D200 CHA Error

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Jon Nadelberg, Sep 28, 2006.

  1. Ok, this is a weird thing, and Nikon doesn't know what it is.

    I just got a new D200, and put in my sandisk extreme III 4gb card.

    I got the CHA error. Assuming that the card was bad, I then got another
    card. Same thing. I tried another brand, same thing.

    So, maybe the camera is bad. I go to the camera store. Same thing happens.

    With 4 D200s, and a D70s. The D70s and one of the D200s was working OK
    earlier in the evening.

    Now, none of them can read ANY CF card! The people at the store don't
    know what this is, they've never seen it. The people at Nikon don't
    know what it is, either.

    Oh, the original card works on my PC, and works in a Canon camera.

    Does anyone have any ideas about this? Can somehow a CF card that has
    some kind of problem that only manifests on Nikon cameras affect the
    camera itself, and then affect cards afterwards? We did not put the
    original bad (well, maybe it is bad, no idea) CF card in other cameras,
    and they also were getting the CHA error.

    What on Earth are we doing wrong? Is there some super secret thing you
    can do to reset the camera to factory settings? IS there something you
    need to do besides putting the CF card in the slot, closing the door,
    and turning it on?

    I've tried formatting the card on my PC with FAT and FAT32. I've also
    formatted the card on the camera, as well. With both the dual button
    press and the menu. I've also tried to reset the camera with the dual
    green button press as well.

    Obviously something is going on here that is fundamental and we're
    missing. Any suggestions?

    Jon Nadelberg, Sep 28, 2006
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  2. Jon Nadelberg

    Bill Guest

    I don't know who you talked to at Nikon, but it wasn't anyone with a
    brain. Nikon should know, since it's listed in the manual of at least
    some of their cameras under troubleshooting.

    The CHA error means the camera can't communcate with the card. The
    controller in the card is producing an incompatibility error and the
    camera can not read/write to the controller. This can happen due to
    several reasons.
    There's a reason camera manufacturers recommend formatting IN THE
    CAMERA and not the computer or card reader. If the wrong file format
    for the card is used, the camera can't communicate with the flash card
    memory controller and you get the CHA error. This also happens if data
    is corrupted in the card, or if the card fails.

    Presuming the cards controller isn't toast, format the card on your
    computer using FAT - do not use FAT32. The max capacity will only be
    2gig, but you should be able to format the card in your camera at that
    point, and it should restore it to regular capacity.
    Bill, Sep 28, 2006
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  3. I've solved the problem, actually. I got all new stuff and restarted
    from scratch. That seems to have worked.

    Hopefully that won't have to be my solution for every problem!

    The card was doing something to the cameras. There is no other
    explanation. But only the Nikons. Canon worked ok, as did the PC....

    Oh well. Thank you for responding, though! Much appreciated.
    Jon Nadelberg, Sep 28, 2006
  4. Jon Nadelberg

    Denny Guest

    I F the store guys let you put a diseased CF card in their display
    cameras then the group IQ in that store is a negative number...
    When I was dealing in electronics no one was allowed to attach anything
    to any of my stock.... If you wanted to see this or that work in the
    unit, then it had to be a factory fresh part out of my stock that got
    inserted... That went for records, CD's, speakers, anything...

    So, you are trying to convince us that you walked into a store, told
    them that CF card ruined your camera, inserted this card into 5 more of
    their cameras ruining them, and walked out in one piece? hmmm....

    Denny, Sep 28, 2006
  5. Jon Nadelberg

    Bill Guest

    Until you format in the reader and screw it up again. The next time
    you might be in the middle of a shoot when you slap in the CF card and
    discover you can't use it.

