urgent! pcmcia card not recognizing network card

Posted on 2004-09-22
Last Modified: 2010-04-29
I'm running an old laptop with win95, portege 300ct, it has two pcmcia slots. I put a d-link network card that is suppposed to be compatable for win95 in, but the slot doesn't recognize it. I restarted, searched for new hardware, still the pcmcia slots think they are empty. What can I do at this point to make it work?

here are the sad computer specs
Portege 300ct
133 mz
32 mb ram
1.5 GB HD

quick response appreciated
Question by:polkadot
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12125807
The card may be win95 compatible, but if it is a CardBus card, the PCMCIA slot must be CardBus compatible, too. On a P 133 generation machine this may not be the case. The only solution (if the assumption is correct) is to get a "normal" PC Card NIC.

Author Comment

ID: 12126248
ok what is a normal pc card? what do I look for when I buy it?
LVL 31

Assisted Solution

rid earned 50 total points
ID: 12126814
Anything not explicitly branded "CardBus" or possibly "32-bit" would in all probability be a PC-Card compliant device. Last time I bought something like that there was like 50-50 PC-Card and CardBus varieties of NIC's (some 6 months ago), so they should still be around, I guess. If possible, ask a salesperson for details.
LVL 31

Expert Comment

ID: 12126837
Oh, additional:
Very generally, the connector end of a CardBus card is gold plated, whereas the "normal" PC-card devices don't have such frills.
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LVL 69

Accepted Solution

Callandor earned 400 total points
ID: 12127672
It looks like your laptop has a cardbus slot:

Do other cards work in this slot?  Perhaps the Win95 driver supplied doesn't work, in which case you need to look on DLink's site.

Assisted Solution

badugu earned 50 total points
ID: 12132100
Greetings from Bratislava,

Generally, there are three types of PC Cards, as far as I know:

PCMCIA cards of 5 Volts - first ones on the market, both 8bit and 16bit cards (until 1998).
PCMCIA cards of 3 Volts - 16bit cards, called also PC Card. Hard to differentiate from 5 Volt cards, there is a tiny difference in shape of the card at the edges where the little holes in two rows are located, so it is impossible to get PCMCIA 3V card into 5 volt slot of an older computer without actually damaging the edge of the card or card itself (until 2002 I believe).
CardBus cards of 3 volts - 32bit cards, easily differentiated by golden plate on the bottom of the card with little nibs.

Now, PCMCIA/PC Card 3 Volts cards USUALLY work in CardBus slots but there is no 100% assurance. PCMCIA 5V card will most likely not work, although higher quality manufacturers support them, and some 5V cards are also able to run in 3V slots due to their ambiguous design.

As for the operating system, Windows 95 usually does not need any supporting drivers to recognize and operate the PCMCIA card.

Most likely, you have a CardBus NIC and your notebook is not able to see it. You need some good old PCMCIA/PC Card NIC working in all slots. I have one from Actiontec (EF 336 V.34+ Combo-Card) which I use when backuping old notebooks and which works fine in all notebooks I inserted it in, has both TP and BNC interface, and modem on it. I am sorry, I am not selling it, although it has only 10 Mbps TP interface, I used it many times. I also have Microcom TravelCard LAN PC Card (not CardBus) with 100 Mbps TX interface, which works fine in CardBus computers, and you may consider acquiring some, if it is still available on the market.

Sorry for not giving you a more optimistic answer or proposing a simple solution. I really do not understand why are all the PCMCIA manufacturer orientated to CardBus NICs - all of the notebooks sold today have TX network card integrated and do not need additional PCMCIA network card. You need such cards only for older notebooks where CardBus cards simply do not work.

Author Comment

ID: 12134491
thanks to the guys who actually bothered to figure out that my pc does in fact have a cardbus, I have found out from someone with a similar laptop, that there is something in the bios that is supposed to switch it from 16bit to 32bit

Author Comment

ID: 12137402
ok problem solved ... changed the BIOS setting to cardbus 32-bit and it works

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