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Using Compact Flash

and DiskOnModule

with Falcon 030

Using Compact Flash (CF) disks  with Falcon 030 is not a new idea, I've seen and
heard of a few  using it. On the other hand, information about actually doing it
has  not  been generally  spread. Also  I doubt  that anyone  really  tested PC-
compatibility  with it, or made a  system for easily removing the disks from the
Falcon. DiskOnModule is  an even more  recent technology than CF - a whole solid
state  hard drive  in what  looks like little  more than  an overgrown hard disk
connector... But more on DOM later, lets stick to CF for now.

To save time - the main  point is that  these technologies  work in  Falcon, and
even work very well, so read on!

The Advantages

* 3x faster read/writes (compared against a standard 64Mb Falcon HDD)
* Solid state electronics means shock tolerance
* Easily swap and store hard disks - even between Window/Linux/Mac etc etc
* Light weight
* 32Mb (dirt cheap) -> 4Gb (fucking expensive!) CF disks are now available,
  depending on your pocket :)
* CF has more space and is more reliable than floppy disks
* Experiment with new operating systems without stress or risk
* Easy to buy in an consumer electronics or photography store

10 years of advancement

The Facts

* Compact flash is a slightly cut down version of the PCMCIA standard
* PCMCIA is the IDE standard which has been expanded to include things like hot-
  swappability etc
* All CF disks have to be 5v tolerant, and support 'true IDE' mode.

All these points  mean that  an adapter between  IDE and CF should  be cheap and
very easy... Indeed its true, just search the web for such an adapter and you'll
find several. For an unmodified  Falcon you need a 44pin/2.5"/laptop converter -
they are all the same but different companies use different terms. The adapter I
got  cost about 20Euro and  was manufactured by PC Engines GmbH. Hot swappabilty
is not  supported by  these adapters, but  so what - just  turn off  your Falcon
before removing the CF. For more info

44pin IDE to Compact Flash adapter

Stage 1

So put your  CF disk in the  adapter, plug it into your Falcon's IDE bay, format
and partition it as normal. It works. The End...

Stage 1 is really  that simple, and straight away you got most of the advantages
of using  CF - shock  proofing, lighter weight, and  increased  speed. I  wasn't
satisfied  with that though. I wanted  to remove the CF from  the Falcon without
opening the case and then I wanted plug it into a PC and access my data.

                                                  Goto next part

gwEm for Alive (May/June 2004 and Jan 2005)

Alive 9