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Saturday, 9 November 2013

SanDisk SD 8GB Class 4 Compatibility with Ltl Acorn 6210MG

SanDisk Class 4 SDHC Cards
Before I dive into the subject of this post I would like to apologise for my lack of activity recently. October did its best to turn into the month from hell, in part because of a family bereavement and I just couldn't keep up to date; so I'm now behind with email requests and tech support. I am however starting to catch up again and if you are waiting for me to contact you, please be patient and I will do so a.s.a.p.

Early in the month I was testing a large batch of 6210MGXs for cellular function. I was about a third of my way through when I tested a camera that would not send. Rather than analyse it straight away I put it to one side and continued with the remainder only to find that all of them were manifesting the same problem.

On deeper inspection I found that none of the 'faulty' cameras was saving a compressed image to the MMS folder although they were taking and saving the full-sized image correctly. This explained why they weren't transmitting an image, but why weren't they saving to the MMS folder? All the cameras were from the
same grouping of serial numbers but were not being tested in numerical order so it didn't really add up that two-thirds of the cameras were consistently faulty with random serial numbers.

It then occurred to me that I had just started using a new box of SD cards and when I checked the batch numbers I found that they had changed when the problem emerged. I then tested an SD card from the new batch in my older control cameras (which were working perfectly) and the same issue manifest itself; so then I tested the same card in other devices which then worked correctly.

Using an older card in the new (faulty?) cameras proved to work properly so I was left wondering which was causing the problem, SD card or camera.

Logically it was the new card batch that was causing the issue so I contacted the suppliers and explained the problem. They sent me cards from later batches plus an Extreme and an Ultra to test. The class 6 and class 10 cards worked fine but again the class 4 cards would not allow the camera to save compressed images to the MMS folder.

I explained the problem carefully to Acorn, the card suppliers and to SanDisk technical support, and waited because now was the time where all parties start to blame each other's product and I didn't really expect an easy ride with this one. At that point I had to take a week out for my Mother's funeral.

When I returned Acorn were on the case and sent me a firmware update, which did not prove successful, and then another (V1.2.115T), which magically took away the problem. Acorn were very fast in dealing with this once they understood exactly what was happening, even if I didn't get any explanation as to what might have caused it, so a big thank you to the Acorn technical department.

I know we've had a number of connection and transmission issues with the 6210 since Acorn introduced the SMS remote control (which still doesn't seem to work reliably) but I can't wholly blame the camera for this problem when it was so obviously caused by the new batch of SanDisk cards; so I was eager to hear from SanDisk. This was their reply which doesn't really explain anything in context.

"We have been looking into this case with our team of engineering. At this time we suspect that the issue wouldn't be related to the cards since they do save the full-sized pictures. Of course we want to help you out on this case. Therefore we would like to try some steps to see if we can come to a solution for the issue.
First of all, we would suggest to try formatting the cards in one of the cameras with which you are experiencing issues. This way, the camera creates the required structure on the card. Once done, try to shoot pictures and see if now both full-sized images as well as the compressed images are saved on the card.
Should this not resolve the issue, then the next step would be to try formatting the cards with which you are experiencing issues using SD Formatter."

All cards are formatted by the camera when I do tests and I suspect that what has maybe happened is that SanDisk have updated (improved) the cards in a way which the earlier camera programming could not handle.

Anyway the bottom line is that the issue appears to have been fixed by the new firmware and if you have an Acorn 6210 cellular camera which isn't transmitting images, don't immediately blame the camera but check to see if it is saving to the MMS folder. If not and if you are using a new SanDisk card or maybe any other manufacturers, then you probably need the V1.2.115T firmware, which I can send you on request.

Please note that I am not making it available to download because there is no benefit in using it other than to correct this issue.

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This web site is about the wildlife, particularly the mammals, of the Glen Affric National Nature Reserve area in the north west Highlands of Scotland, UK; and the equipment I use to search for them, which is chiefly trail cameras.

I provide a technical support and parts service for the Ltl Acorn range of cameras and the income from this provides for the upkeep of this site and the purchase of cameras for my own surveying.

I hope you find the site useful and informative; and please contact me if you have any questions that I haven't already covered.