PCMCIA PC Cards and adapter

One thing about technological progress, your legacy devices will no longer work with the ever newer hardware incorporated with the new computers. Take for instance the PCMCIA PC Card, the new laptops do not support them anymore. They have come up with a new type of PC Card slot called the ExpressCard.

The ExpressCard slot was meant to replace the PCMCIA slot as it has a faster bandwidth connection and was based on the PCI Express and USB2.0 standard. The ExpressCard slot has an L-shape indent to fit the narrower 34mm socket to differentiate it from its predecessor. Also the ExpressCard is physically and technically incompatible, thus all the new laptops could not have dual slot function in the same socket.

Either the ExpressCard is quite new or not many vendor support this new socket because I could not find many products that uses this kind of slot in the market. I could only find one shop displaying some ExpressCard products but mostly I could see only PCMCIA devices being sold in the retail shops. One of the products like the IZZI “4G” wireless internet broadband service also uses the older PCMCIA standard.

The PCMCIA PC-Card PCI card adapter.


As I have some device that I would like to make use of, I decided to purchase a PCMCIA PCI card adapter that could insert the PCMCIA card. The current going rate for this product was about RM70 at the ALL IT retail outlet. This item has a fast sales turnover due to IZZI wireless card requires a PCMCIA slot. It was the last piece when I decided to purchase it.

It uses a Ricoh chipset and installation was fairly easy as no device driver was needed to install it into the desktop PC. Though sometimes it was rather buggy as my Windows Vista could not detect the PCI card properly once in a while during boot up.

Once it could be detected, PC cards that were inserted, they were recognized by Windows Vista and the appropriate drivers were installed by Vista to run it. No drivers were included with the package as it relied on Windows to provide the necessary drivers. I could run my old legacy Zip-Drive 250 connector, my SmartMedia card reader, and my old Kingston Compact Flash card reader. I didn’t try it on my old 28.8kbps Motorola dial-up modem, but I presume it should recognize it if I were to test it out since it was such an old hardware.

As technology moves on, eventually the PCMCIA standard will be dropped completely in favour of faster socket like the ExpressCard, or the versatile USB2.0 ports. But for now, if you have to use products that need this kind of slot, no choice but to get a PCMCIA PCI card adapter in order to run it.

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7 Responses to “PCMCIA PC Cards and adapter”

  1. djchuang says:

    I am quite surprised at how the ExpressCard slots are taking over the new laptops, but yet there are millions of PCMCIA PC Cards still around that work just fine. There are several other adapters available to use a PC Cardbus Card in an ExpressCard slot. I’ve built a web page with information about 3 different kinds of adapters at http://www.djchuang.com/on/technology/pcmcia-card-in-expresscard/

  2. Marcus says:

    Hi Jan,

    Did you manage to get the IZZI PCMCIA to work with your desktop?
    Please email me at marcus_9x9@yahoo.com.

    Thanks in advance
    Marcus

  3. Jan says:

    I don’t use IZZI, but the sales guy said that many people bought the PCMCIA adaptor just for IZZI 4G wireless broadband usage. I bought it because, I wanted to use it for my legacy PC Card devices.

  4. Naveen says:

    hi Jan, where did you get the PCMCIA adaptor from. I have an IZZI PCMCIA card, but a newer laptop which does not have a PCMCIA slot. Is there something like USB to PCMCIA adaptor so that I can use the IZZI PCMCIA card in my new laptop. I am based in Kuala Lumpur.

  5. joyce says:

    Hi! the PCI adapter you got, can u please tell me to exact name of the product?
    Also, U r talking about the All IT hypermarket in Lowyat (KL), right?

    Appreciate all your help, you can offline msg me on joyce.apiit@yahoo.com if its more convenient. thnx!

  6. Jan says:

    Hello Joyce,
    PCMCIA (PC Card) is not compatible with PCexpress slot. You need to find device that is PCexpress card type. Ask the IZZI people to provide PCExpress card adaptor, otherwise use the USB version from them.
    Cheers!
    Jan.

  7. Roosevelt Loreg says:

    Try running your cleaner with Administrator permissions (If you use Vista)

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