USB drive to IDE/ATA interface

I am struggling to understand why I am not able to find hardware that will allow me to insert a thumb drive into a usb port that will interface to an IDE interface. There are plenty of SD/CF to IDE interfaces but none for USB.

I own a piece of 1999/2000 vintage test equipment that has a Windows 2000 OS controller. The CD rom drive has died (configured as an ide 'slave') and instead of replacing the drive, I want to use a thumb drive. This would then double as a convenient way of getting my files to/from the internal 2.5" IDE HDD.

It 'seems' that there would have been for a device like this on the market, but I certainly cannot find one. Would anyone please shed some light on this? I appreciate your comments.

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  1. The reason is they are incompatible technologies. They are not meant to be interchangeable for various reasons and details I will avoid talking about.

    The real question is what do you want to do?

    1.) If you want to replace a CD drive with a thumb drive and don't have a USB port, buy a USB controller card.

    2.) if you want a thumb drive to act as a hard drive - see above.

    3.) if you want a thumb drive to act as a CD drive - you cant. They have different formats and requirements. You can look into a Virtual CD system which I can answer if you want.

    4.) replace the CD drive. Even if you were using a CF card to IDE (similar interfaces/tech) it wouldn't act as a CD rom drive.
  2. As said above, you end up with most of these devices showing up as a hard drive.

    Why do you need them as an optical disc? is there an application the needs the CD/dvd?

    As said above, virtual drives can allow many discs to be saved to the computer and loaded without ever needing a disc itself. If you just want a CD/DVD for the system, best bet is to replace the drive it self. They are still on the market and only run about 25-30 dollars anyway. If you are shy about opening the system there are USB external DVD drives too

    If you want to have images(copies of DVD/CD's) and a storage device(place to dump files), you can try something like this, but be warned, older systems may not have the usb power to run this thing right(2.5 watts, many new systems allow more then the spec.).

    This can emulate a CD/DVD drive with ISO images and be used as a hard drive for storing files(only one mode at a time, not both.)
  3. I guess I should have been more clear. Many pieces of dedicated test gear have custom PC controllers that in many cases don't have alot of expansion flexibility. A good example is a logic analyzer that I own that doesn't have any PCI slots for expansion. There isn't support for a CD drive either. It does have a -massive- 1.5 Gb Hard drive and a floppy drive. No way to get any USB ports. My thought that since there is support for a slave drive (no room for a CD drive), figured that there might be a USB port that could interface to the IDE bus, much like a slave CD.

    Anyway, this is the sort of thing I was looking for.
    thanks for the responses.
  4. Thank you for clearing that up. So I do work with similar lab equipment and can understand your situation.

    Your pretty stuck. You could upgrade the hard drive, use the network connection (if there is one) to transfer files, or use like you said, a CF card to IDE adapter for space.
    I'm also guessing your looking at a hefty upgrade price for the whole unit, but some times, its just time.
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