How-To Photography Tech
How to Fix A Broken SD Card (Impossible!)
April 7, 2018
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As a photographer there are few things that I am afraid of:

  • Damaging/losing my camera and/or lenses
  • File corruption of photos on my hard drive or SD cards
  • Broken SD cards

The first and last actually happened to me last week during a shoot I was doing. My heart is still heavy about my lens (f2.8 / 24-70mm) but at least I was able to salvage my SD card.

A little background: the card was slowly deteriorating and was beginning to chip around the point of insertion. I let it slide.

Bad move.

During this last shoot, I took the card out and slid it into my MacBook card slot. No dice. What??? Took it out and tried again. Nothing! So I put another card in and it was recognized fine. “Houston we have a problem.” I need to get these files off the card and start editing so I can send them to the model.

First thing I thought of was to take out the SD card chip (you have the card shell which is what holds the actually memory chip) and just inserting it without the shell of the card. I’m here to let you know that won’t work because the SD card inside the shell is actually half that size. So, if you did manage to get it into your computer SD card reader, it would be there forever.

Next, I went to YouTube to find out if anyone had successfully managed to fix a damaged SD card. The only thing I found was someone putting tape around a cracked shell but the part of insertion was ok. They had a level 2 problem and I had a level 8 problem.

So…

The engineer in me figured out that if I took an existing card that I didn’t need, gutted the memory card inside the shell and replaced it with the one from the damaged card, it would work…

Tools you’ll need:

  1. Needle-nose pliers
  2. Box cutter or thin razor
  3. Mini flat-head screwdriver
  4. Spare SD card

Steps:

  1. Remove the shell or what’s left of the shell of the damaged SD card
  2. Take the box-cutter/razor and slice along the seam of the spare SD. Make sure to cut only along the sides and back edges of the card so essentially you’ll open it up like a clam shell, leaving the point of insertion in tact.
  3. Use the pliers to extract the spare card from the shell
  4. Now insert the card from the damaged SD card shell and insert it into the spare card shell. Basically your swapping one card from the damaged shell into another card shell (not damaged)
  5. After that, close the card shell as tightly as possible. It should stay closed when inserted into an SD slot

That’s it!

Here’s the video:

About author

Vaughn Dabney

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