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Storage cards (PCMCIA SRAM, ATA, CF, SD, MMC etc.) and their compatibility with the HP Palmtops
This article is related to the Palmtops HP 100LX, 200LX and 1000CX, partially to the OmniGo 700LX. The 95LX are mentioned, too, but most of the information is not relevant to that model.
Storage card support (SRAM, ATA Flash, Compact Flash)
You can use SRAM PCMCIA cards or linar flash cards (they are rare and expensive now!) and a lot of ATA Flash or Compact Flash storage cards in your 200LX, that does not exceed the capacity of about 128MB. Some 256 and 512 MB cars work, too.
There are even some 1GB or 2GB CF cards that work in the Palmtop, one user even reported that he used a 4GB card successfully (although it's unclear to me how MS-DOS 5.0 with FAT16 is able to address 4GB of disk space!)
Also, SD cards or MicroSD cards can be used, in conjunction with a suitable PCMCIA adapter. However, not all of those adapters work in the Palmtop. See the compatibility lists further down.
The 100LX is more limited regarding the maximum capacity of a flash / CF card. The Omnigo 700LX and the 1000CX are almost identical to the 200LX, so all cards working in a 200LX should also work in a 700LX and 1000CX. But note that support of larger cards (especially 128MB and above) seems also to be a matter of the BIOS version of the Palmtop. I have seen cards, that don't work in one 200LX, but work in a 200LX with a later BIOS version.
How to make a card work:
If a card doesn´t work instantly, i.e. is not recognized and usable as drive A: by the Palmtop, then try the following steps (and try after each step, if the cad works or not):
- execute the built-in fdisk100 utility, which (re-)partitions the card
- do a format a:
- Reformat the card using a Windows computer, choose FAT, FAT12 or FAT16 as the file system (not FAT32!)
- Use a partitioning tool, e.g. a GParted live CD, to make sure that there is only one primary FAT (FAT12, FAT16) partition on the card, and then reformat the partition with FAT12 or FAT16
- Put the card into a digital camera and let that camera format the card
- If you have access to a Linux computer: Connect the card to that Linux computer, find out, what device it is assigned to (dmesg usually outputs that information. If the card is attached to the USB port, it is usually something like /dev/sda). Proceed only, if you know exactly, what device your card is assigned to. Uing a wrong device node here may destroy data on another storage device! Then issue the command
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/??? bs=512 count=1
(replace "???" by the correct device name). Afterwards, re-try fdisk100 and format a: on the Palmtop.
No success yet?
Then you probably need the Acecard driver. Install it according to the instructions, reboot the palmtop and repeat the above described procedure. If that does also not help, your card is incompatible with your Palmtop.
Recommended brand: Sandisk!
The most recommended card manufacturer is Sandisk (former Sundisk; some very old cards may be labeled "Sundisk"), Sandisk cards are not the fastest ones, but this is not as important as compatibility, reliability and power economy, which are the greatest advantages of Sandisk cards. If you buy a card, take care that you do not buy one using the new NAND technology (Sandisk's "Ultra CompactFlash" are based on NAND flash for example). They are said to be faster, but they may not work at all in the HP palmtops because of the new technology used.
Simple Technology cards are also frequently used, they are faster than Sandisk, but far more power-hungry.
Get the "Card battery low" message?
Some cards which are not fully compliant to the standards, cause the palmtop to create a "Card battery low" message, which appears in the upper left corner of the screen and blocks palmtop usage until ESC is pressed (just like the main battery low message). If your card otherwise works well, but if you want to get rid of this message, you can use the programm killmsg by Mack Baggette, which is able to suppress BIOS messages. In order to suppress the card battery low message, put the line "killmsg /c" into your autoexec.bat. If you have a doublespeed upgraded palmtop and use Mack Baggette's SPD31 driver, you can use that one to suppress the messages. The command line switch /c does the trick.
Note, however, that the "card battery low" message has a meaning for cards, that actually have a battery! Flash or Compact Flash cards don't have a battery, because the memory technology used in such cards does not need additinal power to keep the data. But the old SRAM cards are based on SRAM (as the name suggests), and that kind of storage needs power to keep the data. Such cards uave either a battery tray with a Lithium battery, or they have an internal rechargeable battery. For such cards, the "card battery low" message is a serious warning, and you should immediately make a backup of the card's data and - if possible - exchange the battery, or recharge it.
Card compatibility list
Here is a list of setups which are tested.
Please note that the last update of the list has been done long ago, in about 2004. Please look carefully if the brand written on the card is really the manufacturer or if it is just relabeled. Sometimes you will find a small "made by Hitachi" in a corner of a card which is largely labeled CASIO or so. Please provide the manufacturer, not the label. To be sure, please put the card into the palmtop and run Stefan Peichl's LXCIC. It tells you in most cases who the real manufacturer is.
