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16-bit PC Card and CardBus Extender

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do your extender cards have any active buffers, level converters, or isolation?
  2. Can I use an external power supply to power a 16-bit or CardBus PC Card with Sycard's extenders?
  3. What steps do I need to take to use an external power supply with the PCCextend 140?
  4. What steps do I need to take to use an external power supply with the PCCextend 140?
  5. I have the ability to replace the connectors myself, can I just buy the connectors from Sycard?
  6. Can I replace the host-side connector?
  7. I'm using one of your extenders in a test fixture; do you have detailed mechanical drawings available?
  8. I'm using your PCCextend 120/125 flexible extender. Can I use longer cables?
  9. What are those factors?
  10. Can Sycard provide longer cables?
  11. What is the typical capacitance to ground for your PCCextend 100?
  12. Your PCCextend 145 HP Logic Analyzer Adapter is a convenient product. Do you have support software that runs on the analyzer?
  13. Will the PCCextend 50, 70 or 75 work to extend my <any PC Card> in my <any computer>?
  14. Will the PCCextend 50, 70 or 75 allow me to put a Type III card into a Type I or Type II socket? Will the card work properly?
  15. If I extend my Type III card using your PCCextend 50/70/75 and place a Type II card in the other slot, will this work?
  16. Does Sycard maintain a list of card/host combinations in which the PCCextend 50/70 or 75 will work?
  17. What kind of cables an connectors are used on the PCCextend 120 and 125?
  18. Does Sycard sell these connectors?
  19. Do I need a software driver to use any of your PCCextend cards?
  20. When I plug one of your PC Card extenders into my PC Card slot, the power lights don't go on. Why doesn't the system recognize your extender card?
  21. What is the typical power-on sequence for a PC Card slot?
  22. What is the "PC Card Controller"?
  23. Is there any way to simply turn the power-on to the slot with just your extender?

  1. Do your extender cards have any active buffers, level converters, or isolation?
  2. No, all Sycard PC Card, CompactFlash and SmartMedia Extenders are passive.

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  3. Can I use an external power supply to power a 16-bit or CardBus PC Card with Sycard's extenders?
  4. It is possible, but please do so with care. Using an external power supply can cause damaging CMOS latch-up to occur. Latch-up can damage (smoke!) your host systems and/or card. In general do not apply external power to your card until the slot is powered up. Our PCCextend 100, 140, 120 and 125 will allow for external power supplies.

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  5. What steps do I need to take to use an external power supply with the PCCextend 140?
  6. To use an external power supply follow these steps:

    1. Make sure PCCextend 140, PC Card are removed from computer.
    2. Remove JP1 and JP2 on PCCextend 140.
    3. Adjust external power supply to desired voltage.
    4. Make sure the host PC Card power is off and external power supply is off.
    5. Connect positive lead from the external power supply to JP1 pin nearest the PC Card.
    6. Connect the ground lead from the external power supply to one of the black grounding posts.
    7. Insert PCCextend 140 into host computer.
    8. Insert PC Card into the PCCextend 140.
    9. Power-up PC Card slot (not the external power supply!).
    10. Wait for LED to turn on. (Indicating that the slot power (from host computer) is turned on).
    11. Turn on power from external power supply.
    12. When removing power, insure that external power supply is turned off first before turning off the PC Card slot power.
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  7. The connector that the PC Card is inserted into is damaged; how can I get it repaired?
  8. Sycard offers a fixed price repair service for these connectors. Contact customer service at 408-749-0130 for pricing and lead-time.

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  9. I have the ability to replace the connectors myself, can I just buy the connectors from Sycard?
  10. We do not sell the connectors, however, they are available through distribution or from the manufacturer. The following table lists the part numbers for each product:

    Product   Location   Manufacturer   Part Number
    PCCextend 100   J3   AMP   535653-2
    PCCextend 120   J1   AMP   535653-2
    PCCextend 140   P2A   AMP   146321-1
    PCCextend 125   J1   AMP   146321-1
    PCCextend 50   P2   AMP   535653-2
    PCCextend 70   P2   AMP   146321-1
    PCCextend 75   P2   AMP   146321-1

     

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  11. Can I replace the host-side connector?
  12. Replacing the host-side connector requires special tools and techniques. We recommend that the user send the extender back to Sycard for this type of repair.

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  13. I'm using one of your extenders in a test fixture; do you have detailed mechanical drawings available?
  14. We have drawings for several of our extenders. Drawings can be found in the Support web page. If you can't find one, contact Sycard Technical Support at 408-749-0130 and we should be able to provide the information. Send e-mail requests to

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  15. I'm using one of your PCCextend 120/125 flexible extender. Can I use longer cables?
  16. It is possible. Sycard designed these products with 5" cables because it is the maximum length that works reliably with a wide variety of cards and hosts. We have run much longer cables with certain cards with success. However, there are a wide variety of factors that will determine if a particular card/host combination will work.

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  17. What are those factors?
  18. These include the the drive characteristics of the card/host, the characteristics of the receivers in the card/host and the capacitance of the cable. The user will need to analyze their specific situation or experiment with different cable lengths to determine if longer cables will work.

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  19. Can Sycard provide longer cables?
  20. No, Sycard only provides the standard 5" cable sets. However, the PCCextend 120 and 125 are designed with standard 34-pin ribbon cables. Cables and connectors are available from a wide variety of sources.

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  21. What is the typical capacitance to ground for your PCCextend 100?
  22. The capacitance is approximately 20pF for all signals.

