Hack: 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: Continue Reading 50 Comments

Surplus of NAND Flash Memory To Continue

DRAMeXchange published a market research paper stating that NAND flash memory will continue to flood the market at lower prices. NAND flash memory is primarily used for storing songs, photos and other data on gadget type devices like digital cameras, MP3 players and iPods. The biggest contributing factor on why the market will continue to see cheap NAND is lack of sales.

sandisk flash memory

Since production forecasts run months ahead, the market has sitting inventory. To move this inventory prices are continueing to drop. For example, DRAMeXchange reported a drop of 20% in June for NAND memory related devices.
The NAND flash market has been so bad that the creator of the chips, SanDisk, on Monday reported a surprise loss of US$68 million for the second quarter. The company blamed the supply glut for its problems, pointing out that it sold a record amount of flash, 120 percent more than the same time last year, but that prices are down 55 percent compared to then.
SanDisk also reported the flash memory pricing might get worse [better for us] in the third quarter. So, it might be a good idea to start picking out your Christmas items now and make sure it’s some type of flash gadget. On the flip side, with today’s surplus means these companies are cutting back production as well, so once this flood dries up, we could see a shortage for NAND and prices jumping up…and the cycle goes on. Source: Network World. Continue Reading 6 Comments

SD Memory Cards Should Use Specific Formatting Software

computer userDid you know that SD (Secure Digital) memory cards should use a specific type of formatting software? I didn’t. I’ve been using the typical Windows formatting utility for years now – never seen a problem. However, I found out today that Panasonic has such a software utility. A utility that complies with the SD Memory Card Specification. The SD formatting software is specifically design for this media type and should not be used with other media types such as Compact Flash, USB or Memory Stick. However, the SD formatting software is ideal for SD, SDHC and all the sub sizes including miniSD and microSD. It is difficult to determine exactly what the difference is from the Panasonic website but from our investigation it appears you get two benefits. 1) the card size is formatted correctly to maximize size. The Windows version will make your card slightly smaller and 2) with optimized format the flash memory will perform slightly better. Of the two benefits, it’s difficult to determine how much of a difference a user would really see. Marginal at best. However, if you are anything like me, grab the utility package and give her a try. Panasonic’s webpage for SD Memory Card Formatting Utility. Continue Reading 4 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 6 Comments

Review: Eye-Fi Wireless Flash Memory Card

GetFlashMemory posted an article the other day about the world’s first wireless memory card. I was very excited to hear about this technology and recently found a review of the Eye-Fi product.
eye-fi review
This is what folks had to say: Crunch Gear said:
All-in-all, this is a solid device. It is comparable to any 2GB SD card on the market but it gives you the ability to upload your pictures in a much cooler fashion. And if you can’t wait, if you plug a loaded card into the USB reader, it will automatically upload your pictures to your photo service via USB. Yay, all-around convenience – Blake Robinson
Engadget said:
So basically Eye-Fi takes a step forward by cutting out the middleman (in this case, a USB cable to your camera, or a media reader for your vanilla SD card), but two steps back in making the assumption that you want all of the tens (or hundreds) of megs of photos on the card uploaded in full res using your camera’s batteries, and yet don’t need said photos in your photo app, not just some folder – Ryan Block
SlashGear said:
wireless networks are set up using the Eye-Fi website, not through any sort of interface on your camera itself, and you’re limited to secured WiFi hook-ups rather than being able to take advantage of any open cloud you might pass through. Even with 802.11g, transfers of large resolution images could – and do – take a long time, and given that there’s no ability to select which to keep and which to throw (unless you delete them prior to connecting) it could be a frustrating experience – Chris Davies
Putting it all together I am glad to see this technology come to market and appears to be an appreciated process for downloading those oh-so-valuable photos. Source: SlashGear Continue Reading 361 Comments

More On The miCard

As things unfold for the miCard today we find a picture of the first [actual] product.
micard
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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