Mini Web Cam With microSD Slot

Here is a slick looking mini USB web cam Brando tipped us on.  The mini web cam is extremely compact in size at just 89 x 24 x 20mm in size, can rotate 180 degrees and swivel 270 degrees.  On top of all this, the mini web cam also has a microSD card reader slot.

mini usb web cam microSD

In no time you can have a web cam setup for family chat or spy camera to keep an eye on that questionable one.  At just 89mm tall, it would be hard to tell what was sticking out of your PC.
The resoltuion isn’t bad either with a 1.3M pixel and resolution up to 640 x 480 [VGA] or 2560 x 2048 max.
The microSD slot does support SDHC formats and the entire system comes with an installation drive CD to support Windows 2000/XP/Vista.  $29 at Brando.
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Why Is My SD Card Write Protected?

I ran into a situation the other day where my SD card was [all-of-a-sudden] write protected. I couldn’t format it, I couldn’t delete the files and I certainly couldn’t write to it. I checked the lock/unlock switch and still, no avail. I thought the card was a total loss.

It turns out, the SD card wasn’t the problem but the card reader was.

After some internet searching I found several solutions to the problem, but no one really explained what the problem was. So I thought others could learn on “why” their SD card was write protected and giving problems.

First off, lets take a look at the SD card reader itself. Below is a typical SD connector found inside most SD card readers. The area I will be talking about today is the part of the reader which makes a physical connection to either give write access or provide write protection. It’s the thin metal strip the blue arrow is pointing to.

internal sd card reader

What gives the SD card write protect error is when that metal strip does not make contact with another metal strip on the inside of the card reader. When the SD flash memory card is pushed inside the card reader, the internal metal strip is pushed outward and makes contact with the outer metal strip shown in the picture above.

To give you a better idea, here is a rough drawing / schematic of the metal connectors:

sd write protect

The interal piece has an angle to the shape so when the SD card is inserted the metal strip gets pushed outward making contact with the outer metal piece. This shorts the circuit and provides access to the SD card. Here is another lovely example which might help make my point:

sd write protect off

The problem occurs when those two metal pieces don’t make contact when the SD card is inserted in the SD card reader. This is where you get the SD write protect error. Typically the internal piece gets damaged because the SD card was pushed in too hard or too fast and the internal metal piece was damaged. The damage would be either the metal angle getting bent flat or pushed deeper into the card reader.

Here are several solutions to resolve the write protect error for the SD media.

1) Put a piece of tape on the SD card – the side where the lock/unlock mechanism is. This will generally push the internal metal piece back out enough to make contact with the outer metal strip. Thus resolving your issue. This is the easiest solution because it doesn’t require opening the SD card reader.

2) A more permanent solution would be super-glue the two metal pieces together so contact is always made. Using a paper-clip or small pin, you can push the internal metal strip out toward the external piece to make contact; then glue the two together. Liquid super-glue works extremely well with metals and should stick immediately.

sd card read error

If the internal metal piece is pushed back into the card reader, it might be difficult to glue the two pieces together. It might also be damaged enough that tape doesn’t help. In that case, buy a new SD card reader…after all, they are only a couple bucks these days.

The point to all of this, isn’t the fact that SD card readers are cheap, but your SD flash memory isn’t write protected like you originally thought.  So don’t throw good SD memory away – just try one of the two methods above and I bet your problem will be resolved.

As a side talking point; if you are trying to set write protection for an SD card this is something which must be done at the device level. So the card reader isn’t related to an official write protect SD Card. To _create_ a write protect SD card then a specific vendor command must be sent to the controller on the memory card which blocks the write sequence. There is equipment with this capability such as Nexcopy’s SD Card Duplicator.

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Flash Memory Lady Bug

Here is a twist on the traditional flash memory card reader.  The flash memoy Lady Bug is a creatively designed card reader with some additional features.

lady bug usb

The little Lady Bug is a microSD card reader, includes a min 5pin data cable and of all things, includes a micro UV money detector light.  Hmmm. Topping it all off, the Lady Bug includes 4GBs of memory so she can be used as a USB drive. Simply click the black “head” button on the front and the wings pop open giving you access to all her parts and features.  All this for just $10. Continue Reading 3 Comments

Crack Your Password Protected SD Card

Ya, that’s right…sometimes you need to crack your own flash memory.  In this case, what if you have a password protected SD card?  Well, the crafty fellows at USBFever have a solution which requires a USB port and a card reader adapter.

memory card unlocker

The USB Fever memory card unlocker is designed to crack your code and get back that flash memory you’ve been locked out from.  The draw back, which I believe is appropriate punishment on forgetting your password, is the unlocker wipes your card clean of any data.  If the data is that important you can send the flash card out to be serviced – but are pictures of your mother-in-law that important?  Doubt it. USB Fever memory card unlocker product page. Continue Reading 15 Comments

More On The miCard

As things unfold for the miCard today we find a picture of the first [actual] product.
Here we see the Pretec S-Diamond miCard which is the new memory card standard from the MMC Association. The new format is expected to house anywhere from 128MB to 2TBs! Measuring only 21mmX12mmX1.95mm, miCard is the smallest USB flash drive in the world, with an area 40% smaller than miniSD (volume is about 18% smaller than miniSD). miCard can also be an SD/MMC card with an inexpensive adapter. The specification of miCard should be able to be released to MMCA members later this year. S-Diamond is the 2nd generation of Pretec i-Disk Diamond series, which has been the smallest USB flash drive for years, which can now also serve as an SD/MMC card, saving not only consumers cost, but also saving hassles by getting rid of card readers and carrying multiple flash cards in different form factors. Continue Reading

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