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  23. Your PCCextend 145 HP Logic Analyzer Adapter is a convenient product. Do you have support software that runs on the analyzer?
  24. No, Hewlett Packard has decided to support only one vendor of logic analyzer software for CardBus. Unfortunately, Sycard was not selected. Contact FuturePlus Systems for this type of software.

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  25. Will the PCCextend 50, 70 or 75 work to extend my <any PC Card> in my <any computer>?
  26. The PCCextend 70 and 75 are designed as manufacturing test tools. We cannot guarantee operation for a particular card/host combination.

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  27. Will the PCCextend 50, 70 or 75 allow me to put a
    Type III card into a Type I or Type II socket? Will the card work properly??
  28. The PCCextend 50, 70 and 75 will work as "type converters". That means that these extenders will accept a Type III card and allow it to be placed in a Type I or Type II socket. However, there is no guarantee that your Type III card will work in a Type I/II slot. Many times manufacturers will put in a single Type II socket because they cannot handle the current consumption of a Type III hard drive or wireless card. Although our PCCextend 50/70/75 will make this possible, you may be risking damage to your computer by putting a high current consumption card into your computer.

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  29. If I extend my Type III card using your PCCextend 50/70/75 and place a Type II card in the other slot, will this work?
  30. There are so many factors that are involved with this kind of application that it is impossible for us to determine if a particular card/host application will work. These factors include the ones described in the previous question and mechanical interference with any cables coming out of the Type II card. Download the PCCextend 70 or PCCextend 75 mechanical drawing to determine if your particular application will work.

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  31. Does Sycard maintain a list of card/host combinations in which the PCCextend 50/70 or 75 will work?
  32. No. Sycard provides development and test tools for the manufacturer of PC Card products. Use of these products by persons other that technically qualified personnel can result in unreliable operation or damage to the computer and/or PC card. We do not encourage the use of these products by end users that do not understand these risks.

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  33. What kind of cables an connectors are used on the PCCextend 120 and 125?
  34. The PCCextend 120/125 uses a total of four standard 34-pin IDC (insulation displacement) ribbon cables. These socket connectors and cable materials are available from a wide variety of sources.

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  35. Does Sycard sell these connectors?
  36. No, however, they are commonly available. The following IDC cable connectors are available from Digikey:

    Connectors:
    Digikey AKC34G-ND (34 pin IDC Socket Connector - AMP)
    Digikey CSC34G-ND (34 pin IDC Socket Connector - CW Industries)

    Cable:
    Digikey MG34G-25-ND (3M 34-connector cable 25 foot roll)

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  37. Do I need a software drive to use any of your PCCextend cards?
  38. No. Our PCCextend cards are passive extender cards and they require no drivers or special software to operate.

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  39. When I plug one of your PC Card extenders into my PC Card slot, the power lights don't go on. Why doesn't the system recognize your extender card?
  40. All of our PCCextend products are "passive" extenders. They are simply "Pass through". That means that the system will not apply power until a valid 16-bit PC Card or CardBus card is inserted into the PCCextend's card connector.

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  41. When What is the typical power-on sequence for a PC Card slot?
  42. The power-up sequence depends on the O/S and how the PC Card controller is set up. Here's a typical example:

    1. User inserts a PC Card (CardBus or 16-bit) into the slot.
    2. PC Card controller detects changes on the Card Detect and/or the Voltage Sense pins.
    3. An internal state machine in the PC Card Controller determines what kind of card (CardBus or 16-bit) and what voltage it should power up the slot (3.3V or 5V).
    4. The PC Card Controller updates its card type and voltage status register.
    5. The PC Card Controller sends an interrupt to the host informing it of a card insertion.
    6. O/S commands PC Card controller to power-up the slot (3.3V for CardBus, 3.3V or 5V for 160bit cards).
    7. PC Card controller powers slot by sending a serial stream to an external PC cArd power control chip.
    8. PC Card controller informs host O/S that the power up sequence is complete.
    9. O/S command the PC Card controller to de-assert the RESET signal.
    10. O/S waits some amount of time for the PC Card to initialize.
    11. O/S reads PCI ID (For CardBus cards) or CIS for 16-bit PC Card.
    12. O/S loads appropriate drivers for the PC Card or may power down slot if card is not recognized.
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  43. What is the "PC Card Controller"?
  44. The PC Card controller is typically a stand alone integrated circuit that is the interface between the host system's bus and the PC Card slots. Major vendors of these controllers include Texas Instruments, Ricoh and O2 Micro. Smaller systems, such as PDAs and settop boxes may integrate the PC Card controller into the core logic.

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  45. Is there any way to simply turn the power-on to the slot with just your extender?
  46. All PC Card controllers contain a state machine that tests the state of the Card Detects (CD1# and CD2#) and the Voltage Sense pins (VS1# and VS2#). If the PC Card controller does not detect a valid card, then power will not be applied. Once power is applied the O/S may try to identify the PC Card by reading it's PCI Device ID (for CardBus cards) or Card Information Structure (for 16-bit cards). If the O/S cannot identify the card it may remove power from the slot.

    Back to the question, can I simply power-on the slot?. Well, it may be possible by making the extender card look like a CardBus or 16-bit card. Here's how to do it:

    5V 16-bit card - Ground CD1# and CD2# signals. 3.3V 16-bit card - Ground CD1#, CD2# and VS1# signal. CardBus card - Ground CD2# and tie CD1# to VS1#.

    Insert the modified extender into the slot and the host controller should detect it as a valid card and inform the O/S. Power will be applied and RESET de-asserted. However, the O/S will try to identify the card and load the appropriate drivers. Since the extender card doesn't have any ID, the system may simply give up and power-down the slot.

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Updated November 21, 2006

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