Technical Success Stories: Solving SD Card Application Software Optimization
A customer approached Delkin for assistance after their embedded computing device provided incomplete data due to repeated SD card failures. Their customers were continually reaching out to complain about data corruption and device failures, and the company was struggling to identify the source of the issue. They asked Delkin for help in solving this problem.
The company in question was surprised to experience a series of problems with their most popular and profitable product. The failures began to occur after the company chose to extend the battery life of the device. They determined that they could get more battery life by turning off the SD card. They did so, and testing showed that turning the SD card off extended the operational life of the battery between charges. When this change went into effect, the power rating improved, but data corruption and failure reports started to come in.
Delkin’s engineering team worked with the customer to figure out why random SD cards were showing corruption at unpredictable intervals. To do this, Delkin’s team worked to understand the usage model and to track bus activity between the host and the SD card.
Through this research, Delkin’s engineers found the data corruption of the SD cards was caused by the change to the software that the company had made. The customer was unaware that the cards could draw enough power to keep the CPU alive from leakages from signal pins. This allowed updating and data consolidation functions to occur, but when a write operation occurred, the power could drop and trigger errors.
Delkin recommended that the customer stop turning off the power supply to the SD cards and instead modify their application so that the signal pins were driven low before power was turned off. This would prevent data corruption issues and would even allow the device to save more power, since it would stop power leakages.
The customer was thrilled with the solution and was able to modify their software to change the SD card functionality. The new code was loaded and tested, and the units were updated and shipped out within a few days. This restored customers’ confidence and boosted the revenue stream for that product line.
NAND flash memory cards are complex, so industrial OEMs should work with their flash storage provider to select the best NAND flash option for maximum performance. By working with the customer, Delkin was able to prevent data corruption, reduce power consumption and power fail, and optimize the card application software.
Lean on Delkin’s Technical Team
If you have a host storage problem, the Delkin Customer Applications Team can be a trusted adviser. We’ve solved hundreds of complex host failure issues and look forward to understanding your needs for rugged flash-based storage.