SD Cards failing in Galaxy S3: Samsung's insane response.

jsrjsr

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Like a few others, I just joined the site to relay my experience.

My Note 2 had the "SD card blank or ..." message about a month after purchasing it. My wife's Note 2 had the same message about 2 weeks after it occurred on mine. Both SD cards were PNY 16GB class 4. I tried a SanDisk 8GB class 4 later and it died also. As with others, the card is no longer readible or recognizable via any device. I researched this issue it found on several forums where S3s and Note 2s were both experiencing this problem. On every forum, there are those that blindly argue "my phone is fine, so it cannot be a phone issue". To contrast that, there are those who also make it seem like every phone has an issue. This appears to be a design problem either in the hardware or the firmware or a combo of both. Regardless, it IS an issue that happens to both the S3 and Note 2 and likely to due HW/FW problems that are marginal in their design/performance, thus not all phones are/will be affected.

I both called Samsung tech support and chatted with an online tech support. Neither were helpful (the phone one was less helpful and provided an attitude to my questions). I offered to provide links to various sites where other owners were experiencing the same problem and was ignored on those statements. I was also told Samsung has not received ANY notification from other owners of this issue (even though others have stated on the forums that they contacted Samsung tech support about this prior to my doing so) and that my issue would be reported back to Samsung people that can do something. It is apparent based on the identical responses that customer service / tech support is saying now that they will not admit an issue since I reported my issue yet they still state to others that they have not been made aware of this issue before. It also seems that they are aware of this issue being reported on forums since they now know to advise against info found on the forums. My conversation with the online tech was about the same as others. He could tell I was frustrated, but I continued to be courteous. I was offered to send in my phone for evaluation, but I'm quite confident nothing would've been found or done to my phone and didn't feel like going through the trouble and having a lack of a phone for the weeks period that it would be out. I did not bother to save my chat conversation as it was not fruitful in resolving anything nor did I get the impression that Samsung was willing to admit or help the issue.

To provide members of androidcentral some additional info on this problem that does not seem to be known here yet, this is a summary of what I've found from research on various sites/forums:

Problem occurs on both S3 and Note 2 phones
Once it has killed one card, it is highly likely to continue doing so (new cards) based on what other owners have reported on their success of replacement cards
Someone returned a dead SanDisk and asked for a failure analysis (from SanDisk). SanDisk found the "dead" card was due to a writing problem where certain cells did not receive adequate voltage during a write command resulting in the card becoming unreadable/undetectable to any device. There is no fix for this. (I offered this failure analysis to Samsung online tech and was ignored)
No brand, speed, etc. type of SD card has thus far been immune to this problem (people have reported online the same problem with Samsung cards in their phones). Issue is independent of brand (cheap, expensive), speed, capacity.
Carriers will deny knowledge of the issue also (I spoke with my carrier, Sprint and they were "not aware" of any issue, and others have spoken to their respective carriers with the same response)

My impressions:
As I mentioned, this appears to be a hardware and/or firmware issue due to marginal design/performance. The inability to bring voltage up to adequate levels during a write command can be due to either hardware or firmware (including stack up of tolerances that were inadequately accounted for, including over temp and service life and also may be due to variances in different supplier parts). Samsung is aware of the problem, but will not admit to it due to it not being widespread enough (just because it affects a few hundred out of tens/hundreds of thousands sold doesn't mean it's widespread enough for a large corporation to take action and the resultant consequences) and the fact that it would impact the reputation of the product and brand. Those that do not experience problems may never experience them in which case they are lucky. Those that have it will likely always have it if there is any contribution from the hardware to the issue. Those that have the problem will have to live with it as I am confident there will be no addressing of the issue from Samsung.
 

Gotti Luciano

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I am currently having the same problem with my Galaxy S3.
I had it for two months mint condition in a otter box case. I have a 32Gb Scan disk and it keeps saying the sd was removed and than re configures and installs. My pictures and music all disappear than re appear once installed sometimes one of my albums gets bugged... so anoyying this is going on and its obvious its the scan disk sd cards.. whats the fix??
 

jdgriz

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I have a galaxy 3 and this is the third time my SD card has been wiped out it is not recognize on my phone or my computer. I think it is definitely a Samsung issue. it is very frustrating.
 

meyerweb#CB

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I'm not trying to make excuses for Samsung. This appears to be a real issue, although given the 20 or 30 million SG3 phones sold not a tremendously widespread one. And Samsung should address it.

