Flashtoaster for reading several types of flash

Flashtoaster for reading several types of flash
US 20030041203A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2003/0041203 A1
Jones et al.
(54)
(43) Pub. Date:
FLASHTOASTER FOR READING SEVERAL
(52)
Feb. 27, 2003
US. Cl. ............................................................ .. 710/301
TYPES OF FLASH-MEMORY CARDS WITH
OR WITHOUT A PC
57
(75) Inventors: Larry Lawson Jones, Palo Alto, CA
(US); Sreenath Mambakkam, San
Jose, CA (US); Arockiyaswamy
Vellkidu, Menlo Park, CA (Us)
C
d
Add
A?ash-memory-card reader reads and Writes multiple types
of ?ash-memory cards, including CompactFlash, and the
_
smaller SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and
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Memory Stick. A converter chip converts the different card
P 0 BOX 51418
PALO ALTO, CA 94303 (Us)
signals for transfer to a host personal computer (PC). Serial
to-parallel data conversion is performed for the smaller card
_
formats With serial data interfaces, but not for CompactFlash
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With a parallel-data interface. A single slot has a 50-pin
connector for CompactFlash cards or passive adapters. The
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Pass“
adaP ters have the ComP actFlash form factor and a
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Jun_ 11, 2002
smaller connector ?tting smaller ?ash cards. Passive adapt
ers have no components but simply Wire the smaller con
nector to the CompactFlash connector. A pin mapping
Related US Application Data
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alloWs card-type detection by sensing the LSB address pins
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of the CompactFlash interface. A larger CompactFlash
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reader has multiple slots for each card type. The reader is
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connected to the PC by a cable, or located Within the PC
Publication Classi?cation
(51)
ABSTRACT
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chassis in a drive bay. A stand-alone reader copies images
from the ?ash-memory card to a removable disk media.
Pressing a button initiates image transfer.
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Patent Application Publication
Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 1 0f 11
US 2003/0041203 A1
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FIG. 1A (PRIOR ART)
FIG. 1B (PRIOR ART)
FIG. 1C (PRIOR ART)
Patent Application Publication
Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 2 0f 11
US 2003/0041203 A1
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Patent Application Publication
Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 3 0f 11
US 2003/0041203 A1
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Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 7 0f 11
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Patent Application Publication
Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 8 0f 11
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Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 9 0f 11
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Patent Application Publication
Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 10 0f 11
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Patent Application Publication
Feb. 27, 2003 Sheet 11 0f 11
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Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
FLASHTOASTER FOR READING SEVERAL
TYPES OF FLASH-MEMORY CARDS WITH OR
WITHOUT A PC
sell for as little as SSS-10. CompactFlash is a trademark of
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
PCMCIA slots 22 that CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10 can ?t
into. Then the user merely has to copy the image ?les from
CompactFlash card 16 to the hard disk of PC 20. Since
SanDisk Corp. of Sunnyvale, Calif.
[0009] FIG. 1C shoWs a PC connected to a PCMCIA
reader. Most laptop and notebook PCs contain one or tWo
[0001] This invention relates to ?ash-memory readers, and
more particularly for interfacing several different types of
?ash-memory cards to a personal computer.
high-speed parallel buses are used, transfer is rapid, about
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
serial-cable transfer can be reduced to less than a minute
[0002] Digital cameras have become one of the most
popular of electronic devices. In a recent year, more digital
cameras Were sold than traditional ?lm cameras. Images
from digital cameras can be doWnloaded and stored on
personal computers. Digital pictures can be converted to
common formats such as JPEG and sent as e-mail attach
the same speed as accessing the hard disk. Thus a half-hour
With the $5 CF-to-PCMCIA adapter.
[0010] Desktop PCs usually do not have PCMCIA slots.
Then PCMCIA reader 12 can be used. PCMCIA reader 12
accepts CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10 and connects to PC 20
through a parallel or high-speed Universal Serial Bus (USB)
cable.
ments or posted to virtual photo albums on the Internet.
Video as Well as still images can be captured, depending on
the kind of digital camera.
[0011] Multiple Flash-Card Formats
[0012] Although the CompactFlash card format is rela
[0003] Digital cameras typically capture images electroni
cally and ultimately store the images as bits (ones and Zeros)
smaller cards have recently emerged. FIG. 2A illustrates
various formats of ?ash-memory cards used With digital
on a solid-state memory. Flash memory is the most common
cameras. Many digital cameras still use CompactFlash card
16, Which can be inserted into CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10
for transfer to a PC. Other smaller, thinner formats have
emerged and are used With some manufacturer’s digital
cameras. For eXample, SmartMedia card 24 is less than half
storage for digital cameras. Flash memory contains one or
more electrically-erasable read-only-memory (EEPROM)
integrated circuit chips that alloW reading, Writing, and
block erasing.
[0004] Early digital cameras required the user to doWnload
or transfer the images from the ?ash memory Within the
digital camera to a personal computer (PC). Astandard serial
cable Was most Widely used. HoWever, the limited transfer
rate of the serial cable and the large siZe of the digital images
made such serial doWnloads a patience-building experience.
Serial doWnloads could easily take half an hour for only a
feW doZen images.
[0005] Digital camera manufacturers solved this problem
by placing the ?ash memory chips on a small removable
card. The ?ash-memory card could then be removed from
the digital camera, much as ?lm is removed from a standard
camera. The ?ash-memory card could then be inserted into
an appropriate slot in a PC, and the image ?les directly
copied to the PC.
[0006]
FIG. 1A shoWs a ?ash memory card and adapter
for transferring images from a digital camera to a PC. Auser
takes pictures With digital camera 14 that are stored in image
?les on ?ash memory chip(s). The ?ash memory chip is
contained in CompactFlash card 16, Which can be removed
from digital camera 14 by pressing a card-eject button. Thus
CompactFlash card 16 contains the image ?les.
[0007]
While some smaller hand-held computers or per
sonal-digital-assistants (PDA) have slots that receive Com
pactFlash cards, most PC’s do not. Laptop or notebook PCs
have PC-card (earlier knoWn as PCMCIA, Personal Com
puter Memory Card International Association) slots that can
receive PCMCIA cards. Many functions have been placed
on PCMCIA cards, such as modems, Ethernet, ?ash
memory, encryption keys, and even miniature hard drives.