    I hope you've learned to format in-camera from now on.
    The card was not damaging the cameras. It merely confuses them and a
    reset clears it. Once a properly formatted card is inserted, they
    function fine.
    Bill, Sep 28, 2006
  6. Totally baseless nonsense! I've formatted many CFs via computer and put
    them in the old Nikon D2x, D200, and D70 without any adverse affects. Sure,
    we all agree that it's best to format in-camera, but it's not going to
    create any incompatibility issues.
    Why? I even spit in the eye of all the naysayer that claim you shouldn't
    delete your images via computer and I don't format every time I put the card
    back in the camera to erase images either. Next old wive's tale?

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Sep 28, 2006
  7. Jon Nadelberg

    Bill Guest

    Of course, that's why I made it all up...it was a joke, no facts, no
    backup, nothing at all. In fact, the CHA error doesn't exist and Nikon
    put it in their user manuals to fool you.

    Yeah...yeah...that's the ticket!
    I'd guess they were all 2gig or smaller cards where the default file
    system is FAT. This issue doesn't usually happen on those cards,
    unless the file allocation table is corrupt from some event like a
    sudden power loss (battery or AC power loss).

    The +2gig cards need to use FAT32, and for some reason the format on
    the computer doesn't always agree with the camera interface. It's
    probably a buffer capacity issue where older cameras have support for
    FAT32 but only to a certain point. I'd guess a relatively large
    20-32gig card wouldn't work beyond a fixed gigabyte limit, perhaps
    about 8gigs(?), but I don't have specific data on that.
    If it's nonsense, why do you agree that formating in-camera is better?

    Bill, Sep 28, 2006
  8. Who said the CHA error doesn't exist?

    The nonsense is your statement that formatting a CF in computer will ruin
    the card. This is like saying you can't format a HD for Linux if Windows
    was used first.

    The issue here is he had a bad CF. Sandisk had a bad run on these. Google
    it to see. This is why Lexar is #1 for CFs.
    Because it's the consensus of this newsgroup. We've had this lengthily
    discussion about this in the past. This doesn't mean that formatting in
    camera is *REALLY* best, it just pacifies the natives that don't know any

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Sep 28, 2006
  9. Jon Nadelberg

    Bill Guest

    Try this:

    I didn't say anything of the sort.

    I said the system gets confused, but a simple re-format in the correct
    file system fixes it and the card is still good to go. The easiest way
    to ensure this doesn't happen is to format the card in the specific
    camera where it will be used.

    While manufacturers will sometimes recommend things that are silly to
    an knowledgeable person (like user sensor cleaning), this is one of
    the things that makes some sense.
    Bill, Sep 29, 2006

  10. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. I just relayed what happened.

    I suspect the card did something weird, but I have no idea what.
    Jon Nadelberg, Sep 29, 2006
  11. OK, maybe not in them exact words. It was your comment "Until you format in
    the reader and screw it up again. The next time you might be in the middle
    of a shoot when you slap in the CF card and discover you can't use it." to
    his response that he got all new hardware from the dealer that made me think
    it as such. Same difference, I guess.
    I must have missed this.
    Sensor cleaning is easy.


    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Sep 29, 2006
  12. Hey, it happens! I wouldn't worry about what some stranger in the
    newsgroups thinks about it since the dealer replaced everything and made it
    right for you.

    Rita Ä Berkowitz, Sep 29, 2006
  13. The thing is that I formatted the card on the PC as a last resort.
    Really, I had run out of options, and tried that as a method of maybe
    making the thing work. After formatting on the PC, and it not working,
    I then went and formatted in the camera. It still didn't work.

    The camera store took everything back and gave me all new stuff. I have
    no idea what was wrong, it's just so weird. My guess at this time is
    that the card was messed up and it somehow affected the cameras. In
    some way. I don't know.

    In the meantime, I have now run through the install process on the
    camera. Wow, is this great. I had an N90s before, and this is really

    I really like the banks of settings. Is there a web page someplace that
    duplicates various types of film without me having to experiment? For
    example, if I wanted to create a Velvia group of settings, has someone
    figured that out someplace, and I can just enter them in and keep them
    for when I want to create photos with those settings?

