By David Zimmerman, CEO of LC Technology
Pulling the card out while it is in use. Whether it is in the camera or in a reader attached to the computer, pulling the card before it is finished being written will cause trouble. Any missing data will cause an error that the camera can’t overcome. Usually it will tell you that you need to reformat the card. Even when you think the camera or computer is done writing to the card, allow an extra minute to be sure and turn the camera off before removing the card.
Environmental concerns. Temperature extremes can ruin memory cards. Even specialty cards rated for extreme temperatures are only good to about 120˚F. A hot car interior can soar past this quickly. Moisture and dirt are also causes of failure. The contact points on memory cards can become dirty and cause a poor connection. If you can see the connectors, you can clean them with a couple of drops of isopropyl alcohol on a cotton-tipped swab. The bad news is if you can see the contacts, you can touch them. This can cause a static jolt that will destroy the card.
Taking the memory card out of your camera to use in a friend’s camera. This will change the format and change the file structure. Every device has its own format and numbering sequence. Have a card specifically for each device you use. If you take your camera card and use it in your MP3 player or other device, it will have to be formatted in the camera before use. If you must use the same card in different devices, save all of the data to your computer first and then format the card in the new device.
Use a card reader to transfer your files. These devices are easy to set up and use. They make the transfer of video to your camera faster, and also prevent problems that can occur with camera battery issues. Most card readers are under $20. If the camera battery goes too low during the downloading process, you risk losing your video and possibly corrupting the card.
Low batteries in the camera. Low batteries can prevent all of the necessary information from getting to the card. Don’t use a camera with low batteries or you risk losing the whole card.