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Moving forward with 4D displays? (usD dependency will decide)

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  • Moving forward with 4D displays? (usD dependency will decide)

    We presently use the uLCD-43DT in our product. Have been pretty happy with the product. We have to use the 2GB usD for holding the graphics, sound files, etc. The 2GB usD is completely archaic however and hard to find these days, but they cost $4.99/each, which is tad expensive as memory is very cheap these days. But 2GB is a special item now, and so they (the market) can command this price.

    When the 4D 4GB enhancement was announced I was very happy (though it is merely a niche improvement, as 4GB usD appear are already on their way out in obsolescence), however the 4D engineering appear to select a specialized usD that COST ~$20 DOLLARS A POP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (what were they thinking). Since we purchase about 1000+ displays a year, this is simply a NOT okay impact on our bottom line.

    I want a low cost solution... I want specific information of a reasonably priced 4GB usD card that will work with the new 4D display models for Arduino controllers.

    Many sincere appreciations...

  • #2
    By all means buy your 4GB cards, or any other size for that matter, from wherever you want to.

    Our cards come direct from the manufacturer, rather than through a dubious and unknown chain of distributors, so we have confidence in their 'pedigree'.

    That, and because we cannot possibly buy millions at a time is the reason we cannot possibly offer them at a competitive price.

    But you can rest assured that they are the real McCoy.


    • #3
      Heck... Phison do not even offer this 4GB usD as a standard item anymore. Go to their website and one can easily verify this. This 4D display product dependency on a specialized usD that is not a common available industry item is a very bad decision by 4D. I'm an design engineer with +20 years experience, so not speaking from a platform of inexperience.

      I need a low cost solution because refuse to part with tens of thousands of dollars a year because of a ridiculous 4GB card.
      Last edited by walkabout; 19 December 2014, 08:36 PM.


      • #4
        Hi Mark... Thanks for your response.

        It assumed that one simply cannot use "any" size as the memory footprint will not be compatible with 4D compiled code on the display. If so... reformatting a larger memory space as a smaller one (and throwing away memory) would be stupid (assuming that it would even work).

        Can you point me to a Phison link for 4GB usDs? OR are they manufacturing their cards especially for 4D? I do not see any Phison distributors...


        • #5
          Phison are part of leaders group of the SD Association

          Phison supply us with their 'standard' offerings, they still make 2GB units, but since demand is practically very low the lead time to supply them is quite long. This is why we recently stopped selling the 2GB size.

          From the Phison site you can see that they generally sell to OEMs. I expect that most will be purchasing cards with the external labeling adjusted to their own brand.

          You can use basically any SPI compatible uSD card with our displays. All small systems use SPI mode, it is only the larger more complex systems that have the resources to support SD mode.

          As of today, using our current PmmCs, the only non SPI compatible cards we have seen have all been labelled with the Transcend brand. These cards initially appear to work, but fail at various points, generally appearing to have been removed and reinserted.

          This is exactly the same behavior they exhibit when attached to a Windows computer using an SPI mode card reader. If you copy a large file to them Windows will behave as if the card has been removed and reinserted multiple times, depending on other circumstances Windows will sometimes even 'brick' the cards.

          All other failures that we have seen have been fake uSD cards, these cards are nearly always identified by the uSD tester tool. They tend to have 'reused' serial numbers and/or high manufacturer IDs and/or blank OEM/Application IDs.

          Our only requirement is that the cards are formatted as FAT16, we recommend 64KB cluster sizes for best performance. This means that cards larger than 4GB must be partitioned to create a 4GB or less partition, so that FAT16 formatting is permitted. Curiously, SD association members are not permitted to ship cards with 4GB partitions formatted as FAT16. I suspect this is because not all applications support 64KB cluster sizes, but I am not aware of what they might be.

          Cards can be partitioned using our RMPET utility which is available from the utilities menu in Workshop.


          • walkabout
            walkabout commented
            Editing a comment
            Well... While I cannot speak for "early" version usD cards, but I'm fairly familiar with SPI protocol. In fact almost all SD or uSDs have SPI, though may integrate two modes which are either SPI or SD mode. So presence of SPI mode is not the issue, it is really the SPI bit sequence must be compatible with what the design engineers of the 4D display products implemented "based" on the usD selected. Indeed they could be slight variances between different manufacturers, because unfortunately there is no standard communication protocol for SPI.

            Indeed I understand 4D's predicament. How to ensure product reliability versus uncontrolled market forces spitting out knock-off memory cards? But increasing the price of a $139 display to now $159 to $164 is not entirely a win win business solution. 4D is punishing their customers by making a long overdue 2GB -> 4GB upgrade just so the display can be continued to be used. Wow!

            USB however is much more standardized. A 4GB USB flash drive costs the save as the equivalent uSD card. Though has a larger physical footprint (not really too much as tiny usb flash drives are avail), a lot of other problems may go away?

            After researching 4GB usD cards in all the top manufacturers shown here:
            It is clear that 4GB cards will go the way out (like 2GB) in 1 year. 4D systems needs a better long term solution for their displays, and one that is customer proactive and cost effective. Their cutting edge display technology is riding on the fringes of obsolete memory tech. A bit more forward thinking (that does not significantly increase implementation costs) would be appreciated...
            Last edited by walkabout; 24 December 2014, 08:55 AM. Reason: Add info...