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Old Jan 1, 2004, 4:14 PM   #1
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Default Smart media card repair

Despite the smprep.exe program restoring my 32mb Smartmedia card to operation, nothing that I tried on my bad 8mb card would make it work in my cameras (a 1700mx Fuji and an Olympus C2100UZ).

My computer would both read this 8mb card and load files to it - in fact it operated just like a floppy disc. But the cameras simply couldn't recognise that a card was present. From what I've read, this was because the computer must, at some point, have formatted the 8mb card with the wrong format.

This morning I came across a site that offered a download of a small program called CARD WIPER. It's claimed to wipe out ALL data on anything. So I tried using that on the 8mb card. I thought it might wipe out the wrong formatting. It seemed to work, because the computer started to regard the card as needing a format. Naturally I did NOT use the computer to format it.

Instead, I stuck it in one of the cameras (the Fuji). This time the camera DID recognise that there was a card present, but also displayed a message about it needing formatting. So I used the camera's format command - and it successfully formatted it. The 8mb card now works fine.

This is where I found the CARD WIPER program -

http://www.datarescue.com/photorescue/download.htm
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Old Jan 1, 2004, 4:55 PM   #2
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Herb, I've done this sort of things many times - only I use Winhex editor and just fill my card with '00's - at least the first 16 sectors. this is necessary sometimes because if a card format in a Windows machine has been attempted, a DOS boot sector is written to the card. Cardwiper does not do any low level formatting like SMPREP. It just blanks out (fills zero's or FF's) all the normally writeable locations on the card, including the cards boot sector and file pointer areas, normally put on by an in camera high level (quick) format.

My Fujicam seems to object to anything written by Bill and if you search the first couple of sectors and come up with a MSDOS source message in literal text - you've got Bills format on there, not Fuji's. However, I have other cameras and MP3 players that seem totally agnostic. It is these devices which can often do a reformat on a seemingly dead card and over write any MSDOS stuff. Since this is high level format data, SMPREP would have tried to save it before running and then put it back, after low level formatting your card! So wiping the card BEFORE running SMPREP makes sure nothing is carried over. SMPREP tries to preserve as much as possible but sometimes it can just be too clever.

Still, you got there in the end. Happy New Year. VOX
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Old Jan 4, 2004, 1:45 PM   #3
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Default OOPS!

I said, in my first post (above) that my 8mb card was now working fine.

I spoke too soon. It worked fine in the Leica Digilux zoon (=Fuji 1700MX) camera. The pictures displayed fine on the camera's LCD too. And when the card was in the Olympus MAUSB-1 reader, Windows Explorer detected the files containing the pictures on the card. So far so good?

BUT, when I next tried to copy the files from the card to my hard drive, a message came up saying (I forget the exact words) that they couldn't be copied.

I wondered if there was another way to copy the pictures. The camera manual said that they could be downloaded using a cable and software that came with the camera, so I installed the software (Picture Shuttle & Twain Driver), plugged the cable into the camera and into a com port on the computer & set it going.

It worked - but it took nearly an hour to copy all the pictures from the card to the hard drive. (I guess that's why card readers are popular).

But the card still won't work in my Olympus camera. Wierd,eh?
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Old Jan 6, 2004, 6:00 PM   #4
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It sounds as though there are 'proprietary' hurdles in your camera software. That's why we all mostly use readers and throw away the stuff that came with the camera, which we paid good money for!

Put it another way. If you took your media card to a photo store and they couldn't read the pics - I'd be a bit worried about what file standard the camera was creating, more than whether I could read the pics with their own software or not.

PS I wouldn't swap cards between cameras of different makes anyway. Each writes their own directory name structure on the first write to the card if it can't find the one it expects (Fuji, Oly etc) So when you read the card with proprietary software it probably only expects to see its own. If you've got an oldish Serial port 9600 camera to pc link then seriously consider a reader - pics will move like lightning. If you haven't got a USB PC then you can get slightly slower IDE card readers which plug in a 31/2" drive slot. VOX
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Old Jan 6, 2004, 10:31 PM   #5
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Thanks, Vox, but I've had a reader (Olympus MAUSB-1) ever since I bought the Fuji camera - and as you say, it's very fast.

But, I've now discovered that inserting this wretched 8mb card in the reader is not a good idea - and it gets worse if I try running smprep.exe on the card. That not only stops the reader from working - it stops the computer working properly too - and it's happened three times.

We have two computers, and I've just finished formatting their hard drives & re-installing eveything on both of them for the third time. Now the computers are working fine again, but the 8mb. card's going into the garbage can.
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