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PCMCIA Memory What to know before you buy

Before microSD, SD, MMC and Compact Flash the removable flash standard was PCMCIA cards.  All laptops came equipment with a PCMCIA slot to accept a PCMCIA ATA type II card.

Still used today by the military and industrial equipment PCMCIA cards are available in different builds, know the difference before you buy.

Like other types of flash memory, PCMCIA cards are available in both MLC and SLC chipsets.  those unfamiliar with these standards, the most may be familiar is MLC (Multi Level Cell).  Cards built using this method are typically consumer grade and hold a temperature rating of 0C to +70C.

PCMCIA Cards built with SLC chipset are rated at -40C to +85C and typically include some type of error correction and or wear leveling technology as well.

So depending on your environment you will want to choose the appropriate card for your equipment’s needs.

In addition to the temperature and wear leveling technology PCMCIA cards are available in a plastic and metal housing.  In a majority of the cases the plastic housings are more affordable and readily available.  The metal housing cards have a longer lead time and are more rigid.  The specifications such as temperature, vibration and shock are rated the same for both housings.

One additional option that is not usually mentioned are the coatings that may be applied to the components on the cards.  One type is acrylic and the other is silicon based.  Both are used when additional vibration and shock ratings are needed in order for the cards to meet certain specifications.  Keep in mind that when ordering these cards you will void the warranty as no warranty repairs can be performed on the cards after these coatings have been applied.

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SiliconSystems Cards are they still available?

Since the departure of Sandisk from the PCMCIA arena, SiliconSystems picked up the torch and has been running with it.  However, since the purchase of SiliconSystems by Western Digital, the PCMCIA PC Card form factor is no longer available as SiliconSystems.  So all of those “SSD-P” part numbers are no more.  Now this is not true for the compact flash cards.  Western Digital still offers CF cards.  However this too has changed from the traditional “-3012” suffix to the newer 4000 series.  Engineers still looking for compatible cards are urged to consider the “-S” configuration offer by PCcardsDirect.  This card offers the same controller as those used by the older now unavailable SiliconSystems Company.  Available in fixed and removable bit, engineers and technicians may order a sample to test and QC.  In certain instances software may have been developed to only write to the SiliconSystems card.  In this case changes to the code will have to take place.  For a listing of available card options visit:…


Sandisk and Sewing Machines more in common than you think

Sandisk the leading producer of flash memory also lends a hand to the textile industry.  Many large textile machines have used the Sandisk SDP3BI-16-201-80, 16MB PCMCIA PC Card as storage on industrial textile machines.  Large textile producers in Italy have long used these cards to store and transfer data to and from their equipment.  These industrial rated industrial temperature cards proved to be exceptional work horses.  However, these 16MB 16bit PCMCIA cards are no longer available.  Sandisk discontinued production of these cards some seven years ago, in shift to move in to the retail consumer market.  Sandisk changed their focus from industrial products to retail consumer products.  As can be seen in your local Costco with the pallets and pallets of USB drives offered in bulk.

As production shifted to consumer goods industrial users of these cards where left with a hole in their supply chain.  As today’s new laptops no longer offers a PCMCIA slot, so too has the PCMCIA cards fallen out of  favor with manufactures such as SiliconSystems, Western Digital, and Kingston.  If you are looking to support aircraft, industrial equipment too expensive to upgrade to more traditional SD or Compact Flash cards, consider evaluating the PCMCIA ATA PC Card by PCcardsDirect.  Offering capacities starting at 16MB, PCDATA16MBI, this cards is industrial shock, vibration rated and temperature tested to -40C to +85C.  View the complete offering of Industrial PCMCIA Cards at .

Airbus A320 Aircraft Downloading Data from DFDR

Recent use of the APRO WRAFC001G-SDISI-UR, 1GB PCMCIA Card has proven compatible on the aircraft.

PCMCIA Cards for CNC Machines and Military Aircraft

PCDATA128MBIPCMCIA Cards the standard for storing and transferring data on to industrial equipment.  The 128MB PCMCIA ATA Card part number PCDATA128MBI, industrial temperature rated is ideal for this requirement.