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Chronos 80 in 1 Card Reader CR-561 (Memory Card Reader) review


The memory cards are all around us and established as a standard already in many devices. I have memory card in my phone, memory card in my digital camera. I use memory cards for transfer of data between computers, for storage of important data, music, documents and pictures. The memory cards are very small, compact, efficient, noiseless, cheap, relatively fast and easy to handle. With the advance of the technology, their memory storage capabilities raised enormously, while their size was kept the same or even smaller variants appeared. In the year 2005, 256MB memory card was expensive and hard to find, in the year 2009, 4 GB is tiny, available everywhere and cheap. The need for bigger memory space also had driven the need for bigger memory cards. 4.0 MegaPixel digital camera produces much smaller photo files, while my FujiFilm FinePix F50fd 12.0 Mega Pixels produces 4.5 MegaByte image files at average. This means that with 128 MB memory card I can only make around 28 photos, which is too small. The data stored on the memory cards I had, I used to offload to my Amiga by two methods. First method was by using the direct USB connection with various devices. One of them was the Casio Exilim EX-Z1050 digital camera connected via USB and then accessing the card from the Workbench. The digital camera had the plus that it can use SD and MMC+ memory cards, unlike the FujiFilm which can not use MMC+ cards, but can do XD, which also can be used with USB cable, but it is different from the cable of the Casio. The Nokia N-Gage also can be used to access memory card, but Symbian seems to hate AmigaOS, so writing to there is not suggested. The Toshibo V9+i uses microSD card, which can be accessed by connecting the device to the Amiga, but still it can access only this card.
The second method for accessing memory cards was by using a computer with built-in memory card slots. I rarely had found desktop PCs with memory card slots, but they are available. There are also some laptop PCs with slots, but not all of them. For example a Dell Inspiron E1505 have such slot, but the Dell Latitude D630 does not have memory cards slot. With all these different formats around, the need to turn the devices on when accessing the memory cards put in them, or searching for someone with the right PC just to be able to read a memory card, forced me to solve the problem radically. After a short browse at the Reset Computers while passing nearby to the G.S.Rakovski street in Sofia, I purchased the Chronos 80 in 1 Card Reader which looked good enough for my needs, for around 25 BGN.


Chronos 80 in 1 Card Reader on top of its box cover with USB plug put inside. The card reader was nicely and strong packaged in a transparent plastic bag, which I had to cut with scissors, to open the reader. During the procedure I cut small parts of the paper bag on the top part, but hopefully I did not damage anything. The front cover have the Chronos logo on the top left, with the text under it - UNLIMITED TECHNOLOGY and a link to the www.chronos.com.tw - the web site of the manufacturer, with information, drivers and news about all the cool cheap gadgets produced under the brand. I have purchased the red version of the reader, but there also other colors available, according to product information and pictures on their web site. On the right to the reader which was placed under 45 degrees is seen the SIM CARD Mobile Ready!! tag with a picture of SIM card. Under the card reader is another tag Mobile Express No Adapter reuqired!!, on the right pictures with text in red circles - MOBILE, CAMERA, CAMCORDER. On the bottom in 3x3 grid are shown figures and names of the major wide known, supported by the device cards. Listed are from left to right and from up to down: MICRO SD, MICRO SDHC, MMC MOBILE, MINI SD, RS-MMC 4.0, MS DUO, T-FLASH, RS-MMC, MS-PRO-DUO. Even if you are unsure what exactly is your card, or the text on it is blurred and can not be read, by the form of the card can be said what type it is, with small exclusions, where some of the cards have the same figure shown on the pictures. Even if some of the cards are very rare, hard to find and not much in use, it is nice to know that you can read these not so wide known formats, without the need of purchasing another memory card reader or special device just for accidental read of some data. A spelling mistake is viewable on the cover - Reuqired!! which a little shame, but considering that the price of the product is extremely cheap, it is normal that the cover design was made by someone whose first language is surely not English. This is even more notable on the back side of the cover, where on the top left is written CR-561 - most probably the model of the device. Back cover of the Chronos 80 in 1 Card Reader CR-561. On the top right is again the CHRONOS logo with the web site address. On the top center is the hole which is in the standard for the shops size and form, for easy placement of the product on the shelves. Down under the model number and the logo, on white background are written the Support Card Type, where all the supported by the device memory cards are written. Exactly eighty different types are written, including the SIM at the end. The text is one very enormous and respectful list, even if some of the models seem to be only manufactured by different company, or the others seem that I will never have touch with.
After the list is the Feature text, which says that the device supports wide range on Memory Cards, even some more exotic variants, like SDHC, micro SD (without the need of adapter), M2 and SIM, and all this on Windows VISTA systems. Also it claims that this is the first card reader to support SIM card, which may be true, because I have never seen SIM card reader at the shops before. It also says that you need to provide a SIM editor application to edit the phone book and SMS of GSM SIM Cards.
The last in red topic is the Specification where the details of the device are written - six Card Slots, contents of the package - USB-A-Male to USB-A-Female Cable x 1, SIM Editor/98SE Driver CD x 1. Written is also that the device supports USB 1.1 and USB 2.0, high-speed transfer 480Mbps. The backward compatibility with USB 1.1 is also a plus especially when trying to use the device on older platforms. The Dimension of the reader is 52.5 x 87 x 16.8 mm with weight of 60g. Advised is to install the CD software for Windows 98SE users.
At the bottom of the back cover are six logos, five of which are different incarnations of Windows - Vista, ME, 2000, 98SE and XP and also MAC OS 10.x. Sadly AmigaOS is not written, neither is Linux. To the right of the OS logos are the RoHS, CE and FC logos, which means that the product is really environmental friendly and the laws are taken into account, when it is manufactured. Under the environmental safe logos is the serial number, the same as the one glued to the memory device itself, which unglued shortly after I started to use the reader. Chronos 80 in 1 Card Reader with the driver CD, the USB-A-Male to USB-A-Female Cable and put out the USB connector from the device. At the back of the package was also put the USB cable. Inside the paper covers was glued in nylon bag, the miniCD with the drivers and the SIM Card Editor V205-0809. The CD is 10.5 MB full, named exactly after the version of the software and includes the SIM Card Editor, along with manual of the software application in English, Deutsch, Russian, SC and TC. Present are also the Windows 98 drivers in separate WIN folder. All the files are dated 22-Aug-2007, which seems the date of the mastering of the CD. The USB cable is 1 m long, coming very handy for computers without front USB plugs, like the case I use for my AmigaOne. The memory card reader is possible to connect directly to the USB port of the computer, but it is not as much flexible, as when using the male to female USB cable, even if the reader have a little flexibility, given by the 3 cm cable put inside it. The cable can be put inside the device or plugged out, providing easier handling.


