Using CF cards in the HP 100LX

The biggest problem with the HP 100LX and the HP 200LX is getting information on them. Unfortunately, many of the old websites that contained useful and important information went down. Luckily some are still available on Archive.org (such an awesome website!), but they can't be found on Google or DuckDuckGo anymore. So I decided to repost some of the most useful things here :)

Today we will look into CF cards and see how and which ones are supported.

Let's start with the adapters first. The problem is, CF cards don't fit into the palmtop's slot by themselves. Luckily CF cards can be connected to a PCMCIA slot by a simple, passive adapter. I am using this one you can buy from Amazon.

IMG_0241.JPG

On the left, you can see an actual Flashcard from the same period. On the right, there is the CF card to PCMCIA adapter and on the bottom, you can see my 4 MB SanDisk CF card.

My 4 MB CF card is supported right out of the box. There is nothing else to do. Just access drive A in DOS. However, later cards with higher capacities don't work with DOS. For some cards, there is a driver available, called ACECARD3 which was developed to allow the use of modern cards in the HP 100LX and HP 200LX, by hooking into an interrupt and helping the BIOS to access these old cards.

You can download acecard3.zip from my website.

Installing the driver is rather simple. First, if you have not already done it, copy the files CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT from the ROM-drive (D:) to the root of the RAM-Disk (C:). Now, unzip the acecard3.zip archive onto an FAT16 formatted CF card that has a capacity of 16 MB or less. The most compatible cards are manufactured by SanDisk (formerly known as SunDisk). The next step involves copying the ACECARD3.COM file onto the root of the RAM-Disk (you can use the Filer application for this). Now start the Memo application and open the file C:\CONFIG.SYS. The following statement needs to be added to the file:

DEVICE=C:\ACECARD3.COM /SDP

Save the file and then reboot by pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del. If everything works fine, the driver should now be loaded and working. You can now insert the bigger, FAT16 formatted card. Make sure you have powered-off the palmtop before swapping cards!

Now let's get to the list of the supported CF cards (w/ and w/o adapter). The following table shows the CF cards that work or don't work on the 100LX and 200LX:

Card Palmtop Compatibility
brand capacity in MB Type
I=3mm
II=5mm
model# model BIOS ver. works with Doublespeed upgrade driver needed comments
A-1 Flash 256 Type I - 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Apacer 128 Type I - 200LX 1.01A no - only tested in doublespeed palmtop, doesn't work.
Canon 8 Type I FC-8M 200LX 1.02A yes - -
EagleTec 32 Type I - 200LX ? ? - Very power-hungry, crashes palmtop on write access when batteries get low. Not recommended.
Kingston Technology 64 Type I - 200LX 1.02A probably - -
Kingston Technology 128 Type I High Speed CF/128 9902366-001.A00 641603 200LX 1.02A some yes, some not. - Attention: Doesn't work with some double-speed palmtops!
Kingston Technology 256 Type I THNCF256MAA 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Kodak 20 Type I Sundisk SDP 5/3 0.6 200LX 1.02A probably - -
Lexar 16 Type I Marked CompactFlash USB Enabled 8x 16MB, P/N 2177, Rev A 100LX 1.03A ? acecard Card is USB enabled
Lexar 48 Type I CompactFlash 48MB 4X 200LX 1.02A yes - Card is USB enabled
Lexar 128 Type I CompactFlash 128MB 4X (or 12X), marked CF128-04-266 and USB Enabled, P/N 2175, Rev A 200LX 1.02A yes - Card is USB enabled
Memorex 64 Type I - 200LX 1.02A probably - -
PQI 32 Type I P/N FC032 200LX 1.01A - acecard problems reported, high power consumption, FAT problems, not recommended!, also strange that acecard driver is necessary.
PQI 64 Type I - 100LX/200LX/700LX 1.02A ? - reliability problems reported, not recommended!, also causes "card battery low" message in some cases. killmsg can avoid that. Relabeled e.g. as HAMA.
PQI 64 Type I P/N FC064, 5Q62D and 164822200007 200LX 1.02 yes acecard -
Pretec all Type I - 200LX all - - reliability problems reported, not recommended!
Ritdata 64 Type I - 200LX - ? on some 200LXes the acecard driver is needed Labeled ExtreMemory
Ritdata 256 Type I - 200LX - ? - Labeled ExtreMemory
Robanton 256 Type I? - 200LX - yes acecard -
Sandisk 4 Type I SDCFB 100LX / 200LX 1.02A ? - recommended
Sandisk 8 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 15 Type I - 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 30 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 64 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended. Labeled "RCA"
Sandisk 80 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 128 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 160 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 160 Type II - 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 192 Type I SDCFB 200LX 1.02A yes - recommended
Sandisk 256 Type I SDCFB AR0203NX China 200LX 1.02A probably - recommended
Sandisk 512 Type I SDCFB Copyright 99 AX0110ML USA 200LX 1.02A yes acecard recommended
Sandisk 1 GB Type I BB0206NK CHINA Copyright 99 200LX 1.02A yes acecard recommended; seems to work in some devices (MP3 players...) where the 512MB card fails
Sandisk 2 GB Type I SDCFB (not the 'ultra' version) 200LX 1.02A yes acecard recommended
Simple Technology 32 Type I - 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Simple Technology 48 Type I - 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Simple Technology 64 Type I markings 90000-00756-032 and 001002-FL1-001 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Simple Technology 96 Type I - 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Toshiba 64 Type I THNCF064MMA 200LX, 700LX ? ? - -
Toshiba 256 Type I THNCF256MAA 200LX 1.02A yes - Labeled Kingston Technology, "High speed"
Transcend 128 Type I - 200LX 1.01A yes - -
Twinmos Mediastore (TM) 256 Type I Ultra High Speed Serialno: 251M52069330136 P/N:FCF256S Made in Taiwan 200LX 1.02A yes - -
Verbatim 32 Type I 0441CT4E 200LX 1.01A probably - -
Verbatim 128 Type I 021711 200LX 1.02A yes - -

The table was taken from http://www.hermocom.com/hplx/view-all-hp-palmtop-articles/13-storagecards. It is hard to tell if the site will go down in the next time, so I am backing the information up here. The site has already moved the article so most links are broken by now. I hope this will be useful for other HP owners in the future :)

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