Data recovery from broken SD memory cards

SD memory cards (also MicroSD memory cards) always consist of 3 components:
  • Board (PCB) with contacts
  • Controller Chip
  • Nand-flash memory chip

Controller and memory chip are mounted on the board and electrically connected by them. The controller controls the data traffic with the connected devices via the contacts of the PCB. The board is made of plastic with copper conductor tracks. Controller and memory chip are silicon crystals with millions!! integrated electronic components. There are 2 construction versions, the separate encapsulation of controller and memory and the monolithic. In the monolithic version are controller and memory chip cast on the PCB in Duroplast, the components are no longer separable. Micro SD memory cards are always monolithic.

SD memory card
casing SD memory card
board with devices
PCB with electronic devices
PCB SD card - contact side
PCB contact side

SD card monolith
monolithic construction
SD card contact side monolith
monolith PCB contact side
(paint removed)
SD card monolith abraded
exposed crystals

Micro SD memory card
Micro SD memory card
Micro SD contact side
PCB micro SD card
(paint removed)
Micro SD abraded
exposed crystals

If the controller is defective and can no longer transport the data from the memory chip to the connected device, the data can still be saved. The memory chip is then read directly, bypassing the controller. In separately constructed cards, the memory chip is desoldered from the board. For monolithic cards, the data is read out of the memory chip via the data lines on the board. With these data recovery methods, the company Recoverfab works in Dresden.
If the crystal of the memory chip is broken, data recovery is impossible. Nobody is able to repair this defect. Crystals of Micro SD cards break most often because the crystal fills almost the entire surface of the memory card. Even if the card only looks slightly bent, the card is only held together by the board, the crystal is always broken.

SD card chip broken
memory chip broken
broken monolith card
monolith SD card broken
Micro SD card broken
broken micro SD card

If the fracture is broken, metallic glitter can be seen in the fracture surfaces, clear evidence of the breakage of the silicon crystal.

broken SD chip fracture
monolith SD card broken fracture
Micro SD broken fracture

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