Treo 700p and 4GB SD

I can't have nice things.

I bought a no-name 4GB SD card for my Treo 700p, and it's really flaky: at somewhat random (but frequent) times, it makes the "you just ejected the card!" noise, and then I have to pop it out and back in again to get it to be recognised. I think maybe it only does this when it's not being accessed, e.g., as soon as I stop playing music and/or the device goes to sleep, it unmounts the card. I haven't had it do it while listening to music, but then as soon as I pause and the phone goes idle, blam.

The card seems to work fine when I plug it into a USB reader on my Mac. I also tried reformatting it. Some googling suggests that there are people out in the world successfully using 4GB FAT32 SD cards with the Treo 700p. Palm's site says they "have not tested" 4GB cards, though.

So is there some less sketchy 4GB card I should buy instead? Or does this trick just not work?

Update: Bought a Transcend 4GB. Works fine.

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24 Responses:

  1. romulusnr says:

    I've had the exact same problem with the 600 and a Patriot 1GB. It only got worse as time went on. I turned off the "insert/eject" noises for that very reason -- sometimes it would go through a frantic sequence of phantom insert/ejects.

    Lately I have to re-seat the card every time I pick up the phone and want to access the card -- usually I can just nudge the top of the card to the right, and it'll "insert" again.

    • romulusnr says:

      Did I mention that the Treo now displays nearly all my card-stored photos as corrupted, but a PC shows them all perfectly fine.

  2. tiff_seattle says:

    the same thing happened to the mini sd card on my mda. it got worse and worse until one day it just stopped working.

    • radparker says:

      Same with the 1 gig mini SD card on my MDA, too. I'd tend to assume a device issue instead of a memory card issue.

      • tiff_seattle says:

        The 2GB card I had that failed was a no-name discount card, and it also stopped working in my USB card reader. I haven't had any problems at all with my 512 MB card.

  3. You're one of the people driving the $10,000 Chevy Aveos, and complaining that it doesn't ride like the $50,000 BMW too, aren't ya?

    • jwz says:
      1. There are only like a dozen 4GB SD cards that Amazon even lists, which is not confidence-inspiring;
      2. So yeah, since I had no real reason to believe that any 4GB cards would work in this phone at all, I gambled on the $65 one instead of the $200 one;
      3. You'll note that my LJ post is not exactly filling up with comments saying "I have a $200 4GB card and it works great with my Treo;
      4. And you'll find that my nuts require extra attention today.
      • I was just ribbing ya..I found it rather humourous that after claiming "I just can't have nice things", you go on to say you bought one of the cheapest cards available (I spent about that for my 1GB card), and now are complaining it doesn't work right.

        I'd be less inclined to blame the Palm, and rather point the finger at the card. I just haven't seen enough 4GB from the quality players in the market to feel that we're getting reliable cards in that size (I also find it telling that I haven't seen 4GB cards at Frys the last few times I was there).

  4. vxo says:

    Honestly, I'd seem to want to blame a timing or sleep/wake issue with the card. I'm guessing the Treo probably cuts +Vcc to the card when it isn't going to be used for a while to save power.

    What you may have is a nice 4 gig card that'll work great in an SD-compatible camera, etc... but may have trouble with your Treo due to the more aggressive power management.

    If you can still return the SD card, do that and get one of a less yum-cha brand. Otherwise, pop it in your camera, and it'll be happy forever (as digital cameras leave the power on all the time when they're not sleeping).

  5. bifrosty2k says:

    Weird, next time you see me, lets try out one of mine.

  6. autopope says:

    Palm machines top out at 4Gb and generally have difficulty with >2Gb cards. I've got a 4Gb Sandisk in my Tungsten TX that works fine, but have had problems with other 4Gb cards (they end up in cameras instead). Unfortunately it's a case of either blindly taking a gamble on a card, or ... well, ISTR there are some discussions on the subject of 4Gb cards that work over at Brighthand but I can't remember the generalities off the top of my head.

    Oh, and forget SDHC. Palm's hardware isn't compatible with the new standard (yet).

  7. dballing says:

    FWIW, I had the same problem with my 650 and two different SanDisk Ultra II 2GB cards.

    I think its simply a design flaw of some sort common to all the Treo units. Perhaps they don't seat properly inside, and occasionally the contacts pull loose, it shows as "ejected/removed" and then has to be reseated? (My unit's problem is that it would often reseat itself just fine afterwards, so I'd have the whole "annoying beeping noise" thing for nothing).

    • sc00ter says:

      I've found cards to be flaky out of the box. After formatting them in a PC, and then doing it again inside the treo and leaving them in the treo and not put them back into a PC keeps them very stable.

      Luckily with MissingSync for the mac you can mount the treo like a drive to get stuff on/off the Treo.

  8. sc00ter says:

    Most of our office has Treos (650s and 700s). When the IT guy went to look for cards for us he found out that they do some "tricks" to get the capacity over 2gigs. This are of course non-standard.

    Some people got 4gig cards on their own and if they work or not seems almost random.

  9. babasyzygy says:

    I've been using a couple of cheap-ass 4GB cards (~$70 at Fry's 4 months ago with rebate) on my 650p, which I'll presume has a similar mechanism.

    I've had no problems, and regularly swap the card in the Treo with the card in a Canon P&S. I did, however, format each of them on the Canon camera first - this might make a difference, from Sc00ter's comment.

  10. iota says:

    This thread lists cards tested to work fine by others. Unfortunately, everyone is lazy and nobody has compiled it into one post, so enjoy the ten pages.

    Some have recommended the following if you can get to a Windows computer:
    format /FS:FAT32 /a:32K :
    to force the filesystem to use smaller clusters (may just be a performance increase, not reliability fix)

  11. edouardp says:

    I had the same problem with a 2GB no-name card in my (now departed) Palm T3. I can't quite remember the details, but I ended up getting another 2GB no-name card (same no-name manufacturer) from the same store, and that one worked fine.

    (Well the file system would sometimes get corrupted, but I'm sure that was more the flaky Palm OS screwing the FAT during voice recording and not the card itself).

    Why did one work, and another one not? No idea. Will another card work fine for you? Maybe.

    If sending it back for a replacement is not an option, maybe you could swap it with a friends card, because I'm sure you're existing card will work fine in, say, a camera.

  12. hallerlake says:

    4G Sandisk seems to be working great for me, but I'm not exactly stressing it out - barely more than a gig on the thing so far.

  13. hallerlake says:

    in the "beating a dead horse" category, you can hack your 700p to support SDHC. No idea if this would let you go to more than 4G and it sounds like you are already fine via the same Transcend solution I chose, but figured I would mention it in case you find it of interest.

    Disclaimer: I have not personally tried this hack as I lack a SDHC card (or any particular reason to).