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Old 07-15-2007, 06:39 PM
trikon000 trikon000 is offline
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Disassembly LABS
Posts: 259

Opening a ZMP: part II
See the earlier posting for pictures and directions on taking it apart.

What this will cover:
1. Installation of 16GB CF.
2. Flashing of firmware onto device.
3. Notes and References.

Before we begin we will need to take a look at the certain things about the CF compared to the microdrive that is going to be replaced. We need to first look and rate the microdrive in terms of the CF first.

In the picture above is the technical specification page snapshot of the ST1 series of micro drives are rated the same. The microdrive is as we can see from the picture has 2 speeds, one internal and one external. The internal speed is 130 Mbytes/sec while the external is 33.3 Mbytes/sec. We only need to know the external for the CF comparison. The multiple is 6 to use, multiply 6 times the MB/s to get your X rating.

In this case 33.3 times 6 is 199.8X or almost a 200X rating. BUT considering that that this has moving parts it pretty much acts more like a 40X CF drive, which it makes the multiplier closer to a 1. Making the 33.3 MB/s a direct 33.3X conversion.

Now we look at the CF speed rating. The manufacturer website is not very helpful at labeling the low end products, aka the "Speedy" labeling found on the chip and packaging. Digging around on the "Turbo" area of the website, we find the rating for the "Speedy" is rated at 40X or 6 MB/s.

NOTE: speed ratings are the minimums and not the maximums of the transfer rates.

Comparing the two, the CF is only slightly faster than the microdrive, this is well within the replacement requirements for the microdrive. Another thing about the microdrive is that it has a PIO mode (used in embedded development), which means it has an MBR. The CF also has a PIO mode 4, which is another compatibility match.

Now we look at the 16 GB number and what it really means. The AData chip says it is 16GB, what it doesn't say is that it is BITS and not BYTES. What that translates to is that Windows/Linux/MacX will see this as 15.3GB, that is about 700 MBytes short what is advertised probably.

1. Installation of 16GB CF.

We can see all the parts laid out, in the picture one can see that there is a 4GB 120x CF there as well. This was what I swapped in after the 8GB microdrive died. In the picture, one can notice that I stripped the white plastic label on the microdrive off.

First thing is to transfer the rubber spacers to the CF.

Now we connect it back to the main PCB. Notice that it is still faced up when connected to the PCB. Now we flip it over to finish the layout. You might notice that the CF is kind of lop sided, this is normal because of the thickness difference of the CF to the microdrive.

At this point you can protect the molex ribbon cable with a small cut to sized rectangle shaped piece of duct tape to protect this rather than the yellow electrical tape you find there.

Now connect the main PCB to the inner metal casing. Connect the long molex ribbon first before locking the main PCB to the metal casing or your screen and touch pad will not work.

Then add the little switch cover on the PCB before you combine the outer metal casing to the inner casing.

2. Flashing of firmware onto device.

Make sure you have a fully charged battery before you continue. Just connect the microphoto to the computer, it will not be functional yet. DO NOT CONTINUE until you have a charged battery.

Firmware downloads from the creative website:

1.31.01 Firmware

1.20.01 Firmware

I will be using the 1.31.01 Firmware updater. Once you download the firmware updater, run it. It will not pop up immediately. It can be found running in the task manager.

At this point, the microphoto will need to be formated and set to firmware flashing mode. The menu screen you should see is the Recovery Mode menu, pick format and yes. Formating should take less than 10 sec. Now pick REBOOT from the menu.

At this point the firmware updater app will pop up on your computer. The reason it doesn't pop up immediately is that the firmware updater has a detection function running to identify your microphoto and current firmware.

At this point you will need to pick the Reload Firmware option on the microphoto. Once you do that, the microphoto will go into docked mode.

At this point press the UPGRADE BUTTON to start flashing.

Once it is done, it will show up in you MY COMPUTER under audio devices and show that you now have a 15.1GB device ready to use.

The firmware will take up 200MB in the form of a pagefile, OS files and boot image file located in the MBR of the CF. Unfortunately if you take out the CF and insert it into a CF reader, it will show up as an unknown formated partition.

To answer the question of "Can you use a 16GB CF in microphoto?," the answer is YES you can.

It is unknown if any other types of CFs will work, not all CF support PIO mode. As more SSD (Solid State Drive) become available, the PIO mode should be showing up in more CFs from different vendors.

3. Notes and References.

Specifications on microdrive

Specifications on CF

Strangely enough the 16GB CF will draw more power than the microdrive. What power you gain in read and writes from the microdrive you lose in powering the 16GB CF. So you will only see the power savings total in maybe a few minutes extra than the microdrive overall.

The CF speed rating also shows up in the newegg specification tab.

The G-Force Protection (nothing more than a micro accelleromitor) found on the microdrive is not very reliable. The shock data is lab generated data and is a VERY POOR comparison to real world damages that can occur with most consumers. IE a drop of 12 inches to concrete with the microphoto vertically WILL kill the microdrive.

Linux zen managers

Those interested in using CF as a hard drive replacement.

What to be aware of in getting a CF to use. First and formost is the PIO mode that is supported. Mode 4 and/or 6 are needed, one or the other will be needed. Mode 4 is the most available at the moment.
Now we need to look at the HDD adaptors available. Most people that want to use this as an alternative to SSD are laptop users, because of the beating they can take compared to the HDD counterpart.

These are the ones for US based buyers


Mini Box

Logic Supply

In the picture below you can see 2 addonics adaptors, one of them is flipped over so you can see the other side (the red ones) and 1 CFDISK.2G adaptor (the green one).

Now to pick the appropriate adaptor for the laptop in use. For this we need to be aware of the power rating of the HDD in use on most laptops. For this purpose, there are only 2 power ratings you need to know; 60W and 90W ratings. HDD with 40GB and lower have the 60W rating. Those with 60GB to 120GB have 90W rating.
The CFDISK.2G adaptor (the green one) is for the 60W rating. The DigiDrive adaptor (the red one) is for the 90W rating.

Those CF on the market right now: 1, 2, 4, 8, are CF II compliant and are interchangable between the 2 adaptors I have displayed. The 16 GB CF shown is a CF III compliant format and is only compatible with the CFDISK.2G adaptor for some strange reason and only allows FAT32 formating. A new CF III adaptor will need to show up on the market for compatibility of 16GB and up.

Unless ADATA would like to send me a 16GB 266X CF Turbo line free for testing, the above comment stands. I doubt that will happen any time soon.

Now to choose the X rating on the CF to determine what you can run on it.

Vista will not be used because the laptops I have are not Vista compatible.

The OSes used in this are Windows 98SE, 2000 SP4, XP Pro SP2, Red Hat Ent Client (CD version), SUSE, and Slaxware.

Table of the X rating needed
98SE | 120X - UP
2K S4 | 120X* 266X - UP
XPP | 120X* 266X - UP
RHE | 120X
SUSE | 120X
SLX | 120X

* Requires massive tweaking to run, not recommended if you like certain features.
* XP requires 5 hours to install, not including configuring.

Current X ratings on the market right now are the 120X, 266X, 300X

Last edited by trikon000; 07-18-2007 at 08:30 PM. Reason: formating
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