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Monday, January 2, 2012

5 Tips For Memory Card Care

Now with solid state memory becoming more and more the norm, it's important to realize that it can occasionally also be at the root of some problems as well. Although it doesn't happen that often, some nasty crashes can be avoided with a minimum of maintenance.

Here are some tips for memory card care from Scott Bourne (he has a photography great site called that I've adapted for audio instead of a camera. You can read his original article here.

1) Always format your card after you have downloaded files from it rather than erasing them one-by-one or taking them to the trash. This cleans up the file system and greatly reduces your chance of a crash.

2) Try to keep you memory cards dedicated to a single device. That means you shouldn't share it between different recorders or your camera. This can cause a crash since the other device may attempt to write a system, desktop or file of unknown format to the card.

3) Stay away from the super large cards until they have been on the market for six months to a year. 90% of memory problems come from these cards because they use gimmicks or acceleration routines that may or may not work in your recorder, but possibly can cause instability. They are also really expensive so that’s plenty of reason to avoid them anyway.

4) The very large (and expensive) cards, are prone to far more File Allocation Table (FAT)-like errors. For ultimate safety, stick with cards that are at least one size smaller than the largest available until later, when they will be down in price and up in reliability. Besides, you can store plenty of audio on a standard and inexpensive 8 Gig card that are remarkably cheap these days.

5) Do not remove your card, or power down your device while the card is writing. This can cause critical data loss. In fact, always turn your device off before inserting or removing a memory card, just to be safe.

By the way, you may see memory cards that are designated by classes going from 2 to 10. Remember that the higher the class, the faster the operation. In other words, a class 10 card is the fastest, although that usually won't make much of a difference for just two channels of audio.

Memory cards are very trouble-free these days, but you can increase their reliability even more if you follow these tips.
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