[0008]
CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10 is a passive adapter that
contains an opening that receives CompactFlash card 16.
FIG. 1B shoWs CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10 With Compact
Flash card 16 inserted. Such CF-to-PCMCIA adapters 10
tively small, being not much more than an inch square, other
an inch long, yet has enough ?ash memory capacity for
doZens of images. SmartMedia-to-PCMCIA adapter 10‘ is
available commercially for about $60. The higher cost is
believed to be due to a converter chip Within adapter 10‘.
Also, different adapters 10‘ are required for different
memory capacities of SmartMedia card 24. SmartMedia is a
trademark of the SSFDC Forum of Tokyo, Japan.
[0013] Other kinds of ?ash-memory cards that are being
championed by different manufacturers include MultiMedi
aCard (MMC) 28 and the related Secure Digital Card (SD)
26. MMC is a trademark of SanDisk Corp. of Sunnyvale,
Calif. While SD is controlled by the SD Group that includes
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., SanDisk Corporation,
Toshiba Corp. Another emerging form factor from SONY is
Memory Stick 18. Memory Stick has a PCMCIA/Floppy
adapter While MMC has a ?oppy adapter.
[0014] The different physical shapes and pin arrangements
of cards 24, 26, 28 and Memory Stick 18 prevent their use
in CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10. Indeed, most of these cards
24, 26, 28 have less than a doZen pins, While CompactFlash
card 16 has a larger 50-pin interface. Furthermore, serial
data interfaces are used in the smaller cards 24, 26, 28 While
a parallel data bus is used With CompactFlash card 16.
[0015] FIG. 2B shoWs a Memory Stick-to-PCMCIA
adapter using an active converter chip. Memory Stick 18 ?ts
into an opening in Memory Stick-to-PCMCIA adapter 15,
alloWing adapter 15 and the Memory Stick to be plugged
into a standard PCMCIA slot on a PC. HoWever, adapter 15
has an integrated circuit (IC) converter chip 11 Within it.
Converter chip 11 may be needed to convert the serial data
format of Memory Stick 18 to the parallel data format of a
68-pin PCMCIA slot. Inclusion of converter chip 11 in
adapter 15 signi?cantly increases the cost and complexity of
adapter 15 compared to CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10 Which is
a passive adapter Without a converter chip.
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
[0016] While the advances in ?ash-memory card technol
ogy are useful, the many different cards formats present a
confusing array of interface requirements to a PC. Different
adapters are needed for each of the card formats. PCMCIA
card reader 12 can be replaced With other format readers,
such as a SmartMedia Card reader, and even some multi
standard readers are available, such as a universal reader
from LeXar Media that reads CompactFlash or SmartMedia
in addition to PCMCIA.
[0017] What is desired is a universal adapter for ?ash
memory cards of several different formats. An adapter that
[0024] FIG. 1B shoWs CF-to-PCMCIA adapter 10 With
CompactFlash card 16 inserted.
[0025]
FIG. 1C shoWs a PC connected to a PCMCIA
reader.
[0026]
FIG. 2A illustrates various formats of ?ash
memory cards used With digital cameras.
[0027] FIG. 2B shoWs a Memory Stick-to-PCMCIA
adapter using an active converter chip.
[0028]
FIG. 3A shoWs a universal CompactFlash adapter
Memory Stick cards is desired. A ?ash-card reader With a
that accepts SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital,
and Memory Stick ?ash-memory cards.
single slot that accepts any format card using the adapter is
[0029]
desired. Special detection logic on the ?ash reader is desired
to distinguish betWeen the many ?ash-card formats is desir
able. AloW-cost passive adapter is desired that does not need
an expensive converter chip. A multi-format reader is
SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and Memory
Stick ?ash-memory cards through passive adapters to the
accepts SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and
desired for a PC. A stand-alone ?ash reader is desired that
can copy image ?les from ?ash cards Without a PC is also
desired.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
[0018] A single-slot multi-?ash-card reader has a personal
FIG. 3B shoWs a CompactFlash reader that reads
CompactFlash form factor.
[0030] FIGS. 4A-E shoW card-type detection using the A1,
A0 pins of the CompactFlash reader interface.
[0031]
FIG. 5 is a table of pin mappings for the Smart
Media, MMC/SD, and Memory Stick to CompactFlash
adapters.
computer interface for transferring data to a personal com
puter. Aconverter means is coupled to the personal computer
[0032] FIG. 6 is a diagram of a multi-slot embodiment of
the ?ash-card reader.
interface. It converts multiple ?ash-card interfaces to a
[0033]
format used by the personal computer interface. The mul
tiple ?ash-card interfaces include a CompactFlash interface
and smaller interfaces having feWer pins that the Compact
Flash interface.
[0019]
A CompactFlash connector is coupled to the con
verter means. It receives a CompactFlash card through a
single slot in the single-slot multi-?ash-card reader. The
CompactFlash connector makes electrical connection With
the CompactFlash card for signals in the CompactFlash
interface.
[0034] FIG. 8 shoWs a PC chassis With a ?ash-card reader
in one of the drive bays.
[0035] FIG. 9 is a diagram of a stand-alone FlashToaster
that accepts several formats of ?ash-memory cards and can
copy images to a removable disk Without being connected to
a host PC.
[0036]
mating CompactFlash connector that ?ts the CompactFlash
connector. The adapter also has a smaller connector. The
FIG. 10 is a diagram of the converter chip for the
?ash-memory reader.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
[0020] An adapter has a physical shape to removably
insert into the CompactFlash connector. The adapter has a
FIG. 7 shoWs a ?ash-memory reader Within a PC.
[0037]
The present invention relates to an improvement in
?ash-memory card readers. The folloWing description is
smaller connector ?ts to other ?ash-memory cards having
the smaller interfaces.
presented to enable one of ordinary skill in the art to make
[0021] A Wiring means in the adapter connects betWeen
the smaller connector and the mating CompactFlash con
cations to the preferred embodiment Will be apparent to
those With skill in the art, and the general principles de?ned
herein may be applied to other embodiments. Therefore, the
nector. It directly connects signals from the smaller connec
tor in the smaller interface With signals in the mating
CompactFlash connector. Thus the adapter alloWs the other
?ash-memory cards having the smaller interfaces to ?t into
the CompactFlash connector through the single slot to be
read by the converter means.
