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Emergency Fix: The SD Card From Hell Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

7 September 2023

Yesterday we popped the SD card we keep on our keychain into an iMac we were visiting and waited for it to appear on the Desktop. You know, as it has for years and years.

Contacts. The tines are more fragile than they look. We removed the one closest to the notch.

Image capture: Olympus E-PL1 with the 14-42mm II R kit lens and +10 and +4 Lensbaby macro converters, lit with the background LED from the Joby Beamo kit.

Edit: Adobe Camera Raw. The close-up crop was sharpened using Nik 6 Collection's Output Sharpener.

When nothing appeared, we took the card out and reseated it in the iMac's SD card slot.

Still nothing. So we took it out again to have a heart-to-heart talk with it.

It's an old 2-GB SanDisk card we use to ferry data back and forth from one place to another. We prefer it to a thumbdrive because it's physically smaller but has more capacity than our old thumbdrives.

We thought we could reason with it.

But when we turned it over to look at the contacts, we saw something fishy. One of the plastic tines separating the fingers on the contacts had been bent out of position and was covering the first contact by the notch.

The card's plastic shell has a front and back. The tines are on the back but mesh with small bumpers on the front piece that reach around to the back. So when you insert a card, the bumpers align the card to the reader and it's usually smooth sailing.

But not this time. A tine had been bent out of position and was preventing contact.

Spline. This close-up shows the gold contacts, the thin plastic tine and the bumper at the edge of the card aligned to the tine.

Since it's only a sliver of plastic, we were able to bend it back into position (more or less) and mount the card.

But when we got back to the bunker, we didn't want to insert the card in any of our readers for fear the bent tine would break off inside the reader. And that would be the end of that reader.

So we surgically removed it. And the card mounted normally.

Of course we backed everything up and copied it to a 4-GB card that was doing nothing important. But we suspect we've restored the 2-GB card to usability. And we'll be a little more careful about inserting it into readers in the future.

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