Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

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Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Franz Schiller » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:05 pm

Has anyone out there tried this pcd-50b SCSI Card Reader? Its at this page:

http://a4000t.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=180

I have a 520stfm and 1040st (with a broken floppy). I was hoping to try something like this on one of them. Thing is, I'm a little green and don't know some of the finer points of Atari interfacing.

I realize this is a SCSI device, so it needs some sort of adapter, right? And if it needs an adapter or two, can it be installed inside the original ST case? And can the user write files to the CF?

Anyone have any experience or thoughts on the matter? Thanks!
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Dal » Mon Oct 31, 2011 10:31 pm

If you really wanted to interface this with an ST, then you would need an ACSI to SCSI adaptor and HDDRIVER (latest version).
The hardest component to obtain would be the ACSI-SCSI interface. You might be lucky and find one on Ebay, but they don't come up too often - ICD would probably be the most likely to work.

Do you really need to read different types of cards? If you are just after flash-based mass storage, then the UltraSatan is highly recommended as it plugs straight into the ACSI port on the ST and performs well.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby alexh » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:32 am

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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Franz Schiller » Tue Nov 01, 2011 3:13 pm

No I don't need to read all the different cards...it's just my head is spinning trying to figure out which is the best method of solid state storage.

It would cool for us newbs if there was a compiled list of cf/sd/usb floppy-replacement alternatives.

Regarding Lotharek's SD floppy emulators....I've been watching them for awhile, and they seem viable. I was always put off by the form factor. I'd really like something self-contained in a case, or that I could keep inside the ST's cpu. The dangling sd card & screen is just a little off-putting to me because I'd likely spill beer on it.

I thought that the UltraSatan was NOT being made anymore, and is incredibly rare? If it is available, I would certainly be interested.

Thanks for your input!
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Dal » Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:36 pm

AFAIK, Zaxon is still making the UltraSatan. However I think he may well be snowed under with loads of orders so be prepared for a bit of a wait. It's probably worth sending him a PM to see.

The HxC emulator can be purchased in a cased version. I bought the USB version and boxed it myself (see here) then modified the ST so that I can switch the boot drive from the internal floppy to the HxC (see here).

I designed the mod so that the HxC can be universally used with any machine (using the 15way connector as a kind of 'standard' interface). Recently, I bought the cased SD version and then wired a small 34way IDC to 15way DSUB cable (same as step 5 in my HxC casing guide) - annoyingly, I need a 5V pull-up to use it with the ST (another small cable so I could connect a standard wall-wart remedied this), but it means I can use either HxC emulator with my ST's and an Amiga too (Amiga requires another small interface board, but not relevant here ;)). I haven't modified the Falcon's with an external Floppy port, but that will happen at some point in the future!

So your options as I see them would be:
1. Buy the cased HxC emulator, Follow my A/B switch mod, then make a cable that goes from the external floppy port to a 34-way IDC. Don't forget you will also need 5v from somewhere - Do as I did, or you could chassis mount a small DC socket at the back of your ST and run a spur from the existing floppy drive power feed (red and black wires!).
2. Remove the internal floppy drive and case-hack the HxC in it's place. Although, I would probably not buy the cased version if I were going down this route, see what Lotharek did.
3. Buy an UltraSatan. This will essentially behave as a hard drive, so only games adapted or designed for hard disk will work.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Franz Schiller » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:09 pm

Well, there ya go! Compiled! Thanks! :)

I don't think I have the skills for the mod. I can operate an electric screwdriver and a drill, and that's about it!

One last question, I swear! Can I save files in addition to reading from the UltraSatan or HxC? I only ask because I read that the USB version is read only.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Dal » Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:20 pm

The HxC emulator uses floppy disk image files in place of traditional floppy disks. The USB version needs to be connected to a PC running a host application - you can drag and drop disk images onto this application and it will mount them on the HxC (works really well). As far as the ST is concerned, it's just reading track data from a floppy disk. You are correct, the USB version only supports read operations whereas the SD version supports write back (to an image file on the SD card).

There is also a tool for the SD version called HxCMount (described here) that creates a pseudo hard drive using a disk image file on the SD card. It''s at version 1 and still pretty experimental - it will however never have the speed of a mass storage device connected to the ASCI bus.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Shredder11 » Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:34 pm

The PCD-50b might be worthwhile for Falcon 030 owners though, especially if it can work with Cubase Audio. The UltraSatan does not work with the Falcon 030.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby wongck » Wed Nov 02, 2011 1:17 am

I don't need to read all the different cards...it's just my head is spinning trying to figure out which is the best method of solid state storage.