[0022] In further aspects the Wiring means connects card
select signals from all of the smaller interfaces to card select
signals in the CompactFlash connector. The converter means
includes a card-detect means that is coupled to sense the card
select signals. It detects presence of a ?ash-memory card
inserted into the CompactFlash connector. Thus the con
verter means detects presence of CompactFlash and the
other ?ash-memory cards having the smaller interfaces.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
[0023]
FIG. 1A shoWs a ?ash memory card and adapter
for transferring images from a digital camera to a PC.
and use the invention as provided in the conteXt of a
particular application and its requirements. Various modi?
present invention is not intended to be limited to the par
ticular embodiments shoWn and described, but is to be
accorded the Widest scope consistent With the principles and
novel features herein disclosed.
[0038] The inventors have realiZed that a universal adapter
can be constructed using the CompactFlash card form factor.
Areader that reads CompactFlash cards can then read any of
the other ?ash-memory cards that plug into the Compact
Flash adapter. The adapters are simple, inexpensive passive
adapters Without a conversion chip.
[0039] The inventors have found a pin mapping from the
smaller ?ash-card formats to CompactFlash that alloWs for
easy detection of the type of ?ash-memory card inserted into
the adapter. Detection of the type of ?ash-memory card is
thus performed automatically by electronic detection by the
CompactFlash reader. The CompactFlash reader is modi?ed
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
to perform this card-type detection. Signal conversion such
as serial-to-parallel is performed by the CompactFlash
reader rather than by the adapter. Adapter costs are reduced
While CompactFlash reader cost is increased only slightly.
The CompactFlash reader can use a single CompactFlash
slot to read multiple ?ash-card types, including SmartMedia,
MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, and Com
pactFlash.
[0040] In another embodiment, the CompactFlash reader
is someWhat larger, and has multiple slots. The adapter is not
needed in this embodiment. Instead, a slot is provided for
each of the ?ash-memory card formats—SmartMedia, Mul
tiMediaCard, Secure Digital,
CompactFlash reader then detects the card type and per
forms serial-to-parallel conversion.
[0049]
FIG. 3B shoWs a CompactFlash reader that reads
SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and Memory
Stick ?ash-memory cards through passive adapters to the
CompactFlash form factor. CompactFlash reader 42 has an
opening or slot With 50-pin connector 44 that accepts
CompactFlash card 16. Controller chip 40 performs hand
shaking With CompactFlash card 16 and performs data
transfer. CompactFlash reader 42 also connects to a PC over
USB connector 46. Controller chip 40 also controls the USB
interface to the host PC, alloWing image ?les to be trans
ferred to the PC from CompactFlash card 16.
[0041] Memory Stick, and CompactFlash. APCMCIA can
[0050]
also be added. This CompactFlash reader can be connected
to the PC by a USB cable, or it can be located Within the PC
chassis.
by CompactFlash reader 42. For eXample, adapter 34 alloWs
[0042]
adapter 34 has the same form factor as a CompactFlash card.
In a third embodiment, the CompactFlash reader is
Other kinds of ?ash-memory cards can also be read
Memory Stick 18 to be read. Memory Stick adapter 34 has
an opening that Memory Stick 18 ?ts into, While Memory
Stick adapter 34 itself ?ts into 50-pin connector 44, since
a stand-alone device that can operate Without a PC. A
removable disk media such as a R/W CD-ROM is included.
[0051]
Images from the ?ash-memory card are copied to the
Flash reader 42, using SmartMedia adapter 30. LikeWise,
SmartMedia card 24 can also be read by Compact
removable disk media by the CompactFlash reader. Asimple
MultiMediaCard 28 or Secure Digital card 28 can be read
interface is used, such as having the user presses a button to
using MMC/SD adapter 32.
initiate image transfer.
[0043] Universal, Passive Adapters—FIGS. 3A-B
[0044]
FIG. 3A shoWs a universal CompactFlash adapter
that accepts SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital,
and Memory Stick ?ash-memory cards. Digital camera 14
stores images on ?ash memory that is in one of several card
types. CompactFlash card 16 uses a 50-pin connector and
[0052] Adapters 30, 32, 34 are passive adapters that only
connect pins from the smaller ?ash-memory cards to the
50-pin CompactFlash connector. An active converter chip is
not required, greatly reducing cost and compleXity.
[0053] Detection of Card Type—FIGS. 4A-E
transfers image data in a 16-bit parallel format.
[0054] FIGS. 4A-E detail detection of the type of ?ash
memory card by the CompactFlash reader. Since the same
CompactFlash slot is used for many kinds of ?ash-memory
[0045] SmartMedia card 24 is smaller ?ash-memory card
cards, a detection method is useful so that the user doesn’t
With a 22-pin interface and transfers data in an 8-bit parallel
have to eXplicitly indicate What type of ?ash-memory card
is inserted into the CompactFlash reader.
format. SmartMedia adapter 30 converts the 22-pin Smart
Media interface to ?t Within the 50-pin CompactFlash
interface. When SmartMedia card 24 is plugged into Smart
Media adapter 30, both can be plugged into a CompactFlash
slot on a CompactFlash reader. Of course, ordinary Com
pactFlash readers Will not be able to read SmartMedia card
24 since special signal conversion is required by the Com
pactFlash reader.
[0046] MultiMediaCard 28 and Secure Digital card 26 are
?ash-memory cards With similar 9-pin interfaces. Serial data
transfer is used through a single Data I/O pin. MMC/SD
adapter 32 has an opening With a 9-pin connector to receive
either MultiMediaCard 28 or Secure Digital card 26. Once
MultiMediaCard 28 or Secure Digital card 26 is inserted into
MMC/SD adapter 32, then MMC/SD adapter 32 can be
inserted into a
[0047] CompactFlash slot on a special CompactFlash
reader. The CompactFlash reader then detects the card type
and performs serial-to-parallel conversion.
