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Thread: Panasonic CF-25: Cardbus vs PCMCIA; Cardbus controller only supports 16bit cards

  1. #1

    Default Panasonic CF-25: Cardbus vs PCMCIA; Cardbus controller only supports 16bit cards

    Hi folks
    I once embarked upon a mission to better-document the Panasonic CF-25 (Pentium and Pentium MMX rugged notebooks). In the various research I did to put that mess together, I found multiple indications that the CF-25 would not assign resources to Cardbus cards...only 16 bit PCMCIA cards. My experience with a literal stack of these notebooks over the last few years has been consistent with that: a Cardbus card will be seen, and you may install drivers for it, but Windows 98 will say the hardware didn't get any resources. However, the notebook is equipped with an actual Cardbus controller, which makes it kind of silly that it would be equipped with the (presumably more expensive) Cardbus controller if the design couldn't accommodate the cards.

    Having acquired my ThinkPad 760E, which is from that same time period (build date May '96), I've found that you cannot use Cardbus cards (only 16 bit PCMCIA) until you open the ThinkPad Configuration utility (Windows software; these settings are not exposed in the BIOS setup menu), explicitly enable Cardbus support, and further monkey with IRQ assignments until you get a workable result. Maybe this is common for period hardware, but bear in mind I was 6 years old when these were new, so my perspective is different.

    The questions, therefore, are:
    • What exactly is ThinkPad Configuration doing when you "enable Cardbus"?
    • Is it possible that the Toughbook may be able to have [the above] done to it via software as well?
    • Does anyone have first-hand experience successfully using Cardbus cards in a CF-25?


    I'm going to try poking around with the First Aid, Setup, and Tools diskette images that Panasonic thankfully keeps on their website even to this day...but figured opening a dialogue wouldn't hurt either.

    Edit: after some of the aforementioned poking around, this might be a case of "RTFM". Will post my findings once I can test with an actual CF-25. The question of what exactly has to happen here still stands though.
    Last edited by kishy; July 19th, 2017 at 12:18 PM.
    On temporary hiatus - PMs etc will receive responses soon.

    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  2. #2

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    So, indeed, it was an RTFM moment. Kind of.

    Installed Win95C OSR2.5 and used the drivers extracted from CF25mk3w95imageupdate.exe which is described as:
    "Makes a generic copy of OSR2, installed on a CF-25 Mark 3, the same as the original image."

    The PCMCIA driver included in there does indeed support Cardbus, no fuss.

    Win98 or XP derivatives (yes, I said it, talking about a Pentium MMX notebook), on the other hand, don't seem to want to work. Win98 specifically says a given Cardbus card did not receive an IRQ and to change the settings in the BIOS, but the setup menu of the CF-25 doesn't provide options to do that. WinFLP is more vague and just says the BIOS is not configured to support Cardbus cards. But in both of those OS, 16 bit PCMCIA does work.

    The 95 driver package installed in 98 doesn't fix the issue. I've tried disabling all the configurable hardware in the setup menu to free up resources but it doesn't help. Seems like it doesn't matter how many IRQs are free, one isn't being given to the Cardbus card regardless, but only when the OS is not Win95.

    Anyone have any idea what might be up here?
    On temporary hiatus - PMs etc will receive responses soon.

    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  3. #3

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    Hi,
    I looked at the manuals from your website and only the MMX model mentions the compatibility with CardBus cards, that's the one you have I assume.
    Could you run the utility from http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?...art=20#p285316 in real DOS?

    I don't own a CF-25 but a Toshiba from the same period and the latter as an option in the bios to switch between Cardbus/16bit and PCIC compatible mode, I see from the Panasonic manuals that they don't have such an option.

    From some googling, I found this FAQ that you may know already:
    https://translate.google.com/transla...98%2Fcf25.html
    Does it make any difference?

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by lolo799 View Post
    Hi,
    I looked at the manuals from your website and only the MMX model mentions the compatibility with CardBus cards, that's the one you have I assume.
    Could you run the utility from http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?...art=20#p285316 in real DOS?

    I don't own a CF-25 but a Toshiba from the same period and the latter as an option in the bios to switch between Cardbus/16bit and PCIC compatible mode, I see from the Panasonic manuals that they don't have such an option.

