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CF extend 165/166/167 CompactFlash-to-PC Card Adapters

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of CompactFlash™ (CF)to PC Card adapters does Sycard manufacture?
  2. What are the differences between the CF extend 165 and the CFextend 166/167s?
  3. What is the difference between the CF extend 166 and 167?
  4. If I plug a <any PC Card>into the CF extend 165/167/166, will it work in my CompactFlash™ slot on my <any CompactFlash™ host computer>?
  5. What kind of problems can I expect when I use the CFextend 165/167/166 CF-to-PC Card adapters?
  6. I need more storage capacity on my digital camera. Can I use the CFextend 165 to adapt a PC Card flash disk to work in my CompactFlash™ based camera?
  7. If I use the CF Extend CF-to-PC Card adapters, is there a possibility of damaging my computer?
  8. Can I damage my PC Card or computer if I use the wrong adapter (CF extend 166 or 167)?
  9. Doesn't the PC Card have mechanical keying to prevent a 3.3V card from being plugged into a 5V socket?
  10. Can I connect an external power supply to the CF extend 165 to power a high-powered PC Card?
  11. What does the CF extend 165 do with the unused address lines on the PC Card?
  12. Will Sycard Technology guarantee that the CF extend CF-to-PC Card adapters will operate with my particular PC Card/host computer application?
  13. What kind of help can Sycard Technology give me to get my PC Card working with a CompactFlash™ host?
  14. How can I tell if my PC Card is low voltage keyed?

  1. What kind of CompactFlash (CF) to PC Card adapters does Sycard manufacture?
  2. Sycard produces three types of CF-to-PC Card adapters:

    • CF extend 165 - CompactFlash-to-PC Card adapter development board.
    • CF extend 166 - CompactFlash-to-3.3V/5.0V PC Card flexible adapter
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  3. What are the differences between the CF extend 165 and the CF extend 166/167?
  4. The CF extend 165 is a development board used to determine if a 68-pin PC Card will operate in a CompactFlash™socket. The CF extend 165 has test points, current measurement jumpers and LEDs to help determine if a PC Card is compatible with the CompactFlash™ interface. A person with sufficient hardware and software knowledge of the PC Card/ CompactFlash™ interface should make these decisions. Once the determination that the PC Card/CompactFlash™ host combination is compatible, the end user may use the CF extend 166 adapter. The CF extend 166 model does not have exposed test points or any other features for debug or test.

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  5. What is the difference between the CF extend 166 and 167?
  6. The CFextend 167 model has been discontinued. The CFextend 166 will support both 3.3V and 5V PC Cards.

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  7. If I plug a <any PC Card> into the CF extend 165/166/167 will it work in my CompactFlash™ slot on my <any CompactFlash™ host computer>?
  8. This is the most common question we receive about the CF extend CF-to-PC Card adapters. Although the adapters will allow any 16-bit PC Card to be adapted to a CompactFlash™ slot, there are many situations that may prevent the card from working including:

    • Power consumption of the PC Card is too high for the CompactFlash slot
    • CompactFlash™ host does not have software support for the PC Card
    • PC Card may need Vpp voltage that the CompactFlash™ interface does not support
    • PC Card may require more address lines than the CompactFlash™ interface supports
    • CompactFlash™ host may not support PC Card I/O devices
    • PC Card may operate at TTL logic levels that the CompactFlash™ host may not accept
    • CompactFlash™ host may only support Vcc at 3.3V

    The CF extend 165 is intended as a development tool for technically competent personnel. Users should have a good technical understanding of the CompactFlash™ and PC Card interfaces. If you don't know the difference between CMOS and TTL logic levels or what a tuple is then this product is probably not for you.

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  9. What kind of problems can I expect when I use the CF extend 165/166/167 CF-to-PC Card adapters?
  10. The most common problem would be software support. Most PC cards were designed to operate in x86 Wintel based computers (Intel/Microsoft). In most cases, drivers are only supplied for this class of machine. Other common problems are listed in the previous answer.

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  11. I need more storage capacity on my digital camera. Can I use the CF extend 165 to adapt a PC Card flash disk to work in my CompactFlash™ based camera?
  12. While the CF extend 165 may be used for this purpose, it is not very suitable for this type of application. Test points on the CF extend 165 expose the delicate electronics signals to the outside world. Any inadvertent contact with these terminals may cause damage to your camera or PC Card. The CF extend 166/167 models were created for this type of application.

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  13. If I use the CF extend CF-to-PC Card adapters, is there a possibility of damaging my computer?
  14. Yes! The CompactFlash™ Specification designates that a card only draw 100mA maximum at 5V and 70mA max at 3.3V. PC Cards may draw as much as 1A. If your CompactFlash™ host socket does not have overcurrent protection, plugging in a high power PC Card may cause damage.

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  15. Can I damage my PC card or computer if I use the wrong adapter (CF extend 166 or 167)?
  16. Yes, if a 3.3V only PC Card is plugged into a 5V host, damage to the card and/or host may occur. Remember, the CompactFlash™ host and PC Card combination must be prequalified by a technically competent person before attempting to power the PC Card. Never use the CF extend 166/167 without first understanding these risks.

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  17. Doesn't the PC Card have mechanical keying to prevent a 3.3V card from being plugged into a 5V socket?
  18. Yes. However, this keying is not available in the CompactFlash™ format.

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  19. Can I connect an external power supply to the CF extend 165 to power a high powered PC Card?
  20. In most cases - NO. Although the CF extend 165 has capabilities to insert an external power supply, there is a very good chance you can destroy your host computer if you try. If the power to the PC Card device is applied prior to powering the host's CF slot a damaging latchup condition may occur. Latch-up can cause catastrophic damage to your CompactFlash™ card and computer! If you wish to use an external power supply, do so if you know what you are doing and proceed with caution. The CF extend 166 and 167 do not have capability to supply external power.

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  21. What does the CF extend 165 do with the unused address lines on the PC Card?
  22. On the CF extend 165, A[25:11] are tied to ground through a two pull-down resistors. The CF extend 166/167 models tie these address lines directly to ground.

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  23. Will Sycard Technology guarantee that the CF extend CF-to-PC Card adapters will operate with my particular PC Card/host computer application?
  24. No. The CF extend CF-to-PC Card adapters are sold as development tools for engineers working on developing CompactFlash™ cards, hosts and software. Purchasers should understand that they might need to make modifications to hardware and/or software to get a particular card/host combination to work. Sycard Technology only guarantees that the CF extend CF-to PC Card adapters are free from manufacturing defects and meets its published specifications.

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  25. What kind of help can Sycard Technology give me to get my PC Card working with CompactFlash™ host?
  26. Sycard Technology provides full schematics of the CF extend CF-to-PC Card adapters. Technical documentation on the PC Card Standard and the CompactFlash™ Standard may be obtained from PCMCIA and the CompactFlash™ Association. Sycard Technology does not provide design or consulting services.

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  27. How can I tell if my PC Card is low voltage keyed?
  28. If you are looking into the 68-pin connector side of the PC Card, you can see a notch on the right side of the connector. The width of that notch determines if a card is low voltage keyed. The following drawing shows the difference between a low voltage and a 5.0V key.

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