Well, I’m pleased to say I’ve had total success with the Compact Flash cards in the end. The Dual Compact Flash board in the 2.5 inch drive form factor has really pleased me!

It enabled me to have two 4GB Compact Flash cards plugged into the Qubide and Super Gold Card on the Aurora-based Minis-QL. Using the Qubide Partition_exe program, I was able to divide both cards into 1GB drives (well, 3x 1GB and 1x 0.7GB to be exact).

I learned the hard way that not all Compact Flash IDE adaptor boards are equal when it comes to Qubides: Some will not let you use more than 2GB in total and there was plenty of experience of the Partition_exe program locking up or just plain not working with some of the cheaper adaptors. I’m not sure if they skimp on the addressing or what else might be going on, but of the half dozen or so adaptors I have here, four worked perfectly, one was temperamental and intermittent and one would only allow me to create a single WIN drive and nothing else.

The particular card I used in the end is called the Syba Dual Compact Flash to 2.5 inch 44 pin IDE adaptor, it cost £11.38 from Amazon with free UK Super-Saver delivery when I bought it recently. The picture below shows it alongside a standard 2.5inch hard drive for comparison (it looks the same size because it’s meant to replace a standard 2.5 inch laptop IDE drive with two Compact Flash cards. It’s a 44-pin IDE device, like a 2.5 inch IDE hard disk drive, while the Qubide has a 40 pin IDE connector. So we need an adaptor – the extra 4 pins carry power and most adaptors split the 44 pin connection into a 40 pin IDE connection (larger connector) plus a floppy drive style small power connector. These come in two types, a small board like the little green one shown in the picture, and an adaptor cable with the extra 4 wires of the 44 pin ribbon cable separated to a power connector. As the original 2.5 inch hard disk drive in the Minis-QL had such an adaptor, I just reused that one, “simples” as a certain meerkat might say.

Once connected to the Qubide, it was necessary to format the first drive with a FORMAT command – FORMAT WIN1_name and follow the prompts – enter a zero when asked how many cylinders f you want to make it maximum capacity. If your compact flash card is large enough to store more than one WIN drive you can use the Qubide PARTITION_EXE program to create more than one partition. On my 4GB card, I opted to create 4 WIN drives, 3 of about 1GB each and a fourth of about 0.7GB. I used the Change command to define the following drive settings as shown in the table below.

The start and end values are what the Qubide manual refers to as ‘cylinders’ on a hard disk – the start and end cylinders respectively. Block size 32 means use 16KB clusters.

Number Name Start End  MB   Blocks
1      WIN1 0     2079 1023 32
2      WIN2 2080  4159 1023 32
3      WIN3 4160  6239 1023 32
4      WIN4 6240  7740 740  32
Photo of Syba Dual Compact Flash and a 2.5 inch hard disk drive

Syba Dual Compact Flash and a 2.5 inch hard disk drive


3 thoughts on “Success!

  1. Great job Dilwyn, your experience will be useful for all QLers that have Qubide interface…I’m not the one but I hope to find it asap 🙂
    Thank you

  2. I had some tries 2 years ago with CF readers on Qubide and experimented some stranges behaviours between marques and devices and specialy big differences for performance. I had managed to make working on unit with 1GB card partitionned in master or slave.

    I can remember one trick to make on Qubide (cutting a piste on board) to handle with the cable select future on IDE when using devices without master/slave select.

    Finaly i live now with one hard disk, one ZIP 100Mo, on CF reader and one CDROM devices on Qubide. Yes there are four devices together managed with 2 masters/slaves units on Expander that i built (handwork) derivated from a Nasta published article. The hard way was that i had to adapt a major part of Qubide driver (detection and timing issues, support of ATAPI devices like CDROM, ….) and in fact i rewrote entirely the driver to make it easier to maintain and more compact to fit into the ROM. This work was in advanced step but not enough to put the new driver (called V3) available for community.

    Major problems to achieve tasks are time and the fact that i have only one Qubide unit in my main system that i must use for tests purposes (corrupted maps was frequents on early steps…). So, if anybody having a working Qubide (any version welcome) that can separate from, i would be happy to buy it. I heard also about Qubide clone but i dont know if really exists.

  3. Dilwyn, in my previous comment on connecting the CF card I totally forgot to mention the Qubide modification I made. I wonder if you are aware of this tip that came from QLer Peter Fox:
    – “The modification affects only the ability to read CF cards and nothing else. I got this .jpg from Phoebus Dokos a very long time ago. I have got two IDE CF card readers attached to mine.” –
    This may explain why some of your IF’s do work and others don’t.
    I see no option to include the jpg in this comment, so let me know privately if you want it.


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