    From some googling, I found this FAQ that you may know already:
    https://translate.google.com/transla...98%2Fcf25.html
    Does it make any difference?
    I have three Mk3s at my disposal, and one Mk2 currently. I'm currently focusing only on a Mk3. RAM limitations of the Mk2 make it a bit less usable...
    (I'm hoping to send the Mk2 and one Mk3 to new homes, but not putting much effort into making that known)

    That Panasonic link in Japanese is interesting. I combined that knowledge with this: http://forum.notebookreview.com/thre...orking.366794/
    (same instructions, but it's nice to see them re-affirmed by Panasonic officially)

    Results in Win98SE are:
    Before making any changes, 16 bit PCMCIA works. 32 bit Cardbus does not.
    There is a built in Intel USB controller (with no physical ports!) which shows up in Device Manager, and does not receive resources.

    I made the changes as instructed (diag25 /CMOS 4A 80) and now:
    The built in USB controller now receives IRQ 11 and its built in USB Root Hub is now detected. But there is no physical port on the notebook so there's no way to use it...
    16 bit PCMCIA does not work anymore, but 32 bit Cardbus does work kind of.
    Cardbus network cards are working.
    Cardbus USB cards will be detected, install drivers, and appear OK in Device Manager, but if I connect a USB device, the system hangs or BSODs.
    If a Cardbus USB card is inserted at boot time, the system hangs at POST until it's removed and power cycled.

    Win95 is doing some magic because 16 and 32 bit cards work. OTOH, USB is next to useless in 95 (even OSR2.5) due to poor driver support.

    Ultimately, Wireless G w/WPA and USB are the goals behind getting Cardbus to work. Win95 does not mix with either of those.

    I'll give that utility a shot that you linked to.
    On temporary hiatus - PMs etc will receive responses soon.

    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  5. #5
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    I can't remember if I have the MK 3 or the MK 2 but I specifically recall that even under Windows 98se I simply could not get PCMCIA USB cards to work. In the end I abandoned trying 54g cards and instead sacrificed slot 3 for a heavily modified Lucent Wavelan Gold card hardwired to the internal antenna on the LCD screen.
    = Excellent space heater

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by lolo799 View Post
    ...
    Could you run the utility from http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?...art=20#p285316 in real DOS?
    ...
    Results of TELLME:
    cf25-tellme-pcmcia.jpg

    Also it was pointed out to me in an email that "10 + bit 7 = 90, not 80"
    As my existing value for 4A was "10", not "00".
    So, I tried diag25 /CMOS 4A 90
    The machine will now boot with a Cardbus USB card inserted but otherwise it behaves the same, still locks up upon inserting an actual USB device.

    My test device is a FAT32 8GB flash drive, which has been seen working with the same Cardbus card in another notebook. I have installed this, which I've found invaluable on any 98SE box that I've tried to use USB devices on in the past.

    Quote Originally Posted by NeXT View Post
    I can't remember if I have the MK 3 or the MK 2 but I specifically recall that even under Windows 98se I simply could not get PCMCIA USB cards to work. In the end I abandoned trying 54g cards and instead sacrificed slot 3 for a heavily modified Lucent Wavelan Gold card hardwired to the internal antenna on the LCD screen.
    I believe because you have the antenna, it has to be a Mk3.

    I am not necessarily looking for Wireless G for performance reasons (was it that obvious?), but rather, for WPA/WPA2 reasons. There was an overlap period where you could get Cardbus cards with support for still-current security, but which had 2k or even 98SE drivers/utilities available. But, because they are G cards, they seem to all be Cardbus (32-bit).

    I have a few 16 bit B cards that work in these well enough, but that means I can't exactly take one to a buddy's house and hop on their wifi...unless they drop it to WEP or just nothing at all, and most folks aren't amenable to that.

    I do wonder how much of a job it would be to find the USB lines on the motherboard and how much of the components are missing. Probably too much to be practical. Even sucky original USB is perfectly usable for my goals, I just want the flexibility of USB mass storage devices really. A PCMCIA card reader is a distant, but still functional 'second' in terms of meeting that goal.
    On temporary hiatus - PMs etc will receive responses soon.

