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PCMCIA/CF/CardBus Cards Tips and Tricks for Linux

Cards which often Work

As stated in SUPPORTED.CARDS : analog modem, serial port and SRAM memory and 10Base2/10BaseT - NE2000 network cards often work.

10Base2/10BaseT - NE2000 Network Cards

From my experience network interface cards which emulate a NE2000 (10BaseT or 10Base2) work usually, too. Just put the output of cardctl ident into /etc/pcmcia/config.opts accordingly and bind the pcnet_cs or pcnet_cb module to it. Example (from the PCMCIA-CS package):

card "RPTI EP401 Ethernet"
  version "RPTI", "EP401 Ethernet NE2000 Compatible"
  bind "pcnet_cs"

Once you've done that, send the cardmgr a signal to tell it you changed the configuration killall -HUP cardmgr.

Modem Cards

For unknown modem cards put the modified output of cardctl ident into /etc/pcmcia/config.opts accordingly and bind the serial_cs module to it. Example (from the PCMCIA-CS package):

card "Compaq 28.8K Modem"
  version "COMPAQ", "PCMCIA 28800 FAX/DATA MODEM"
  bind "serial_cs"

Once you've done that, send the cardmgr a signal to tell it you changed the configuration killall -HUP cardmgr.

There is at least one execption: MC221 (Platinium Discovery 56K) modem card, see above.

With some cards you may encounter some glitches (e.g. a network card not offering the full possible speed), but this should not be a problem in most cases.

Other Cards

For all unknown cards you may try to bind each available driver into /etc/pcmcia/config.opts step by step. Remember this is Linux: You don't have to restart your machine after each step! Just restart the PCMCIA-CS service, for instance: /etc/init.d/pcmcia restart (the actual command depends on your distribution).


This version of cardinfo replaces the XForms-based cardinfo from the pcmcia-cs package with a simpler interface. All the features of the original cardinfo are supported.

Other Resources

Card Types

  • CardBus: PCI-like 32 bit interface. There are often similar names for the PCMCIA and CardBus model of a PC Card, make sure you get the one which is supported by PCMCIA-CS.
  • PCMCIA: ISA-like 16 bit interface.
  • PC Card: The generic name for either PCMCIA or CardBus.
  • SmartCard: SmartCards are not the same as PCMCIA or CardBus cards.
  • Miniature Card: The newly adopted  60-pin memory card standard.
  • FlashCard / Compact-Card(TM): Storage media for digital cameras et.al.
  • MMC-Card(TM): Storage media for digital cameras et.al.
  • The CompactFlash Association - CFA offers a product guide and a FAQ. See my page Linux for FlashCards, SmartCards and Compact-Cards for Linux details about these kinds of cards.

Kernel 2.4.x

A discussion of PCMCIA in the 2.4 kernel series.


If you need to get information about an unknown manufacturer you may look up the first six characters of the MAC address in the list of ethernet vendor codes maintained by Michael Patton (see also the RFC 1340). Or search the mapping of FCC IDs by the U.S. government. In the database of PCI manufacturer and device IDs (lspci) or in the database of PnP device IDs (pnpdump). Maybe the European UPC/EAN product number (e.g. P/N 6 57285 80004 9) often provided as a barcode may help, too.

Storage Cards for Digital Cameras

Here [archived link] you may download a PDF file (in German) containing a compatibility list of CompactFlash- and SmartMedia storage cards for different digital cameras.

Readers, Adapters,PCI/ISA

For different kind of adapters (PCMCIA, USB, CF), card readers and PCI/ISA card slots, see here.

SUN - Solaris

MS-Windows (95,98,2000,NT)

A note to MS-Windows (95,98,2000,NT) users: simple 10BaseT or BNC network cards and simple modem cards, usually work with the standard drivers (e.g. NE2000, standard modem). Sometimes even other drivers work for different cards, maybe you have to change the registry accordingly.


During my work with the Linux Mobile Guide I found some PCMCIA Cards which are not in the official database of the PCMCIA-CS package made by David A. Hinds . I reported a card to David and got reports from others (some wrote even a driver), that their information didn't find a way into the database. I don't want to blame David. He is doing a big job to the Linux community, I just want to make this knowledge distributed. The last version of PCMCIA-CS I have checked is 3.0.9 (May 1999).

In November 1999 I got a mail from David A. Hinds, he has merged some of the information from this page. Please remember his database of SUPPORTED.CARDS is the first reference.


  • Thanks to the contributors, the members of the Linux-Laptop mailing list the Debian-Laptop mailing list and David A. Hinds developer of the PCMCIA-CS package.
  • Diarmuid Drew <mr_at_matsui.fsnet.co.uk>
  • Priyank J Sanghavi <priyank.sanghavi_at_patni.com>

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© Werner Heuser 1997-2015 · http://tuxmobil.org/pcmcia_linux_tips.html · last change Mon Nov 12 2007