ARRI have felt it necessary to give a warning to users concerning offloading problems when using older Lexar 3600x Professional CFast 2.0 cards with their cameras. This has not been an overnight reaction from ARRI but a result of their own investigations and feedback from users who have had issues. Of course many users may have had no problems using these cards so they are not advocating you throw away all your current cards. However, at the first sight of any problems it would make sense to stop using that particular card. Hence ARRI have stated that they ‘cannot unreservedly recommend their use any more’.
So let’s get into the nitty-gritty and look at the kind of problems ARRI have identified, potential causes and recommendations. At this point I want to make it clear the following text and suggestions are from ARRI not Visual Impact.
Symptoms noted by ARRI
A CFast 2.0 card stops working after it was used for recording, making the recorded footage inaccessible.
The problem can occur with one or more of the following symptoms:
- A camera shows the error message "Medium in Slot A/B not (yet) ready" and cannot access the card.
- The card may only mount/play back in a camera, but it cannot be mounted in a card reader.
- A computer can mount the card, but only shows a 1GB partition, which does contain the data. The operating system may also request that the card is "initialized," which does not solve the issue.
Root cause analysis has shown that the issue may be caused by weak soldering joints of card components. This would make these cards particularly sensitive to mechanical and thermal stress.
Counter measures in case of error
Warning: The following counter measures bear the risk of complete data loss! We generally advise seeking professional help from a data recovery service, especially if a card represents a high production value, e.g. something that cannot be reshot.
- It may be possible to salvage recorded data by cooling down the card and reading it at slow transfer speeds. Slow transfer speeds can be achieved by connecting a USB-3 card reader with a USB-2 cable. Please note that cards should only be cooled in a controlled, low humidity environment, as a card can be destroyed if condensation builds up on the inside!
- It may be possible to temporarily reconnect defective soldering joints by applying soft pressure between the top and bottom lid. Please note that too much force will cause fatal mechanical damage to the electrical assembly and render the card useless!
Note: The use of data recovery software is not required, as the problem does not affect the data integrity on the flash chips.
General Recommendations from ARRI
- Handle the CFast 2.0 cards with utmost care and avoid unnecessary thermal and mechanical stress.
- Needless to say, a CFast 2.0 card with offloading problems should not be put back into circulation.
- Frequently used media, e.g. in rental operations, should be rotated out sooner than others.
- No additional stickers or labels should be placed on the cards. Stickers impair the thermal conductivity and cause cards to run slightly hotter. Peeling stickers will increase the risk of residue clogging up the connector.
- Customers wishing to replace Lexar 3600x 256 GB CFast 2.0 cards (K2.0006495) can request an exchange from their point of sales to receive a partial credit note towards the purchase of a new 256GB CFast 2.0 card offered by ARRI. ARRI will also accept Lexar cards that were not distributed by ARRI (not “Tested by ARRI”), against a reduced credit note towards the purchase of a new CFast 2.0 card offered by ARRI. Please contact your point of sales for details on the exchange procedure!
- Lexar CFast 2.0 cards showing the above symptoms are covered by the Lexar limited lifetime warranty. Customers with defect Lexar CFast 2.0 cards, are advised to request an RMA against a refund from Lexar Technical Support. Please note that Lexar currently does not offer an alternative CFast 2.0 product that can be used in ARRI cameras. Nevertheless, an RMA with Lexar will result in a higher return value.
Important - For all firmware updates it’s imperative you go to the manufacturers’ website to check the details and procedure on how to install the update. Visual Impact does not take any responsibility in this matter.
To see ARRI products in action, give us a call to arrange a demo on 0208 977 1222. If you want to learn more, head over to our website www.visuals.co.uk.
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