What is the exact relationship between Microdrives and Compact Flash Type II cards?
September 15, 2004 1:27 PM   Subscribe

What is the exact relationship between Microdrives and Compact Flash Type II cards?

The reason I ask is that I bought a second hand Creative Labs MuVo MP3 player and ripped out the 4Gig Microdrive with the hope of using it with my new Nikon D70. Now, this has been possible to do in the past, but the version I got has a Microdrive that has been crippled by Hitachi to only work with the Creative Labs player, presumably because Hitachi would rather you give them £300 for a Microdrive, rather than you giving Creative Labs £150.
To try and salvage the situation, I was going to buy a CFII to IDE adaptor and perform a low level format of the drive in the hope of removing whatever gubbins it is Hitachi have placed on the card. Is that feasible? Is there any difference between a Microdrive and a Compact Flash II card, other than the internal workings, or would I need to load some sort of firmware onto the Microdrive into order to make it act as a Compact Flash II card?
posted by chill to Technology (6 answers total)
Microdrives probably don't have any loadable firmware to speak of. The similarity in the formats is the protocol they speak, ATA. The microdrive might be hobbled in that it does't have full implementation of that protocol, or it could just be something like an odd boot block or partition table that is keeping your camera from using it. Your plan is probably correct, try to access the card via IDE or even a PCMCIA adapter and try to rewrite the partition table and format it.
posted by dirtylittlemonkey at 1:57 PM on September 15, 2004

Of course, I'd do a dd from that microdrive just in case you want to use it in your player again.
posted by angry modem at 2:23 PM on September 15, 2004

Response by poster: Cheers folks. That all makes sense.
b1tr0t, when you say they can operate in three modes, what exactly is it that dictates the mode drive will operate in?
posted by chill at 12:44 AM on September 16, 2004

According to the Compact Flash spec:

The configuration of the CompactFlash Card shall be controlled using the standard PCMCIA configuration registers starting at address 200h in the Attribute Memory space of the storage card or for True IDE Mode, pin 9 being grounded.

The other two modes mentioned by b1tr0t are I/O mode and memory mode, according to the specs.
posted by bachelor#3 at 6:19 AM on September 16, 2004

A little birdy told me that the 5GB microdrive in the new Rio Carbon works in digital cameras.

And yeah, that card from the MuVo will work in a CF-IDE adaptor, because it's been set at the factory to only work in True IDE mode.
posted by zsazsa at 6:35 AM on September 16, 2004

Response by poster: Cheers folks.
posted by chill at 12:21 PM on September 16, 2004

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