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Old May 28, 2003, 4:43 PM   #1
lg
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Default Which brand of SmartMedia card reader works with smprep.exe?

I'm looking at buying one, hopefully one that comes with the smprep.exe utility. I've heard Dazzle and Zio do. Is that correct?
Thanks in advance for your replies...
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Old May 29, 2003, 2:23 AM   #2
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Yes, Dazzle and Rio do.

All readers made by SCM Microsystems will work. They are also the producers of SMPREP. (www.scmmicro.com).

There are some OEM models that will also work (Delkin?), but one has to be careful with them because some of the guys shop around, and not all their models come from the same manufacturer.

For example, the Sandisk SDDR-09 comes with SMPREP, but no other Sandisk model comes with SMPREP or works with SMPREP (different manufacturers).
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Old May 30, 2003, 3:43 PM   #3
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When you put smprep under the microscope (so to speak), you realise there's a big difference between all the high level logical format recovery progs around and the low level physical format that smprep does. I have done a lot of research on this and there is nothing (but the card specs) out there. Smprep takes a while (as you'd expect) to do its stuff, and you shouldn't put a working Oly card through it, unless you want it turned into an oem no pano brand. Incidentally, the reason your cards appear to fail irretrievably sometimes, is there is no bomb proof protection to stop write corruption of these low level data sections.

I'm even thinking of using a PIC to reveal the secrets on these cards. I think some of this code is deliberately hidden and only accessible on development workstations, for added security. The CIS sections are particularly important (There are 2 copies) and anybody wanting to look and write these, will either need to write code for a specific reader, or start from scratch with a PIC.

I'm not sure if this is due to the write delays and block error copy and re-writes slowing format down, but I'd look at the ZIO first, which is USB2, in case it's faster.
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Old May 31, 2003, 10:18 AM   #4
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I've got a Dazzle coming, and it's 2.0 compatible. I look forward to trying out smprep to see if I can fix my damaged card! Thank, Jola and voxmagna for your replies. I'll let you know how I come out.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 2:06 AM   #5
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lg, let us know what happens. I would like to know whether the new Dazzle and Rio reader still support SMPREP.

Also, you may find that you have to run SMPREP under Win98 or Win2000, it may not work under WinXP.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 5:23 AM   #6
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The Dazzle 6-in-1 and Zio readers both ship with the prep. utils and include the DVD slideshow software. When you get a CDROM with a reader, chances are it will have utilities on it - but proprietary to that reader. Not for people with cheap import readers or some other makes to think they can just run the prog with theirs and it will work.

All cards when originally low level formatted, have parts of memory which fail. The faulty memory locations are mapped into the memory block headers, so they won't be written to. Smprep re-analyses the whole card structure, testing for damaged parts and updates the bad memory mapping on the card (just like hard drives)

The CIS tables are checked by smprep. If they are correct in structure then a fresh copy is made and put back on the card. That's why to change the table info to work the Oly trickery, you have to break both CIS copies on a card first, so prep. must re-write new (modified) code.

So, wouldn't it be nice if you could read this hidden info on cards? Lets say brand x had 10% dead memory and brand y had 2% dead memory. Now all cards start with more memory, so both would report the same storage size. But wouldn't you have more confidence in buying media which consistently ships with lowest mapped error? Also, if you prep. a card over a period and found your bad block error count rising - would you stick with that card or brand?

So I'd invite anybody with programming experience, to write this useful utility which tells us a lot more about the low level format data and the cards we are buying.
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 3:52 PM   #7
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what is the smprep?
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Old Jun 2, 2003, 5:07 PM   #8
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Yes Zio cardreaders can use smprep. Honey - smprep is used to format the smart media card.
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Old Jun 3, 2003, 5:15 AM   #9
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I have a Delkin Pocket reader. It is the same as the ZIO. Comes with and works with SMPREP. I got mine online for about $12, but I can't recall where.
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Old Jun 3, 2003, 10:12 PM   #10
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Default How to fix formatted Oly SM cards/restore panorama function!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jola
lg, let us know what happens. I would like to know whether the new Dazzle and Rio reader still support SMPREP.

Also, you may find that you have to run SMPREP under Win98 or Win2000, it may not work under WinXP.
SUCCESS!
The single slot Dazzle SmartMedia Card reader (USB 2.0) did, in fact, come with the SMPREP.EXE utility. It runs just fine under Windows XP. Initially, the reader wouldn't recognize my unformatted Olympus brand card... so I did a format under the DOS shell on Windows XP, after which it recognized the card and allowed the program to continue.

You guys are right-- it sure does take a while for the full format-- several minutes for a 64MB card! After formatting, the card lost it's original CIS stamp of OLYMPUS PAN 1.0, and even after formatting in the camera, the panorama feature wouldn't work.

So... I checked back in this forum, and dug up this link: http://www.marshost.com/~rashmun/oly...tmedia_fix.htm (Thanks, slobo!). Carefully following the instructions, I used WinHex to edit smprep.exe and write two new files, smprep1.exe and smprep2.exe. By running smprep1.exe until you get an error, you exit, and run smprep2.exe. This repairs the CIS header back to the original state of the card, and enables the panorama function on the card!

I don't know if this works on non-Olympus brand cards, because I don't own anything but Olympus brand cards. However, I strongly suspect that it would work just fine on ANY SmartMedia card. The trick was getting the right reader and the smprep.exe utility. Thanks, folks, for all of your help. Perhaps this information will help somebody else out who accidentally formats their card!
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