How to Verify Fake Micro SD Cards

Q&A of functional explanation or specification parameters
Updated 12-02-2019 06:31:36 AM
This Article Applies to: 

Note: The micro SD card is not included with the purchase of the camera. You need to purchase one yourself.


A security camera that works with a standalone micro SD card is primarily designed to store motion-activated recordings or short video clips of movements with local storage, which offers a cost-effective alternative to the subscription-based cloud storage. However, users may run into issues like the camera is unable to overwrite recordings, the SD card becomes full and stops recording or the SD card cannot be formatted by the camera App, etc. This kind of problem might be caused by the fake SD card.


Micro SD Card

An SD Card is a small electronic storage medium used by a plethora of storage devices including smartphones, games devices, camcorders, and cameras. Most of the smartphones and security cameras are using the micro SD card.


TP-Link camera supports a micro SD card with up to 128GB capacity, which should be formatted in FAT32. If the remaining space of an SD card is less than 500MB or 5% of the total capacity before the first insertion of the camera, it would be impossible to record. There are different speed specifications for micro SD cards and it is recommended to use a card with Class 10 or UHS 1 speed rating, which requires a minimum writing speed of 10MB/s.

Note: For Tapo cameras, it is required to format the SD card on the Tapo Camera APP for local recording. 



Comparison of SD card Speed Class ratings


Types of Fake SD cards

When it comes to counterfeit memory cards, you will find some different types of them like listed below:


1.    Reduced Read / Write Speed: You buy an SD card that shows something like “maximum 95 MB/s read and 90 MB/s write speed” and a “V30” label that is supposed to guarantee a minimum writing speed of 30 MB/s. But when copying a file using a fast SD card reader, you might not even get more than 5-10 MB/s.

2.    Reduced Capacity: The SD card might report a large capacity when inserted in your computer, camera or storage device, while it contains only a very small part of the overall capacity. This happens because the microchip (a tiny part of the SD card that is responsible for reporting the total amount of storage available) within the card has been reprogrammed to report a different size to the host. Counterfeit SD cards with reduced capacities should be avoided the most because they will most certainly result in data loss.

3.    Fake Brand: Some SD cards have big brand labels attached to them and sold at a premium price when in reality they are made from cheap parts by some unknown manufacturer. Such products are often more difficult to identify and might require a call to the manufacturer to verify the serial number. You can also read the reviews posted by verified buyers on Amazon or other online stores.

4.    Unrealistic Capacity: There are memory cards that advertise completely unrealistic storage sizes. For example, if you search online for micro SD cards, you may find cards with capacities as large as 2TB, however, such capacities do not yet exist.

5.    Bogus / Non-Working: Some SD cards are sold at incredibly low prices by unknown sellers and may just don’t work.


Fake SD Card Issues

As you can see from the earlier section, the issues can range from getting very slow speeds to data loss and unusable SD cards. The problem with fake SD cards with reduced capacity is that when users go over a certain capacity, all data from that point on will be corrupted. Everything appears to be working great at first, but troubles may show up in later usage.


How to Identify a Fake SD Card

If you have already purchased an SD card, there are a few things you can inspect and basic tests you can run to identify a fake SD card.


1.    Inspect Product Packaging: Make sure the package contains necessary information about the product such as its specifications and card speed, as well as all the appropriate labels, warranty info, and a proper UPC. Users may also verify with SD card manufacturer directly.

2.    Test the SD card with third-party software: For example, install the H2testw on your Windows computer (you can also run a similar tool called “F3” on Mac OS, and an app called SD Insight on Android device) and run the test, it will show you the real capacity of your SD card.


If the SD card you are using is fake, it will report errors and show how much actual data was written and read from the card.


Memory Card Buying Tips

Let’s sum up the article with the below memory card buying tips:


·            Always make sure to buy from an authorized seller.

·           Be careful about cheap SD cards. Often if the price seems too good to be true, it usually is.

·           Always inspect and test each card to make sure that it is genuine.

·           Do not buy used or refurbished SD cards.

·           Replace SD cards once every few years to reduce potential failure.

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