A few words about compatibility: In most cases the BIOS version of the palmtop and installed hardware upgrades will not affect the compatibilty of a storage card with the palmtop in any way. However, there are some cases in which e.g. a double speed upgrade prevents usage of a specific card, or where an early BIOS version (1.02A is the latest one installed in 200LX Palmtops) can lead to slight performance problems or even make a card unusable. So I have added BIOS and upgrade information to the list below. Internal memory upgrades do not affect usability of storage cards at all, as far as I know.
In the following lists, if not denoted otherwise, the given configurations work.
Sometimes, support of a card or card adapter depends on the BIOS version of the Palmtop. In order to find out your BIOS version, either reboot the Palmtop (Ctrl-Alt-Del) and observe the first few lines of text displayed on reboot. Or, if that's not possible (e.g. due to the Palmtop having a double speed upgrade and text on bootup is unreadable), use the DEBUG command in DOS in the following way:
- Terminate the ApplicationManager: [Menu] [Application] [Terminate All] [OK]
- At the command prompt type: debug then d F000:FF00
- Read the Version Number in the ASCII dump.
- To quit from debug, enter q [Enter]
- To return from DOS type "200" [Enter] ...without parentheses or brackets... :)
Compact Flash cards:
You need a CF to PCMCIA adapter for CF cards, be sure to get the adapter for the correct type of CF (I or II).
Latest addition 2011-12-30 reported by a 200LX user:
Sandisk 2 GB and 4 GB SDCFJ CF II cards work, with Acecard - That's what I use.
You can't format them in the palmtop, though. I use a XP/USB card reader from the command line for that. You have to specify an allocation unit size which will result in =< 65535 AU.
In Windows, open a command prompt, then type FORMAT /? to get a list of parameters. Note the A:size options; you want FAT16 - For a 2 GB card use 32K, 4GB use 64K.
|brand||capacity in MB||Type
|model#||model||BIOS ver.||works with Doublespeed upgrade||driver needed||comments|
|A-1 Flash||256||Type I||-||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Apacer||128||Type I||-||200LX||1.01A||no||-||only tested in doublespeed palmtop, doesn't work.|
|EagleTec||32||Type I||-||200LX||?||?||-||Very power-hungry, crashes palmtop on write access when batteries get low. Not recommended.|
|Kingston Technology||64||Type I||-||200LX||1.02A||probably||-||-|
|Kingston Technology||128||Type I||High Speed CF/128 9902366-001.A00 641603||200LX||1.02A||some yes, some not.||-||Attention: Doesn't work with some double-speed palmtops!|
|Kingston Technology||256||Type I||THNCF256MAA||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Kodak||20||Type I||Sundisk SDP 5/3 0.6||200LX||1.02A||probably||-||-|
|Lexar||16||Type I||Marked CompactFlash USB Enabled 8x 16MB, P/N 2177, Rev A||100LX||1.03A||?||acecard||Card is USB enabled|
|Lexar||48||Type I||CompactFlash 48MB 4X||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||Card is USB enabled|
|Lexar||128||Type I||CompactFlash 128MB 4X (or 12X), marked CF128-04-266 and USB Enabled, P/N 2175, Rev A||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||Card is USB enabled|
|PQI||32||Type I||P/N FC032||200LX||1.01A||-||acecard||problems reported, high power consumption, FAT problems, not recommended!, also strange that acecard driver is necessary.|
|PQI||64||Type I||-||100LX/200LX/700LX||1.02A||?||-||reliability problems reported, not recommended!, also causes "card battery low" message in some cases. killmsg can avoid that. Relabeled e.g. as HAMA.|
|PQI||64||Type I||P/N FC064, 5Q62D and 164822200007||200LX||1.02||yes||acecard||-|
|Pretec||all||Type I||-||200LX||all||-||-||reliability problems reported, not recommended!|
|Ritdata||64||Type I||-||200LX||-||?||on some 200LXs the acecard driver is needed||Labeled ExtreMemory|
|Ritdata||256||Type I||-||200LX||-||?||-||Labeled ExtreMemory|
|Sandisk||64||Type I||SDCFB||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||recommended. Labeled "RCA"|
|Sandisk||256||Type I||SDCFB AR0203NX China||200LX||1.02A||probably||-||recommended|
|Sandisk||512||Type I||SDCFB Copyright 99 AX0110ML USA||200LX||1.02A||yes||acecard||recommended|
|Sandisk||1 GB||Type I||BB0206NK CHINA Copyright 99||200LX||1.02A||yes||acecard||recommended; seems to work in some devices (MP3 players...) where the 512MB card fails|
|Sandisk||2 GB||Type I||SDCFB (not the 'ultra' version)||200LX||1.02A||yes||acecard||recommended|
|Simple Technology||32||Type I||-||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Simple Technology||48||Type I||-||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Simple Technology||64||Type I||markings 90000-00756-032 and 001002-FL1-001||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Simple Technology||96||Type I||-||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Toshiba||64||Type I||THNCF064MMA||200LX, 700LX||?||?||-||-|
|Toshiba||256||Type I||THNCF256MAA||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||Labeled Kingston Technology, "High speed"|
|Twinmos Mediastore (TM)||256||Type I||Ultra High Speed Serialno: 251M52069330136 P/N:FCF256S Made in Taiwan||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
The following pictures (thanks to Radek Svagr!) show the inside of a 10MB Sandisk CF card:
ATA Flash cards (full-size PCMCIA flash cards):
These cards fit into the palmtop without an adapter.
