Cloning a Rare ISA Card to Talk to the First-Ever CD-ROM Drive

This is one of the most amazingly nerdy things I have ever seen. Shelby of Tech Tangents bought a 1985 Philips CM100 external CD-ROM drive, the first such device on the market.

After buying the deck, he found out that the ISA card required to run it was nowhere to be found. So, he decided to reverse engineer and clone his own, trace by trace.

As dramatically explained in this video, Shelby ended up falling down a rabbit hole that seemed to have no bottom. It’s hard to imagine the blood, sweat, and tears that went into this gloriously obsessive project. You can see just how excited Shelby gets when he’s finally able to get his card up and running.

He has made the card design open source and it is available on his GitHub page.


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