Recovering A Physically Broken SD Card

There is much to be found online about recovering data from corrupt SD cards, but [StezStix Mix] had an entirely different problem with his card. He’d filmed an important video to it, then dropped it and ran his office chair over it, snapping it almost in half. He’s put up a couple of videos showing how he recovered the data, and we’ve put them below the break.

A modern SD card is mostly just plastic, as in the decades since the format was created, the size of the circuitry on it has decreased dramatically. So his stroke of luck was that the card circuitry was a tiny PCB little bigger than the contact pad area on a full size SD card. There was a problem though, it wouldn’t be easy to fit in an SD card socket. So in the first video he goes through physically wiring it to a USB card reader, which results in reading the data after a false start in remembering that an SD card activates a switch.

This however is not the end of the story, because he had viewers asking why he didn’t simply attach an SD card shaped bit of cardboard. So the second video below goes through this, trying both card, and an SD to micro SD adapter. We find that making something to fit an SD socket is a lot less easy than it looks, but eventually he manages it.

Meanwhile those of you with long memories may recall this isn’t the first SD surgery we’ve brought you.

12 thoughts on “Recovering A Physically Broken SD Card

  1. I have a lot of respect for the robustness of micro SD cards after I went over my accidentally-dropped phone with a mulching lawn mower. The phone was in bits, the battery was smoking, but the SD card with precious photos of my family on survived!

    1. The stick probably wouldn’t trigger sense switch on the side.

      What can work is getting another SD card, and old sacrificial card. Carefully pry open the 2 halves and remove the original SD, then put in the other SD board, hot glue if needed to fix it in place, then close the 2 halves and it should work

  2. I’m surprised he didn’t just try bending it sort of back and plugging it in? Broken and bent for sure, but looked like that should have worked as good or better than the cardboard.

  3. had slightly different problem 32gb sdcard not recognised. data pin looks damaged. worked out it was not used in SPI mode. only had arduino at time. so read it out bye by bye in hex over serial port. some how took 4 days. python code rebuilding image.

  4. I like the method of using “enameled” wire for soldering. I have been using this method for building prototypes for 30+ years, but I do want to recommend some changes:

    The lacquer on this type of wire only burns off at higher then normal soldering temperature, so you do need a temperature controlled station. Also, the wire needs a relatively long time at this hot temperature before the lacquer burns off, because heat conduction though the lacquer is very poor, and thus the wire heats slowly. This is best done in two stages. First tin the wire by holding only the wire to the tip of the iron (and using solder / flux of course), and only after the wire is tinned, solder it to the PCB. With this change, you do not have to heat the PCB for such a long time (with evaporating flux and risk of damaging the PCB etc).

    And if you do this a lot, then you can do some refinements: Having a second iron is handy. Put it on a stationary stand so you can easily hold the wire to it’s tip without getting it out of it’s holder. If you have two irons, you can also set them to different temperatures. Use a hot iron to tin the wire ends, and use a cooler iron for the soldering itself.

  5. Hi there I need help to format my memory card on my Hisense U50 it shows corrupted SD card I must format it but with internal but it just stop by 20% and then it wouldn’t go further I try many times but nothing please help me to format the sd card I’m my phone

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