Micro Solutions Backpack CD-ROM Drive


Above is an example of a Backpack CD-ROM drive, made by the Micro Solutions company. It is an external drive that connects via cable to a PC's parallel port.

Many different models were produced. The pictured example is a model 164550, of about 1995. I can connect it to my IBM 5150 (IBM PC), loaded with a DOS driver (below), and then use it to read data CD-Rs produced by the CD burning capability built into Windows 7. The 164550 won't read multi-session discs, nor CD-RW discs.

Drivers for DOS / Win 3.x

Version 1.06 - dated 1994 - various sources indicate that this is the driver for the original 1x (160550) and 2x (162550) models.
Quote: "Backpack CD-ROM models 160550 and 162550 must use Version 1.06 software (filename: BPCD106.EXE) under DOS, Windows, and Windows 95".
When unzipping, ensure that the 'preserve folders' (or similar) option is enabled.
Version 1.06

Version 2.06 - dated 1996 - diskette label indicates 'models 163550, 164550, 165550'.
Known to work on 8088 based PCs, such as the IBM 5150 (IBM PC) and IBM 5160 (IBM XT).
When unzipping, ensure that the 'preserve folders' (or similar) option is enabled.
Installation diskette 2.06

Version 2.12 - dated 1998
This version has a CONFIG.SYS bug that is fixed in version 4.00
Installation diskette 2.12

Version 4.00 - dated 2000 - 16-bit driver
Described as supporting all current Backpack CD-ROM models except for the original 1x (160550) and 2x (162550) models.
Because this is described as a 16-bit driver, an 80286 or better CPU is probably required.
Installation diskette 4

Drivers for Windows NT4 / 95 / 98 / Me / 2000 / XP

32-bit drivers for numerous Backpack devices.

The installation EXE displays, "This will install the Backpack driver for Windows 95, 98, Me, 2000, XP and NT4 on your computer."

Version 3.05 Backpack Plug and Play driver - Details
Version 3.05 Backpack Plug and Play driver - Installation EXE

Version 4.05 Backpack Plug and Play driver - Installation EXE

Backpack Setup CD

A backpack setup CD is at here.

Troubleshooting documents

Document 2201
Document 2210
Document 2217

Power Supply

 x 2 speed drives:  models 163550, 163700
 x 4 speed drives:  models 164550, 164700
 x 6 speed drives:  models 165550, 165700
 x 8 speed drives:  models 166550, 166700
 x 32 speed drives:  models 167550, 167700

The following text (in red) is for the drives listed directly above, and is shown verbatim from the Micro Solutions web site (before the site was shut down).

  Output:  18VAC 900mA  -OR-  15VAC 1800mA
  (can substitute AC or DC Output between 15VAC and 22VAC providing 750mA or above)

One interpretation of that is:
Through the life of the quoted models, the maker supplied one of two possible types of adapters: 18VAC 900mA or 15VAC 1800mA. But, if you need to acquire an AC adapter, you can get one that meets the following two requirements: 1. Output voltage between 15V and 22V, either AC or DC, 2. Output current rated at 750mA or above.

If you get a DC power supply, you don't need to worry about polarity (because the input circuitry is a bridge rectifier). I have tested this myself on a model 164550.