The Lo-tech 8-bit IDE Adapter is a bootable storage adapter for IBM PC, PC/XT, PC/AT and compatible hardware – essentially most any PC with an ISA slot. (Your PC must support option-ROM chips in order for the boot ROM to function.) The card enables the use of standard IDE (ATA) and SATA hard drives (via a SATA to IDE bridge). The BIOS ROM on the card enables the host PC to boot from storage presented by the adapter, which appears in DOS as an ordinary fixed disk (i.e. drive C, D, etc). No DOS drivers are needed. One other key advantage is that this card will support the standard an I/O port range of 0x300-0x31F, or 0x320-0x33F.
You may also use Compact Flash cards with this machine, but compact flash cards are also not without their perils. We like SanDisk Ultra / Ultra 2. We generally use 2gb or 4gb cards, but larger or smaller can be used. Any ATA-2 compliant card should work, but be aware that some experimentation may be necessary. DOS 5.0 or 6.22 are probably best, as you can support a full 2GB FAT16 partition. Only use your target PC to format the card. Windows may, or may not configure the partitions correctly. Of course, you may run other operating systems as well, but create the partition via the OS setup. If for some reason your machine does not boot after FDISK and Format, run “FDISK/mbr” to reset the boot sector. This often fixes a hang at boot-time.
This sale is for the PCB only. You will need to get the rest of the parts and a suitable hard drive, or compact flash card adapter. This board will need to be assembled, so please see the wiki here for the parts list and instructions and the bill of materials.
Lo-tech reference pages: blog entries and wiki page.
The ROM on this card is provided by the XT-IDE Universal BIOS via GNU GPL v2.
You may also want to check out the ISA CF Bracket Adapter Kit that will provide a slot in the back of your vintage PC and the SanDisk Ultra II CompactFlash Card.