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Brother (possibly also some Bernina) embroidery machine memory cards

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MarkMLl:
Current Brother/Bernina domestic sewing and embroidery machines have a slot for a memory card, and a USB host connector into which a standard Flash stick can be plugged.

Older machines only have a card slot, and transferring embroidery instructions from a PC (e.g. prepared using Inkscape/Inkstitch) to the machine relies on having a special memory card and a card writer... both of which are scarce and expensive.

I have seen a number of questions before relating to these cards and readers, but it seemed that nobody made much progress. I now have a sacrificial card (not part of a burnt offering) over which I have been waving test probes and magnifier.

The card is 40-pin, not 41-pin as sometimes reported. The connector is an AMP 175564 with 1mm pitch, it's comparable with a single row of a PCMCIA connector. One of the "ears" at the end is slightly thinner than the other, and this identifies pin 1.

Most of the pins connect both to the chip (a die under an epoxy blob) and to tracks cut when the PCB was guillotined to size. The pin layout corresponds roughly to the die, i.e. it's either an ASIC or Brother selected a type of chip when they first specified the slot and has been able to continue sourcing it.

I've not got an extender so so far at least haven't been able to tack testgear onto it, and without having done that I'm not going to guess which power connection is Vcc and which 0V.

This is where I'm at with pin functions:


--- Code: --- 1 to pin 40 (presence detection?)
 2 power (also pin 39), copper fill on front of PCB
 3 power (also pin 38), copper fill on back of PCB
 4 n/c
 5 unpopulated R, other end off-board
 6 R, chip, off-board
 7 R, chip, off-board
 8 R, chip, off-board
 9 R, chip, off-board
10 n/c
11 R, chip, off-board
12 R, chip, off-board
13 R, chip, off-board
14 R, chip, off-board
15 R, chip, off-board
16 R, chip, off-board
17 n/c
18 R, chip, off-board
19 R, chip, off-board
20 R, chip, off-board
21 R, chip, off-board
22 R, chip, off-board
23 R, chip, off-board
24 R, chip, off-board
25 R, chip, off-board
26 R, chip, off-board
27 R, chip, off-board
28 R, chip, off-board
29 R, chip, off-board
30 R, chip, off-board
31 R, chip, off-board
32 R, chip, off-board
33 off-board
34 R, chip, off-board
35 R, chip, off-board
36 R, chip, off-board
37 R, chip, off-board
38 power (also pin 3)
39 power (also pin 2)
40 to pin 1 (presence detection?)

--- End code ---

So that's about 29 logic connections plus power, which I think is compatible with there being an IDE controller (without DMA etc.) plus storage under the blob.

Contributed in the hope that this is useful to somebody at some point.

MarkMLl

amyk:
Could you post some pictures?

What's the approximate capacity of the card?

If I were to take a wild guess, I would go with parallel NOR flash or even NAND flash (if capacities are high).

Opening up the machine and seeing what traces go where would also help, as would the reader/writer.

james_s:
IDE seems unlikely, I'd expect it to be some kind of bare ROM. My partner has a Bernina embroidery machine that belonged to my grandmother, I think it uses the same type of cards. I recall if we have the reader, we have the software but the dongle was lost somewhere in the process of cleaning out the house and dividing things up after she passed away. I'd love to find a crack for that, I'm not inclined to give Bernina more money when my grandmother already paid a fortune for it.

helius:
Many of these old machines used BeeCards or JEIDA cards.

MarkMLl:

--- Quote from: helius on November 07, 2020, 04:30:43 am ---Many of these old machines used BeeCards or JEIDA cards.

--- End quote ---

Wp shows the Beecard to have sliding contacts, and JEIDA is described as being variously 88 or 68 pins.

MarkMLl

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