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Hard Drive Conversion To CF For HP16500

HP 16500x Hard drive Info

This data is from a HP 16500C logic analyzer. These have an m68k processor. The system software is based on the pSOS real-time operating system. The data and boot block format on these drives is whacked.

  1. They are byte-swapped meaning every word has to be byte-swapped after reading.
  2. The logical sector size is 32768 bytes.
  3. There is no partition table. Instead, the drive appears as a single partition.

However, there is a way to read/write these drives. There's a link here to someone who has successfully read one, and the software to read it.


Compatible IDE-to-CF adapters

  • DE0PB-128D31CXS - innoDisk EDC4000 adapter/memory module (Questionable.. see below)
  • ACS-CF-IDEToCFA - works, but mounting holes don't line up
  • CF-200 - requires power cable (sold separately)
  • Hagiwara ADC3-CFMS01 - includes housing with standard mounting holes
  • SYBA SD-CF-IDE-A - used with innoDisk iCF 4000 2G
  • Syba SD-ADA45006 - with housing, 2.5“ form factor - requires modification to 16500B chassis. Needs 44 to 40 pin adapter (various eBay sellers). Remove hard drive/side fan bracket from 16500B (first, need to remove top and bottom covers, side cover and rear fan). Then remove side fan from bracket, drill 4 new mounting holes in bracket, mount CF adapter and insert CF card. Insert card in “CF1 master” slot, leave other slot empty. Check CF socket for bent pins before inserting card. Reinstall fans and brackets. Be sure to orient 44 pin connector correctly.

Compatible CF cards

  • Dane-Elec - unknown model - 64MB
  • Dane-Elec - unknown model - 256MB (but some Dane-Elec 256MB cards don't work)
  • Dane-Elec - unknown model - 512MB - Top of card says “CompactFlash™” in red at top next to triangle, left side of label has camera, cellphone, walkman and tablet icons next to a large number 512 in white over a large purple circle background, bottom of label has blue and red Dane-Elec logo
  • innoDisk iCF 4000 - 1GB
  • Lexar CF064-04-291 - 64MB - Card is yellow and purple, has red 4x speed marking on card and packaging, says “USB enabled” on card and packaging
  • Pro Tecnik - unknown model - 128MB
  • Simple Tech - unknown model (yellow and black) - 64MB, 128MB and 256MB
  • Unknown manufacturer - unknown model - 512MB

Incompatible CF cards

  • Cisco - unknown model - 512MB
  • Dane-Elec - unkown model - 256MB (formats, but doesn't boot; but some Dane-Elec 256MB cards do work)
  • integral - unknown model - 64MB
  • Lexar - unknown model - 128MB
  • Memorex - unknown model - 128MB
  • Nikon (Rebranded Sandisk) - unknown model - 16MB
  • RiData - unknown model, 233x speed - 4GB
  • SanDisk - unknown model - 16MB
  • Sandisk - (Labelled 'Shoot & Store') - 64MB
  • Sandisk - unknown model - 128MB
  • Sandisk - unknown model - 512MB
  • Transcend - CompactFlash 80x - 512MB
  • Transcend - CompactFlash 133x - 4GB
  • Transcend - unkown models - 256MB to 4GB
  • Viking - unknown model - 256MB

Incompatible cards may appear to format OK, but freeze up when you try to copy files to them.

Compatible hard drives

HP originally used Quantum drives in the 16500B. Reported compatible drives include:

  • Quantum ProDrive ELS 85AT
  • Quantum ProDrive LPS 120A (?)
  • Quantum ProDrive LP 170AT
  • Quantum ProDrive LPS 210AT
  • Quantum Fireball 540AT
  • Quantum Fireball 1080AT (CHS geometry: 2112/16/63)
  • Quantum Fireball ST 1.6AT (HP P/N 16500-83515 for 16500C)
  • Quantum Fireball SE 2.1AT

Most of these old Quantum drives have already failed, so this information is mostly for reference purposes.

Incompatible hard drives

Reported incompatible drives include:

  • Quantum ProDrive LPS 85AT (?)
  • Quantum ProDrive LPS 105AT
  • Maxtor 7120AT

The Maxtor 7120AT will initially appear to format OK in the 16500B if you try to format it twice, and it will pass the Hard Disk Test, but it is not possible to actually copy files to the drive or boot from it. The 16500B apparently misdetects the C/H/S geometry of this drive. After formatting the drive, the 16500B reports free space in excess of the actual capacity of the drive.

  • IBM DJNA-352500

The 16500B will not complete its power-on test with the IBM DJNA-352500 drive attached. It will display “software error” and freeze. This happens even if you reduce the drive capacity using the 2GB jumper or SET MAX ADDRESS. If you jumper the drive to disable auto spin up, the 16500B will complete the power-on test, but it will display “software error” and freeze when you try to format the drive.

SATA drives with SATA to PATA adapters will not work. They get a “software error” during 16500B power-on test, same as the DJNA-352500 PATA drive.

Preparing a newly installed drive

When you first power on the 16500B with a blank (or PC-formatted) drive, the Hard Disk Test will fail, even if the drive is good. You must format the drive in the 16500B before the Hard Disk Test will pass.

To format the drive, boot the System Disk 1 floppy. Once it boots, use the touch screen to change from “Configuration” to “Hard Disk”. Then change from “Load” to “Format Disk”. Press “Execute”, then confirm both times when prompted.

If the 16500B reports “Disk Timeout” after executing format on a CompactFlash card, power cycle the 16500B and try formatting the card again.

After formatting, make the drive bootable by copying the system software to it.

