Smartconnect flash card adapter

Smartconnect flash card adapter
US008337252B2
(12) United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.:
(45) Date of Patent:
Mambakkam et a].
US 8,337,252 B2
Dec. 25, 2012
(54)
SMARTCONNECT FLASH CARD ADAPTER
noW Pat. No. 6,832,281, and a continuation-in-part of
(75)
Inventors: Sreenath Mambakkam, San Jose, CA
application No. 1 0/ 002,5 67, ?led on Nov. 1, 2001, noW
abandoned.
(US); Arockiyaswamy Venkidu, Menlo
Park, CA (US); Larry Lawson Jones,
Palo Alto, CA (US)
(51)
(52)
(58)
(73) Assignee: MCM Portfolio LLC, Cupertino, CA
(Us)
Notice:
Int. Cl.
H01R 12/00
US. Cl.
Field of Classi?cation Search ................ .. 439/ 630,
439/946, 638, 76.1; 361/796, 752
See application ?le for complete search history.
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
(56)
References Cited
USC 154(b) by 0 days.
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
3,821,518
3,882,296
4,012,096
4,046,444
(21) Appl. No.: 13/225,330
(22) Filed:
(65)
(2006.01)
..................................................... .. 439/630
Sep. 2, 2011
A
A
A
A
6/1974
5/1975
3/1977
9/1977
(Continued)
Prior Publication Data
US 2011/0320713 A1
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
Dec. 29, 2011
1278631 A
CN
Related US. Application Data
(63)
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
Onspec Electronic, Inc., “Supplementary Search Report for EP
Application No. 019529742, 3 pages”, Sep. 21, 2004.
(Continued)
Primary Examiner * Jean F Duveme
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm * Edward P. Heller, III
(57)
continuation-in-part of application No. 10/064,966,
ABSTRACT
A multi-memory media adapter to read a plurality of different
types of memory media cards. Signals are mapped to the
contact pins depending upon the type of memory media card.
?led on Sep. 4, 2002, noW Pat. No. 6,859,369, Which is
a continuation-in-part of application No. 10/ 167,925,
?led on Jun. 11, 2002, noW Pat. No. 7,222,205, Which
is a continuation of application No. 09/610,904, ?led
on Jul. 6, 2000, noW Pat. No. 6,438,638, said
application No. 10/064,966 is a continuation-in-part of
application No. 10/039,685, ?led on Oct. 29, 2001,
In one embodiment, a controller connected to an interconnec
tion means maps at least one signal to the contact pins
depending upon the type of memory card inserted.
9 Claims, 5 Drawing Sheets
J
710
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720
PP
‘
730
I—|
r—%
ti—|
FRONT
IIIIIIIII‘WI
MEMORYSTICK
SECTION
1/2001
(Continued)
Continuation of application No. 12/759,550, ?led on
Apr. 13, 2010, noW Pat. No. 8,011,964, Which is a
continuation of application No. 12/ 189,725, ?led on
Aug. 11, 2008, noW Pat. No. 7,719,847, Which is a
continuation of application No. 11/858,086, ?led on
Sep. 19, 2007, noW Pat. No. 7,522,424, Which is a
continuation of application No. 11/492,556, ?led on
Jul. 24, 2006, noW Pat. No. 7,295,443, Which is a
continuation of application No. 10/887,635, ?led on
Jul. 8, 2004, noW Pat. No. 7,095,618, Which is a
a
Miller
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Deluca et al.
Brorein
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SMARTMEDIAI
XD SECTION
MMCI SD
SECTION
IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
SMARTMEDIA
TOP
MMC 8-BIT
700
US 8,337,252 B2
Page 2
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2003/0038177
2003/0041203
2003/0041284
2003/0046469
2003/0056050
2003/0060085
2003/0070112
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
1/2007
1/2007
2/2007
3/2007
4/2007
Hosakaetal.
Mambakkametal.
Toombsetal.
Oh etal.
Lauterbach et a1.
5/2007 Jones etal. ................. .. 710/301
6/2007
6/2007
8/2007
10/2007
11/2007
1/2008
4/2008
5/2008
8/2008
2/2009
4/2009
6/2009
9/2009
Galho et a1.
Suemoto et a1.
Jones etal.
Mambakkametal.
Mambakkametal.
Friedman etal.
Tanakaet a1.
Haraietal.
Jones etal.
Jones etal.
Mambakkan et a1.
Wallace
Aasheim et a1.
3/2010 Maetal.
