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Need help for a recovery project

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by bounce, Apr 16, 2014.

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  1. bounce


    Apr 16, 2014
    I have a broken casio ex-s2 digital camera with photos I would like to retrieve from the internal 16m flash memory. I downloaded the repair manual with full schematics and have disassembled the camera. Is there any way I can remove the flash memory and access the files using a multicard reader or something like that? I know next to nothing about electronics and these pictures are very important to me, so any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  2. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

    Nov 28, 2011
    Hi there, and welcome to Electronics Point :)

    Wow! That's likely to be very difficult, unless you can find someone who has done it before and is familiar with that model, or at least that brand.

    I have no experience with digital camera data storage, so the following are guesses based on general techniques used in portable devices with Flash-based data storage.

    The Flash memory probably contains the camera's firmware, as well as the pictures. So even if you could read it, there will be a lot of data in there that isn't pictures. You can probably recognise the start of a picture by the "JFIF" text (assuming they're stored in JPEG format) but the pictures may not be stored in contiguous blocks.

    Most likely, the camera firmware will treat a section of the Flash ROM like a hard disk - an array of blocks of storage - and it will use some kind of file system to administer the allocation and usage of those blocks. Like a hard disk, it would become fragmented over time, and different parts of the same file (image) could be spread around the "disk", making it impractical to find them all and join them together unless you can interpret the control data for the file system.

    If you're lucky, the image storage in the Flash ROM will be formatted using a standard file system such as FAT32. FAT32 is widely used with portable storage - Flash drives, for example. Actually it could even be FAT-16 if the Flash ROM is only 16 megabytes. Are you sure it isn't 16 gigabytes?

    Your best option might be to find another camera of the same model, and get the Flash ROM transferred from your camera to the new one. I assume it's surface-mounted onto the board? It's not easy to remove surface-mounted ICs without damaging them, especially ones with lots of pins at fine pitch. I would expect that to work, but as I said, I have no experience with digital cameras specifically.

    You might want to look for some local data recovery experts. Some of them might have experience with digital cameras.

    Can you provide a link to the service manual? That might have some info that would help me estimate how feasible the data recovery would be, and how to go about it. Possibly.
  3. Thedarkb123


    Apr 15, 2014
    i messed around with a couple of cameras (usually for their flybacks and caps) when I was around 7. Looking at some of the motherboards I kept they seem to have the same ICs as are in compact flash carts. You might be able to wire the ic directly to a card reader that's connected to your pc.
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