[0048] Memory Stick 18 is also a ?ash-memory card With
a 9-pin, serial-data interface, but is narroWer and longer than
MultiMediaCard 28 or Secure Digital card 26. Memory
Stick adapter 34 has an opening With a 10-pin connector to
receive Memory Stick 18. Once Memory Stick 18 is
inserted, Memory Stick adapter 32 can itself be inserted into
a CompactFlash slot on a special CompactFlash reader. The
[0055] The inventors have carefully eXamined the pins of
the interfaces to the various ?ash-memory cards and have
discovered that type-detection can be performed by eXam
ining tWo address pins. Address pins A0 and A1 are the
least-signi?cant-bits (LSB) of the address of the 50-pin
CompactFlash interface. These pins are normally inputs to
the CompactFlash card and thus are driven by the Compact
Flash reader. When the reader does not drive A0, A1 to the
inserted CompactFlash card, the A0, A1 pins ?oat or are
pulled high by pullup resistors.
[0056] Address pins are not present on the other kinds of
?ash-memory cards. Instead, the address and data are mul
tipleXed. For MMC/SD and Memory Stick, the address is
sent serially. Using the adapters, pins from the other ?ash
memory cards can be connected to the CompactFlash pins.
Pins A0 and A1 are used to detect the type of card. For
SmartMedia, the addresses are sent by using a special
control sequence folloWed by 3 or 4 bytes of starting
address.
[0057] In FIG. 4A, the A1, A0 pins of the CompactFlash
reader interface are highlighted. Converter chip 40 in the
CompactFlash reader normally drives all 11 address pins in
the CompactFlash interface When reading a CompactFlash
card plugged into connector 44. The A0 pin from the
CompactFlash card plugs into connector cup 56, While the
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
A1 pin from the CornpactFlash card plugs into connector
cup 58 of SO-pin connector 44.
[0058]
Card-type detector 50 has tWo pullup resistors
added to lines A0, A1. Resistor 52 pulls line A0 high to
poWer (Vcc) When neither converter chip 40 nor a card
plugged into connector 44 drives line A0. Likewise, resistor
54 pulls line A1 high When line A1 is not being actively
driven. During detection rnode, converter chip 40 is pro
grammed to not drive lines A0, A1 and instead use then as
inputs to the detector logic.
[0059] In FIG. 4B, 21 CornpactFlash card is inserted into
the connector for card-type detection. CornpactFlash card 16
is plugged into connector 44. Since A0 and A1 are inputs to
CornpactFlash card 16, they are not driven by CornpactFlash
card 16. During detection rnode, converter chip 40 also does
not drive pins A0, A1. Thus lines A0, A1 are left ?oating and
are each pulled high by resistors 52, 54.
[0060] Detection logic in converter chip 40 reads card
select pins CD0, CD1 to detect the presence of a ?ash
rnernory card. When a neW card is present, detection logic
then reads pins A0, A1 as inputs. Both inputs are high. The
detection logic in converter chip 40 recogniZes the HH state
of A0, A1 as indicating that a CornpactFlash card is plugged
into connector 44. Converter chip 40 then exits detection
mode and con?gures its interface to connector 44 for the
SO-pin CornpactFlash interface as shoWn later in FIG. 5.
[0061] In FIG. 4C, a MultiMediaCard or Secure Digital
card is inserted into the connector for card-type detection.
MMC/SD card 28 (not shoWn) is plugged into MMC/SD
adapter 32 Which is plugged into connector 44.
[0062] Converter chip 40 does not drive pins A1, A0
during detection rnode. Thus pin A1 ?oats and is pulled high
by resistor 54. The A0 pin is driven loW by the MMC card.
[0063] Detection logic in converter chip 40 reads card
select pins CD0, CD1 to detect the presence of a ?ash
rnernory card. When a neW card is present, detection logic
then reads pins A0, A1 as inputs. While A0 is loW, A1 is
high. The detection logic in converter chip 40 recogniZes the
LH state of A0, A1 as indicating that a MMC or SD card is
plugged into connector 44. Converter chip 40 then eXits
detection mode and con?gures its interface to connector 44
for the 9-pin MMC/SD interface as shoWn later in FIG. 5.
[0064] In FIG. 4D, 21 SrnartMedia card is inserted into the
connector for card-type detection. SrnartMedia card 24 (not
shoWn) is plugged into SrnartMedia adapter 30 Which is
plugged into connector 44. The adapter 30 does not connect
pins A0, A1 from the CornpactFlash interface to any pins on
the SrnartMedia card. Adapter 30 internally connects pin A1
from the CornpactFlash interface to the ground pin on the
CornpactFlash interface.
[0065]
The SrnartMedia card does not drive either pin A1,
plugged into connector 44. Converter chip 40 then exits
detection mode and con?gures its interface to connector 44
for the 22-pin SrnartMedia interface as shoWn later in FIG.
5.
[0067] In FIG. 4E, a Memory Stick card is inserted into
the connector for card-type detection. Memory Stick card 18
(not shoWn) is plugged into Memory Stick adapter 34 Which
is plugged into connector 44.
[0068] Detection logic in converter chip 40 reads card
select pins CD0, CD1 to detect the presence of a ?ash
rnernory card. When a neW card is present, detection logic
then reads pins A0, A1 as inputs. Both pins A0, A1 are loW.
The detection logic in converter chip 40 recogniZes the LL
state of A0, A1 as indicating that a Memory Stick card is
plugged into connector 44.
[0069] Pin Mapping—FIG. 5
[0070]
FIG. 5 is a table of pin rnappings for the Srnart
Media, MMC/SD, and Memory Stick to CornpactFlash
adapters. The pin numbers for the smaller interfaces for
SrnartMedia, MMC/SD, and Memory Stick are not shoWn
but can be in any order or designation. The adapter connects
the proper pin on the smaller interface to the CornpactFlash
pin number shoWn in FIG. 5. Simple Wiring such as indi
vidual Wires, ?at cables, printed-circuit board (PCB), or
Wiring traces can be used.
