Reverse-Engineering An ISA Card To Revive An Historical CD-ROM Drive | Tech Lada

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Being an early adopter is nice in the event you like displaying off new gadgets to your pals. However any new expertise additionally carries the chance of ending up on the incorrect aspect of a format battle: ask anybody who dedicated to HD-DVD fifteen years in the past. If, then again, you have been among the many few who invested in CD-ROMs once they have been first launched within the mid-Nineteen Eighties, you positively made the suitable alternative on the subject of storage media. Nonetheless, it was a little bit of a distinct story for the interface that connects the CD drive to your laptop, as [Tech Tangents] he came upon when he bought his fingers on a primary technology CM100 unit. (Video, embedded beneath).

That fantastic piece of expertise from 1985 is not a lot smaller than the IBM PC it was designed to connect with, and it initially got here with its personal CM153 ISA interface card. However whereas most eBay sellers acknowledged the historic worth of a pioneering CD-ROM drive, the accompanying PC was sometimes a dime-a-dozen mannequin and was scrapped with the uncommon interface card nonetheless inside. Even after looking in every single place for over a yr, the one info [Tech Tangents] What I used to be capable of finding in regards to the card was a nine-year-old YouTube video displaying what the factor appeared like.

A 3D rendered image of an 8-bit ISA cardFortuitously, the creator of that video was keen to take excessive decision pictures of the cardboard, which allowed [Tech Tangents] to learn the way it labored. It turned out that the board was made solely of ordinary 7400-series logic chips, in addition to an 8251 USART, which meant that it needs to be potential to design a substitute just by following all of the traces on the board. [Tech Tangents] went to work, and after a number of weeks of reverse engineering, he had an entire schematic and design prepared in KiCAD.

As soon as the PCBs have been made and parts full, it was time to check the brand new board with the outdated unit. This wasn’t a easy course of both: As anybody who’s tried to get obscure {hardware} to work in MS-DOS will inform you, it entails numerous hours of making an attempt completely different driver variations and setting poorly documented switches in CONFIG.SYS. Finally, nonetheless, the driving force loaded efficiently and the outdated CD-ROM drive efficiently transferred the information saved on a Wolfenstein 3D disk.

Should you’re fortunate sufficient to personal a CM100 or related unit from that period, you will be completely satisfied to know that every one the design information for the CM153 clone can be found on GitHub. This is not the primary time somebody has needed to recreate an interface board from photos alone – we have seen the same venture involving a SCSI card for a synth. Thanks for the recommendation, [hackbyte]!

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Reverse-Engineering An ISA Card To Revive An Ancient CD-ROM Drive