|brand||capacity in MB||Type
|model#||model||BIOS ver.||works with Doublespeed upgrade||driver needed||comments|
|Epson||40||Type II||Ref AD40155C007, ATA 412SD12, 1994||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|HP||10.4||Type II||Sundisk SDP-10||200LX||1.02A||probably||-||Does not work with some newer laptops.
This is a relabeled Sundisk card, 12V
|HP||5||Type I||by Sundisk!||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||This is a relabeled Sundisk card, 12V|
|Kingston||10||Type II||-||200LX||1.02A||probably||-||power-hungry! Causes 100LX to shut down!|
|Kingston||32||Type II||DP-ATA/32||200LX||1.02A||probably||-||For some reason it says that the cards capacity is 63266480 bytes, but the card is only 32MB!|
|Sandisk||175||Type II||**A7131177A SDP5BH-175||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Sandisk||1.2 GB||Type II||SPD-3B||200LX||1.02A||?||acecard||-|
|Simple Technology / SiliconTech||48||Type I||SLATAFL48||100LX||-||?||acecard||-|
|Simple Technology / SiliconTech||48||Type I||SLATAFL48||200LX||-||yes||-||slightly faster than a Sandisk|
|Simple Technology||128||?||PN 90000-00753-109||200LX||?||yes||-||-|
|Simple Technology||160||Type I||STI-ATAFL/160||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||-|
|Simple Technology / SiliconTech||448||Type I||SLATAFL448||100LX/200LX||-||yes||acecard||-|
Other card types (Memory Stick, MMC, SD...):
You need PCMCIA adapters for all the cards listed below.
2012-11-22: A user reported a standard microSD 2GB card (identified by Linux as Sandisk SU02G) to work very well without any driver using the Panasonic BN-SDAGP3 PCMCIA-to-SD adapter.
|brand||capacity in MB||card type||model#||model||BIOS ver.||works with Doublespeed upgrade||driver needed||comments|
|Sony||16||Memory Stick||-||700LX||-||?||-||works well with Sony MSAC-PC2 Stick-to-PCMCIA-Adaptor|
|EMTEC||32||MMC||AA0010JC TAIWAN (written on the backside)||200LX||-||yes||-||A MMC/SD-PCMCIA adapter is needed. LXCIC reports: PCMCIA ADAPTER So the adapter is recognized by LXCIC rather than the card, which explains, why the adapter is not cheap (~$40 on ebay). It seems to have the controller built in. The card powers down by itself, as reported by LXCIC. I had no success with a SD (Secure Digital) card, which has the same form factor as the MMC.|
|ExtreMemory||64||MMC||AB0206LV TAIWAN (written on the backside)||200LX||-||yes||-||A MMC/SD-PCMCIA adapter is needed. I use an adapter labeled "FREITAG Electronic" which is made only for MMC cards. It works flawlessly. LXCIC reports the adapter to be a "Panasonic ATA BN-MMAA 1.10".|
|Infineon||128||MMC||EG85918 a0229KKO||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||A MMC/SD-PCMCIA adapter is needed. I use an adapter labeled "FREITAG Electronic" which is made only for MMC cards. It works flawlessly. LXCIC reports the adapter to be a "Panasonic ATA BN-MMAA 1.10".|
|Sandisk||512||MicroSD||SDQCJP-512 AX05206CB||200LX||1.02A||yes||-||SanDisk microSD/TransFlash Adapter 2006-12-15A MADE IN CHINA
Minolta CF Card Adapter SD-CF1
SanDisk CompactFlash PC Card Adapter
|Sandisk||2GB||MicroSD||200LX||1.02A, 1.01A (200LX), 1.06EB (700LX)||yes||-|