WTB: Microtech PCD-40 SCSI Card Reader for mpc 2000

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rfbutter
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WTB: Microtech PCD-40 SCSI Card Reader for mpc 2000

Post by rfbutter » Tue Feb 06, 2007 8:50 am

Hello all, looking for an external card reader for my mpc 2000. Just wondering if anyone on the board had one laying around, as I've been unable to find a retail outlet that still has them in stock. If you happen to have a case with no drive in it that'll work too. Thanks.
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blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Thu Feb 08, 2007 7:17 pm

the Intermart/Microtech SCSI readers have not been made in years, so it's highly unlikely you would find one in a retail store. the PCD-40 is an intergrated small case (about the size of a small paperback, 4" x 6" x 3/4") and consequently it's not removable like some of the other Microtech/Intermart drives that go into desktop computer drive slots.

the most common one i see nowadays is the PCD-47B, but bear in mind not all of them have the proper firmware that allows you to write to the card - you'd need to search out the last firmware update that allows that, otherwise it won't work for some reason with the MPC2000. my PCD-47B is like that, but i don't feel like ripping apart the wife's PC to put in a SCSI card to flash the firmware so i use it for another sampler. the cool thing is it reads Smart Media, CF and PCMCIA, otherwise with the PCD-40 you'd need a card adapter. i have a cheapo CF adapter that fits in the PCMCIA slot (that's all the PCD-40 has) and it works like a champ with my MPC2000.

the PCD-40 does indeed work with the MPC2000, as do some of the older drives that fit in drive bays like the PCD-10/15/20/25 (saw this on midicase.com, have never verified myself but the guy who wrote the page is very knowledgeable and apparantly took the trouble to test various MPC and Akai sampler models). there is probably a PCD-47 that would likely work with the 2000 as well, they fiddled around with the 47B and it seems to work with the 2000XL but not the 2000 without being flashed with the firmware update (i have it somewhere if you need it).

the only place i know of to find them is on eBay, and you have to be diligent and patient to pick them up cheaply. there are some web outfits that charge $150 or so for a complete drive, ready to go, which is not too unreasonable considering thier scarcity. but if you keep looking eventually on eVilBay you'll find one for 1/3 of that price or so. but everyone is starting to get wise to them, especially once you've gotten tired of the Zip drive game...

now, you *might* be able to use an ATAPI version of the card reader if your computer can read MPC2000 formatted cards. i use OSX and it reads the card i format in the MPC no problem - previously impossible in OS 9, and i don't know the deelio about Win98 or XP. if you could, you could get a MPC2000 formatted disk image (i have one as backup), slap the ATAPI PCD drive in the slot where the floppy drive normally lives and you would boot the MPC from the card. it's very quick, a good bit faster than floppy. you would HAVE to have a backup or multiple MPC formatted cards with the OS installed, or else you would be SOL.... the limitation of ATAPI readers was that the OS on the MPC2000 was not onboard and had to be read from the floppy..... no OS on the CF card, no boot, but you have no floppy drive so you can't boot from it either. actually, you could have a SCSI drive MPC formatted with the OS on it, that might work. then you just copy the OS to the card after it's formatted. it has to be MPC2000 formatted or the MPC will not boot from a disk/card.

this is all speculation - i have a hard-on for putting a card reader in my MPC so i can be all slick-like, just like XL users have been doing so i'll do it some day (XL users have thier OS on ROM, and so they can use ATAPI devices in place of the floppy no problem. but i'll bet it will work on the 2000 as well.

sorry for the long windedness, but that's the skinny on the PCD series of drives and the MPC2000.

