Data recovery service shows what the inside of a dead Sony XQD memory card looks like

Jan 13, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Data recovery service shows what the inside of a dead Sony XQD memory card looks like

Jan 13, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Many of us have experienced a memory card failure at some point, and although manufacturers have gotten much better at producing reliable cards, it still occasionally happens. Failure used to be fairly common in the early days of CompactFlash (when their capacity was still measured in MB) and in SD cards, but it’s rare that you hear about it in modern formats like XQD. It does happen, though.

I’ve been following HDD Recovery Services on YouTube for a little while now. I just find it fascinating to see how hard drives and other storage mediums work on the inside, and how they evolve over time. Recently, they received a Sony XQD card that wasn’t reading, and the client needed the data recovered from it. This video shows us what’s inside, and how they get it working again.

The problem with this particular XQD card was essentially a dry solder joint to one of the pins NAND chips that likely hadn’t been aligned properly during manufacture – or the stresses of regular use caused a mechanical failure.

One of the big complaints we all heard (and still hear) about the Nikon Z cameras is that they only have a single card slot. It was defended with the reliability of XQD cards making it a non-issue. Well, this video just goes to show that XQD cards aren’t quite as invincible as many people seem to believe. XQD cards can and do die, whether it’s through user handling error or manufacturing inconsistencies.

Fortunately, though, it looks like there are ways to recover them, depending on what the problem is and a good data recovery service should still be able to pull at least some of your photos and videos back off it. As to what that might cost you, I’ve no idea, but given the appearance of the card in this video after it’s been torn apart and reassembled, you’re at least going to be paying for a new replacement card to pop inside your camera.

Even if you don’t have a horse in the single-vs-dual card slot race, it’s fascinating to watch this XQD card being dismantled and reassembled.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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2 responses to “Data recovery service shows what the inside of a dead Sony XQD memory card looks like”

  1. big al Avatar
    big al

    I used to rework a lot of boards when I worked for an electronics manufacturing company. BGA chips aren’t easy to remove and replace without a steady hand and knowing how much heat is too much based on a given board thickness and the surrounding parts. The stencil and solder paste reball looked super well done here.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      He has another video with a non-standard design he has to reball by hand… I was sweating the whole way through, but he made it look like a piece of cake!