    My only problem is that I know in a couple of years that this camera is
    going to be obsolete, meanwhile, my n90s is perfectly functional and
    totally usable. Kind of a bummer, but I think that it pretty much does
    everything I could want it to do already. The only thing left would be
    maybe a full 35mm sensor, but I kind of like the idea of all my longer
    lenses being 1.5x longer now. I bought the 12-24 lens to replace the
    17-35 I use pretty much always for now. I'd get the 18-300 lens too,
    but I just don't need it, as I have similar lenses already.

    Another thing, I guess, that would be good is lower noise at higher ISO.
    But truth be told, it really doesn't appear at this time worse than
    film grain at these ISO values. I figure eventually we'll have 32000
    ISO and no noise at all. But film certainly does not allow for that,
    and what I have seen so far is that it mimics film pretty darned close
    if not way better already.

    So, I guess I'm jazzed.

    I also got the SB800, and haven't really looked at it too much, due to
    all the other nonsense I've been dealing with. But it looks like you
    can do off camera stuff as if it has a built in SU-4 unit in it. How
    cool. My old flash, an SB28, really worked great. If this flash does
    better, I certainly can't complain. If I can use it with an SU-4, and
    the SB800, and the on camera flash together, then I think this is going
    to be quite nice.

    Jon Nadelberg, Sep 29, 2006
  14. Jon Nadelberg

    Don Wiss Guest

    I've never formatted a CF card in a camera. I've never formatted one hooked
    to a PC. I've never formatted one! They all have the factory format, and
    I've never had any problems whatsoever.

    Don <www.donwiss.com/pictures/> (e-mail link at page bottoms).
    Don Wiss, Sep 29, 2006
  15. Formatting in my camera, a 20D, takes about a second. Erasing all on a
    largish card can take over 15 seconds, longer on the 300D.
    John McWilliams, Sep 29, 2006
  16. Jon Nadelberg

    Don Wiss Guest

    That is not a true format. That is a quick one, which just clears out the
    directory entries.

    Don <www.donwiss.com> (e-mail link at home page bottom).
    Don Wiss, Sep 29, 2006
  17. Jon Nadelberg

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    Actually -- it writes a new empty directory (and corresponding
    FAT) on the CF card -- which I would think would be quicker than going
    through and eliminating files from the directory and correcting the FAT.
    And -- the writing of a fresh FAT means that there is no need to
    defragment (ignoring the minimal extra load from dealing with a
    fragmented filesystem on a CF card, since there is no seek time to deal
    with), since you are starting from scratch each time.

    But if a part of the CF card goes bad, a true format with full
    scan can at least work around the bad area. (But that might mean that I
    would have to go to a Windows machine for that, instead of using my unix

    I don't know whether the Nikon cameras actually check for the
    current information from previous formats, or just go for the original
    design specs of the card read from some repository inside the card. If
    the former, a single re-format in the computer could keep the bad
    sectors out of use through multiple re-formats in the camera.
    Otherwise, the bad sectors would probably come back to haunt you.

    DoN. Nichols, Sep 29, 2006
  18. Jon Nadelberg

    G.T. Guest

    No, it's not. It's saying you don't format a HD in Linux if you're
    going to use it with Windows.

    G.T., Sep 29, 2006
  19. Jon Nadelberg

    Bill Guest

    From what I understand the controller in the card works like a hard
    drive controller and can map out bad blocks of the memory and writes
    out a table of these errors. New cards can have a few bad blocks
    straight from the manufacturer. There is also checksum error
    correction in the controller.

    As far as the camera is concerned, the card is just a chunk of memory.
    The controller in the card keeps track of the data.
    Bill, Sep 29, 2006
  20. Jon Nadelberg

    Bill Guest

    Nor should you. There is generally no requirement to format a card
    since they all use the same FAT16/FAT32 file systems. It's just
    quicker to format than to have the file browser delete the files on
    the card.

    Actually I don't format very often...I usually just move the images
    from the card to my computer. That deletes them off the card while
    moving them, and the card's good to go again.
    Bill, Sep 29, 2006
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