[0071] The ground pins on the smaller interfaces are
connected to CornpactFlash pins 1 and 50. PoWer pins are
connected to CornpactFlash pins 13, 38. Pins 25, 26 are the
card detect signals for CornpactFlash, Which the adapters
connect to the card-detect signals on all srnaller interfaces.
[0072] The CornpactFlash connectors use pins 2-6, 21-23,
27-31, and 47-49 for the 16-bit parallel data bus to the
CornpactFlash card. Pins 8, 10-12, and 14-20 form a sepa
rate 11-bit address bus. The separate data and address buses
provide for rapid randorn addressing of CornpactFlash cards.
Other control signals include pins 6, 32 chip enables, pin 9
output enable, pin 36 Write enable, interrupt pin 37, reset pin
41, and register REG pin 44. REG pin 44 is the Attribute
Mernory Select, de?ned based on the CF mode of operation,
i.e. PCMCIA I/O rnode, IDE or PCMCIA Mernory Mode.
Several pins in the SO-pin interface are not connected.
[0073] The smaller SrnartMedia interface also has a par
allel data bus of 8 bits. These are mapped to pins 2-6, and
21-23 of the CornpactFlash interface to match the
[0074] CornpactFlash DO:7 signals. While no separate
address bus is provided, address and data are rnultipleXed.
Control signals for latch enables, Write enable and protect,
output enable, and ready handshake are among the control
signals. Output enable-OE and Write enable-WE are
mapped to the same function pins 9, 36 of the CornpactFlash
interface. The total number of pins in the SrnartMedia
A0, although adapter 30 drives pin A1 loW. Likewise,
interface is 22.
converter chip 40 does not drive pins A1, A0 during detec
tion rnode. Pin A0 ?oats and is pulled high by resistor 52.
[0075] The Memory Stick and MMC/SD ?ash-rnernory
[0066] Detection logic in converter chip 40 reads card
card interfaces are smaller still, since parallel data or address
busses are not present. Instead, serial data transfers occur
select pins CD0, CD1 to detect the presence of a ?ash
rnernory card. When a neW card is present, detection logic
Data is clocked in synchroniZation to clock SCLK on pin 18.
then reads pins A0, A1 as inputs. While A0 is high, A1 is
loW. The detection logic in converter chip 40 recogniZes the
HL state of A0, A1 as indicating that a SrnartMedia card is
through serial data pin DIO, Which is mapped to pin 19 (A1).
A command signal CMD or BS occupies pin 20 (A0). The
MMC/SD and Memory Stick interfaces require only 6 pins
plus poWer and ground.
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
[0076] Detection logic in converter chip 40 reads card
select pins CD0, CD1 to detect the presence of a ?ash
memory card. When a neW card is present, detection logic
then reads pins A0, A1 as inputs to determine the card type.
The pullup resistors of FIG. 4A together With Wiring inside
the adapter and the card’s behavior determines Whether A0,
A1 are pulled loW by the adapter or pulled high by the pullup
resistors.
[0077]
FIG. 3B results in the smallest physical design, someWhat
larger ?ash-card readers can be made that have separate slots
for each type of ?ash-memory card, rather than a single slot.
This negates the need for the adapters.
Four connectors are provided in ?ash reader 42: a
50-pin CompactFlash connector 62 that ?ts CompactFlash
card 16, a 9 pin MMC/SD connector 64 that ?ts MultiMe
diaCard 28 or a Secure Digital card, a 22-pin SmartMedia
connector 66 that ?ts SmartMedia card 24, and a 10-pin
Memory Stick connector 68 that ?ts Memory Stick 18.
[0080] Each of the four connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 route
their signals to converter chip 40. Converter chip 40 detects
When a ?ash-memory card has been inserted into one of the
connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 and con?gures itself to read ?les
from the inserted card using the pin interface of FIG. 5
corresponding to the card type.
[0081]
[0087]
Converter chip 40 executes various routines to
perform handshaking With the ?ash-memory cards and
accept data, either serially or in parallel. The data is buffered
and then sent to the CPU 21 in PC 20 through an internal
Multi-Slot Multi-Flash-Card Reader—FIG. 6
[0078] FIG. 6 is a diagram of a multi-slot embodiment of
the ?ash-card reader. While the single-slot embodiment of
[0079]
from the inserted card using the pin interface of FIG. 5
corresponding to the card type. Each of the ?ash-memory
cards in connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 can be assigned a different
drive letter by the operating system, such as e:, f:, g;, and h:.
Converter chip 40 executes various routines to
perform handshaking With the ?ash-memory cards and
accept data, either serially or in parallel. The data is buffered
USB bus. Converter chip 40 generates the appropriate
USB-interface signals to transfer the data to CPU 21.
[0088] FIG. 8 shoWs a PC chassis With a ?ash-card reader
in one of the drive bays. PC 20 is enclosed by a chassis or
case that has several drive bays alloWing the user or manu
facturer to insert peripherals such as hard and ?oppy disk
drives, CD-ROM and DVD drives, and tape drives. HDD
bay 72 contains a hard-disk drive, While FDD bay 74
contains a ?oppy disk drive. These are connected by cables
to cards inserted into a USB, ATA, or other expansion bus
connectors on the motherboard.
[0089] Flash reader 42 is inserted into one of the drive
bays. The four slots face forWard, alloWing the user to insert
?ash-memory cards into ?ash reader 42 much as a ?oppy
disk is inserted into the ?oppy-disk drive in FDD bay 74.
[0090] Flash reader 42 can be installed by the user from a
kit purchased at a store, or it can be pre-installed by an
original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) or retailer. The
user can easily transfer digital images from a digital camera,
regardless of the type of ?ash-card used by the camera, due
to the many different formats of ?ash-memory cards read by
?ash reader 42.
and then sent to the host PC 20 through USB connector 46.
[0091] FlashToaster—FIG. 9
Converter chip 40 generates the appropriate USB-interface
[0092] FIG. 9 is a diagram of a stand-alone FlashToaster
that accepts several formats of ?ash-memory cards and can
copy images to a removable disk Without being connected to
a host PC. Digital photographers may not alWays have their
PCs nearby. While extra ?ash-memory cards can be pur
signals to transfer the data to host PC 20.
