Industrial microSD Ideal Choice for Miniature Embedded Designs

Limited physical space on some embedded OEM designs creates the need for an equally small flash storage card. The Industrial microSD card at 11mm x 15mm x 1mm is capable of meeting many of these constrained space designs requirements.

The microSD card was originally designed by SanDisk to meet the needs of SMART phone and other small consumer electronics devices which could not use the larger SD and miniSD form factors. It was initially called T-Flash and Trans-Flash prior to being adopted by the SD Association and named microSD.

Over the years, as memory technology has advanced, most of the microSD cards in the market are made using the lowest cost NAND memory to meet specific price points. A consumer microSD is nowhere near reliable enough to run an operating system since making the lowest cost NAND requires compromising reliability for bit density.

Industrial microSD

For industrial embedded OEM designs, there is an alternative. SLC microSD cards based on SLC NAND memory have the high level of endurance to run an operating system and high data transaction applications in the same small package.

At >2 Million endurance (erase/write) cycles per logical block, industrial microSD are capable of meeting industrial demands in a low mass device which itself has great shock & vibration characteristics.

Be particularly aware the standard temperature spec for all SD, miniSD and microSD cards is -25C to 85C, so even consumer cards are rated at this temperature. We’ve seen several OEMs mistake this wider temp range to signify this represents an Industrial Grade part. Only later when they were experiencing failures due to exhausted endurance cycles did they investigate and realize the improper version was chosen for the job.

Why Industrial Grade?

Integrating an Industrial microSD into an Embedded OEM Design

The large volume of microSD cards used in consumer applications have an advantage for industrial devices as well. Multiple connectors available at low cost can be acquired. There are many different microSD connector designs including simple connectors with just contacts all the way up to locking hinge connectors where the microSD is locked into place and cannot fall-out.

There are many items to consider when you make your design decisions on memory type, form factor and method to connect to the system. If you would like assistance with your OEM design, Cactus would be honored to help.Please contact us.

Steve Larrivee has over 30 year's experience in the data storage market, including 5 years at Seagate Technology and 10 years at SanDisk. He joined Cactus Technologies Limited as an equity partner and Co-Founded Cactus USA in 2007 with partner Tom Aguillon. Learn more about Steve on LinkedIn.