BUT, if you're putting irreplaceable photos, or any other important data, on your phone's storage, internal or external, YOU NEED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR BACKING THEM UP! Actually, that goes for irreplaceable data on any storage device, even your computer's hard disk. I shot a couple of thousand pictures on vacation last spring, using a real camera (not my phone), and backed my images up every single night. SD cards fail, it's a fact of life, and if you really care about the data on them you need to make a copy of that data somewhere else. On your PC, in the cloud, on a thumb drive, on a writeable DVD, or anyplace else. But somewhere!


As far as the GS3 goes, many people think the issue is primarily related to using class 10 cards in the device. If you've had a class 10 card fail, try replacing it with a slower one.
 

Anti1

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I also had problems with 64GB sdxc class 10 card on my SG3. After investigating a bit this is what works for me if the card is not recognized power off the phone, physically remove sd card from the phone, start the phone, insert the sd card in the phone (normally at this point the card would still not work) and restart the phone. Afterwards restart the card is recognized again and I can access all the content on the card. Once this is done I suggest you backup the content of the sd card just in case the card stops working in the future :).

Regarding the issue it seems to me that the problem occurs usually but not always when u power off the phone and then power it back on while the sd card is still in the phone ...
 

derk

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This problem sucks. I was a long time iPhone user since 2008 and I switched to an S3 this past October. Since then, I have gone through 3 different micro SD cards (8gb,32gb, 64gb) all by 3 different manufacturers (PNY, Kingston, Sandisk). I read on another forum to format the micro SD card to fat32 for better results. This proved to be detrimental as when my s3 would "mysteriously" unmount the micro sd card, I would have to reboot the phone and when rebooted, I would lose data. Sometimes it would destroy 1gb of data or less and last week, it destroyed 50gb of data on my 64gb sandisk micro sd card. Fortunately, I have backups of my data. I don't store my photos or videos taken by the s3 on the sd card. I store it internally.

Fortunately, the s3 is still under warranty. I didn't bother calling Samsung tech support after reading everyone's experiences with them on this forum. I called ATT customer service and they believe it's a hardware problem after I told them the s3 killed 3 microsd cards. They are sending me a replacement that arrives this week. I have no idea if the replacement would have the same problem. If more S3 phones had the problem, I think Samsung would acknowledge the issue. I just think there is a "bad" batch of S3 phones out there with micro sd card issues.

I do notice what triggers the mounting/unmounting problem. I have my photos that I take stored internally on the phone. I just need to take 5-10 quick photos. Then, I go to music player (google play music) or video player or gallery and notice that my videos/music and other photos (not taken by phone) are somehow missing. If I unmount then mount the sd card, media scanner will kick in and rescan the phone and voila my data is back. Or, if that doesn't work, I just reboot the phone. I did notice that if my sd card was formatted as fat32, I would lose data but if it was exfat, I wouldn't lose data. I also noticed if I were to copy more than 500mb of data from the phone to the sd card, it would trigger this problem too. Or, also if I copy a large file (over 500mb) from my PC when connected over USB to my s3. The phone would become very slow after copying data and I would have to unmount the card or reboot the phone.

I will keep everyone posted if my replacement S3 phone that shows up this week will have the same problem.
 

Golfdriver97

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I contacted Samsung about a 64GB about SDXC cards. They said the S3 doesn't support the XC card. I have read in other forums it has trouble reading the (don't quote me, I am not much of a computer geek) exFAT. I have also read on other forums that the many phones have a problem reading class 10 cards. I have run class 4 cards and have had no problems.
 

derk

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I contacted Samsung about a 64GB about SDXC cards. They said the S3 doesn't support the XC card. I have read in other forums it has trouble reading the (don't quote me, I am not much of a computer geek) exFAT. I have also read on other forums that the many phones have a problem reading class 10 cards. I have run class 4 cards and have had no problems.


If that's a true statement from Samsung,then why are there other s3 users having no problems with 64gb sdxc class 10 cards?
 

burnt0range

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i have an answer!!!

spent an hr on the phone with Verizon & Samsung

I've gone through 4 sd cards... n ..this morning my 32gb sandisk Ultra card failed too..

The process was long... the fix was simple ..... DON'T FORMAT!!!!

GO TO SETTINGS
- DEVELOPER OPTIONS
- CLICK PROTECT SD CARD BOX

done ... all info was restored to my sd card.. no formatting needed!!
 

