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Subject: CF to IDE (via PCMCIA)
From: Francesco Grassi (
Date: 2003-01-24

yesterday I sent only to Matthias this link:
The Flash memory adapter

CompactFlash cards are really smart. They can be used exactly as an ATA
disk if wired to work in "True IDE mode". For this, take a long IDE flat
ribbon (about 40 cm) and your CF-PCMCIA adapter. Explode the last one to
gain access to the solder pins, and wire the ribbon to it as follows. Please
note that poorly soldered wires may cause filesystem corruption. Once properly
wired, insert your CF card in the adapter, plug the ribbon to the IDE connector
and try the "hard disk autodetection" in the machine's setup program. The
CF card will be seen as a hard disk and will be used as such.

CompactFlash to ATA Connection table


Notes :
NC (Not Connected) means that pins 25,26,33,40,43 on the CF remain open.

GND (ground) is to be connected to both ATA pins 2 and 40.
Vcc is the +5 volts, taken from the red wire on a floppy power plug.
M/S (master/slave) : GND for master, Vcc for slave.
If you intend to try hotplug facility, you have to push pin 9 of the CF
a bit like power pins, to allow it to be connected before the power comes
up to the CF, because it's used to determine wether the card will work in
TrueIDE mode. (it's easy with a solder iron, simply warm the pin several
seconds and push strong). It appears that the CF outputs are not open drain,
thus causing problems when connected to an ATA bus hosting other devices.
If you need to use other devices, you should connect the CF to a separate
IDE controller (you know, those $10 ISA or PCI cards).

Hope this can be more useful than my previous e-mail (USB OTG).


Page was last modified "Jan 10 2012" The Rockbox Crew