10/2010 L111 er a_1~
2/2011 Rolandl
6/2001
7/2001
7/2001
8/2001
Kubo eta1~
Kubo et a1.
Nishizawa et a1.
Toha
8/2001 Toombsetal.
9/2001
11/2001
3/2002
4/2002
5/2002
5/2002
6/2002
6/2002
6/2002
6/2002
Buschmann
Manowltz
Hosaka et a1.
Estakhrietal.
sun
Bishop et a1.
W1nbum
Toyama et a1.
Euron et a1.
Takase et a1.
8/2002 Huang etal.
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11/2002
11/2002
12/2002
2/2003
2/2003
2/2003
3/2003
3/2003
3/2003
4/2003
Lin
Pua etal.
Sh1ehetal.
Morrow
Jones etal.
Mambakkam et a1.
Liu
et a1.
Moro
Reece
York
2004/0063464
2004/0073736
2004/0106326
2004/0110423
2004/0215862
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
2005/0026505 A1
2005/0273648
2006/0050155
2006/0059385
2006/0242460
2006/0253636
2007/0180177
2007/0180291
2007/0283069
2007/0283428
2007/0288677
2008/0009196
2008/0017718
2008/0071978
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
A1
2008/0220654 A1
2008/0299809 A1
2009/0100207 A1
2010/0138606 A1
4/2004
4/2004
6/2004
6/2004
10/2004
Sakamoto etal.
Akram et a1.
Oh etal.
Hsieh
Shishikura et a1.
Cedar et a1.
2/2005 Washino
12/2005
3/2006
3/2006
10/2006
11/2006
8/2007
8/2007
12/2007
12/2007
12/2007
1/2008
1/2008
3/2008
Mambakkametal.
Ing et a1.
Atrietal.
Mambakkametal.
Jones etal.
Jones etal.
Galho et a1.
Jones etal.
Maet a1.
Mambakkametal.
Mambakkametal.
Jones etal.
Chowetal.
9/2008 Guan etal.
12/2008 Mambakkametal.
4/2009 Jonesetal.
6/2010 Tanakaetal.
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US 8,337,252 B2
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1200
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(PRIOR ART)
FIG. 2
US. Patent
Dec. 25, 2012
Sheet 2 of5
US 8,337,252 B2
J
300
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FIG. 3
CONNECTOR PINS
PIN
SMART MEDIA
DOl-WPSW
MMC! SD
MEMORY STICK
-WP
-CD
MCMD
D2
D3
D4
-CD
BS
SDIO
D5
D6
D7
LVD
-WE
-RE
-ALE
-CLE
READY
-CE
D2
D3
-WP
-WPSW
GROUND
POWER
GROUND
GROUND
POWER
CLK
POWER
FIG. 4
MCLK
US. Patent
Dec. 25, 2012
Sheet 4 0f 5
US 8,337,252 B2
1600
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FIG. 6
TOP
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BOTTOM
US. Patent
Dec. 25,2012
Sheet 5 of5
US 8,337,252 B2
J
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FIG. 7
FIG. 7A
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100
US 8,337,252 B2
1
2
SMARTCONNECT FLASH CARD ADAPTER
CIA adapter card 200 of the type that is available as a standard
commercial product today. FIG. 2 illustrates several draW
backs in the typical con?guration of a PCMCIA adapter.
Adapter 200 includes tWo PCBs, namely PCB 210 and PCB
220. The tWo PCBs are separated by a mounting frame (typi
Under 35 U.S.C. §120, this application is a continuation of
US. application Ser. No. 12/759,550, ?led Apr. 13, 2010,
now US. Pat. No. 8,011,964, Which is a continuation ofU.S.
US. Pat. No. 7,719,847, Which is a continuation of US.
cally plastic), not shoWn. The mounting frame acts as a spacer
betWeen PCB 210 and PCB 220, Which holds the tWo PCBs
patent application Ser. No. 11/858,086, ?led Sep. 19, 2007,
together at a speci?ed distance and functions in other capaci
now US. Pat. No. 7,522,424, Which is a continuation ofU.S.
ties as described beloW. The space betWeen the tWo PCBs
application Ser. No. 11/492,556, ?led Jul. 24, 2006, now US.
Pat. No. 7,295,443, Which is a continuation ofU.S. applica
tion Ser. No. 10/887,635 ?led Jul. 8, 2004, now US. Pat. No.