[0082] Having separate connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 With
separate slots in ?ash reader 42 alloWs for card-to-card
transfers. For example, images or other ?les from Memory
Stick 18 could be transferred to CompactFlash card 16 by
converter chip 40 reading serial data from Memory Stick
inserted into connector 68, converting to parallel, and Writ
ing to connector 62 and CompactFlash card 16. Each of the
?ash-memory cards in connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 can be
assigned a different drive letter by the operating system,
chased and sWapped in the digital camera, these ?ash
memory cards are someWhat expensive, especially When
many high-resolution images are captured. Especially dur
ing a long trip aWay from the PC, the user may be limited
by the capacity of the ?ash-memory cards.
In this embodiment, ?ash reader 42 is contained in
[0093] FlashToaster 80 has four slots and four connectors
are provided in FlashToaster 80. A 50-pin CompactFlash
connector 62 ?ts CompactFlash card 16, a 9-pin MMC/SD
an external housing that connects to host PC 20 through a
USB cable. Of course, other cables and interfaces such as
IEEE 1394 FireWire may be substituted.
card, a 22-pin SmartMedia connector 66 ?ts SmartMedia
card 24, and a 10-pin Memory Stick connector 68 ?ts
such as e:, f:, g:, and h:.
[0083]
[0084]
Flash Reader Within PC—FIG. 7
connector 64 ?ts MultiMediaCard 28 or a Secure Digital
Memory Stick 18.
[0094] Each of the four connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 route
their signals to converter chip 40. Converter chip 40 detects
[0085] FIG. 7 shoWs a ?ash-memory reader Within a PC.
Four slots and four connectors are provided in ?ash reader
When a ?ash-memory card has been inserted into one of the
42. A 50-pin CompactFlash connector 62 ?ts CompactFlash
connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 by sensing card select lines CD0,
card 16, a 9-pin MMC/SD connector 64 ?ts MultiMedi
aCard 28 or a Secure Digital card, a 22-pin SmartMedia
connector 66 ?ts SmartMedia card 24, and a 10-pin Memory
Stick connector 68 ?ts Memory Stick 18.
CD1 and con?gures itself to read ?les from the inserted card
using the pin interface of FIG. 5 corresponding to the card
[0086] Each of the four connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 route
their signals to converter chip 40. Converter chip 40 detects
perform handshaking With the ?ash-memory cards and
When a ?ash-memory card has been inserted into one of the
and then sent either to host PC 20 through USB connector
46 or to removable mass storage 70. Converter chip 40
connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 and con?gures itself to read ?les
type.
[0095]
Converter chip 40 executes various routines to
accept data, either serially or in parallel. The data is buffered
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
generates the appropriate USB-interface signals to transfer
start a timer in timers 96. Timer 6 can sent an interrupt to
the data to host PC 20. Converter chip 40 also generates the
CPU 96 When the speci?ed time has elapsed, or CPU 92 can
control signals for removable mass storage 70, alloWing the
image data read from the ?ash-memory card to be Written to
continuously or periodically poll timers 96 to determine
When the speci?ed time has elapsed. Then CPU 92 can Write
a 0 to the register in GPIO 99, causing the control signal to
removable disk 76. Removable disk 76 could be a standard
or a high-density ?oppy diskette, a tape drive, a Writeable
CD-R/W disk, or other proprietary media such as LS120 by
Imation of Oakdale, Minn., or ZIP drives by Iomega Corp.
of Roy, Utah.
[0096] Each of the ?ash-memory cards in connectors 62,
64, 66, 68 can be assigned a different drive letter by the
operating system, such as e:, f:, g:, and h:. Removable mass
storage 70 can also be signed a drive letter.
[0097] When FlashToaster 80 is not attached to host PC
20, image ?les may still be copied to removable mass
storage 70. FlashToaster 80 may be carried along on a trip
by the user, alloWing the user to doWnload image ?les to
removable disk 76. Since removable disk 76 ordinarily has
transition from 1 to 0.
[0103] Shifter 98 is connected to the data and clock signals
from connectors 64, 68. When data is reed from the ?ash
memory card, a clock is pulsed to synchroniZe the data
transfer. Shifter 98 clocks in one bit (serial) or Word (par
allel) of data for each clock pulse. A cyclical-redundancy
check (CRC) can be performed on the data to detect errors.
CPU 92 can request re-transmission of data from the ?ash
memory card When an error is detected.
[0104] Data read by shifter 98 can be sent over internal bus
90 to be stored in a buffer in RAM/ROM 94. Later, CPU 92
can execute a routine to transfer this data from RAM/ROM
94 to USB interface 100. USB interface 100 then transmits
a much higher capacity than the ?ash-memory cards, many
the data over an external USB link to a host PC. When a
pictures may be captured When no access to host PC 20 is
removable mass storage is present, some of the I/O pins
available. FlashToaster 80 can be provided With battery
from GPIO 99 can connect to the removable mass storage,
or a separate disk controller can be included on controller
poWer or With its oWn AC converter.
[0098]
FlashToaster 80 is provided With a simple user
chip 40.
interface, including light-emitting diode LED 78 and button
ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION
79. When the user inserts a ?ash-memory card into one of
connectors 62, 64, 66, 68, and removable disk 76 is inserted
into removable mass storage 70, the user presses button 79.
[0105] Auniversal adapter for ?ash-memory cards accepts
cards of several different formats. The adapter accepts
This activates controller chip 40, Which determines Which of
connectors 62, 64, 66, 68 has a memory card inserted, and
copies the image ?les to removable mass storage 70. LED 78
can be programmed to blink during the copying process, and
remain lit When the copying is complete, or vice-versa. This
provides a simple visual indication to the user of the copying
Stick cards. The ?ash-card reader With a single slot accepts
any format card using the adapter. Special detection logic on
the ?ash reader distinguishes betWeen the many ?ash-card
formats. The loW-cost passive adapter does not need an
expensive converter chip. A multi-format reader is ideal for
progress. Errors can be indicated With additional LED
use With a PC. HoWever, a stand-alone ?ash reader can copy
indicator lamps, or other blinking arrangements or colors.
