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Old December 7th, 2009, 07:47 AM   #1
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Got my NanoFlash ! A question on PCIe adapter for CF

I've been quiet on this forum for a long time due to my health problems, but I've just received my NanoFlash after all, and am very excited!

What a beautiful device - so small and lightweight, and yet so powerful... Great thanks to Mike and Dan for supporting me through my straits, and helping me to become a proud owner of this product.

Now, my only problem has probably been discussed here, but due to being absent for quite some time, I cannot find any info. Here it goes:

I've tried reading the CF cards with the ExpressCard /34 adapter for CF Type I/II I have, sticking the ExpressCard adapter into the Synchrotech front-loading drive with its own PICe card:

PCI Express to ExpressCard 34|54 Slot Drive Read-Writer Front, Synchrotech

I've been using this drive successfully with both SxS cards (at full PCIe speed; the only caveat being you need to boot the PC with an Sxs card in as this device is not hot-swappable), and with the MxM+SDHC combos (as this device also has USB connection, which of course IS hot-swappable).

However, this is what happened when I tried to read a PhotoFast CF card with the Synchrotech drive :

I rebooted my PC with a CF/ExpressCard adapter combo in the drive, and the OS successfully installed it. However, it didn't recognize the format of the CF card, and each time I try to access the new drive which was created, I'm getting the message that the drive needs to be formatted... I wasn't brave enough to go and format it, as I realize it has been formatted in my NanoFlash, and is working fine with it.

Of course, the same card reads/writes just fine using the (attached in the shipment) USB adapter, but it' so slow of course.

Any advice? I'm afraid that once I format it in my PC (Vista x64), it won't be recognized by the Nano, and will need to be reformatted.
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Old December 8th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #2
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Just wanted to add to my last post, that the problem is NOT my Synchrotech PCIe ExpressCard drive that I'm using in my desktop. I tried to read my PhotoFast CF cards using the same CF -> ExpressCard adapter, but this time inserting it to my Vaio laptop's ExpressCard slot. The same problem - " you need to format the drive before you start using it"...

Why is that? The cards work OK with the Nano...
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Old December 8th, 2009, 07:59 PM   #3
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Dear Piotr,

Have you tried using the CompactFlash card reader that we include with the nanoFlash?

I am assuming that the cards have been formatted in the nanoFlash.
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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Dear Dan,

Yes, the cards have been formatted in the NanoFlash. And yes, as I wrote already, I can read them on my PC using the USB CF reader attached.

However, after my trials with the ExpressCard reader, also the USB device stopped seeing the card properly (and wants me to format it by the PC before use).

The card is still readable/writable on the NanoFlash, tough!

What should I do? If I wanted to try and format them on my PC, it must be FAT32 of course - but which sector size should I use, so that it's still seen by the Nano?
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Old December 9th, 2009, 09:53 AM   #5
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Dear Piotr,

Sorry, I missed the fact that you tried it using the USB card reader.

Do you have files on the card that you need to save?

If no, then just format the card again in the nanoFlash.
Then record something to the card, then use the USB card reader to transfer the files to your computer.

Then test to see if you can transfer the files using your other card reader.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 03:32 PM   #6
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Dear Dan,

Thanks for your suggestion, but there is no need of conducting the experiment you're suggesting; I have now 2 PhotoFast cards, both originally only formatted in the NanoFlash (and both still working with it just OK).

The one I tried in my ExpressCard drive with a CF->ExpressCard adapter cannot be seen on my PC (or a laptop) as with both the mentioned ExpressCard AND USB reader, the OS wants me to reformat it before even trying to access it.

The other card that has never been put into the ExpressCard adapter works OK with both my computers using the provided USB CF reader.

I really need advice whether I can take the risk of formatting the cards in the PC so that they can be read. What scares me is the probability of rendering the cards permanently unable to use with the Nano.
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Old December 10th, 2009, 03:39 PM   #7
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Dear Piotr,

As long as you do not have any file on the card that you want to save, please feel free to format the card in your PC. Cards should not be harmed, under normal circumstances by formatting.

Please reformat the card in the nanoFlash before using the card for recording.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 08:11 AM   #8
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Dear Dan,

I did as you suggested - formatted one of my PhotoFast cards on the PC...

Well - no harm, but no joy, either. The PC-formatted cards is very fast transferring files on my PC when using the ExpressCard adapter. However, to use it again for recording in the Nano, I need to format it with the Nano; it then becomes fully functional with the Nano but NOT with my ExpressCard reader.

Looks like I'm limited to using the USB CF reader!

BTW: forgive my naive question, but do I get it right that whatever the method of transferring clips from the Nano-recorded CF card to a PC, reformatting the card in the Nano is ALWAYS necessary before recording to it again? I.e. even when using the attached USB CF reader for transferring clips to the PC?
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Old December 11th, 2009, 08:37 AM   #9
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Daer Piotr,

Based on your posts, it appears to me that you ExpressCard to CF card adapter is suspect.

Any CompactFlash card that we format in the nanoFlash should be read by a CompactFlash card reader. There should be no "need to format card" message.

Since the card works fine when you use our USB CompactFlash card reader, I believe that the card is fine when formatted in the nanoFlash.

I also believe, that if you use a Firewire CompactFlash card reader, it will work fine.

The reason I suspect your ExpressCard to CF card adapter, is that everytime you use this with the card, you get the error message.

Yes, we highly recommend that you format the cards, in the nanoFlash, after transferring the data to a PC, MC, or other storage device. Some Operating Systems put files on the card that we do not want.

Also, we do not support anyone formatting the card in a Mac or a PC. We format the card to our specifications to ensure maximum performance.

There are a lot of variables when a Mac or PC formats a card.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 11:16 AM   #10
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Be sure the card is being formatted FAT32 - not NTFS.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #11
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Sure it is FAT32, and with 16k sector size (just like the format from Nanoflash) - it doesn't help, though...
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Old December 11th, 2009, 11:47 AM   #12
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Dear Piotr,

To ensure reliable operation of the nanoFlash, the CompactFlash card must be formatted in the nanoFlash. Any other method of formatting the card places your files at risk.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 12:01 PM   #13
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Sure Dan - I was just hoping that using a device faster then the attached USB CF reader, I will be able to offload my CF cards without the need of changing their format.

BTW,
you say:

"Yes, we highly recommend that you format the cards, in the nanoFlash, after transferring the data to a PC, MC, or other storage device. "

Recommend doesn't mean "I have to". So - my suspicious ExpressCard reader aside, and focusing attention on the attached USB CF reader - I should be able to to just erase (delete) the clips on my PC (after having transferred them), and use the card in my NanoFlash WITHOUT the need of re-formatting in the NanoFlash again?

This is still what I'm not quite clear about....

Thanks,
Piotr
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Old December 11th, 2009, 12:14 PM   #14
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Dear Piotr,

Yes, we want you to format the cards, in the nanoFlash prior to reusing the cards.

This is the safest way.

Deleting files from the card and then reusing the card without formatting is specifically prohibited.

It only takes 10 seconds to format two cards in the nanoFlash.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 02:00 PM   #15
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Thanks Dan - all is clear now :)
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