7,095,618, Whichis a continuation-in-part application of US.
application Ser. No. 10/064,966, Which Was ?led on Sep. 4,
creates the opening (port) 211 into Which the ?ash media
application Ser. No. 12/189,725, ?led Aug. 11, 2008, now
cards are inserted. PCB 230 is straddle-mounted betWeen
PCB 210 and PCB 220. PCB 230 contains the active compo
nents including controller chip 231 that perform handshaking
and data transfer. PCB 230 is connected to a PCMCIA con
nector 240. PCB 230 is mounted betWeen PCB 210 and PCB
220 With interconnects 212. PCB 210 has tWo sets of ?oating
2002, now US. Pat. No. 6,859,369, Which is a continued-in
part continuation-in-part application of US. application Ser.
No. 10/167,925, Which Was ?led on Jun. 11, 2002, now US.
Pat. No. 7,222,205, Which is a continuation application of
US. application Ser. No. 09/610,904 Which Was ?led Jul. 6,
2000, now US. Pat. No. 6,438,638, and is titled “Flashtoaster
for reading several types of ?ash memory cards With or With
20
pins 224 and 225, each including 11 pins, Which together
out a PC.” US. application Ser. No. 10/064,966 is also a
continuation-in-part of US. application Ser. No. 10/039,685
Which Was ?led Oct. 29, 2001, now US. Pat. No. 6,832,281
and is titled, “Flashtoaster for reading several types of ?ash
contact pins, contact pin set 214 includes nine contact pins
and contact pin set 215 includes ten contact pins, Which
provide interfaces for MMC/ SD and MemoryStick ?ash
media respectively. PCB 220 has tWo sets of ?oating contact
25
memory cards With or Without a PC” and a continuation-in
part of US. application Ser. No. 10/002,567 Which Was ?led
Nov. 1, 2001 and is titled, “Active Adapter Chip for Use in a
Flash Card Reader.” The priority of the above-referenced
applications is hereby claimed, and the entireties of the
above-referenced applications are incorporated herein by this
reference, and all of the above-referenced applications are
assigned to the assignee of the present invention.
30
FIELD
35
provide the interface for SmartMedia ?ash media.
The mounting frame that holds PCB 210 and 220 together
is con?gured such that each type of ?ash media is inserted in
a particular location Within the connector. In FIG. 2, opening
211 is a simpli?ed vieW. Typically, the opening is stepped
With different Widths and heights in different locations that
index the ?ash media cards into speci?c locations upon inser
tion. This alloWs each ?ash medium to be properly aligned
With the corresponding contact pin set(s). Additionally, stops
are typically provided to stop the insertion at the correct
depth, again, to guarantee connection to the right contact pin
set.
This typical approach has several serious draWbacks.
Manufacturing
The straddle-mount con?gured ?ash media adapter is very
expensive to manufacture for several reasons. Often such
The present invention relates generally to ?ash media
adapters, and more speci?cally to an improved con?guration
devices require manual labor for manufacturing and testing,
or the use of very expensive soldering robots, instead of
of the same.
40
BACKGROUND
In US. patent application Ser. No. 10/002,567, entitled
“Active Adapter Chip for Use in a Flash Card Reader”, ?led
Nov. 1, 2001, and assigned to the assignee of the present
application, a universal active adapter chip is disclosed that
connector (i.e., PCMCIA) to PCB, to straddle mount connec
tor to secondary PCB to contacts on PCB, resulting in as many
as tWo, three, or in some cases even four tolerances adding up,
45
?ash media adapters using the CompactFlash card or PCM
CIA (PC Card) form factor. A standard reader that reads
50
other ?ash-memory cards that plug into the CompactFlash or
PC Card adapter. The adapters come With a conversion chip
that makes each of the ?ash media Work just like a Compact
Flash or PC Card media, as applicable.
FIG. 1 shoWs a multi-standard card reader system 142. In
Which makes requirements for tolerances either absurdly
expensive, or causes a big yield problem in manufacturing.
Additionally, PCB 230 must be thin enough so that it can be
mounted betWeen PCB 210 and PCB 220 in the space allo
cated for the insertion of the various ?ash media. That is, PCB
can be used to construct a ?ash media system or various active
CompactFlash cards or PC cards can then read any of the
standard production techniques. A further problem is the
additive effect of manufacturing tolerances, such as primary
230, together With the interconnects 212 that mount it
betWeen PCB 210 and PCB 220 must be no larger than open
ing 211. The manufacture of thin PCBs to accommodate this
design point adds to the expense and complexity of manufac
turing the ?ash media adapter.