[0099] Converter Chip—FIG. 10
[0100] FIG. 10 is a diagram of the converter chip for the
?ash-memory reader. Converter chip 40 can be implemented
as a commercially-available micro-controller chip that is
programmed to read and Write I/O pins that are connected to
the ?ash-memory-card connectors and USB interface. Sev
SmartMedia, MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and Memory
image ?les from ?ash cards Without a PC. Additionally,
preparation of media for use in devices (format and erase
operations) can be done using this reader.
[0106] Auniversal adapter is constructed using the Com
pactFlash card form factor. A reader that reads Compact
Flash cards can then read any of the other ?ash-memory
cards that plug into the CompactFlash adapter. The adapters
eral different control and transfer routines are Written and
are simple, inexpensive passive adapters Without a conver
programmed into RAM/ROM 94. CPU 92 then executes
these routines. Ahigh-level scanning routine can sense When
a ?ash-memory card is inserted. CPU 92 can then begin
execution of another routine speci?c to that type of ?ash
sion chip.
[0107] The disclosed pin mapping from the smaller ?ash
memory card. Transfer and handshake sub-routines can then
be called.
[0101] General-purpose input-output GPIO 99 provides
registers or I/O ports that drive external I/O pins of converter
chip 40, or read the logic-levels or voltages on input pins to
converter chip 40. CPU 92 can read registers in GPIO 99 that
are Written by control signals that are coupled to I/O pins of
converter chip 40 from connectors 62, 64, 66, 68. Control
signals to the ?ash-memory cards can be sWitched high or
loW by Writing a 1 or a 0 to a register for that control signal
in GPIO 99.
[0102]
Timers 96 are useful for asserting control signals
card formats to CompactFlash alloWs for easy detection of
the type of ?ash-memory card inserted into the adapter.
Detection of the type of ?ash-memory card is thus per
formed automatically by electronic detection by the Com
pactFlash reader. The CompactFlash reader is modi?ed to
perform this card-type detection. Signal conversion such as
serial-to-parallel is performed by the CompactFlash reader
rather than by the adapter. Adapter costs are reduced While
CompactFlash reader cost is increased only slightly. The
CompactFlash reader can use a single CompactFlash slot to
read multiple ?ash-card types, including SmartMedia, Mul
tiMediaCard, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, and Compact
Flash.
ALTERNATE EMBODIMENTS
for a required amount of time. For example, a control signal
may need to be asserted for a speci?ed number of micro
[0108] Several other embodiments are contemplated by
seconds. CPU 92 can Write a 1 to a register in GPIO 99 and
the inventors. Different ?ash-card formats can be supported
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
such as Smart Cards, and more or less than the four slots
shown in the multi-card ?ash reader can be included. Other
CompactFlash connector making electrical connection
With the CompactFlash card for signals in the Com
adapters can be used for neWer ?ash formats for the single
pactFlash interface;
slot CompactFlash reader. Any device that needs Control
Bus, Clock, Data Bus and Address Bus can be designed to
?t into this slot. Examples of such devices include (but are
not limited to) DSL Modems, Fingerprint security devices,
Miniature Hard disks, etc.
[0109] While the invention has been described as connect
ing to a personal computer PC host, the host may also be an
Apple computer such as the iMAC or G3. The host may also
be a SUN computer, or any host computer using USB or IDE
interfaces. The invention can also apply to Personal Digital
Assistants (PDAs) such as by Palm Computer or other
handheld appliances, such as a Cell phone With USB capa
bility.
an adapter, having a physical shape to removably insert
into the CompactFlash connector, the adapter having a
mating CompactFlash connector that ?ts the Compact
Flash connector, the adapter also having a smaller
connector, the smaller connector for ?tting to other
?ash-memory cards having the smaller interfaces; and
Wiring means, in the adapter, connected betWeen the
smaller connector and the mating CompactFlash con
nector, for directly connecting signals from the smaller
connector in the smaller interface With signals in the
mating CompactFlash connector;
Whereby the adapter alloWs the other ?ash-memory cards
[0110] The term “CompactFlash reader” has been used for
simplicity, since digital images are often read from the
?ash-memory card and then Written to the PC. HoWever, the
CompactFlash reader is capable of reading ?les from the PC
or from another ?ash-memory card and Writing the ?le to the
having the smaller interfaces to ?t into the Compact
Flash connector through the single slot to be read by the
converter means.
?ash-memory card. Thus the CompactFlash reader is really
2. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 1
Wherein the Wiring means connects card select signals from
all of the smaller interfaces to card select signals in the
a reader/Writer.
CompactFlash connector;
[0111] In another embodiment, the CompactFlash reader is
someWhat larger, and has multiple slots. The adapter is not
Wherein the converter means includes card-detect means,
needed in this embodiment. Instead, a slot is provided for
presence of a ?ash-memory card inserted into the
each of the ?ash-memory card formats—SmartMedia, Mul
CompactFlash connector,
tiMediaCard, Secure Digital, Memory Stick, and Compact
Flash. A PCMCIA slot can also be added. This Compact
Flash reader can be connected to the PC by a USB cable, or
it can be located Within the PC chassis.
coupled to sense the card select signals, for detecting
Whereby the converter means detects presence of Com
pactFlash and the other flash-memory cards having the
In a third embodiment, the CompactFlash reader is
smaller interfaces.
3. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 2
Wherein the Wiring means connects signals from the smaller
a stand-alone device that can operate Without a PC. A
removable disk media such as a R/W CD-ROM is included.
interfaces to least-signi?cant-bit (LSB) address signals in
the CompactFlash connector;
[0112]
Images from the ?ash-memory card are copied to the
removable disk media by the CompactFlash reader. Asimple
interface is used, such as having the user presses a button to
initiate image transfer.
[0113] The foregoing description of the embodiments of
the invention has been presented for the purposes of illus
tration and description. It is not intended to be exhaustive or
to limit the invention to the precise form disclosed. Many
modi?cations and variations are possible in light of the
above teaching. It is intended that the scope of the invention
be limited not by this detailed description, but rather by the
claims appended hereto.