The installation of the device on my AmigaOne was simply plugging it into USB port. The device was recognized as a Product:CS8819A3-116,Vendor:Myson Century, Inc., Serial no.:100, Version:a3.16, which was announced by a USB attachment window on the Workbench screen with the The Class given by AmigaOS was Multiclass (Mass Storage), Subclass:6 and Driver:MassStorage Device Task. Small red light from a diode inside the device, indicates that the Card Reader is plugged into powered USB port and should be working properly. I attached a Hama 2GB SecureDigital Card. In less than 3 seconds, on my Workbench desktop appeared the icon of the partition, with the name underneath.


Double-clicking on the icon opens the window with the files in it, where I can see the contents of the memory card, after selecting Show->All files from the Window menu of Workbench. I can also list the files from AmigaShell with dir USB0C: or dir USB1: if USB0C is already used by another USB storage device. The drive is seen as a normal AmigaDOS device and I can access it normal, read, write, rename and manipulate it with the Workbench, AmigaShell or DirectoryOpus. Chronos 80 in 1 Card Reader CR-561 with plugged mobile phone SIM card, SD Micro Card (4GB) and SecureDigital Card (2GB) in it. Putting another card while the first one is not unplugged, however, does not open or show another icon, or assign new USB device on the chain. In fact the cached first memory card is still shown, but not the second. If I unplug the first memory card, it is still shown and I can even see its contents, which are cached. This means that I can not use the Card Reader to copy from one memory card to another, without the usage of RAM Disk: or hard drive. With the bigger cards this may come as a problem, because I don't have 4 GB of RAM Disk, sometime neither on the Hard Disks, so I have to copy from the one memory card to the other with the use of third medium on several steps. Another problem with the device is that during read or write process to it, there is no way to see if there is still transfer to or from the memory card. The red diode inside is standing still, without any indication of what is going on inside. However on the left, a small blue diode blinks when I transfer data from the cards, that is hard to see at first sight. Sometime when I unplug, and the write or read is not finished, I receive a request from Workbench to insert the volume again, to finish the process. This can be very annoying, especially if you are on hurry, and don't want to wait for a minute after the process, just to be on the safe side that it is finished. I have removed many cards with requester appearing after that, but hopefully all the cards work fine. I also tried plugging the device on a Windows XP Dell Latitude laptop, without administration rights and without drivers. The device was recognized fine, but unfortunately many devices appeared - E, F, G, but clicking on their icons, says to insert the device, because it was not present. So it was not working straight away like on the Amiga, and I did not have the nerves to try further. Considering that it was designed for Windows, this is a very annoying fact for me. Even if nothing was shown, would be better, than showing misguiding icons. I also gave a try of the SIM card which I have into my old phone. It was not read on AmigaOS, probably requires drivers. During the insertion of the SIM card I have experienced again another annoyance. If the card does not plug easily, I have to push it stronger, but not that strong, or else the card goes inside the device and it is very hard to take it from there, without damaging the reader, or the card. I have put one SIM card and one MicroSD inside the device and now I am very careful when inserting something into the reader, even if it has some protection against wrong orientation of the inserted memory cards.


The speeds which I can achieve are only 1.1 USB standards, because on my AmigaOne I have only such ports. It is much slower than the more recent USB 2.0, but my test have shown that the images from my FujiFilm camera on 12 MegaPixels resolution, which are average 4.5 MB big, are transferred to the JXFileSystem 4.33 partition on the Amiga taking around 6 seconds. But even if the transfer is faster, the memory card is still a slow memory device which is one of the deficiencies of these types of storage media. The slowness is also visible when I make a shot, and then I have to wait for 2-3 seconds, for the image to be stored, before being able to make another shot. This is because the image is way too big for the slow memory card.


The Chronos 80 in 1 Memory Card reader is very useful device, especially for people like me, who love to travel, transfer data, listen to music, make photos and generally love to tinker with gadgets. It is cheap, reliable, small, easy to handle and package. Even with the small annoyances, I recommend it to everyone who have or will have the use of different kinds of memory cards. I don't sorry that I bought it, even if I can access the memory cards with other methods.

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