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Thread: Psion 3 memory cards vs. SD

  1. #1
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    Default Psion 3 memory cards vs. SD

    I have a nice new Psion 3a! Which is good.

    I don't have any memory cards for it. Which is bad.

    But I have lots of SD cards! Which is good.

    Except the Psion uses a proprietary storage system based on a high speed serial link, and won't work with SD cards. Which is bad.

    Did anyone ever produce an adapter which allowed SD or microsd cards to be used in these old Psion's? They'd need to be relatively smart, so as to convert from one protocol to the other, but there's nothing particularly hard on that. Being able to use modern median these devices... Well, would be good.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by hjalfi View Post
    I have a nice new Psion 3a! Which is good.

    I don't have any memory cards for it. Which is bad.

    But I have lots of SD cards! Which is good.

    Except the Psion uses a proprietary storage system based on a high speed serial link, and won't work with SD cards. Which is bad.

    Did anyone ever produce an adapter which allowed SD or microsd cards to be used in these old Psion's? They'd need to be relatively smart, so as to convert from one protocol to the other, but there's nothing particularly hard on that. Being able to use modern median these devices... Well, would be good.
    The ssd mémorable cards for psion can easily be found on eBay, and they are quite cheap.

  3. #3
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    I was rather hoping for something which took conventional SD cards because that would make it drastically easier to get stuff on an off the device.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjalfi View Post
    I was rather hoping for something which took conventional SD cards because that would make it drastically easier to get stuff on an off the device.
    You can easily transfer stuff using PSIWIN. You will need a serial lead and a PC running something like XT (or put it in a VM)...
    Dave
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    Looking for Analog Computers, Drum Plotters, and Graphics Terminals

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by hjalfi View Post
    I was rather hoping for something which took conventional SD cards because that would make it drastically easier to get stuff on an off the device.
    I don't think it would be possible (or at least not economically possible) to build an adaptor, IIRC the Psion 3 memory cards were battery-backed RAM so it would be two different technologies to interface.

    If you get a Psion 5 though that does take standard CF cards so you can then use a simple card reader to move things between the devices.

    As others have said, PsiWin is your best bet (and is what people would have done in the day anyway). You need a computer with a serial port and I don't think the software will work on anything newer than Windows XP (if you don't have a suitable box lying around you could just virtualise it and pass the physical serial port through to the VM).

    The actual files generated by the Psion are quite small, the serial connection isn't too much of a bottleneck. The effort is all in setting it up initially. Once you've got a working solution it's easy to move files on and off - basically just drag & drop.

  6. #6
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    Somewhere on the web is a page showing disassembly of Psion 3 memory cards and how to increase memory on it: add the right chips and move a jumper. I can't find it in my current searches. That may provide enough of a starting point for someone to create a work alike card using more modern and higher capacity chips.

  7. #7
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    The memory cards were microcontrollers which implemented the Psion remote file access interface to implement their own file system on the memory on the card. The actual storage technology's completely irrelevant; all that's important is the protocol. (IIRC it was even possible to wire a memory card directly to a PsiWin serial converter, and PsiWin on the PC would think it was talking to the M: drive of a Psion 3, because it was all the same protocol.) Any cheap and nasty Arduino should be able to emulate it with ease.

    I have found documentation on the protocol --- it's in the Psion device driver SDK --- but I really don't want to have to do it myself.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by cwathen View Post
    If you get a Psion 5 though that does take standard CF cards so you can then use a simple card reader to move things between the devices.
    Worth mentioning that the Psion Series 5 needs Message Suite installing first before you can install software from the CF card so you will still need the serial cable and PsiWin etc. The 5MX and Revo don't need this and you can just stick sis files straight on there.

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