Damage to pins of a Compact Flash memory card
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Compact Flash (CF) memory cards are one of the oldest memory card formats available introduced in 1994 by SandiskTM and are based on the PCMCIA-ATA architecture. Compact Flash memory cards feature 50 small holes that connect with contact pins in a camera or card reader.  These contacts are both for communication and the card’s power supply. Memory cards produced after the cameras release date may still be compatible with the camera, we would recommend checking the card manufacturers website to confirm this before purchase.  

Sometimes these pins can become damaged causing various problems, the worst of which is a short circuit which can cause serious damage to the camera. The camera will display a CHA message on the top LCD panel of the display or may appear completely dead. You can try formatting the memory card to clear the error message or insert a different memory card to confirm if the issue is specific to one memory card. If the error message is only produced by one memory card we would recommend contacting the memory card manufacturer. If the error remains on the camera or the display is dead we would recommend returning the camera to your nearest Nikon repair centre.


 Damaged contact pin in a camera

The cause of  the damage to the pins of a camera or holes of a CF card can vary.  Nikon cameras are protected against inserting CF cards the wrong way. Inserting a CF card back to front is prevented by guide rails in different widths. This protection mechanism however can be overcome using force. Also CF cards might accidentally be inserted into the memory card slot by being turned 90 degrees (with a narrow side first).  Always follow the instruction for inserting the CF card in your camera’s user manual.

Another common problem can be the repeated use of a damaged card. If a CF cards holes become damaged, this can in turn damage the cameras pins, which may damage other cards if inserted into the camera and so on.  It is therefore recommended to check your CF memory cards and cameras contacts  regularly to spot any possible damage. It is recommended to stop using any CF memory cards where the holes appear to be damaged, to prevent any damage occurring to the camera.

 Damaged contact holes on a Compact flash memory card

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Article No : 21448 Date published 24/07/2011
Date last updated 29/10/2014
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