Comments on: Convert Backup Card into Expansion Card

A method of changing Palm's Memory Backup Card into a regular SD Expansion Card has been circulating through e-mail this week. It involves editing the application on the Backup Card so that it no longer automatically launches whenever the card is inserted. This allows the Backup Card to be used as a regular 16 MB expansion card, saving about $10.
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I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 10:31:16 AM #
I don't know about you, but 16MB just doesn't cut it :)

I've got too many mobile texts and programs. On the 32MB, it's 21MB full, including system backup.

In the era of PowerRun and large games and apps, you literally carry every app there is on your Palm

RE: ...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 11:12:21 AM #
Isn't the backup card only 8 mb of memory, designed to backup the 8mb on the palm?

RE: ...
CarlJ @ 7/6/2001 11:25:57 AM #
Don't know offhand what the capacity of the Backup card is, but 16MB makes sense -- when I got my Clie, I was a little surprised to find that I couldn't completely back up its 8MB of RAM to the included 8MB Memory Stick, using BackupBuddyVFS... It turns out that VFS tends (needs?) to use a 16KB cluster size on the external filesystems, and PalmOS tends to have a whole lot of 200 byte to 2KB databases around, which each end up taking up a full 16KB cluster. So... despite what would seem to make sense at first, an 8MB MS/SD/etc. isn't always sufficient for backing up 8MB of memory.

it's FAT
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 5:39:11 PM #
The cards use the FAT16-filesystem. (Or was it FAT-12??) That is probably why they choose the large cluster size...

Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 12:00:15 PM #
I would recommend sticking with the less-expensive, off-brand MMCs. I got a 32 MB MMC card by Kensington for about the same price as Palm is charging for the 16 MB expansion card.

At those costs, converting the backup chip is really an unnecessary exercise, IMHO

RE: SD is faster
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 5:41:25 PM #
If you run a HandEra 330, the SD-cards have double the transferrate of MMC-cards. (Given you run the latest Beta OS 3.5.3 (2001-06-29))

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 6:32:26 PM #
Does any MMC card work with the m505? Can I use 64 meg MMC card with m505? If you can can you point to me where I can purchase such card? I'm running out of memory on my 16 meg card! Thanks!!!

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2001 8:38:19 AM #
If you have a Fry's Electronics in your area, I found a 64 meg Sandisk card there for 89.00. It runs just great on my 505.. I also hear they are making a 128 meg card, but do not know if there is a limitation on the OS for accessing that much memory.

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2001 10:11:35 PM #
I think Palm made an announcement themselves that there was a 128MB card coming available for M50x series.

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
mikecane @ 7/10/2001 8:39:02 AM #
Regarding the OS limitation in addressing memory: there's a 64MB limit for *internal RAM*. This limit does not apply to external storage. This was established on Brighthand's board with a Dr. Bell who snagged a 128MB MMC. (Don't forget, too, CLIE users have been r/w-ing from 128MB MSticks since the original mono S300!)

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
mikecane @ 7/10/2001 12:01:43 PM #
RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
I.M. Anonymous @ 10/24/2001 2:49:31 PM #
A friend of mine has both kinds of cards and I never saw any diference in speed on his m505. So I picked up a ScanDisk 28MB MMC on ebay for $29.99 including shipping.

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2002 6:49:46 AM #
Don't know whether this thread is still "alive", but I am using a 128MB SD card in my palm, and can also keep data/programs on the 64MMC's I keep for my phone. This gives me loads of space for images, videos, programs mp3's I want to keep with me.

My main issue with the expansino cards is that the launcher starts automatically when I insert the SD card and loads up an index of all the programs on it (well in the /palm/launcher dir.), this takes an inordinate amount of time (as I have quite a lot of programs there). Is there any way of preventing this kind of behaviour???


Can do the same on the Travel Card?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/6/2001 4:13:12 PM #
Aloaha All,
Is there a similar procedure that will let you take advantage of the unused space on the Travel Card? I think there's like 12 megs of free space on the card, but it won't let you write to it.