    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  7. #7

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    Its likely the Windows 95 Cardbus drivers do some register twiddling to the controller while loading. The USB support in Windows 98 likely conflicts with it for an unknown reason. Another option to try, disable the Windows PC Card stack and run the 32-bit version of System Soft CardWorks that matches the cardbus controller in the machine. This was a common OEM setup back in 95-97 for some reason. The problem is your USB card likely won't work with it due to the lack of driver support.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by kishy View Post
    Results of TELLME:
    cf25-tellme-pcmcia.jpg

    Also it was pointed out to me in an email that "10 + bit 7 = 90, not 80"
    As my existing value for 4A was "10", not "00".
    So, I tried diag25 /CMOS 4A 90
    The machine will now boot with a Cardbus USB card inserted but otherwise it behaves the same, still locks up upon inserting an actual USB device.
    82365SL is the most common PCMCIA only controller, does TELLME give the same result if you run it after the "diag25" command?

    In DOS mode, can you test the trial version of the "CardBus USB 2.0 Enabler for DOS" from http://www.tssc.de/site/products/enablers with your usb card in the bottom socket and a usb flash drive plugged in?
    Consider testing the Win98 version of Cardware7 from the same company too, it might work better than the regular drivers provided by Windows.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by njroadfan View Post
    Its likely the Windows 95 Cardbus drivers do some register twiddling to the controller while loading. The USB support in Windows 98 likely conflicts with it for an unknown reason. Another option to try, disable the Windows PC Card stack and run the 32-bit version of System Soft CardWorks that matches the cardbus controller in the machine. This was a common OEM setup back in 95-97 for some reason. The problem is your USB card likely won't work with it due to the lack of driver support.
    Looking into CardWorks, it looks at least a little bit tricky to get one's hands on. I did find a copy of 5.5, packaged by IBM for some model of ThinkPad, says "for Windows 95". Installed it and Win98SE is no longer booting, so obviously it's not liking that (the boot animation keeps going forever, it's been sitting like that for an hour now).

    If USB isn't going to work then it's not a viable long term solution, but at this point I want to have a better understanding of what's happening and why it doesn't work, so any efforts to get closer to that are worthwhile.

    Quote Originally Posted by lolo799 View Post
    82365SL is the most common PCMCIA only controller, does TELLME give the same result if you run it after the "diag25" command?

    In DOS mode, can you test the trial version of the "CardBus USB 2.0 Enabler for DOS" from http://www.tssc.de/site/products/enablers with your usb card in the bottom socket and a usb flash drive plugged in?
    Consider testing the Win98 version of Cardware7 from the same company too, it might work better than the regular drivers provided by Windows.
    I actually ran it both "pre" and "post" diag25 commands, with a reboot in between. It shows the same information both ways.

    I need to fix my now-non-booting 98SE install (probably just nuke autoexec and config), then will try what you've suggested.

    I presume that 98SE command prompt mode from the F8 menu is sufficient for this, since it's "real DOS".
    On temporary hiatus - PMs etc will receive responses soon.

    Enthusiast of keyboards with springs which buckle noisily.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by kishy View Post
    I actually ran it both "pre" and "post" diag25 commands, with a reboot in between. It shows the same information both ways.

    I need to fix my now-non-booting 98SE install (probably just nuke autoexec and config), then will try what you've suggested.

    I presume that 98SE command prompt mode from the F8 menu is sufficient for this, since it's "real DOS".
    Yes, the Cardbus enabler works in MSDOS 7.0, you can load it from the prompt, you only need himem.sys already loaded, so the DOS prompt from the F8 menu is sufficient.

    I've looked at the pictures of your CF-25 motherboard, that one http://kishy.ca/?attachment_id=800 shows the Ricoh chip that appears to be a 5C478, a known Cardbus controller, TELLME can't recognize that specific model so it reports it as the most compatible one I guess.

    That chipset is supported by Cardware 7 and the USB enabler, which has some switches regarding the IRQ use, look at its manual for details, the link is at the top of:
    http://www.tssc.de/site/default.aspx...b/default.aspx

    One more thing, the FAQ on the Panasonic website mentions a change to the Windows registry, did you apply it?

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