James sherman1

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Its not just the S3. Its the Note 1, Note 2, and Tab 10. My Note 1 just killed a card today. Its the second of the series, both 32GB, one PNY one Sandisk both class 4. If you look at all the complaints that are out there, it spans a range of devices, card manufactures, sizes, and speeds. Its not even a software issue of root android cause, due to the Note 1(ICS) ,2(JB), and S3(JB) having different versions of Android. The only solution is to find what is common between all the devices besides the name Samsung and go from there, or every time your phone eats a card demand a new phone from your carrier. After 3 or 4 phones being replaced by all the people with these phones the carriers will put the the pressure where it hurts. Companys don't respond until it hurts the pocket. So go out there and get that new phone and be aware that its going to eat your card and when it does go get another.
 

burnt0range

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ooo...
this would be my 4th or 5th card...

the one that failed this morning... and was fixed by the above mentioned action.. was..

a class 10 - SanDisk 32gb ULTRA - micro sd card
 

Golfdriver97

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In response to derk; I was curious about that myself. The Customer Service Rep may have been mistaken, but who really knows?
 

derk

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ooo...
this would be my 4th or 5th card...

the one that failed this morning... and was fixed by the above mentioned action.. was..

a class 10 - SanDisk 32gb ULTRA - micro sd card

So, with checking the box, all is good now?

My replacement phone is working fine with my problematic sandisk 64gb utltra class 10 micro sd card. I used it with stock rom and not rooted for a while yesterday and no problems. Last night, I did a nandroid backup of old s3, rooted new s3 and restored nandroid backup to new s3. I am still going well. I did run through functions that used to trigger micro sd card unmounting and losing data. It looks good so far.
 

KreepyKen

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I've been saying that all along.
Buy the card, put it in the phone, and use it.
NEVER remove it.

When mine came in July, I popped it in the phone, formatted it with the phone, and haven't touched it since (physically touched it, that is...in other words, I haven't removed it from the phone). Actually, when I updated to JB, I think I formatted the card again (with the phone) and put all my media back on it from scratch. No problems whatsoever.
 

vmeldrew4291

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It is not only galaxy phones with this issue,Ihave a galaxy tab 2 10.1 which I bought in Dec 2012 this device has destroyed 3 micro sd cards,each one only lasts about 3 weeks and then becomes unreadable,neithervtab or pc or laptop can see card,have used scandisk and kingston make of card,all cards were class 4
 

AxlMyk

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When mine came in July, I popped it in the phone, formatted it with the phone, and haven't touched it since (physically touched it, that is...in other words, I haven't removed it from the phone). Actually, when I updated to JB, I think I formatted the card again (with the phone) and put all my media back on it from scratch. No problems whatsoever.

You don't have to format the card. Just use it.

--Tapatalk 2 on SGS3.
 

GMJeff

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I hate to say that I am in the minority here, I guess.

I had a galaxy S3 and used a 32GB samsung class 10 card in it the whole time I had it. I installed it when I bought it and formatted it with the phone. No issues. Zero.

I then sold my S3 and bought a note 2 and installed the same card in the note 2. All data was still on it from the S3 and have not lost any data or had the card disappear as some have said.

I also have a 32GB samsung card in my note 10 and have not had any issues with that either. That sd card was the same I had in my original galaxy tab 10 when I bought it.

So out of all of these samsung devices, and no sd card issues with any of them.

Also, knowing that most of these sd cards are all made in the same factory, who is to say that maybe they are not being manufactured properly. Not sayong that the phones aren't at fault, but there are other possibilities that come into play.

I remember back in the day when I was building computers and things like memory chips would be hit or miss. The failure rate was somewhat unbelievably high.

Galaxy S4 or Note 3 for my next. Decisions, decisions.
 

derk

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I hate to say that I am in the minority here, I guess.

Also, knowing that most of these sd cards are all made in the same factory, who is to say that maybe they are not being manufactured properly. Not sayong that the phones aren't at fault, but there are other possibilities that come into play.

I remember back in the day when I was building computers and things like memory chips would be hit or miss. The failure rate was somewhat unbelievably high.

I think you are completely right about the SD card being manufactured by Samsung. I have searched other forums and youtube.com and haven't found anyone complaining about Samsung SD cards.
I do see Sandisk mentioned a lot. I had Sandisk, PNY and Kingston fail on me. I might look at getting a Samsung SD card.

Yes, I remember my early days of PC building. It wasn't only faulty memory chips but also faulty IDE controllers and IDE hard drives. I remember when SATA became prominent and it wasn't perfect out the gate.
 

Fillyo

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I still have the Sandisk 32gb class 4 that came with my Thunderbolt and is now being used in my Galaxy Tab 2 7. I take it all the time and have had zero issues with it. I also bought the SanDisk 32bg Class 10 that I bought in July 2012 right after I got my S3. I have taken it in and out many times to use through card reader for faster transfers, and it is still working perfectly. However, I just backed up my pictures to be safe after reading this. My wife also has a GS3, I think she has a 16gb SD card which and has had zero issues sine she got her phone in July 2012 also.
 

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