running XP. Pleae help! Thank you.
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Old Sep 26, 2005, 1:07 AM   #2
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Sorry, guy, you're outta luck....

All - or at least most all, esp of recent vintage - microdrives extracted out of Apple iPods/Minis aren't actual true Compact Flash storage devices. They just are built in that CF card packaging but have reduced features.

Your HP PSC all-in-1 device is trying to talk to the drive in a CF memory-mapped, or possibly I/O mapped mode. The drive extracted from the Apple iPod only runs in TrueIDE mode, and is not CF compliant - you won't see a "CF" logo on that drive label. Also, these drives do not contain the various essential CF config registers or attribute memory space (the small memory area in CF devices that tells the host device, "I am a CF memory device, I am manufactured by XXX Co, these are my capabilities.") The reader, camera, printer, etc. just doesn't know what to do with this device - it won't respond properly to the host devices' inquiries at boot/startup time.

Thus the Apple iPod (Creative MuVo, Rio Carbo, etc.) drives just come in a CF-style casing but are not fully electrically or software compatible, except in one submode.

SOME - but not all, or even many -card reader devices connected to PCs may be able to format and read/write these drives if they happend to runthe CF card in TrueIDE (a.k.a "TrueATA") mode. TrueIDE/TrueATA mode is essentially similar electrically to the interface on a regular 3.5" IDE hard drive on your PC, and software can talk to it inthe same way. In fact, some desktop PC's CF card slots on the front panel are connected directly to the IDE cable and can only run CF storage cards and not other CF cards such as wireless ethernet, GPS, etc.) Some CF-to-PCCard converters may be able to read/write these cards. Some, but probably few, USB readers may be able to read/write these cards too.

So these iPod, Rio Carbon, etc. drives are useless for digital camera work as most all digital cameras seem to run CF cards in a mem.-mapped or I/O mapped mode and not in a TrueIDE mode - and also depend on CF attribute memory for initialization.
There may be a few cameras that run these cards in TrueIDE mode but I don't recall hearing of any offhand.

Save this drive for iPod replacment use or use in another microdrive music player.

These MP3 players only need to access this drive in one specific way and their mfgrs buy in such volume that they can request Hitachi, Seagate, etc. not supporting these extra CF modes: they don't wanna pay for them since there's extra wiring, chip area, internal firmware, testing, certification costs, etc. they can avoid. These drives were never intended to get in consumers' hands directly or to be sold separately except to OEMs like Apple or Creative Labs.

To avoid this, only buy microdrives in factory packaging or that have an actual "CF" logo on their label. Be very suspicious of microdrives you can get on EBay unless the seller allows a refund.

You can tell if a CF slot is trying to run a CF card in TrueIDE mode by examining whether Pin 9 (often called "/SELATA") is ever grounded during reset. (This may be difficult to do in a camera due to physical access with a probe.)

Bill Wiese
San Jose, CA USA

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