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Thread: Seeking CompactFlash/IDE Advice

  1. #1
    Newbie NavySWO91's Avatar
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    Question Seeking CompactFlash/IDE Advice

    I have to hand it to the resident experts.. this forum has been indispensable in my pursuit of getting XP to boot from CompactFlash (special thanks to Silvio). I'm close but could use some help and even though I am not building a carPC I figured this is the center of experience with these things.

    Instead of a carPC I am converting an old laptop into a digital picture frame. My thought was to use the guidance in this website to create a small XP with the apps I need (slideshow, wireless, vnc). In fact thanks to the instructions and lessons learned here, I've got a nice tight version on a hard drive (under 500Mb) ready to put onto CF.

    Problem: it doesn't appear that the BIOS I have will recognize the CF as a drive. I am using a 44-pin CF/IDE adapter I picked up on the internet. Using a desktop, I confirmed that the adapter works (of course I had to adapt IT to 40 pin IDE) and actually got the desktop to DOS boot from the CF. Unfortunately, hooking it into the old laptop (DELL Inspiron 3500) the BIOS doesn't see it and thus fdisk gives me "no fixed disks present."

    Questions: Anyone have any thoughts on how to get around this? Am I lost for this laptop? I ensured it is the latest BIOS version. I can proceed with using a hard drive but the thought of using the CF really appeals to me. One thought I had as to why the BIOS is not recognizing it was whether it has to do with the CF card being marked as "removable". However, because it works on the newer desktop I wonder if this could be it. Other than that, my limited experience in these matters leaves me clueless!

  2. #2
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    The BIOS shouldn't know the difference. I think it's most likely the CF-IDE adapter you're using. The ones from Logicsupply.com are known to work well. The CF card should look to your PC as just another HDD, as long as you're using the right adapter.

  3. #3
    Newbie NavySWO91's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, no luck. Received my adapter from logicsupply. BIOS still doesn't recognize the compactflash as a fixed disk. Oh well.

  4. #4
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    What CF card are you using? Try to use SanDisk cards.

  5. #5
    Constant Bitrate
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    I made a wireless picture frame a while ago with the laptop I found in a dumpster at my work. it is p 160mhz or something.

    did you check the sandisk site , I think they hae some utility to convert the card from mobile disk device to fixed disk device (like hdd).

    here is my pic frame
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  6. #6
    DIGItonium
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    So you are connecting the CF adapter to the laptop via the 44pin connector, right? It should be getting power.

    Also check the orientation of the 44-pin IDE connection.

  7. #7
    FLAC SFiorito's Avatar
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    question: what is it exactly that makes you say your BIOS doesn't recognize the drive as fixed? Every BIOS I've used doesn't differentiate between removable or fixed. Are you talking about Windows?

  8. #8
    Newbie NavySWO91's Avatar
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    I am using model cfdisk.2g from the logicsupply.com website plus another model I got from a hong kong supplier off eBay. I am also using a 1GB SanDisk CF card and a 512MB from PNY technologies. In any of the above combinations of CF Card and adapter, I get the same result: when I boot from a DOS 6.22 floppy disk I cannot jump over to 'c:'. When I run 'fdisk' from a: it returns that "no fixed disk was found". Finally, when going to the BIOS setup screen itself it says there is no IDE drive found.

    To test the adapters I plugged them into a desktop (of course, first, I had to adapt the adapter from 44 to 40 pin) and was able to successfully boot from floppy and then go to c: so I know the adapters work.

    I did get the SanDisk utility but have not yet tried that (since I'm not sure this is my problem since the adapters work fine on the desktop).

    Thoughts?

  9. #9
    Newbie NavySWO91's Avatar
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    Good thought. I did try flipping things around. Also of note, the laptop itself has its own DELL adapter to connect a 2.5 hard drive to the motherboard thought I've tried different hard drives and each worked fine. Just when I substitute the CF adapter do I fail to get recognition of a drive.

  10. #10
    Newbie NavySWO91's Avatar
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    Excellent! Looks great. Hopefully I'll get mine assembled next week (with or without the CF drive).

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