55
Contact Pins
the ?eld of multi-standard adapters, multi-memory media
The ?oating contact pins are subject to damage and dete
adapter 140 may be an active adapter or, alternatively, may be
rioration. The various ?ash media cards have different thick
a passive adapter. Reader 142 can adapt on the host side to
ness, and even the same ?ash media may have different thick
either CompactFlash card 149, PCMCIA card 153, or IDE
card 151. On the media side, the reader can adapt to a Multi
MediaCard 141, or a Secure Digital card 143, Which have the
same form factor but slightly different pin-out; a SmartMedia
card 145, Which has a different pin-out; or a Memory Stick
60
147. In general, the reader 142 can adapt to any generic ?ash
media 146 that has a similar or smaller form factor.
It is possible to place the connector such that all the media
sit in one opening. FIG. 2 is a cutaWay side vieW of a PCM
65
ness if produced by different manufacturers. The ?ash media
cards exert pressure upon the ?oating contact pins, Which
eventually causes their resiliency to be reduced. When sub
sequently, a thinner ?ash media card is inserted into the ?ash
media adapter, the corresponding contact pins may not make
connection With the ?ash media card. Additionally if a ?ash
media card is inserted incorrectly (e. g., upside doWn),
removal of the ?ash media card may damage the contact pins.
Interface
US 8,337,252 B2
3
4
Some devices don’t have the 68-pin PCMCIA interface.
For example, some recent notebook computer models only
PCMCIA or a CompactFlash connector. The contact pins are
formed so as to better maintain their resiliency and avoid
have the electrically equivalent 50-pin CF interface. Typical
damage upon removal of the memory media card. In one
adapter cards such as PCMCIA adapter card 200 are incom
embodiment, a light pipe is locked in place betWeen the top
patible With a 50-pin CF interface.
and bottom elements of the adapter card so as to conduct light
from a signal lamp on the PCB through the port.
SUMMARY
It is an intended advantage of one embodiment of the
present invention to reduce the manufacturing cost and com
An embodiment of the present invention provides a multi
memory media adaptor comprised of a ?rst planar element
plexity of an adapter card. It is another intended advantage of
having an upper surface and a loWer surface and a second
adapter card With greater structural integrity. It is another
one embodiment of the present invention to provide an
planar element having an upper surface and a loWer surface.
The tWo planar elements are formed from a single piece of
molded plastic and disposed so as to form a port capable of
receiving a memory media card. The adapter has at least one
set of contact pins protruding from the loWer surface of the
?rst planar element or the upper surface of the second planar
element such that the at least one set of contact pins are
disposed Within the port. The at least one set of contact pins
are capable of contacting the contacts of a memory media
card inserted into the port.
Other features and advantages of embodiments of the
20
a surface mounted standard connector including PCMCIA
present invention Will be apparent from the accompanying
draWings, and from the detailed description, that folloWs
25
beloW.
intended advantage of one embodiment of the present inven
tion to provide an adapter card With contact pins that retain
their resiliency to a greater degree than ?oating contact pins.
It is another intended advantage of one embodiment of the
present invention to provide an adapter card With contact pins
that are less likely to be damaged upon removal of a memory
media card. It is another intended advantage of one embodi
ment of the present invention to provide an adapter card With
and CompactFlash connectors.
In the folloWing description, numerous speci?c details are
set forth. HoWever, it is understood that embodiments of the
invention may be practiced Without these speci?c details. In
other instances, Well-knoWn circuits, structures and tech
niques have not been shoWn in detail in order not to obscure
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
the understanding of this description.
Reference throughout the speci?cation to “one embodi
The invention may be best understood by referring to the
folloWing description and accompanying draWings that are
30
used to illustrate embodiments of the invention. In the draW
ings:
FIG. 1 illustrates a multi-standard card reader system;
FIG. 2 is a cutaWay side vieW of a PCMCIA adapter card of
the type that is available as a standard commercial product
embodiment is included in at least one embodiment of the
present invention. Thus, the appearance of the phrases “in one
embodiment” or “in an embodiment” in various places
35
today;
suitable manner in one or more embodiments.
present invention;
40
in a single embodiment, ?gure, or description thereof for the
purpose of streamlining the disclosure and aiding in the
FIG. 5 is a table of pin mappings for the xD, standard
understanding of one or more of the various inventive aspects.
