29 Jun 2018
recovery damaged SD

June 29th is National Camera Day, a holiday meant to celebrate the advancements in camera technology that allow us to never miss a moment; However, here at Data Analyzers, we take this day to appreciate the camera’s partner in crime: the SD card!

What is an SD Card?

The SD, or Secure Digital, card was first developed in August of 1999 as a joint effort between SanDisk, Panasonic, and Toshiba. Originally meant to be an improvement of the Multimedia Card (MMC), the SD card has taken its place as the industry standard.
Modern SD and MicroSD cards offer a combination of:

Speed: There are four different speed classes (10, 6, 4, 2) used to determine the speed of any SD card. These speed classes are usually identified on the packaging or SD card itself. The slowest would be class 2, which could be used effectively for standard video recording and the highest, being 10, is suitable for full HD video recording. There are also Ultra High Speed (UHS) cards, classes 1 and 3, designed for professional recording.

Capacity: As with any storage device, different SD cards have different amounts of storage space. Their capacity can range from 1MB on an SDSC (SD Standard Capacity) card to 2TB on an SDXC (SD Extended Capacity) card. Most commonly you will encounter SDHC (SD High Capacity) cards, these range from 2GB to roughly 32GB in size. It is important to note what capacity standards your device supports.

Size: SD cards come in three sizes – standard, miniSD, and microSD. Most digital cameras available to consumers still use standard SD cards, these are the largest. MiniSD cards are the mid-range of the three and the least commonly used. The smallest and newest In SD card technology is the microSD card. Barely the size of your fingernail, the microSD is most suitable for mobile devices.

Can damaged SD cards be recovered from? And How?

We recover from physically damage SD cards daily here at Data Analyzers. Most cards are bent or cracked by their owner, but we sometimes receive the occasional SD card that ended up becoming a dog’s chew toy! In most of these cases, as long as the internal nand is not damage the data can be recovered. Start your SD data recovery today. There are two types of internal layouts for SD cards once you crack the casing open:

  • A very thin circuit board with 1 to 2 nand memory chips attached to it. It is very common for these chips to separate from circuit board from being bent or mishandled. We can attempt to repair the damaged components but if it cannot be repaired we have the option of desoldering the nand memory chips and dumping them with a specialized nand reader.
  • Monolithic SD cards: All components are contained inside a ceramic casing with typically no serviceable parts. A cracked in the SD card is the most common physical damage we see with monolithic SD cards. If the crack in the SD card is towards the edges and did not damage any of the internal nand dies we can typically recover the data. If the crack is through the middle of the chip it is typically game over for the recovery.

recovery damaged SD

It is also common to run into corruption issues when dealing with SD Cards:

This occurs in various ways and for many reasons. Most commonly, corruption occurs when you encounter cheap memory or firmware issues; however, it can also occur in common situations. For example, if you have ever had your camera battery die during a shoot or experienced a delayed card failure that only captures previews of each image, you may have experienced SD card corruption. Recovery from these kinds of corruption often requires the aid of a specialized NAND reader and proprietary software.

SD cards that have failed can still be recovered from; however, most failures that we experience at Data Analyzers are not what you would call “user repairable” and require the propriety, specialized tools that we have in our laboratory. If you do find yourself needing assistance with recovering from any SD card media, remember that all is not lost. We recommend that you stop using the card and contact Data Analyzers as soon as possible!