Unusual CD Interface
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Thread: Unusual CD Interface

  1. #1
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    Unusual CD Interface

    I've seen CD-ROMs with SCSI and 40-pin IDE connections. This is the first one I've seen with 34-pins: SONY CDU33A-01. The 34-pin section is labeled MAIN I/F (I assume I/F stands for interface?). A second 10-pin section is labeled SUB I/F. Other connectors are normal: two power connections and a ground.

    Can someone please tell me:

    >> What kind of CD-ROM is this and what is it called?

    >> How do I hook it up to use it?

    I obtained drivers from both:
    http://www.da-web.com/ftp/CD-DRIVE/SONY/CDU33A/
    http://www.driverguide.com/archives/archive4/62.html

    The DriverGuide site also had this comment:

    "Complete DOS installation disk for the CDU-31A and CDU-33A when attached to a Sony CDB-334, COR-333 or COR-334 interface card. Includes version 1.73a of SLCD.SYS."

    >> What is the nature of this interface card?

    >> Is there an alternative way to hook up this drive without the card?

  2. #2
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    Back when I had my first PC (a 486) I installed a 2X CD rom that required an interface card which plugged into one of the ISA slots. Chances are you need one of these, but it's probably not worth the bother. The drive is probable very slow, and the cost of the interface card may equal the cost of a new CD drive.

    ------------------
    "I'm not a real doctor, I just play one on VDr!"

  3. #3
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    Dickster is correct. You would need a proprietary Sony CD-ROM interface card to use this drive. It would also be an ISA card - I don't think there were ever any PCI versions of that interface. The drive would not be faster than 4x, and probably more like 1x or 2x. Those drives are not fast enough to be worth the money an interface card would cost, assuming you could find one and you had a free ISA slot.

  4. #4
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    The drive is 2x.

    Thanks for the info. I take it you guys don't believe there is a way to use this drive without the interface card?

    I'd be very interested in hearing what you call a drive like this. Does this type of technology have a name? I might be able use a name to investigate further.

    I work mostly with old systems, so this is still of interest to me.

  5. #5
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    These days we generally call a drive like that a 'boat anchor'.

    Back when CD-ROM drives first were available, there was no one standard for connecting them to a PC. The IDE interface came out later. So, there were originally several types of interfaces used to connect them, Sony and Panasonic had their own, and there was at least one other proprietary interface the name of which escapes my memory at the moment. There were also (and still are) CD-ROM drives with a SCSI interface. When the IDE standard came out, most manufacturers switched to this interface because that would allow their drives to be connected to more computers. Most of the proprietary interfaces were found on sound cards. In fact, most sound cards of the time had all 3 proprietary interfaces, and in, in some cases, the IDE interface on them so you could connect any CD-ROM drive you had.

    If you are looking to put this drive into an older PC, you might look for an old used sound card that has the interface you need. Be aware however that if you are going to use this drive to install software from, not all software is installable from a drive that slow. I have had Microsoft Office and other large software packages refuse to install from CD-ROM drives this slow, even after changing the Windows setting for the drive to 4x or slower. In some cases, the files could not even be copied from the drive to the hard disk so they could be installed from there.

  6. #6
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    Unfortunately, I don't have the interface/sound card. Sounds like I'm going to have to put this unit away in storage until one shows up.

    Thanks for the history lesson, jdc2000. I put a copy of your description of this situation into the folder along with the CD's drivers. They will be archived along with the CD itself.

  7. #7
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    No, it won't make a good boat anchor; it may float! Use it to prop open a window, or better yet, install it in your case and you'll have a nifty retractable cupholder!

    ------------------
    "I'm not a real doctor, I just play one on VDr!"

  8. #8
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    It didn't occur to me until earlier today that what we're talking about is the old sound card with 3 'ide-type' male pin connectors sticking up in one corner of the card. I've seen them many times before.

    Well, I have one. So I tried it. Took a while, but once all the ancillary problems were straightened out, the CD worked fine. It read whatever CD I put into it.

    It may not be FAST!!!, or pretty, or proudly display 52x on the front panel, but it does do the job well enough for someone who doesn't have any CD at all.

    Thanks to those of you who stimulated my brain enough to remember that SONY has the small 34-pin connector on a sound card. For now the unit will be shelved. Eventually, it will be installed in a PC system and become the property of someone who can't afford those frilly fast models.

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