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Tips on dealing with SD cards
668 14 2018-9-25
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Geebax
Captain
Australia
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Don't put your SD card in another camera.
People having troubles with recording often come here for advice and report "But the card is OK when I put it in my GoPro/PC/Mac". This is not a good idea, because testing the card in another camera or device will tell you very little, the Phantom is more demanding in its requirements than many other cameras. When the access speed of the card is an issue, saying it works fine in your PC means nothing, because it may very well not work fast enough when recording 4K in the aircraft.

Bad habits of some cameras
It is also a bad idea because some cameras will assume you want to use that card in the camera you are inserting it into and will construct folders and files to support that camera, without asking for permission to do so. It is best to devote your SD card to your aircraft and not use it elsewhere.

Filling up your card
Unlike many other cameras, DJI write a whole lot of folders and files to the card, many of which are hidden from view. Worse, they do not scavenge those hidden files, so they are progressively filling up space on your card. This is a common reason why owners are puzzled when their aircraft stops recording in flight, yet the card appears to have very few files on it. You can delete those hidden files, but you need to know how to display them in order to do so. There is a much easier way of ridding yourself of them, format the card.

Dont use the 'Cut' function
Removing files from your SD card using a 'cut' operation is also a bad practice, because it requires the computer to write to the file allocation table on your card, and for safety sake, it is best to not have any other device write to the card except your DJI aircraft. This is of particular note with Macs for reasons I will keep to myself.

Format Frequently
I make a habit of formatting the SD card in my aircraft every three or so flying/project sessions. First I copy the files off onto my editing computer, then place the card back in the aircraft and invoke the 'format' function from the DJI Go menu. Someone is bound to say "formatting it often is just un-necessary write cycles on the card, wearing it out". To answer that, it is not really an issue. The only thing that gets written in a format is the file allocation table, a very small part of the card, and there are two copies of the table for safety. And if one gets corrupt, the file system will create another. Besides, the card has more available write cycles than you will ever use.

Format in the aircraft
Another very compelling reason for formatting the card in the aircraft is that the aircraft knows exactly what format it requires, which may not be the case in your computer. The computer will give you a choice of several different formats, which may be confusing, the aircraft already knows which one it wants.

Which card?
Finally, the choice of which card to buy. I have always advocated the Sandisk Extreme Pro series of cards. Not the Ultra series or the Extreme, but the Extreme Pro. This card will not let you down, it has easily enough speed to do the job, providing you did not buy a cheap one off eBay and get sold a crappy counterfeit card. Yes, they are around.

Card specs can be misleading
There are other cards around who make false claims about their speed rating. The only factor, which is almost never quoted in the specs., is the sustained write speed. The read speed is unimportant, even so-called 'burst' speeds. You want a card that can write at the least 100 Megabits per second continuously, because there is virtually no buffer in the aircraft's camera. For cameras recording video, a buffer cannot work because the video is a stream and it can be running for perhaps 9 minutes at a time, so a buffer would have to be gigantic in order to not over-run during that time. For this reason, manufacturers specify a card that can keep up with that frantic pace.







2018-9-25
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F.KOK
First Officer
Flight distance : 11939478 ft
Namibia
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Thanks for this good info.
2018-9-25
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Manxmann
Captain
Flight distance : 780761 ft
Australia
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All sounds good.
I always format my SD card but must admit I have been doing it via my laptop.  I will change that practice based on your advice  Geebax.
Cheers
2018-9-26
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Cetacean
Captain
Flight distance : 2271506 ft
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United States
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Aloha Geebax ,

     As usual, great information!  Mahalo.  Nice to have this all in one paper.

Aloha and Drone On!
2018-9-26
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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Everything listed is very sensible.  Thanks for posting!  
2018-9-26
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ALABAMA
Captain
Flight distance : 9220325 ft
United States
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Great info, Geebax!  You're the best.
2018-9-26
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Woe
Captain
Flight distance : 3423337 ft
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United States
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Good info thanks for sharing.
2018-9-26
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RedHotPoker
Captain
Flight distance : 165105 ft
Canada
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Thanks Geoff. Good job assembling and posting this valuable info for the forum to absorb.


RedHotPoker
2018-9-26
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DJI Stephen
Super Moderator

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Thank you for sharing some informative information here, we appreciate it, fly safely. Cheers!
2018-9-26
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Geebax
Captain
Australia
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Thank you to all the posters in this thread for their kind comments.
2018-9-26
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A CW
Captain
Flight distance : 11458084 ft
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United Kingdom
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Top advice!        
2018-9-27
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Sam Drucker
Second Officer
Flight distance : 426375 ft
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Great info about the sustained write speed. That alone should be enough for me to pick the right sd card.
2018-9-27
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GerardRT
lvl.1

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#Quick RepPlease would you know if the more recent "A2" microSD Cards are compatible with DJI drones (The Mavic Air in particular)? The A1 and A2 both have Minimum Sustained Sequential write speeds of 10MB/s, but the A2 has a higher Minimum Random Write speed (2000 IOPS Vs 500IOPS for the A1). Thank you for your helpful post.ly Here#
2018-9-28
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Geebax
Captain
Australia
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GerardRT Posted at 2018-9-28 00:20
#Quick RepPlease would you know if the more recent "A2" microSD Cards are compatible with DJI drones (The Mavic Air in particular)? The A1 and A2 both have Minimum Sustained Sequential write speeds of 10MB/s, but the A2 has a higher Minimum Random Write speed (2000 IOPS Vs 500IOPS for the A1). Thank you for your helpful post.ly Here#

I am sorry, but I do not have any idea what A1 and A2 cards are? Do you have a link?
2018-9-28
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Mark The Droner
Captain
Flight distance : 2917 ft
United States
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Geebax is on a roll.  I'm about to ask him if I could subscribe to his newsletter...
2018-9-28
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