PDA

View Full Version : Windows XP Flakiness - USB CF / Flash Card Reader Problem



convergent
07-10-2006, 11:48 AM
I am at my wits end with Windows XP and USB flash card readers. It seems that no matter which one I've tried, and no matter which computer's I've tried, these things are flakey. On a fresh reboot, they work great... pop the flash card in and you get the pop-up asking what you want to do with it. After a number or uses, for some reason the system seems to lose its ability to find the reader. A reboot is required to get it back. It also goes in stages... I have a lot of stuff on a USB hub. After a while, the reader plugged into the hub disappears. So, I unhook the hub and go direct... that works for a while later, then that too is lost. This has happened on many different computers... laptops and desktops... with 3 or 4 different brands of readers... so thus my conclusion that it is a Windows XP problem.

The issue with me is that we need this reader when doing events... and it is on the computer that is the server for our whole system. When it flakes out, we have to take everything offline to fix it. I tried going with a PC Card flash reader, but they are several orders of magnitude slower than USB... so I'm left with USB and flakiness. Any help would be appreciated as this is driving me crazy and costing me a lot of money in lost sales.

Orgnoi1
07-10-2006, 01:03 PM
I currently have three different card readers... I have an internal on one computer... a Sandisk CF/SD reader and a Digital Concepts CF reader...

Of the three the Digital Concepts which I had gotten from Ritz works the best... flawless would be a better term. I have had to reboot a few times with my SanDisk and now really I only use that when I need to read SD cards from my main computer. The Digital Concepts ran me about $12 or so...

aceman152
07-10-2006, 01:07 PM
I purchased a Crucial brand reader off of newegg, probably cost about $8-$12 if I remember correctly. I have not had any problems with it at all, it is only used on XP systems. So I am doubting that it is an XP problem, which is amazing because I am very much anti-microsoft but they are cheaper than mac systems, and less confusing for others than unix or linux.

zacker
07-10-2006, 01:35 PM
I have a Lexar one thats ok, never had any disconnect issues with it but, I think it was behind loosing a gig's worth of Wedding shots last year... i still use it here at work but i dont think id trust it again to use for anything important.

I also have one on my printer that does not work anymore, it used to work great!

I just use the camera now, the 30D transfers pretty quickly.
-zacker-

convergent
07-10-2006, 05:44 PM
Thanks for the input. I think I figured out the solution to my problems... to go with Firewire. It will transfer a lot faster I believe, and avoid the whole USB flakiness problem. I'm willing to invest some money in trying to solve this, so I just ordered a Lexar Professional Firewire CF Card Reader from B&H... with tax and shipping it is about $80, so it better solve my problems. ;)

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&kw=LERHCFW&is=REG&Q=&O=productlist&sku=407884

ProPhotoImages
07-10-2006, 06:00 PM
Convergent
Try this: If your flash card reader is plugged in, you should have an icon for that in My Computer. Don't pull the flash card out when you get through using it. Go to My Computer and right click it's icon and left click "Eject". Then pull the flash card out. Also some computers with (xp) don't work well if you are using a "USB HUB". Always use a usb 2.0 socket.

Hope this helps.

convergent
07-10-2006, 07:03 PM
Do you do an eject for just removing the card, or for actually pulling the whole reader out?

I wonder if the eject function will be needed on a firewire reader? Since I have a lot of workers using this thing, it needs to be idiot proof, if you know what I mean.

ProPhotoImages
07-10-2006, 07:51 PM
You use that in order to eject the compact flash card from the reader. These are from instructions I have read about taking cards out of readers quite some time ago. It is supposed to help in keeping from corrupting your cards.
You also are supposed to use the eject function to release the reader from the slot. I use a lexar firewire reader and also a sandisk USB 2.0 reader. I thought this might possibly help your situation. I don't know for sure whether it will or not, but since I have used this method, I have not experienced any problems. I used to use a Microtek USB 1.1 card reader and had flakiness problems quite a bit. I did some reading in that area and found that certain readers don't always work well with some system configurations especially when using "USB" hubs. Also I have not seen any drivers for the "lexar". Supposed to be built-in to XP OS. I also read that the compact flash reader should be plugged into the motherboard usb 2.0 slots in the rear, not on the front of the case.

Hope this helps solve your problems.

ZK9995
07-10-2006, 08:50 PM
We use the Lexar reader and I have never had a problem with that reader but I do get kicked off my wireless connection everytime I turn off and disconnect from my external HD:doh

ZR2Blazer
07-10-2006, 11:48 PM
I have a card reader built into my Epson Stylus Photo RX500 Printer and also us a usb hub and my computer is set up as the server for the rest of the computers in the house. I have (Knock on wood) never had anytroubles running XP and the card readers or hub :dunno

convergent
07-11-2006, 12:12 AM
You use that in order to eject the compact flash card from the reader. These are from instructions I have read about taking cards out of readers quite some time ago. It is supposed to help in keeping from corrupting your cards.
You also are supposed to use the eject function to release the reader from the slot. I use a lexar firewire reader and also a sandisk USB 2.0 reader. I thought this might possibly help your situation. I don't know for sure whether it will or not, but since I have used this method, I have not experienced any problems. I used to use a Microtek USB 1.1 card reader and had flakiness problems quite a bit. I did some reading in that area and found that certain readers don't always work well with some system configurations especially when using "USB" hubs. Also I have not seen any drivers for the "lexar". Supposed to be built-in to XP OS. I also read that the compact flash reader should be plugged into the motherboard usb 2.0 slots in the rear, not on the front of the case.

