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Preparing SD cards for fastest write?



Jan 1, 1970
Tell me if there's a more appropriate group for this. Anyway...

My friend flies RC airplanes, and has recently bought a "Keychain
Spy DVR" at Ebay for something like $16. The good news, aside
from the $16, is that it shoots 720x480P video, with audio, at 30
fps for about 50 minutes on one battery charge, with a 4GB micro
SDHC card. So he just attaches this sucker on the wing or
fuselage, and comes up with some very nice video. Youtube has lots
of examples of these videos - search on 808 camera, or 808

There's a fairly long list of bad news items, one of which is that
the video stutters, pauses, or jumps now and then. So it will be
going along smoothly, but then seems to freeze, then jump ahead,
with something clearly being lost. But this is in the video only,
not in the audio, which is glitch free. Analysis by others in
VirtualDub indicates the frozen stretches are indeed duplicate

On the chance it might help, my friend bought a class 6 SDHC to use
with this camera, and indeed it did seem to significantly reduce
the stuttering at first. But with more use, the improvement
doesn't seem so great.

In researching this, I've come across SD Formatter, available here:

One of the formatting options is to fully "erase" the card. Now I
know that NAND-gate flash memory can read randomly, but has to be
erased, in blocks, before a write. So once you fill up a new card,
deleting the files, or even formatting the card, may still leave
you with a card that's pretty much completely un-erased, and I
would think that would slow down any subsequent write process,
which for this camera is proceeding at 1.3MB/sec.

1. Can someone confirm that the SD card keeps track of which blocks
are currently erased. In other words, it doesn't automatically
erase every block it writes to. If it keeps track, then erasing
everything ahead of time might speed things up.

2. Does using the full erase formatting option reduce the life of
the card materially?

I'm doubtful that slow writing is the primary cause of the freezing
video, but it's possible that for $16 you don't get a lot of
multi-tasking, and if writing to memory could be speeded up, maybe
whatever IS causing the problem would happen less often.

And for those interested, the definitive source on this camera is

Thanks for any ideas.

Adrian C

Jan 1, 1970
And for those interested, the definitive source on this camera is

Can't offer much ideas on the preformatting of your cards, but if you
look at reviews of class 6 cards there does seem to be some variation of
actual speeds attainable.

I'm investigating getting a Class 6 card for my MD80 clone (the 720x480
gumstick model). I've also got one of the car remote fob types in the
post coming here. So will be messing about with installing it in the
car, adapting power and changing the card size to SD.

Thanks for the link. Very interesting; these things made of market
failed mobile phone parts :)