MMC/ SD, standard Memory Stick, SmartMedia, miniSD,
45
card, according to one embodiment of the present invention,
in front vieW, top vieW, and bottom vieW;
FIG. 7 illustrates an integrated standard connector adapter
card, according to one embodiment of the present invention,
in front vieW and top vieW; and
50
This method of disclosure, hoWever, is not to be interpreted as
re?ecting an intention that the claimed invention requires
more features than are expressly recited in each claim. Rather,
as the folloWing claims re?ect, inventive aspects lie in less
than all features of a single foregoing disclosed embodiment.
Thus, the claims folloWing the Detailed Description are
hereby expressly incorporated into this Detailed Description,
With each claim standing on its oWn as a separate embodiment
FIG. 7A illustrates an alternative embodiment of an
adapter 700A in accordance With one embodiment of the
invention.
Similarly, it should be appreciated that in the foregoing
description of exemplary embodiments of the invention, vari
ous features of the invention are sometimes grouped together
MMC/ SD, and Memory Stick to a 21-pin connector in accor
dance With one embodiment of the present invention;
RSMMC, and MS Duo to an 18-pin connector in accordance
With one embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 6 illustrates an integrated standard connector adapter
throughout the speci?cation are not necessarily all referring
to the same embodiment. Furthermore, the particular fea
tures, structures, or characteristics may be combined in any
FIG. 3 is a cutaWay side vieW of an integrated standard
connector adapter card according to one embodiment of the
FIG. 4 is a table of pin mappings for the SmartMedia,
ment” or “an embodiment” means that a particular feature,
structure, or characteristic described in connection With the
55
of this invention.
FIG. 3 is a cutaWay side vieW of an integrated standard
connector adapter card according to one embodiment of the
present invention. Adapter card 300, shoWn in FIG. 3,
DETAILED DESCRIPTION
An embodiment of the present invention provides a multi
memory media adapter card con?gured to reduce or eliminate
some of the draWbacks of typical adapter card con?guration.
In accordance With various embodiments of the present
invention, the top and bottom PCBs of prior art con?gurations
are replaced by molded plastic elements that provide greater
structural integrity. The straddle-mounted controller board is
replaced With a PCB adjacent to the bottom element and
having a surface mounted standard connector that may be a
60
includes a top planar element 310 and a bottom planar ele
ment 320, both of Which may be PCBs. Alternatively, the top
planar element 3 1 0 and the bottom planar element 320 may be
formed from molded plastic. A spacer, not shoWn, holds the
tWo planar elements apart, forming port 311 into Which
memory media cards are inserted. In order to meet the loW
height requirements (thickness of PCMCIA or CF cards), the
ports are registered on one opening, and contacts are distrib
65
uted on both sides. Additionally, the port 311 may be formed
With card stops to prevent improper insertion of memory
media cards.
US 8,337,252 B2
6
5
interfaces require only 4 pins plus poWer and ground, While
MMC/ SD requires 8 pins plus poWer and ground.
For one embodiment, both planar elements and the spacer
between them are created from molded plastic. For such an
Thus, it is possible to accommodate SmartMedia, MMC/
SD, and Memory Stick With a 21-pin connector (i.e., instead
of 41 pins) by multiplexing the available pins. For one
embodiment, the molded plastic provides greater resistance
to pressure applied to the outer surfaces of adapter card 300.
This helps to prevent planar element 310 and planar element
320 from contacting each other and possibly damaging inter
nal components.
embodiment, the controller chip (e.g., controller chip 231)
differentiates the pin con?guration for each ?ash memory
media type. The controller may include a shifter connected to
Adapter 300 also includes a number of sets of contact pins,
the data and clock signals from the MMC/SD and Memory
shoWn collectively as contact pin set 315, protruding from the
loWer surface of planar element 310 and from the upper
surface of planar element 320. The contact pins electrically
Stick ?ash-memory cards. The shifter may clock one bit
(serial) or Word (parallel) of data each clock pulse. A cyclical
redundancy check (CRC) can be performed on the data to
couple to corresponding contacts on a memory media card
inserted into port 31 1. For an embodiment in Which the planar
elements 310 and 320 are formed from molded plastic, con
detect errors.
For an alternative embodiment, a multi-memory media
adapter, having only 18 pins, is used to accommodate various
commercially available ?ash memory media including media
that have recently become commercially available. Such
tact pin sets 315 may be formed from injected contacts With
protruding pins. This provides a more robust contact pin than
the ?oating contact pins of the prior art, thereby lessening the
likelihood that the resiliency of the contact pin Will be
reduced to the point that the pin no longer contacts the
inserted memory media card. Alternatively, or additionally,
the contact pins may be angled or shaped such that damage
due to the abrupt removal of an improperly (or properly)
inserted card is reduced or eliminated. For example the ter
minal end of the contact pin may be angled or curved toWard
the planar surface from Which the contact pin protrudes, or
20
tiMedia Card (RSMMC), and an xD card (a controller-less
Flash media, similar in function to SmartMedia).