We claim:
1. A single-slot multi-?ash-card reader comprising:
a personal computer interface for transferring data to a
personal computer;
a converter means, coupled to the personal computer
interface, for converting multiple ?ash-card interfaces
to a format used by the personal computer interface;
Wherein the multiple ?ash-card interfaces include a Com
pactFlash interface and smaller interfaces having feWer
pins that the CompactFlash interface;
a CompactFlash connector, coupled to the converter
means, for receiving a CompactFlash card through a
single slot in the single-slot multi-?ash-card reader, the
Wherein the converter means includes card-type-detect
means, coupled to sense the LSB address signals, for
detecting a type of a ?ash-memory card inserted into
the CompactFlash connector;
Wherein the type of ?ash-memory card detected includes
CompactFlash cards and smaller ?ash-memory cards
having the smaller interface;
Whereby the converter means detects the type of ?ash
memory card inserted including CompactFlash and the
other ?ash-memory cards having the smaller interfaces.
4. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 3
Wherein the LSB address signals comprise an A0 signal and
an A1 signal in the CompactFlash interface; Wherein the A1
signal is connected to a serial data signal in the smaller
interface When the smaller interface is a MultiMediaCard,
Secure Digital interface or a Memory Stick interface,
Whereby type detection is performed using the A1 signal
connected to the serial data signal of the smaller
interfaces.
5. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 4
Wherein each type of the ?ash-memory cards for the smaller
interfaces drives signals connected to the LSB address
signals by the adapter to different logic levels;
Wherein CompactFlash cards do not drive the LSB
address signals,
Feb. 27, 2003
US 2003/0041203 A1
whereby the LSB address signals ?oat for CompactFlash
cards, but at least one of the LSB address signals are
driven by the other ?ash-memory cards having the
smaller interfaces When connected by the adapter.
6. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 5
further comprising:
13. A multi-?ash-card reader comprising:
a host connection for transferring data to a host computer;
a converter chip, coupled to the host connection, for
converting signals from ?ash-memory cards to read
data from the ?ash-memory cards for transfer to the
host computer;
pullup resistors, connected to the LSB address signals
from the CompactFlash connector, for pulling the LSB
address signals high When the converter means and the
?ash-memory card are not driving signals connected to
the LSB address signals,
Whereby the pullup resistors assist card-type detection.
7. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 6
Wherein the Wiring means is a passive Wiring means Without
active components including integrated circuit chips, tran
sistors, resistors, or capacitors,
a ?rst connector, coupled to the converter chip, for
accepting a CompactFlash card inserted into a ?rst slot
for the ?rst connector, the ?rst connector having a
parallel-data bus and an address bus and control signals
for controlling parallel data transfer from the Compact
Flash card to the converter chip;
a second connector, coupled to the converter chip, for
accepting a SmartMedia card inserted into a second slot
for the second connector, the second connector having
a parallel-data bus and control signals for controlling
8. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 7
parallel data transfer from the SmartMedia card to the
converter chip; and
Wherein the smaller interfaces are selected from the group
a third connector, coupled to the converter chip, for
consisting of MultiMediaCard, Secure Digital, and Memory
Stick ?ash-memory-card interfaces.
accepting a MultiMediaCard MMC card inserted into a
third slot for the third connector, the third connector
9. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 8
having a serial-data pin and a clock pin for controlling
Whereby the adapter is a passive adapter.
further comprising:
a second adapter, having a physical shape to removably
insert into the CompactFlash connector, the second
adapter having a mating CompactFlash connector that
?ts the CompactFlash connector, the second adapter
also having a second smaller connector, the second
smaller connector for ?tting to a SmartMedia ?ash
memory cards having the smaller interface for Smart
Media,
Whereby the second adapter connects SmartMedia ?ash
memory cards to the CompactFlash connector.
10. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 9
further comprising:
a third adapter, having a physical shape to removably
insert into the CompactFlash connector, the third
adapter having a mating CompactFlash connector that
?ts the CompactFlash connector, the third adapter also
having a third smaller connector, the third smaller
connector for ?tting to a Memory Stick ?ash-memory
cards having the smaller interface for Memory Stick,
Whereby the third adapter connects Memory Stick ?ash
memory cards to the CompactFlash connector.
11. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 10
Wherein the CompactFlash interface has 50 pins including
poWer and ground pins;
Wherein the smaller interfaces have no more than 10 pins
including poWer and ground pins.
12. The single-slot multi-?ash-card reader of claim 10
Wherein the converter means further comprises:
serial-to-parallel means, receiving serial data from the
smaller interfaces, for converting serial data to a par
allel data format for transfer to the personal computer,
Whereby serial data from the smaller interfaces is con
verted to parallel, but parallel data from CompactFlash
cards are not converted.
serial data transfer from the MMC card to the converter
chip;
Wherein the converter chip controls parallel data and
address transfer for the CompactFlash card, parallel
data transfer for the SmartMedia card, and serial data
transfer for the MMC card,
Whereby multiple ?ash-memory cards can be read by the
multi-?ash-card reader using the converter chip.
14. The multi-?ash-card reader of claim 13 Wherein the
?rst connector, the second connector, and the third connector
each have card detect signals for detecting presence of a
?ash-memory card inserted into a connector;
Wherein the converter chip senses a voltage change in the
card detect signals from a connector and activates a
routine to access the ?ash-memory card activating the
card detect signals,
Whereby ?ash-memory cards are detected by the con
verter chip.
15. The multi-?ash-card reader of claim 14 further com
prising:
a fourth connector, coupled to the converter chip, for
accepting a Memory Stick card inserted into a fourth
slot for the fourth connector, the fourth connector
having a serial-data pin and a clock pin for controlling
serial data transfer from the Memory Stick card to the
converter chip;
Wherein the converter chip also controls serial data trans
fer for the Memory Stick card.
16. The multi-?ash-card reader of claim 15 Wherein the
host connection is through an external cable to the host
computer;
Wherein the multi-?ash-card reader is in an eXternal
housing separate from the host computer chassis,
Whereby the multi-?ash-card reader is eXternal.
17. The multi-?ash-card reader of claim 16 further com
prising:
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