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Old Aug 16, 2009, 11:32 AM   #1
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Default good card reader for SD and CF needed

I have many card readers and after a while they all seem to chew up my cards. Some just blink on and off and others wipe out the data and cause the computer to crash. I would like a good reliable brand. Any suggestions?
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Old Aug 16, 2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by carylwithay View Post
I have many card readers and after a while they all seem to chew up my cards.
That sounds more like you're deleting images from a PC and not using the "Safely Remove/Eject" features of your operating system causing card corruption. It's unlikely that a card reader is causing the issue, unless you're having an issue with bent or broken pins.

Many operating system drivers are going to cache writes to a card in memory. So, if you're deleting images from a PC (which is writing to a card), you have to be careful that you have all writes left in the operating system's memory flushed to the card before removing it.

With some versions of Windows, you'll see a "Safely Remove" icon in your system tray that you can use before removing a card. Depending on the driver version, you can also set up a reader for "Fast Removal" (so that the operating system is not going to cache writes to it).

You can also right click on a the card under your drives in "My Computer" and use the "eject" feature. Basically, that flushes any pending writes to the card, then unmounts it, reducing any chance of corruption when you remove it from the reader.

Most other operating systems have a similar feature. For example, you can do the same thing in most Linux distros (use the eject feature to flush any pending writes to the card and unmount it).

Personally, I try not to write to my cards from a PC to reduce any chance of file system corruption (and deleting images writes to the card, since the File Allocation Table is being updated), and I always reformat my cards prior to every reuse, using the camera's menu choice for format.

That way, I always start out with a fresh FAT (File Allocation Table), just the way the camera expects it, since it's performing the format, reducing the chance of problems from a corrupted FAT caused by incomplete writes. Besides, formatting a card is usually just as fast (or faster) than deleting the images on it, since only the FAT is being recreated.
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Old Aug 16, 2009, 9:16 PM   #3
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The Lexar Pro USB UDMA & SDHC model RW035-700
Very good card reader never had any issues.
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Old Aug 16, 2009, 9:25 PM   #4
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Thank you both. I bought a Sandisk at the recommendation of another site. It was between that and the lexar but the store only had the Sandisk. So far it works just fine.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 8:13 AM   #5
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I've never had any issues with Lexar or Sandisk readers. Right this minute, I'm using a reader built into my PC (it uses an external 3.5" drive slot). These are readily available if you have any open external drive slots (and you can find them in 3.5" or 5.25" sizes, with SATA, USB or Firewire Connections).

From looking at the EXIF in some of your images, it looks like you're using a Mac.

If you see further file corruption issues, I'd try this before removing cards (the article mentions how to safely remove cards with a Mac):

http://www.ofzenandcomputing.com/zanswers/30

But, if you never write to a card from a PC (which means no deleting files from a PC), then corruption caused by not using Eject or Safely Remove shouldn't be an issue.

If you are seeing physically damaged cards (versus file system corruption issues) with multiple readers, I'd suspect a USB bus voltage issue of some type (perhaps caused by another USB device or an overextended power supply), since USB Card Readers are bus powered.

In that case (continue to experience problems and you're seeing symptoms of card component damage versus a corrupted file system), I'd consider trying a Firewire or eSATA reader instead.
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Old Aug 17, 2009, 12:16 PM   #6
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I did not know about a fire wire reader. might look into that if the Sandisk dies
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Old Aug 18, 2009, 1:13 AM   #7
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Most better laptops now have SD-card slot. I shall never buy laptop without SD-card slot.
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