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Cheap high endurance sd cards - a cautionary tale


I've had a HDBW4231F (mono booby?) camera temporarily connected up for a little while, waiting for an opportunity to install it. I had noticed a tendency for it to take a while to appear as online in Smart PSS, but didn't think anything of it. Just as I was getting close to having time to install it properly, its presence on the network suddenly became very patchy. Sometimes I could log in, but sub-pages never loaded. It even stopped responding to pings except for about 5 or 6 contiguous replies every few minutes or so.

I tried everything including a full factory default reset. Nothing made a difference.

I was all set to instigate a return, when I thought I'd give it one more try. It had been powered off for a little while and I thought there was a slim chance that would make some sort of difference. Sadly not. That is, until I removed the SD Card...

Instantly it was back to normal o_O

Cutting a long story slightly shorter, it turns out the mild bargain Samsung Pro Endurance cards I'd bought on ebay, were nothing of the sort. Completely fake! I found some guides on line that outline the things to look for, and they hit pretty much every feature.

Poor printing quality, edges of cards not printed on, some of them had additional markup. Terrible performance, of course. On the packaging, the 128Gb ones had the model number of the "Evo" cards. The 32Gb ones had the model number of a 16Gb non-"Pro" card!

Several of the 32Gb cards have failed completely (after about 4-5 months use) and can't even be formatted. The 128Gb ones are also playing up (randomly disappear in the camera as if removed), but have only been in use a couple of months, and the larger capacity will give them additional longevity anyway.

Fortunately I've been able to get a refund on the 128Gb cards. So far the 32Gb vendor is not responding to my messages :(

TL;DR version - if your camera is playing up, remove the SD card when testing. Always buy your SD cards from a reputable source...



Pulling my weight
It's always worth running new microSD cards through h2testw before using them - this will write data to the entire card and then attempt to read it back and will identify any cards with false reported capacities as well as slow cards.


Yeah, I ran them through blackmagic disk speed after pulling them. Never occurred to me they might not be genuine The price wasn’t so low as to be immediately suspicious