QUOTE – NOSTALGIA IS HEROIN FOR OLD PEOPLEDARA O’BRIAIN
It seems that my Psion collection has been taking most of my attention. I’ve been testing some CF, SD, and microSD cards in my Psion 5mx and Ericsson MC 218. I also came across Kian Ryan’s Sidecar for Psion devices to connect them to the internet.
I had a similar idea to Kian’s Sidecar project but instead of an RS232 connection, I was thinking of an IrDA connection. I’ve purchased the items to build Kian’s Sidecar and plan to make one once all the parts arrive. Once I get that working, I plan to design and build an IrDA version. If all goes well, I plan to sharing it with the community. I think that an IrDA version would be much nicer as it would not require carrying a serial cable.
I’ve also purchased some 2GB CF, SD, and microSD cards as well as adapters so I could test them in my Psion 5mx and Ericsson MC 218. At first they seemed to not work, then I came across a video from Handheld Computing titled, “Formatting and Partitioning Compact Flash Cards for Psion“. The video is a bit too quick in key parts but slowing the video down and pausing it in key areas led me to a solution to get the cards working on the Psion devices.
Steps to format CF, SD, or microSD cards to work in a Psion PDA. Below are a few key takeaways of what needs to be done.
- No partitions over 2GB
- Format using FAT 16, not FAT32
- Max cluster size is 32 KB
- There must be some unallocated space on the disk. 1 MB is enough.
Below are some steps using Microsoft Windows and Mini Tools Partition Wizard software.
- If you have not downloaded and installed Mini Tools Partition Wizard or similar tool, install the software first. Mini Tools Partition Wizard is free and available at https://www.minitool.com.
- Launch the partitioning software, accept the Windows User Account Control prompt, then locate the flash card in the list of drives.
- Right-click on the drive and select “Delete” from the context menu
- Click the “Apply” button to make the changes
- Right-click on the drive and select “Create” from the context menu or click “Create Partition” in the left side panel
- Edit the following items
- Make certain that the “Partition Align to” is set to MB
- File System: FAT
- Cluster Size 32 KB
- Reduce the Partition Size by 1 MB so that Unallocated Space After is 1 MB
- Optionally, set the Partition Label
- Once the values have been changed, click the “OK” button
- Click the “Apply” button to apply the changes
- Close the software and insert the card into the Psion. If using a SD or microSD card, you will need to use a CF adapter.
- The Psion should recognize the card.
If you see “Disk not present” or “Corrupt”, it is possible that the card will not be usable in the Psion. If you are using a SD or microSD card, it may be worth trying a different adapter. The good news is that every card I tested worked just fine after following the above process.
I did have an issue with a microSD to CF adapter but I was not surprised as it has a WiFi module in it. Most likely it was pulling more power than the Psion could deliver, which made it unusable. I had anticipated that but wanted to give it a try.
Below is a table showing the cards that I tried and a note if they worked or not. The cards names link to the Amazon product page.