16500B Operating System Software

If desired, install the Symbol Table Utility.

Yahoo Groups thread

A friend and I both have 16500's, my drive is making noises, his finally failed. After realizing that replacement drives were not readily available (Quantum 84MB IDE) for a reasonable prices and these older drives have a poor reliability record we decided to see if the drive could be replaced with a newer IDE drive. A variety of drives in the several hundred MB range were tried but none were recognized by the 16500. We captured the drive communications with the remaining working 16500, after some undocumented commands the drives would raise its error status and then the 16500 would give up.

Then we tried an IDE to Compact Flash adaptor board. Only one of our CF cards did work a from a no name company called. Pro Tecnik, it was also the only 128MB cards we had. The board used was a ACS-CF- IDEToCFA from ACS http://www.acscontrol.com/index_ACS.asp

Mounting the card was a little goofy as the holes in the adapter card did not line up. We used a 6-32 standoff in one hole and some double stick tape under the other corner.

Now the 16000B boots rather quickly and reliably. If anyone has any experiences with doing similar mods it would be great if you could post what CF card worked for you as we still need one more card and have no idea where to source this card.

I've uploaded to pictures, the mod and boot screen to the files area under `16500 Flash mod'


This was added later:

The HP16500 (HP-16500B and HP-16500C) series logic analyzers only seem to work with Quantum hard drives with capacities of less than 2 Gb. The Fireball series of drives is known to be compatible. The drives are usually readily available on Ebay in capacities from around 70 MB to several GB. The FB 1080AT drive works very well.

On December 2, 2008, Poul-Henning Kamp added the following:

OK, I went and tried today, and it actually did work.

I used a FreeBSD system to copy the hard disk to a 512M CF card and used a CF-200 (because I happened to have one at hand) from here:


and it worked right away.


On December 25, 2008 this was added:

— In hp_agilent_equipment@yahoogroups.com, “tge96” <tge96@…> wrote:

Today is the day my HP 16500B hard disk test failed during power-up
self-test. I was wondering when the day would come. It has been
working well for me for a few years now. Yesterday, when I booted it
for the first time ever I noticed the “failed” hard disk test status.
Yesterday, cycling power allowed everything to pass and work just
fine. Today, cycling power results in no change…

I'm assuming it's the hard disk itself that's crashed and not the
power supply or other type of failure? Does this sound about right to
you guys?

It looks like it's time to rummage through my old storage boxes
searching for old PC hard disk drives to test if they'll work in my HP
16500B or maybe give the CF card hack a try.

Any advice?


The HP 16500B mainframe now boots reliably via Dane-Elec 64MB CF Card (circa 2001) inside CF to IDE adapter part number ADC3-CFMS01 (comes with very nice 3.5” metal housing w/standard mounting holes) from Hagiwara Sys-Com US Co., Ltd, http://www.hsc-us.com/Embedded/CFadapters/ADG_index.htm. The drive that was working for years is a Quantum ProDrive ELS (84MB). I did try a Quantum ProDrive LPS (84MB) drive from www.4drives.com without success. I've uploaded two pictures to the files area under '16500 Flash Mod'.

Thanks you “sfarkas” for cutting the new CF to IDE solutions trail :)

On September 20, 2010, Eric added the following:

I decided to do a CF conversion on my 16500C now while it was still working to guard against an inevitable future hard drive failure. I wanted to pass along what worked for me in the hopes that it might help someone else.

I used a CF 200 CF card adapter from Mini-Box.com ( http://www.mini-box.com/CF-adapters ) and its associated power cable. I read above that someone had success with this adapter which is why I chose it. Don't forget to get the power cable it is sold separately.

I also ordered a CF card from them as well. I got the innoDisk iCF 4000 in a 1GB size. I was not sure if it would work considering all the problems people have had finding compatible cards but it worked just fine. I looked at the manufacturer's site ( http://www.innodisk.com ) and their products are designed as industrial solid state disk replacements. The fact that they are intended to serve as a disk may have something to do with why it worked in the 16500C.

If you are considering this you may want to just use the innoDisk EDC 4000 module. In their catalog they list the EDC/iCF 4000 series parts on the same page with the same features and nearly identical specs. This would lead me to believe that one of the EDC modules would work just as well and save you the hassle of the adapter card and power cord.

Hope this helps someone.


On July 13, 2011, Peter added the following:

I went with Eric's advice, tried the innoDisk EDC4000 adapter/memory module and it worked really well. I used model DE0PB-128D31CXS. This model version (Type B) fits directly onto the IDE connector on the motherboard and has the correct form factor so that it fits in the motherboard slot area of the HP16500B. There are other model types with different form factors but they won't all fit. Type B has a female IDE connector and its PCB is oriented so that it lays over the motherboard. It also comes with a power cable that connects directly to the original hard drive power cable. I got the 128MB version because it was the cheapest. I think this might be the cheapest and easiest CF solution. I purchased mine at memorydepot.com:



On Oct 3, 2012, Adam added the following:

Based on the success above with the innoDisk EDC4000 adapters I went out and bought 3 from memory depot using the link from above (Type B). I'm sorry to say that none of the 3 would work in any of my 16500B systems. I even sent them to innoDisk headquarters to be fully tested and they found nothing wrong with the modules. But for me.. all I get are DISK TIMEOUT errors and cannot format them using the analyzers. Maybe innoDisk updated the firmware on these modules? :(



test_equipment/hard_drive_conversion_to_cf_for_hp16500.txt · Last modified: 2023/09/19 02:57 by adamgoldman
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