FIG. 5 is a table of pin mappings for the xD, standard
MMC/ SD, standard Memory Stick, SmartMedia, miniSD,
25
may be spherically shaped.
RSMMC, MMC/SD, and MS Duo to an 18-pin connector in
accordance With one embodiment of the present invention.
For such an embodiment, pin 1 is a ground pin and pin 18
Adapter 300 includes planar element 330 that has standard
connector 340 mounted thereon. Planar element 330 is adja
cent to bottom planar element 320. Standard connector 340,
recent additions include a miniSD card (i.e., an MMC/SD
card With a smaller form factor), an MS Duo (i.e., a Memory
Stick card With a smaller form factor), a Reduced SiZe Mul
30
is a poWer pin for each connector. The data lines for the
SmartMedia and xD interface cards have a parallel data bus of
8 bits denoted as DO-D7 that occupy pins 10-17. These data
Which may be for example, a compact ?ash, PCMCIA, USB,
bus lines are multiplexed to serve as card-detect lines for the
or serial ATA connector is surface-mounted to planar element
330. Interconnects 312 that electrically connect the standard
remaining media types.
connector 340 to contact pins 315 are also located on planar
Pat. No. 6,438,638), the signal lines to the controller are
element 330. The adapter connects the proper pin from the
contact pins to planar element 330. Simple Wiring such as
individual Wires, ?at cables, printed-circuit board (PCB), or
As described in application Ser. No. 09/610,904 (now US.
35
its connected pins loW. Detection of card type is determined
by detection of Which of the mapped card detect lines is pulled
loW as illustrated in FIG. 5, or by the (binary) state of data or
other card pins mapped to a common set of controller pins as
Wiring traces can be used. In accordance With an embodiment
of the present invention, the need for a straddle-mounted
PCB, and its associated manufacturing costs and complexity,
is eliminated. Moreover, by eliminating the layers of a
straddle-mount con?guration, registration accuracy is
improved. For one embodiment, a single PCB may comprise
bottom planar element 320 and planar element 330.
40
For one embodiment, a multi-memory media adapter hav
ing only 21 pins is used to accommodate various commer
cially available ?ash memory media. FIG. 4 is a table of pin
45
described in the aforesaid parent application. See, e.g., FIGS.
4A-E of 09/610,904, now US. Pat. No. 6,438,638. While no
separate address bus is provided, address and data are multi
plexed.
The data lines of the miniSD and RSMMC and the Memory
Stick (and MS Duo) ?ash-memory-card interfaces are
denoted as SDDO-SDD3 and MSDO-MSD3, respectively,
and occupy pins 4-7.
Thus, it is possible to accommodate xD, standard MMC/
mappings for the SmartMedia, MMC/ SD, and Memory Stick
SD, standard Memory Stick, SmartMedia, miniSD,
to a 21 -pin connector in accordance With one embodiment of
the present invention.
normally pulled high. When a card is inserted, the card pulls
50
RSMMC, MMC/ SD, and MS Duo With an 18-pin connector
Pin 18 is a ground pin for each connector. Pin 19 is a poWer
by multiplexing the available pins. Again, the controller chip
pin for SmartMedia, While pin 20 is a poWer pin for MMC/
may differentiate the pin con?guration for each ?ash memory
media type.
SD, and Memory Stick.
The SmartMedia interface has a parallel data bus of 8 bits.
These are mapped to pins 1 8. While no separate address bus
55
is provided, address and data are multiplexed. Control signals
for latch enables, Write enable and protect, output enable, and
ready handshake are among the control signals.