I have a SD HxC floppy emulator and moved it between my Falcon and ST. It fits at the place of the floppy drive, the SD card just sticking out for easy access. As it emulate a floppy, the Atari still thinks it is a normal floppy drive on it which is great because now you have a reliable solid stated media. I tried several games on it and it works flawlessly so if you are into games, this is a good option. You can change on screen the floppy images or use the buttons/LCD panel on it.

There is a small program that will convert .MSA, .ST etc to the format that the SD HxC expects. You can do it in a batch and convert your entire MSA library.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Franz Schiller » Wed Nov 02, 2011 2:41 pm

Well, it looks like the HxC is the way to go...especially if I can stick it in place of the floppy drive. That's pretty darned cool.

This is the clearest, most concise thread on the topic I've seen. Thank you all so much for all the help!
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Fox-1 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 8:29 am

Franz Schiller wrote:Has anyone out there tried this pcd-50b SCSI Card Reader? Its at this page:

http://a4000t.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=180


I'm using these for a while now. Not on Atari ST, but anyways...

To use it you need a SCSI host adapter which provides parity and termination power or add these features yourself by modding it (fairly simple to do). Also, many classic SCSI hosts are only able to boot from SCSI ID#0, LUN#0. The SCSI ID is no issue with the PCM, just a matter of putting the jumpers to the right settings. All memory cards are accessed by this same SCSI ID but at different LUN#'s:

LUN#0 = PCMCIA
LUN#1 = Compact Flash card
LUN#2 = Memory Stick
LUN#3 = SD/MMC card
LUN#4 = Smart Media card

Basically this means you probably need to use the PCMCIA slot with the use of an XX->PCMCIA adapter, and also, if your SCSI host only can deal with LUN#0 (and LUN#1) you can't access the other LUN#'s. (This is probably the case with MegaSTE's which only supports LUN#0 and LUN#1 AFAIK)

Image

I use these PCM-50B devices on my Atari 8-bit systems using a "Black-Box" SCSI interface adapter (modded for parity and term. power) which can access all LUN#'s but requires a "disk" on SCSI ID#0-LUN#0 to store it's configuration data so I more or less need to use at least the PCMCIA slot. I have some CF->PCMCIA and SD/SM->PCMCIA adapters and they'll work fine. I tried 2GB and 4GB CF cards and this works without problems. With SD cards however there is a caveat as I can use up to 2GB cards. Bigger ones are using larger sector blocks making them incompatible. This may be different on ST systems.

The PCM has a jumper to enable/disable termination which simplifies some things.

As an end note: Mike from "mechware" is someone you can thrust and is likely the cheapest place where you can these things.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby fredforty8 » Mon Jul 30, 2012 6:02 pm

This thread turned me on to the possibility of using the SD floppy emulator as an alternative to the UltraSatan. Thanks especially to alexh. :)
Hardware-wise, I think I'm in good shape for using this as my B: drive since I have a Future Systems GTS-100X external floppy drive that I can modify (leaving my internal floppy drive alone).
I watched several online videos about this, where it replaced the A: drive. Software was used to select the drive images, and mostly the videos showed gaming. I noticed that the speed of this thing changing floppy images isn't anything to write home about, but it's still better than physically swapping floppy disks ...which is what I'm stuck doing now!
I'm not clear on how this will work with a program. If anyone can shed some light on this, I'd appreciate it.
The program I'm using is a music sequencer, and I am hoping the HxC can change the floppy images on the SD card without leaving the sequencer program. I'm thinking I wouldn't use the HxC software for this, but rather the on-board buttons and small LCD screen of the unit to select a floppy image before I click File/Open in the sequencer program and navigate to the B: drive. I don't mind if I have to shut that File Select dialog box before changing to a different floppy image, I just wouldn't want to have to close the program each time. (But it would be cool if I could change floppy images with the dialog box still open! I want the world and I want it now :lol: )
Thanks for any insight!
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby fredforty8 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 4:21 pm

More in keeping with the topic of this thread, I'm still also interested in the possibility of using the card reader on Atari STFM or STE. I'm confused as to what interface I would need... :?: is the ACSI - SCSI adapter that Dal mentioned (hard to find) the same as the SCSI host adapter (BlackBox) that Fox-1 referred to? I looked at the detailed parity mod at http://mixinc.net/atari/pinouts/parity.htm and it's something I might attempt, but I'm not clear what device the mod is being performed on, or if it's even available. Any specifics would be appreciated!
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby 1024MAK » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:30 pm

fredforty8 wrote:I'm confused as to what interface I would need... :?: is the ACSI - SCSI adapter that Dal mentioned (hard to find) the same as the SCSI host adapter (BlackBox) that Fox-1 referred to?