RE: Can do the same on the Travel Card?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/8/2001 10:04:01 PM #
Nope, the PalmPac cards are distributed on read-only MMC cards.



Ed @ 7/6/2001 11:30:19 PM #
I just got a reader report that this doesn't work. He said, "Using McFile 1.12 with m505 when trying to rename HIDDEN.VOL error pops out - the card does support R/W API but the card is read only"

Anyone have a different experience or found a work around for this?

News Editor
Palm Infocenter

RE: False? @ 7/7/2001 12:49:22 AM #

Nope, It work with me. Cool, Now I will have the 2nd backup.


RE: False?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/8/2001 3:53:06 PM #
Easy: Switch off the write protect slide switch on the card!

RE: False?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2001 11:12:05 PM #
Confirmed on my end. Works perfectly.


What about the Handspring backup card?

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2001 10:23:46 AM #

does anyone know if it is possible to use the Springboard 8Mb backup module as if it was a Springboard 8Mb memory module?


I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2001 7:03:44 PM #
Where can I find a version of McFile in English? The link in this story goes to a Japanese site and the program menus and ReadMe's are all in Japanese. Thanks.

RE: McFile
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/9/2001 11:22:18 PM #
Just download it. Inside you'll find the english version.

RE: McFile
mikecane @ 7/10/2001 8:41:33 AM #
Sometimes the Japanese and English versions are separate downloads. Look for the one with an "e" (rather than a "j") at the end. That should do it.

RE: McFile
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/10/2001 11:36:14 AM #
Thanks. I figured it out last night. I had been trying to load both prc files, thinking the McFileEng.prc was an "engine" for the McFile.prc application. Duh! It would be nice to find the ReadMe or the PDF file in English, though.

RE: McFile
I.M. Anonymous @ 9/13/2001 12:01:44 PM #
I was told that McFile would allow me to beam things from my palm... even with no card in the expansion slot. Does anyone know how to do this? I cannot find "beam" anywhere.

RE: McFile
I.M. Anonymous @ 12/20/2001 3:59:59 AM #
Is there any other utility like McFile that's available for free? The one I downloaded is only a 30-day trial version :-(

can i...

ice @ 7/9/2001 10:07:12 PM #
turn the gamepaks free space into memory?
RE: can i...
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/11/2001 9:20:00 AM #
Game Paks are SD locked and cannot be written to, unfortunately.

RE: Until there is a speed advantage to SD over MMC

Hugo @ 7/10/2001 7:48:57 PM # sell MMC cards for use with their new-ish pda/multimedia/ebook device, the eBookman. The eBookman seems promising at first glance, cos the OS looks a little like PalmOs. Buts its actually a proprietry os losely based on a linux Kernel. does preemptive multitasking, protected memory , full 32bit, 24 mhz proc. , simpliwrite handwriting recog. (which is what im using to write this on my palm) etc. the ebookman also looks promising until close examination. 16mg + mmc slot-but something like 6mg used by os & apps. plays mp3, records voice memos, reads ebooks, does pda stuff. but os not in flash so reset= lose every thing incl os so backups to mmc would be pointless as yov would need to sycn to restore os to restore backup. Ed - even though you are aPalm page perhaps you could do a reveiw.

Backup Card Utility

Matrix2501 @ 8/19/2001 1:40:13 PM #
Does Anybody Have The Backup Program start.prc That Was On The Card That They Can Email Me

PS Small Tip With Mcfile On A MMC Or SD Copy Any Program You Want To The /PALM And Rename It To start.prc To Autolaunch When Inserted

RE: Backup Card Utility
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/27/2002 6:34:32 PM #
Did you get the backup .prc ? I am also looking for it .

Can Backup module be used as extra mem?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/26/2002 1:03:36 AM #
Hi All

Can the HandSpring Backup Module be used as extra RAM for storing programs, etc?



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