For the Memory Stick and MMC/SD ?ash-memory-card
interfaces, parallel data or address busses are not present.
front vieW, top vieW, and bottom vieW. Adapter card 600,
shoWn in FIG. 6, includes tWo housings, namely housing 610
60
Instead, serial data transfers occur through serial data pin
DIO, Which is mapped to pin 7 for the Memory Stick, and pin
10 (D0) for the MMC/ SD ?ash-memory-card interfaces. Data
is clocked in synchronization to clock MCLK and CLK, for
Memory Stick and MMC/ SD, respectively, on pin 21. A BS,
for Memory Stick, occupies pin 6, and a command signal
CMD, for MMC/ SD, occupies pin 4. The Memory Stick
FIG. 6 illustrates an integrated standard connector adapter
card according to one embodiment of the present invention in
and housing 620. For one embodiment of the invention, the
pins are in a single roW. As shoWn from the top vieW of adapter
card 600, a top-front set of pins 611 in housing 610 can be
used to interface to an xD card, a top-rear set of pins 612 in
housing 610 can be used to interface to a SmartMedia card. A
top-front set of pins 621 in housing 620 can be used to inter
face an RSMMC card. As shoWn in the bottom vieW of
65
adapter card 600, a bottom-front set of pins 613 in housing
610 can be used to interface to an SD/MMC MMC/ SD card,
a bottom-rear set of pins 614 in housing 610 can be used to
US 8,337,252 B2
7
8
interface to a standard size Memory Stick card. A bottom
front set of pins 622 in housing 620 can be used to interface a
FIG. 7 illustrates an integrated standard connector adapter
card, according to one embodiment of the present invention,
in front vieW and top vieW. Adapter card 700, shoWn in FIG.
cally the life-cycle time for the port side connectors. For one
embodiment of the invention, the controller and associated
memory device are integrated into the adapter, rendering the
adapter a complete card reader.
For one embodiment, a light pipe may be locked in place
betWeen the tWo half shells to conduct light from a signal
lamp (e.g., LED) on the PCB to the user side of the opening,
7, includes three housings, namely section 710 (Memory
Stick), section 720 (SM/xD), and section 730 (MMC/SD).
similar to netWorking lights sometimes integrated into net
Working connectors.
This arrangement alloWs pins to be laid out in a planar fash
For one embodiment, the straddle-mount con?guration is
replaced With a surface mounted standard connector. This
miniSD card. A bottom-rear set of pins 623 in housing 620
can be used to interface a Memory Stick MS Duo.
ion, thus effecting saving in layout and alloWing for assign
that only one media can be inserted at a time. For one embodi
reduces the manufacturing costs and complexities associated
With the straddle-mount con?guration.
ment, the Memory Stick could be on the top portion of section
710 (With MS Duo on the bottom portion), While SmartMedia
For one embodiment of the invention, the controller and
associated memory device are integrated into the adapter
is on the top portion of section 720 With xD on the bottom
rendering the adapter a complete card reader.
portion of section 720. According to one such embodiment,
Embodiments of the present invention have been described
in reference to ?ash media such as xD, standard MMC/SD,
ment of one drive for each section. The spacing is designed so
the MMC (including the recently designed 8-bit MMC) could
be on the top-rear portion of the MMC/ SD section 730, While
the SD could be on the bottom-rear portion of the MMC/ SD
section 730. RSMMC could be on the top-front portion of the
MMC/SD section 730 and miniSD could be on the bottom
front portion of the MMC/ SD section 730.
standard Memory Stick, SmartMedia, miniSD, RSMMC, and
20
While the invention has been described in terms of several
embodiments, those skilled in the art Will recognize that the
invention is not limited to the embodiments described, but can
FIG. 7A illustrates an alternative embodiment of an
adapter 700A in accordance With one embodiment of the
invention. As shoWn in FIG. 7A, adapter 700 includes sec
25
tions 710, 720, and 730 With sections 710 and 730 positioned
vertically, but section 720 stacked horizontally upon section
730. In such an embodiment, external pins 711, 721, and 731
may be positioned as shoWn to avoid intersection or conges
30
tion of the external connections.
As described above in reference to FIG. 3, an adapter in
accordance With one embodiment of the invention includes a
35
IDE, CF, or serial ATA connector) mounted thereon. In accor
dance With an alternative embodiment of the invention, the
controller chip is integrated into the housing of the adapter.
For example, the adapter may be formed of a single piece of
molded plastic, With the controller chip and an associated
memory device (e.g., ROM) embedded into the molded plas
tic. For such an embodiment, the continuous molded plastic
that forms the adapter also forms the device package for the
controller die.
General Matters
Embodiments of the present invention provide an
be practiced With modi?cation and alteration Within the spirit
and scope of the appended claims. The description is thus to
be regarded as illustrative instead of limiting.
