Due to my Panasonic CD interfacing pages, I get a fair amount of mail about connecting one of these drives to a PC. In response to this, I've set up this mini-FAQ to cover common questions that keep coming up. I should perhaps stress that I don't actually have a PC, so haven't been able to test some of the things outlined here.
2006 note: this page was written in 1999 and many of the links are now broken. Most of the information here is of historic interest now so it makes extra work for me to keep track every time a manufacturer reorganises their site. I'll accept link corrections, but in the meantime I suggest using Google to find drivers etc.
This only relates to Panasonic CR56x and CR52x drives (and their rebadged versions from Creative Labs and others), which require a special interface card to connect to a PC.
How do I connect a CR56x drive to an IDE interface?You can't. If you try, it won't work, and may potentially damage either the drive or interface. While the cable is the same, the interface is completely different.
How do I connect one of these to a PC then?You need an interface card that provides a Panasonic CD interface (also called MKE or Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics). Such cards were sold by Panasonic and Creative Labs, for example the CT1810 and CT1830. These cards were only made around 1992 as far as I know, so may be somewhat rare today. An altenative solution is to find an ISA card that incorporates a Panasonic interface with other features. Many early Soundblaster cards had one of these, as did their clones. If you would like to build your own interface, Gary Tait has some schematics (local mirror).
What sort of cable do I need?Any 40 way IDC cable will do (IDC stands for Insulation Displacement Connector, and relates to that type of flat cable, not its wiring). A cable from an IDE hard drive should work fine, as long as it is 40 way straight through and does not have any special wiring for cable select or any other IDE features. If you have a 3 connector IDE cable (1 motherboard, 2 HDs), it's best to have the interface card at one end, and the CD-Rom at the other, leaving the middle socket free, which minimises signal reflections.
What are the jumper setting for my XYZ drive?I can only say for the CR56x series - I believe other MKE interfaced drives have a similar set of jumpers. The CR56x has a set of four jumper positions on the rear panel, of which only one should be jumpered. The position where a jumper is present correlates to the drive ID of the drive, which for a single drive system should be 0 (up to 4 drives can sit on the same cable.
How do I set my CR56x drive to be master/slave?See above. The drive is not IDE, so has no concept of master or slave.
What is the specification of my drive?The CR563 spec is online, others are similar (Panasonic used to have specs, but they seem to have disappeared).
Where do I find drivers for my drive for [insert OS of your choice here]?Try Panasonic for DOS, Windows, and OS/2 drivers. Linux supports these drives via the sbcd, sbpcd or pcd drivers (if these aren't in your kernel sources, pcd 0.30 is mirrored here.) NetBSD/i386 uses the matcd driver, which should be in your source tree.
Page by Theo Markettos (email at theo [at@] markettos.org.uk), last modified 2006-04-18