Simtec 16-bit IDE interface for Acorn Archimedes

This is a Simtec 16-bit IDE interface for Archimedes which I have fitted in my Acorn Archimedes A410/1. The photo below shows the card in its original form as shipped. As you'll see, my card has a few differences from the official Simtec photo including, 2 grey headers rather than black, different capacitors, surface mount IC, no power connector.

In order to make the card fit into the Archimedes case and support a CF to IDE active adapter and CF Card without extra cables, the header at the back of the card was replaced with a 90 degree PCB mount header instead.

Simtec 16-bit IDE podule for Acorn Archimedes

image courtesy Simtec Electronics

The photo below shows the Simtec card fitted to my Archimedes prior to the modification. Even with the card in the lower sockets on the backplane, the CF to IDE adapter and Compact Flash card protruded too much to allow the case to be re-fitted and so my conversion of the card was done.

The unmodified Simtec IDE card with the IDE to CF adapter and Compact=

Repair/Change history

The card required a modification to one of the connectors to allow for the addition of an IDE to Compact Flash adapter card in order that the CF card could be connected and the case could still be closed. This modification required the removal of the original 40-pin connector and its replacement with a 90 degree PCB mounted 40-pin connector.

In November 2011, the card appeared to fail and its presence in the machine prohibited all other cards from registering correctly with the operating system. The card was fixed by removing the Simtec Flash ROM on the board and cleaning the connections in the socket and also in the Euro-connector using Switch cleaner and a toothbrush. Re-seating the Flash ROM and card, the Archimedes was able to recognise all of the cards on the backplane and boot normally.

Conversion to a 90 degree PCB mounted IDE connector

Simtec 16-bit IDE interface card after conversion

Simtec 16-bit IDE card (reverse shot)

Simtec 16-bit IDE card solder side

Simtec 16-bit IDE card solder side detail

Simtec 16-bit IDE card with Compact=

Simtec 16-bit IDE card with 2GB CF Card reverse side

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Simtec resources

Disc images containing the flash rom software, modules and partitioning tool !IDETool for the Simtec cards.

8-bit card

16-bit card

Simtec !SNAFU

Simtec still provide flash rom software to update these IDE cards using !SNAFU which is available for download from the Simtec site.