No, the ACSI - SCSI adapter converts between the Atari ACSI port (as on the rear of ST, STF, STM, STFM and STE machines) and the standard SCSI interface (as used with hard drives). They are now only available second hand and do not come up for sale very often.

The BlackBox that Fox-1 referred to is for use with the older 8 bit Atari machines, NOT the ST range.

Your query about using the HxC SD floppy emulator is best raised on a new thread...
I have one but do not have the latest software / firmware. On mine you can scroll through using the LCD display and the on-board buttons to select the "disk" that you want to load. Then use the file selector on the Atari...

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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby wongck » Tue Jul 31, 2012 11:13 pm

1024MAK wrote:No, the ACSI - SCSI adapter converts between the Atari ACSI port (as on the rear of ST, STF, STM, STFM and STE machines) and the standard SCSI interface (as used with hard drives). They are now only available second hand and do not come up for sale very often.


Well..... 1st URL in Google results but not cheap.
Someone pointed that you better off getting a couple of USD.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby fredforty8 » Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:30 am

Thank you Mark & wongck!
wongck, I have to say you gave me a laugh with the "let me Google that for you page", where it ends with "Now was that so hard?" :lol:
I could swear I did that Google search earlier, but I must have seriously mis-typed something. :oops: does anyone sell an ASCII to SCZY adapter :?:
Anyway, $313.42 (with today's exchange rate) is a bit rich for my blood.
Mark, concerning the SD floppy emulator, today I saw a question online about using it to run games that came on multiple floppy disks, and the answer was simply to have all the game's floppy disk images on the SD card, so that switching disks in the middle of the game as needed (using the buttons, as you also mentioned) wouldn't interrupt anything, so I'm optimistic.
The UltraSatan is certainly the most desirable (should I say, tempting?) option, and I understand poor zaxon's situation with having been temporarily unemployed, but I don't wish to wait months to get one of those devices.
Apologies for continuing this as a mixed subject thread, but it fragmented in two (or three) before I got here! If I have to blame anyone, I choose President Bush. :D
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby wongck » Wed Aug 01, 2012 6:54 am

Yeap... like mentioned before, you can get a couple of USD at that pricing.
[Advertising]
However, that adapter lets you connect up to 7 SCSI devices like HDD, scanner, cd rom and with an IDE-SCSI adapter SD, CF and SATA drives as well
[/Advertising]
well, if anyone in dire need of one, they know where to find.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby 1024MAK » Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:37 am

I wrote:Your query about using the HxC SD floppy emulator is best raised on a new thread...

If you ask on a new thread, it is more likely that others will answer...
Also see here

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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby fredforty8 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 12:37 am

Advertising is a good thing!
Anyway, I went ahead and ordered one of the HxC SD floppy emulators last night. What I'll do (after I get it working and see how it behaves) is to post those results as a new thread, with a link to this one, because, as Franz Schiller said - this thread contains a concise list of available options, thanks to Dal, and whole lot of clarifications thanks to all of youse. :cheers:
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby wongck » Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:16 am

fredforty8 wrote:Anyway, I went ahead and ordered one of the HxC SD floppy emulators last night.

Good choice. I had one myself (you see from my sig.) since 2010 and it works exactly like a floppy drive. I moved it from my Falcon to my STFM which out issues.
Good support from Jeff as well.
While waiting, you may want to review some old postings of it here.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Dark Willow » Mon May 20, 2013 5:55 pm

Sorry to resurrect this, but does anyone know if the internal TT SCSI supports multiple LUNs, and if it can boot from them? Just got one of these just trying to find out if I need to get a PCMCIA adapter as well, or not.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby wongck » Tue May 21, 2013 12:57 am

I think all you need is hddriver v8.4 and above.

Ato got it to work on his Falcon (thread here).
From what I know, the SCSI chip is the same chip in Falcon & TT, so it ought to work.
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Re: Anyone try this pcd-50b Multi-Card Reader?

Postby Dark Willow » Thu May 23, 2013 11:40 am

wongck wrote:I think all you need is hddriver v8.4 and above.

Ato got it to work on his Falcon (thread here).
From what I know, the SCSI chip is the same chip in Falcon & TT, so it ought to work.


Sounds promising :) Thanks for the heads up. I'm hoping to use the PCMCIA slot with a CF converter and small CF card as a boot/OS drive, the built-in CF slot as the main "hard drive", and the SD for data exchange.
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