Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Card Readers

If you came here looking for tips on Card Reading I would instead point you to the OhNo Ross and Carrie Podcast

and in particular the episode on Tarot Card Reading

But first I'll talk about the why you might be interested in the installation of a multi Card Reader into your home Servers


I'm still making final adjustments to my Virtualisation PC. This is to be a platform for transferring information to and from my vintage Cromemco equipment.

With the installation of the HxC Solid State Diskette Emulator this requires frequent access to SD cards.

Also if you frequently move photos from the card(s) in your Cameras a Card Reader can speed up the process dramatically.

This is the outgoing card reader which is the ingenious Toshiba reader floppy combo.  My motherboard only supports 1 floppy and since I now use a 5.25" diskette this unit was not useful.

After a lot of Googling and searching and comparing I came up with this:

A few weeks later my eBay order arrived and I placed this plastic cased unit in.

Lots of wires connect this unit into your system.  Notably the PCI express x1 connector that feeds the USB3 ports

Also shown  2 fan connectors and an audio connector.

Additionally you need to connect the temperature sensor and 5/12V power connector.

And the Card Reader connects via a motherboard USB2 header (not via the PCIe)

I also corrected an error which was the prior connection to FAN1 FAN3 on the motherboard.  FAN3 is not displayed in BIOS so reverted to FAN2

Here is the corrected display (i.e. I'm sticking with case fans connected to motherboard not the /Media Dashboard/ thingy. because this dashboard has no way to display Fan RPM)


Reading an SD card at 20MB/sec.  IMHO speed limitation is my SDcard not my reader.

Writing a USB3 key in the USB3 port at an average of 153MB/sec!!   This is going from the USB3 key to the motherboard PCIex1 connector via the Media electronics. Again I'm impressed,  speed limitation no doubt my USB key

Write speed via the front panel SATA interface.  Since I think this is just passthru this does not tell us much except that the connectors work and the /old/ motherboard is still OK.

What have I got now then?

  • A single unit fitting into a 5.25 inch drive bay i.e. no need to buy an expensive metal plate to convert a 3.5" unit
  • It is about 20GBP  (30 USD) and is shipped from China.  I used ebay here
  • The unit is plastic with some self tapping screws to locate in a case.   From the front though and once mounted you don't really notice it is plastic and not metal.
  • Plenty of card reader slots as shown
  • 2, USB 3 Ports connected via the PCI express connector
  • SATA front panel and power, but this is a simple passthru from my motherboard   (i.e. it does NOT come from the PCI express electronics)
  • Temperature display:  I connected the monitor probe to my CPU cooler
  • 2 Fan controls are just pots (variable resistances) and don't display, so I left them unconnected and these knobs therefore do nothing
  • Likewise the audio sockets are not connected, but along the way I finally  (5 years later!) connected the Motherboard Audio to the LianLi Case sockets.  Required some motherboard disassembly. Grr
  • Likewise with disassmembly I corrected the oversight and the Lian Li 2 Case fans now connect to Motherboard FAN1 and FAN2 and are shown in BIOS so we can see they are working right.
  • I'm very happy with the performance!

Here is the finished product.    Looks great to me!  An excellent 20GBP  (30 USD) upgrade.

Media Dashboard on eBay
Running Different OS on the Virtualisation PC
Migrating to 2.5inch hard drives