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MatchBookDrive and FAFileMover

Thu Feb 1, 2001 - 12:22 AM EST - By Scott Hanselman

The Solution - Hardware

To get Compact Flash cards to work in a Visor was a collaborative effort. For the hardware side, the folks over at MatchBookDrive have taken it upon themselves to make the sharp looking Removable MatchBookDrive Adapter. It looks especially nice in a Ice-colored Visor.

It's a clear Springboard casing, rather than the typical black. But, it's important to note that the MatchBookDrive isn't a true "Springboard" as it contains no software, and doesn't install anything when inserted. It's merely an adapter. More on the software you'll need later. As with all modules that use this standard casing, it fits well and snugly into any Visor. I've used it in a Prism and in an Ice Visor Deluxe, and it doesn't add to the thickness of the Visor, and adds immeasurably to the weight. I've started keeping it in my Visor Prism all the time, and I don't even think about it now.

CF Cards have small recessed grooves running along their sides. The MatchBookDrive has two black posts with notches that slide directly into these grooves. The trick is making sure they mesh perfectly, which guides the CF Card on to the MatchBookDrive's pins. If you push too hard or too fast, you'll bend the pins. MatchBook Products told me that you can open the module a few times if you need to and straighten bent pins, but they recommend caution, as you might break the snaps that hold the case together. I decided against opening mine. If you just take care when inserting cards, it's not a problem.

Theoretically you can use any CF card up to 192 megs. The creators of the MatchBookDrive say that they know of some 128meg cards being used with much success. I've used a 48meg and 16meg card of varying brands without a problem. You can get SanDisk 16meg cards at or on ebay for a nice price.

You can't use the new IBM 340meg and 1gig MicroDrive CF-style hard drives with the MatchBookDrive, since the MicroDrive specs call for 500mA peak current and the Springboard slot is designed to provide 100mA peak. This is a limitation of the Handspring Springboard slot and not of the MatchBookDrive or the FAFileMover Software.

It's nice to see support for such a popular format as Compact Flash on the Visor. The MatchBookDrive is an excellent value even if you don't have an CF Cards. For those that use other kinds of memory, there has been talk of a Sony Memory Stick adapter and a SmartMedia adaptor called the MemPlug.

The Solution - Software >>


Product Info
Name MatchBookDrive
Company MatchBook Products LLC
Fact Sheet & User Opinions
$24 (Flush Hardware + Software Type II)
$20 (Flush Hardware + Software Type I)

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