info-beamer

Deploying replacement Micro SD cards / lifespan

We have some devices with suspected sd card issues, we can create customised packages and configure the wifi details and send out the replacement sd cards, but we would also like to be able to identify what device the replacement sd cards are placed into, as when the devices were initially installed we gave them names/locations to be able to identify them easily.

I’m just confirming that checking the “Automatically add device to your account” will actually allow the device to keep the same location information, as the docs refer to adding a ‘Connect Key’, or do we also need to add this key to the config directory?

I’m also curious to know if there has been a real world test of a pi running info-beamer continually to test the lifespan of sd cards.

We have had devices operating continuously for approx 8 months and they still operate without any issues, does anyone else have examples of devices operating for long periods of time, and does anyone have any preferred sd cards?

I guess the wear on an sd card would depend on a number of factors, but is it worth spending more on larger capacity/higher quality sd cards to reduce the wear effect?

I have also read that SanDisk Extreme Micro SD cards have wear levelling built-in, although there’s a long thread about micro sd cards here https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=142626 which suggests it’s only the Sandisk Industrial cards that have wear levelling?

This switch will add the connect key file to the downloaded install.zip file. So you don’t have to add it manually.

Not that I’m aware of. There are customers with devices running continuously for more than 5 years now. They still use the Pi1B :slight_smile:

I have this slightly outdated and now updated statistic which aggregated information like WiFi/Ethernet usage and Pi revisions. It also created a list of used SD card manufacturers:

Statistics from May 2019:

% SD Manf
50% SanDisk
13% Kingston
10% Phison (AgfaPhoto, Delkin, Integral, Lexar, Patriot, PNY, Polaroid, Sony, Verbatim)
8% 0x000074
7% Toshiba
4% 0x00009f
4% Samsung

Statistics from January 2020:

% SD Manf
53% SanDisk
10% Toshiba
10% Kingston
8% Phison (AgfaPhoto, Delkin, Integral, Lexar, Patriot, PNY, Polaroid, Sony, Verbatim)
6% 0x000074
5% Samsung
4% 0x00009f

Good question. I suppose that might help, although wear in normal usage scenarios should really be minimal to begin with: Usually the only data written is the one you assign to a device. Other temporary files created while the device runs is usually kept in RAM only and is never written. Here’s the stats of some random device showing images/videos:

  1. read: 211905335296
  2. total_writes: 3294
  3. write: 158450688

This data can be queried with the sensor API call: The write value is the number of bytes written within the ~30 days of device uptime. It’s only slightly larger than the number of bytes received over the network (157MB), so it’s basically only newly assigned data that’s getting written. Realistically SD card wear shouldn’t be a problem at all.

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Thanks for your reply, very in depth :slight_smile: it’s good to know that some people have had 5 years of life out of an sd card.

As with anything, there will always be a service life associated with any equipment, and for signage solutions using full PC’s there’s more to go wrong, and chances are a display screen is likely to have failed before the sd card wears out.

Interesting stats too, I know that we use sandisk cards.

Thinking about this: Right now info-beamer doesn’t have any real statistics on device failure rates. I’m aware of some Pi3B+ hardware issues and very rarely there’s a support issue that can be traced back to an SD card problem. I guess it might be useful to offer a way to easier provide more structured feedback. I guess adding a drop down menu with choices like “SD card dead”, “Pi stolen”, “Test device no longer needed” or similar to the Delete device button would be useful.

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Yes, that would be a useful option, and adds the ability to create some reporting from.

As I said, the alternative solutions for digital signage that involve full PC’s with Windows, Teamviewer and a playback client or other similar setups just seem so over complicated ( with much higher hardware costs ) that even with the odd failure of a Pi or SD card it’s still a much more reliable option.

The device deletion feedback dropdown has been added.

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