Friday, January 22, 2010

U111-M Q&A, Compatibility with Mac OS X?

U111M USB reader for ATA Flash and SRAM PCMCIA PC CardsQuestion: Interested in purchasing the USB to PC card reader/writer but i want to make sure it is compatible with Apple computers and OS X.

Answer: Unfortunately, the U111-M currently doesn't work with Mac OS X as of this writing (January 2010). We've tested it extensively under Linux (Xubuntu Linux 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) amd64 edition), and even discovered viable work-around methods to get the U111M to work with OpenBSD (OpenBSD 4.6 beta i386 edition). However, the way the U111-M presents itself to Mac OS X precludes using even low level commands like diskutil and mount_msdos from Terminal. Mac OS X sees the U111M reader, and even the capacity of the inserted PCMCIA PC Card, but can't read the MBR of the PCMCIA PC Card, and hence is unable to treat it as a filesystem.

We're not sure if this is Elan or Apple's fault, but we're just as disappointed that it doesn't work with the Mac since we're Mac users too. If you have a spare Linux or OpenBSD machine, we can send you instructions for getting the U111M to work with those systems. U111-M also works with Windows 2000, XP 32, Vista 32.

If you have no need to read PCMCIA PC Card SRAM, and just need to read PCMCIA PC Card ATA Flash, we do have two different combinations of products that are well supported under Mac OS X.

PCM-CR-UEMUL03 MotionFlash32 USB 2.0 to 5 Slot Multi-Card Read-Writer 
in conjunction with the
ADP-ATA-CF CompactFlash Type I to 16-bit PC Card Type I/II Adapter for ATA Flash


PCM-CR-FW81ECF-02 CFFire800 Pro FireWire 800 to UDMA CompactFlash Drive Read-Writer 
in conjunction with the
ADP-ATA-CF CompactFlash Type I to 16-bit PC Card Type I/II Adapter for ATA Flash

Ordinarily we would recommend the FireWire solution because of overwhelming speed advantages, but ATA Flash PCMCIA PC Cards are so slow (PIO mode 4 -- max), that even USB 2.0 is more than adequate to read and write to them.

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