The invention claimed is:
1. A multi-?ash-card reader comprising:
a plurality of connectors (62, 64, 66, 68) each having a
respective slot adapted to removably receive a ?ash
memory card;
characterised by comprising a converter chip (40) con
planar element that may have a controller chip attached to a
standard connector (e.g., PCMCIA, USB, WiFi, FireWire,
MMC/ SD, and MS Duo. In general, embodiments of the
invention are applicable to any generic ?ash media.
nected to the connectors and adapted to convert signals
from a ?ash-memory card currently inserted in one of
said connectors to read data from the ?ash-memory
card;
40
45
the converter chip having an interface (100) for outputting
data read from the ?ash-memory card;
the plurality of connectors comprising at least ?rst and
second connectors (64,62), the ?rst connector (62) hav
ing a parallel data bus and control signals for parallel
data transfer from a type of ?ash-memory card provid
ing parallel data access in Which a parallel data bus and
an address bus are used to access data, hereafter referred
improved con?guration for a multi-memory media adapter
to as a parallel card (16), and the second connector (64)
card. For one embodiment, the adapter may comprise an
injected plastic part, forming the mechanical port, as Well as
holding any and all contacts in its structure, thus eliminating
least one serial data pin and a clock pin for controlling
serial data transfer from a type of ?ash-memory card,
having at
50
the multiple tolerances of conventional con?gurations (i.e.,
hereafter referred to as a serial card (28), in Which one or
tWo PCBs sandWiching a mechanical frame). For one
embodiment, tWo half shells With integrated contacts are
more data lines are each clocked in synchronization With
snapped together, alloWing for a simple, but accurate mount
ing by means of guides for snapping them together. In par
ticular, the total assembly of the port may be composed of tWo
parts, a top and bottom, each With contacts and plastic, each
containing part or the entire port opening, hence reducing the
transferred for each clock;
Wherein the converter chip is adapted to control clocked
data transfer for serial cards and parallel data bus trans
number of added tolerances to a maximum of one or tWo. By
reducing the number of sub-assemblies from three or more to
tWo or less, an easier, more precise manufacturing can be
a clock signal so that one bit or one Word of data is
55
fer for parallel cards, Whereby multiple types of ?ash
memory card can be read by the multi?ash-card reader
using the converter chip;
60
the converter chip further comprising a shifter (98) con
nected to data and clock signals (DATA; CLK)
done, With only slightly higher tooling cost. HoWever, due to
from the second connector and adapted to clock in one bit
the fact that it is a high-volume, commodity-type device, the
higher tooling costs Would be more than offset by the loWer
of data for each clock pulse When the serial card (28) is
part cost, the better yield, etc. Further, by embedding the
65
of a ?rst type providing bit by bit data access and to clock
in one Word of data for each clock pulse When the serial
contacts in a plastic injection, such problems as metal fatigue,
card (26) is of a second type providing Word by Word
travel, etc ., can be controlled much better, improving dramati
data access.
US 8,337,252 B2
10
type being a MultiMedia card and a second type being a
2. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in claim 1 Wherein
the ?rst type of serial card is a MultiMediacard and Wherein
Secure Digital card; the third connector is adapted to receive
the second type of parallel cardbeing a Smart Media card; and
the second type of serial card is a Secure Digital Card.
3. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in any preceding
claim Wherein the shifter further comprises
the fourth connector is adapted to receive a third type of serial
card being a Memory Stick card.
7. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in claim 1 Wherein
the interface is adapted to connect to a host computer via an
means for performing a cyclical redundancy check, CRC,
on the data to detect errors.
external cable.
8. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed claim 1 Wherein the
interface is adapted for connection to a host via a cable Which
is internal relative to a housing of the multi-?ash-card reader.
9. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in claim 1 Wherein
the plurality of connectors each have card detect signals for
detecting the presence of a ?ash memory card inserted into
said connector;
Wherein the converter chip is adapted to sense a voltage
change in the card detector signals from a
4. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in claim 1 Wherein
the plurality of connectors further comprises a third connec
tor (66) connected to the converter chip and having a parallel
data bus and control signals for controlling parallel data trans
fer from a parallel card of a second type removably inserted in
the third connector.
5. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in claim 4 Wherein
the plurality of connectors comprises a fourth connector hav
ing a serial data pin and a clock pin for controlling serial data
transfer from a serial card of a third type removably inserted
in the fourth connector.
6. A multi-?ash-card reader as claimed in claim 5 Wherein
the ?rst connector is adapted to receive the parallel card
comprising a CompactFlash card, the second connector is
adapted to receive a serial card comprising anyone of a ?rst
connector and to activate a routine to access the ?ash
memory card activating the card detect signals,
20
Whereby ?ash memory cards are detected by the converter
chip.
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