Weird CF card problem: 4GB Sandisk Ultra II cards formatting as only 2GB

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Lionel, Apr 22, 2006.

  1. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    Per the subject line, I have a pair of Sandisk Ultra II 4GB CF cards
    that have started showing up in Win Xp, Linux & on my EOS 1Dmk2 as
    having a capacity of only 2GB instead of the full 4GB. Formatting them
    on any of the above systems makes no difference. I've also tried
    zeroing out (dd command in Linux) the first couple of MB on one card
    in the hope that it'd scrub any spurious disk signatures that might've
    been placed on the card by 'doze, but it made no difference.

    Any ideas on what might be the matter, & how I can fix it?
    Lionel, Apr 22, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    It turns out that the 4GB cards have a tiny switch on the side that
    can limit the capacity to only 2GB for compatibility reasons:
    I have no idea how it happened, but my card was set to the 2GB
    compatibility mode. Switching it to full capacity has fixed the
    Lionel, Apr 22, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    Yep. The problem turned out to be a configuration switch on on the
    card itself. Like an idiot, I posted my question here before checking
    the Sandisk FAQ for this particular model of CF card. OTOH, I think I
    can be forgiven for failing to notice a microscopic black plastic
    switch tucked into the bottom of the black plastic guide slot on the
    side of the card itself. ;)
    Lionel, Apr 22, 2006
  4. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest

    although i really don't see why would anyone buy 4G card and then use it
    only 2G...and thus throwing away quite a money...
    SleeperMan, Apr 22, 2006
  5. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest

    hm...could be. But, in that case i wonder how a person selects first or
    second partition...
    anyway, for now i don't have similar problems, since 1G is quite enough for
    now. :)
    SleeperMan, Apr 23, 2006
  6. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    I was wondering the same thing, but it turned out that the swicth has
    three positions: (1) 4GB, (2) 2GB, partition 1, (3) 2GB, partition 2.
    So if your camera doesn't support FAT32, you switch the card to the
    first 2GB partition, & when it's full, you take it out & switch it to
    the 2nd 2GB partition.
    Lionel, Apr 23, 2006
  7. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest

    that's great. In that case, it's all logical. And convenient, too.
    SleeperMan, Apr 23, 2006
  8. Lionel

    Dave Cohen Guest

    Did not the card come with some sort of instruction sheet or other
    Dave Cohen
    Dave Cohen, Apr 23, 2006
  9. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    Ouch. You've got me worried now, as I also shoot with a 1Dmk2.
    What kind of failure?

    PS: You might also want to check the FAT16/32 mode switch on your 4GB
    card, as it might be in the wrong position. Look for the little
    circle/half-circle symbols on the cards reverse label. The switch is
    in the slot on the nearest edge to those symbols.
    Lionel, Apr 24, 2006
  10. Lionel

    Paul J Gans Guest

    That's too many failures. Have you contacted the manufacturer?
    I'd be curious as to their reaction.

    ---- Paul J. Gans
    Paul J Gans, Apr 25, 2006
  11. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest

    just you by any chance take out card, put it in reader and
    transfer shots to PC? I was told that taking card out often may result in
    failure, but this was told for new Extreme III card...
    SleeperMan, Apr 27, 2006
  12. Lionel

    GregS Guest

    I have had problems with camera to PC formatting problems.
    Cards not recognized by camera but OK on the PC, and
    vs versa. I only have a 32 Mb as max for that reason. 32 Mb.

    Other fellow just had a problem taken with different older
    Canon camera, and not recognized by brand new one.

    Its probably possible to static zap a card. Never did.
    Not sure of problems switching with power up in camera.

    GregS, Apr 27, 2006
  13. Lionel

    Matt Ion Guest

    That's ridiculous - the whole point of REMOVABLE memory is to be able to
    take it out.

    avast! Antivirus: Outbound message clean.
    Virus Database (VPS): 0617-2, 04/26/2006
    Tested on: 4/27/2006 10:22:25 AM
    avast! - copyright (c) 1988-2005 ALWIL Software.
    Matt Ion, Apr 27, 2006
  14. Lionel

    ASAAR Guest

    I think that you now know what happens if the switch is
    accidentally moved. In your case the switch probably didn't move to
    a different position, but an intermittent or noisy contact might
    have had the same result. I don't have any of those cards but if I
    did, I'd be very tempted to spray the switch with a good contact
    cleaner/lubricant and then operate the switch several times, making
    sure its final position was the same as the initial position before
    putting it back in the camera.
    ASAAR, Apr 27, 2006
  15. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest


    damn...and i have just ultra II card... :-((
    SleeperMan, Apr 27, 2006
  16. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest

    i agrree. But, when i went to buy a card for my Canon S2, i thought either
    Ultra II or Extreme III, then salesman told me that they tried this (at time
    new) Extreme III in a few different cameras and 3 cards died this way - just
    by taking them out and in again - and to different cameras and readers...
    That IS odd and stupid, since they are REMOVABLE cards...but still...maybe
    it was just a coincidence or first series of cards went bad...
    i just hope best for my card :)
    SleeperMan, Apr 27, 2006
  17. "Roger N. Clark (change username to rnclark)" <>
    wrote in message SNIP
    Just to make sure since you shoot a fair number of images, you aren't
    by any chance running into the infamous 9999 roll-over, are you? And
    how about reading from the card, is that still possible or is it
    totally inaccessible thus losing everything?

    Bart van der Wolf, Apr 28, 2006
  18. Lionel

    SleeperMan Guest

    i guess these card failures are totally random...and independant of where or
    how to use it, right ? I mean, they are electronic devices, so they die.
    It's just a matter of luck, i guess. In my S2 i have USB 2.0, so i have no
    need of reader, but i understand you, pro's that having quite a few cards
    this is a must. Not at last, there is a possibility of static charge which
    can damage the card. And wearing all possible clothes, changing full card in
    a hury, this is very present. Who thinks of touching some metal before
    removing the card anyway?
    SleeperMan, Apr 28, 2006
  19. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    Same here. And I've worked all my CF cards pretty hard. The one time I
    thought I had a faulty card, it turned out to be a camera fault
    instead. (Bad door switch on my 10D, which prevented the 10D from
    detecting that I'd changed cards, resulting in a corrupted file
    Lionel, May 1, 2006
  20. Lionel

    Lionel Guest

    CF cards are heavily protected against static & other transients for
    exactly those sorts of reasons. Short of standing on top of a tall
    building & waving them around in the air during a lightning storm, you
    really have nothing to worry about.

    The most likely reasons for CF cards to fail in the real world would
    be (1) manufacturing defects, (2) eventually wearing out the memory
    Lionel, May 1, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.