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True Customer Stories: Customization of Card Fixed Data Failure

True Customer Stories: Solutions from the Desks of Delkin Customer Engineering

“Your cards are failing on our new high volume duplicators, and some other brands work fine.”

Background: A regular customer that had been buying Delkin SD cards for years, was experiencing a big growth in sales, and subsequently bought some new, content loading equipment (Duplicators). They had been adding content to our card with duplicators and shipping this card with their host with no issues for more than 3 years. Sales were good, so new equipment was brought on line.

Customer Story: We brought our new 36 slot, faster duplicators on line, and almost immediately, we began experiencing failures. We ran the Delkin cards on the old equipment, and they worked fine. However, when inserted into the new equipment, we got a very high failure rate. The next thing we tried was a couple other brands of cards, and one of these worked fine in the new equipment too. We already owned this new equipment, and we needed to keep on shipping, so our first step was to only duplicate the Delkin cards on the old equipment, and start using another brand of cards on the new. Not an ideal situation, but we did not have the time to figure out if the equipment was finicky, or if there was something wrong with the Delkin cards.

Delkin Discovery: First, the customer contacted the duplicator manufacturer. The manufacturer ran several tests, and determined that the Delkin cards were failing during the read verification test, and not during the copying phase. The Duplicator maker issued a report stating the Delkin cards were not compatible with their system.

The customer contacted Delkin and a case was opened to investigate the problem. First the outcome the customer was experiencing was reproduced, in the same arrangement the customer was using. Next the Duplicator vendors report was proven to be correct, cards were failing during the read verification step. Various tests were run, and the previous duplicator the customer used, which was duplicating Delkin cards with no issues, was also analyzed.

Delkin Solution: The signal integrity of the Delkin SD cards were meeting the correct timing specifications for the embedded system usage, and cards power draw and other specifications were within specification. During analysis, it was noted that the BUS strength of the card had been reduced slightly to save power. Among many options available in the initialization of a Delkin SD card is the option to save power this way. It was also noted that the cable on the initial duplicators was half the length of the cable on the new, high speed duplicators. This turned out to be the problem. The analysis showed the cabling distance between the card and the duplicator motherboard was causing the cards signal to weaken during reads. Since the duplicator supplier was unable to modify the length of the cable, Delkin customized the card by increasing the cards bus strength to prevent read verification errors during duplication.

Lesson Learned: In this scenario, the card had been optimized for power, which caused the error. Since the host manufacturer (in this case the duplicator maker) was unable to make a change to solve the problem, Delkin was able to modify the card. Another lesson from this customer story is that sometimes a customization of the card, rather than the host, or software is faster, less expensive and easier than other possible solutions. In Delkin’s case, a new part number was issued, with custom initialization instructions, which guaranteed the customer only got cards with the added bus strength going forward and the problem was solved.

Lean on Delkin’s Technical Team: Have you had a problem with your host storage?  The Delkin Customer Applications Team stands at the ready to be your trusted advisor for your host critical storage.  We have solved hundreds of complicated host failures and look forward to understanding your usage model for flash based Rugged Controlled Storage.

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