Hope this helps solve your problems.

Yep... this is a laptop though, and with only 2 USB ports, I'm kind of hosed. The Digital Darkroom key is in one, and I currently have 3 event printers and an external hard drive that I need to hook up, in addition to the CF card reader. I think the firewire reader is going to be the ticket. How is yours working out for you? I will just use a firewire PC Card which I already have for tethering cameras. I also have a firewire hub... the literature on the Sandisk Pro Reader says you can daisy chain 3 of them and copy images simultaneously. I'm hopefully this will solve my biggest problem at shoots.

IronDuke
07-13-2006, 08:29 PM
I have the Sandisk 4 in 1 reader.... It sometimes freezes up halfway thru a transfer..... I have to unplug it too get it to work again......luckily I havent lost files on the CF card when it acts up...yet....

convergent
07-13-2006, 09:15 PM
I received the Firewire reader... jury is still out. It does have an LED that lights up and a button to push to remove the card. You still have to go into Remove Devices to safely dismount the card though. I was hoping to avoid that.

convergent
07-14-2006, 10:43 AM
Well, I plugged this thing into my laptop, in a Firewire PC Card, and it wouldn't work. So, I tried plugging it into a firewire card on my Desktop computer, and it wouldn't work. Is there anything in this world that works like its supposed to???? I'm starting to doubt it. I called Lexar and was told that the reader wouldn't work with a firewire "card", but it had to be an integrated firewire port. WHAT? So, is IEEE-1394 a standard or what??? I asked the Lexar guy that very question, and he said, "Not really.". You've got to be kidding me. He went on to explain that the cards don't produce enough power for their reader, and that I could either use a hub or I'd have to use an integral port. I was quite skeptical but, said I'd try it. A firewire hub isn't cheap, nor is the additional cable you have to buy. Not to mention that I've not made the thing powered again, rather than just being hung off a port... my original goal. Fortunately I had a hub, because I couldn't get a long enough firewire cable for a 2 camera tethered shoot that I did on another occaision (again, can't anything be easy), and I use the hub to double the distance from computer to camera. So I tried the hub with the reader, and it worked. This is obviously a very expensive and complicated solution to a simple problem... so you need a) Firewire PC Card, b) Firewire Hub, c) 2 Firewire cables, but one comes with it, and d) Firewire Reader. This is clearly neither an inexpensive solution, nor a simple solution. I bought the reader from B&H, so I may be returning it.

ProPhotoImages
07-14-2006, 11:07 AM
Convergent.

I really feel your pain. The IEEE 1394 interface which was originally developed for the "Mac" and adopted by Windows is supposed to be a "standard" and work with "XP" and a slotted firewire card put in your PCI port on the back of your computer. I have one of those cheapie Lexar firecards with an attached cable that plugs into a firewireport that I added onto my built system which actually gets it power from my system.

I would send back the "Lexar" you got unless you got it working correctly cause that unit you got is not cheap by any means. It may be that those "lexars" don't work well with laptops. The lexar does need to get it's power from somewhere. I don't think it's a sef powered unit. My lexar is right at the system base and can't take a real long cable from a great distance but with a firewire IEEE card in your slot, it should work without having to use a "hub". Maybe the "USB 2.0" lexar will work better.

convergent
07-14-2006, 12:55 PM
Yep, but my whole issue with USB is that I don't have an available port without using it in a hub. Everyone seems to agree that USB hubs and card readers don't behave well together, so I'm stuck now. I guess I could buy a new laptop that has a card reader built in... probably the best solution in the long run.

ProPhotoImages
07-14-2006, 02:16 PM
I assume that your present laptop doesn't have a free usb port or no port to plug in a usb reader not does it have a pc card adapter slot.

ProPhotoImages
07-14-2006, 02:19 PM
I was trying to think of a way around your dilemma.

convergent
07-14-2006, 02:25 PM
My laptops all have 2 USB ports (IBM Thinkpad T42). One port is taken by the key for Digital Darkroom, and the other is used for a USB hub, since I have 3 event printers running off one computer. So, I'm either using a USB hub, or firewire.... which is also a hub it looks like.

convergent
07-14-2006, 02:25 PM
Or, buy a new laptop with either Firewire built-in, or a card reader built in.

convergent
07-17-2006, 02:10 PM
I went ahead and ran with the firewire reader this past weekend on a tournament shoot. It worked nearly flawlessly, so I guess I'll be keeping it. There was one glitch, but because it wasn't on USB, it had no effect on the printers. It also turned out to be pretty durable as we got dumped on by a huge and sudden rainstorm and almost everything I had got some level of wet... not a good thiing with a ton of sensitive electronic equipment... but no casualities.