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rfbutter
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Post by rfbutter » Fri Feb 09, 2007 8:20 am

No apologies needed, thanks for the info. I've been on the mpc forums alot lately trying to piece together what works and what doesn't. I guess you can mount a cf reader inside the 2000 but it requires flipping the scsi port inwards and splitting it. Not something I feel comfortable doing. I'll have to start the hunt for the pieces and work a little Dr. Frankenstien magic. Again thanks for the info and would you mind if I pm you if I have any other questions.
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blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Fri Feb 09, 2007 4:09 pm

rfbutter wrote:No apologies needed, thanks for the info. I've been on the mpc forums alot lately trying to piece together what works and what doesn't. I guess you can mount a cf reader inside the 2000 but it requires flipping the scsi port inwards and splitting it. Not something I feel comfortable doing. I'll have to start the hunt for the pieces and work a little Dr. Frankenstien magic. Again thanks for the info and would you mind if I pm you if I have any other questions.
sure, no prob -

now, if you were to mount a *SCSI* card reader drive like the PCD-47B, etc. in where the floppy is, yes, it would be a tall order. i wouldn't want to go through all that mess.

but the floppy drive in the MPC2000 is almost certainly ATAPI - and there were ATAPI card reader drives made by Microtech (to fit in PC drive bays, of course).

as i said above, the limitation would have been that the 2000 has to format the drive/floppy/card as "MPC2000" format (i think it's a FAT12 or FAT16 disk format, similar to the old Windows 95) in order to be able to boot from it.

for me, it wasn't possible until i got a Mac with OS X. i had to use the standard PC format (FAT32, i think?) to transfer Zip discs back and forth with OS 9 or i would have excruciatingly slow disk read/writes and ultimately get a "-39 disk error" . but a FAT32 formatted disk will not boot an MPC2000.

but i found out that my MPC formatted Zip discs mounted fine in OS X, as long as it didn't have multiple partitions (i think they were just ignored). now, the original information floating around on the MPC forums is from Mike Goins at midicase.com and is several years old by now, and a lot of those people on the forums are a little bit mystified about SCSi, MPC/computer transfer and card readers, etc. anyway.

i'm going to give it a try if i find an ATAPI Microtech drive super cheap, but i am 99% sure it will work - the drive will slide right in just as it would on a 2000XL. as i said before, the reason the XL can use ATAPI card drives is that there is no need to boot from a disk/flopppy/card with the XL - it's OS resides on a ROM chip, which was a big advantage over the original 2000.

i already have two CF cards that work fine in between the MPC2000/PCD-40 and computer (and an ancient Cameramate USB card reader), so the MPC2000 native format mismatch ball ache of days past is definitely a non-issue now, at least for Mac. i don't know if that's the case with WinXP, i would imagine it's just as tolerant of the MPC2000 disk format*...

i think anyone with OSX (i'm using 10.3.9) and a ATAPI Zip could do the same thing. the big caveat is, have one or preferably two Zip discs MPC2000 formatted WITH THE OS ALREADY ON. easy to do if you already have a SCSI Zip drive, just format the Zips on the MPC and load the OS either from the floppy drive or download it and drag and drop in on the Zip. otherwise you'll have to reinstall the floppy, because *the 2000 MUST load it's OS off of a MPC2000 formatted disk!*

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rfbutter
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Post by rfbutter » Sat Feb 10, 2007 8:55 am

Let me know how it goes as I am using osx as well. I will begin my search accordingly.
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blakbeltjonez
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Post by blakbeltjonez » Sat Feb 10, 2007 10:11 am

rfbutter wrote:Let me know how it goes as I am using osx as well. I will begin my search accordingly.
the only hang-up that might happen would be if the MPC2000 OS 1.72 didn't recognize the ATAPI device for some reason.... there was apparantly a 2000XL version of the OS that adressed removable media ATAPI devices (you can't use IDE in the floppy slot). but, i know there are some XL's using the older OS with ATAPI Zip drives so i suspect it's the same thing with the 2000 floppy.

you also need to make sure you have a USB card reader that works well with OSX - my Microtech Cameramate USB suddenly just stopped working yesterday when i turned on the computer... apparantly lots of people have had problems with drivers, but it's discontinued so it's unlikely to be resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

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