Compact Flash(CF) or CFast Card Back Up and Health Checking

Thought I would share my findings based on recent situation to hopefully provide some helpful information. Hopefully this further augments Connor’s post Retrieving a Log Book off of a Compact Flash or CFast , should you run into any hurdles.

When encountering challenges with removable flash memory on a PLC such as being unable to boot a PLC or use Runtime Utility Center (RUC) to backup log files from a card directly. Here’s some options I found useful in troubleshooting:

  1. Basic Health Check using chkdsk:
    If the inability to back up files due to corruption is an issue, initiate a basic investigation using the chkdsk utility. This provides fundamental insights into the health of the Compact Flash (CF) or CFast card.

  2. Manufacturer’s Lifetime Management Tool (LTM):
    For a comprehensive analysis of your card’s health, use the respective manufacturer’s Lifetime Management Tool (LTM). If you’re working with a SwissBit card, the Swissbit Device Manager or older Swissbit LTM (SBLTMs) offer access to S.M.A.R.T characteristics for a more specific diagnosis.

    Previous versions and documentation can be found here: Swissbit Life Time (3.9 MB)
    But the latest SwissBit Device manager is available for free through their site with a login (verification can take 24 hours).

    Check Tool Compatibility:
    Ensure smooth integration by confirming compatibility between your flash memory card and the diagnostic tool. Consult the manufacturer’s documentation to verify supported card models.

    Decoding Model Numbers:
    For example decode your Swissbit card’s model number using the provided PDF documentation. This step can provide information about the card series – and whether it is capable of reporting health data in a manufacturers tool.
    Swissbit_Partnumber_Decoder_2019.pdf (513.5 KB)

  3. Flash Memory Disk Copying App/Tool:
    If the card doesn’t appear or is incompatible with the manufacturer’s tool, consider using a flash memory disk copying application or tool like HDClone. These tools can rescue the image from the disk for analysis or transfer it to another known healthy card, assisting in isolating the issue.

If it is found that the card is too corrupted to copy or rescue, it may be necessary clean the disk to render it useful again - at this point you will be losing any data from the card so it is a last resort.
1. Run diskpart via command prompt
2. Select desired disk *** very important to be careful in selecting the correct disk *** - don’t want to wipe your PC’s drive.
3. Clean All on the selected disk
4. Create and format a new partition for AS to recognize.
**Again this would be a last resort and requires carefullness

Hope this lends a hand, and if any colleagues would like to add advice or amend please don’t hesitate!