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Thread: Adding a CF card slot to a 5170 without wasting an expansion card bay?

  1. #1

    Default Adding a CF card slot to a 5170 without wasting an expansion card bay?

    I'm working on modifying a PC/AT to use a CF card as a removable solid state hard drive using an XT-IDE card. I want the card to be removable, so that I can easily muck about with the hard drive on a modern computer. While the easiest way to do this would be to use an IDE-to-CF adapter with a bracket plate (such as this: https://tinyurl.com/y6p3gmuu), this will cost me an expansion card bay.

    Does anybody here have any recommendations or ideas for adding the card slot in a way that doesn't obscure an expansion card bay?

    One idea that I had was to remove the small panel that sits between the battery and the power supply, and create a custom bracket plate for the CF card (probably by mangling a IDE-to-CF adapter bracket plate). However, I worry that its close proximity to the power supply heat vent could cause a problem. Does anybody have any experience with this, or any other ideas? (Also: what the heck _is_ that panel for, anyway?)

  2. #2
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    Or something like this?
    https://www.ebay.com/itm/124122830301
    (not mine.)

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    I believe that the original intention of that rectangular plate was to provide access for battery replacement. But I could be mistaken.

    But why an XT-IDE card? You've got a 16 bit bus. Personally, I'd just add a NIC if you're going to use a slot.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    I believe that the original intention of that rectangular plate was to provide access for battery replacement. But I could be mistaken.

    But why an XT-IDE card? You've got a 16 bit bus. Personally, I'd just add a NIC if you're going to use a slot.
    I use an XT-IDE in my 5155, and I like how it handles swapping CF cards. I could use a native 16 bit ISA HD card, but I got the impression that I would need to tell the BIOS the "dimensions" of my "drive". With the XT-IDE, I already know that I can swap in CF cards of whatever size I darn well feel like without any additional configuration, and I like having that flexibility.

  5. #5

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    I could use a native 16 bit ISA HD card, but I got the impression that I would need to tell the BIOS the "dimensions" of my "drive".
    Yeah that is a bit annoying, especially if you're trying to use a a "modern" (IE anything more than a few hundred MB) drive of any kind, let alone an SSD. The way around that is actually quite simple though: SCSI. SCSI doesn't require the user to report any information about the drive, and it's not too difficult to find 16-bit SCSI controller cards yet. More importantly, there are SCSI to SD adaptors called 'SCSI2SD' that allow you to use a modern day SD card rather than a physical hard drive. Overall, this means that if you have an SD card, an SCSI controller card and the adaptor, the setup should just configure itself.

    What I don't know is how the AT itself will handle things. My AT has been fairly picky about installing additional controller cards for whatever reason, which has caused me no end of head ache because of a couple projects I'm working on. Plus I know that there may be some compatibility issues with the XTIDE BIOS on an AT anyways, as according to http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/xtid...20Problems.htm so be sure you look into that regardless if you decide to use XTIDE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SunSpotter View Post
    Plus I know that there may be some compatibility issues with the XTIDE BIOS on an AT anyways, as according to http://www.minuszerodegrees.net/xtid...20Problems.htm so be sure you look into that regardless if you decide to use XTIDE.
    On that subject, after a prompt weeks back from member Malc, I did some more experimentation, and I now have a VCF XT-IDE card that appears to 'play nice' with the stock IBM BIOS ROM's on an IBM 5170 motherboard (of type 3). I got deviated from that activity and must return to it.

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    I have to confess that I ditched the original HD/Floppy card on my 5170 pretty early on and replaced it with a WD RLL card that has dynamic geometry specification, but also understands floppy FM. More storage and backward-compatiblity to boot.

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    Back to the OP's questions ...


    The battery slot would make a great place to keep the CF card, and "mangling" a card bracket would be a neat and quick way of mounting.

    The PS exhaust dumping right there is not an issue, it's blowing that heat all over a bunch of other cards and it really isn't that warm.

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    Velcro should do the trick.

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    Just tossing this out there: they make IDE-to-SD and even IDE-to-Micro-SD boards that you could cable up instead of a CF adapter if you want something that'd fit through an even smaller, less conspicuous hole in the case.

    (The board is a little bigger than the ones on most CF slot-adapters, though, so you trade off having to find a little more room inside in exchange for needing the smaller hole.)
    My Retro-computing YouTube Channel (updates... eventually?): Paleozoic PCs

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