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When is it safe to delete files from SD card?

KenG

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I use a quick file transfer on my A3 to download Files from the SD card in the drone to my mobile device. Is it safe to then delete the files from the SD card? I have several cards but I am here in Exuma taking a lot of video and filling up my cards quickly. Low resolution files, cache, raw, and all this other stuff is new and confusing to me. I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t want to lose files that may later need to make good video when I learn how to use editing software.
 
If you have a laptop or PC, I would transfer the files there before deleting them. Otherwise, all you'll have is low-resolution files.
 
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Time to think about bigger microSD cards especially BF and Holiday.
Bigger cards are only the answer if you don't mind risking losing (more of) your work in a single incident.
Anyone who values their work, doesn't send it flying again and again.
I use a quick file transfer on my A3 to download Files from the SD card in the drone to my mobile device. Is it safe to then delete the files from the SD card?
Yes, absolutely safe to format the card to wipe it clean after you've copied the files you need.
It sounds like you are saving too much to the SD card anyway.
Do you really need low-res, cache files ?
 
As @Meta4 stated bigger isn't the best idea if you value your work. Too many "things" happen in the field and you want to minimize the losses as best as you can. We lost $1,000 worth of unrepeatable work in 2016 when I had a Battery incident and the aircraft took a bath. I had used the same LARGE SD Card for 2 morning events and then decided to grab some B=Roll during a lunch break. During said lunch break, pilot error kicked in and I lost the aircraft AND everything on the SD card.

Now our SOP is to change the SD Card with every flight. This way, worse case we only lose the CURRENT data.

Once we move the DATA to a backed up system (laptop with redundant systems) and we CONFIRM (don't just trust CONFIRM) the DATA is valid we format the cards and replace the "If found" TXT file on the cards.
 
I use a quick file transfer on my A3 to download Files from the SD card in the drone to my mobile device. Is it safe to then delete the files from the SD card? I have several cards but I am here in Exuma taking a lot of video and filling up my cards quickly. Low resolution files, cache, raw, and all this other stuff is new and confusing to me. I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t want to lose files that may later need to make good video when I learn how to use editing software.
DJI recommends the Samsung 256gb card and for the money, it's one of the best cards on the market for drones. I agree with DJI and suggest you get a bigger card to handle your special concerns. It sounds like you already understand that you should copy off and frequently download your files to an external sounds to minimize the risk. Keep doing this and you will be fine. Getting a bigger card will help you when it comes time deciding (if I understand you correctly) if you want to reformat the card once you've already download your videos. And then your card starts to fill up even though you've already saved your work. A bigger card will help make sure you don't run out of room as quickly. Having separate cards will do that for you, too. Just don't fall for the idea that you can change your habits and save less often just because you have a bigger card....but I think you know that already. If you copy off data every 10gb, keep doing that. With the big card, you won't have to reformat for a month. And you will have at least 2 copies of your work. And on your vacation, you will probably only need that one card. Anyway, that's my advice on how to help in 2023.

 
Unless I want to edit something, or it's for a job, I copy the files from the SD every few days, organized them, update the DNGs (the out of the drone DNGs don't apply inbuild DNG lossless compression, so they are bigger than they should, it can be done with Lightroom for example) and use Free File Sync to backup the files to an external 2.5" HDD.

In general, to avoid file loss you need to have the files in at least two different places, for example the SD and an HDD, or when you delete the files from the SD, on two HDDs.

If you are on a travel, bring two portable SSDs and copy the files on them, don't use 2.5" HDDs on the go because they are quite fragile and they won't survive a fall to the ground from just 1 meter height, while an SSD will surely survive.

Then, when you arrive home from the travel, you can copy those SSDs to HDDs, which are way more safe to store data long term.

Data redundancy of two is usually enough, but you can mess the files during the copy and accidentally delate them, both the original and the copy, that's why data redundancy of 3 is the optimal, but I personally use two, which is already twice the cost of living on the edge, like 99.99% of the folks out there.

If you don't care about price per GB, you can pick a NAS, but I personally prefer to pick external 5GB 2.5" HDDs because you get more GB for the money and you can store them elsewhere after being copied, much like the CD/DVDs backups some years ago.

PD: I also recompress the video files with Media Encoder (keep the resolution, but lower the bitrate), because I just take them for curiosity/exploration purpose, so they are not as valuable as the pics to me.
 
I use a quick file transfer on my A3 to download Files from the SD card in the drone to my mobile device. Is it safe to then delete the files from the SD card? I have several cards but I am here in Exuma taking a lot of video and filling up my cards quickly. Low resolution files, cache, raw, and all this other stuff is new and confusing to me. I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t want to lose files that may later need to make good video when I learn how to use editing software.
SD cards are so inexpensive these days I'd recommend having several on hand which will prevent you from accidentally erasing that "one shot" before doing a final review of all your photos. IMHO
 
As @Meta4 stated bigger isn't the best idea if you value your work. Too many "things" happen in the field and you want to minimize the losses as best as you can. We lost $1,000 worth of unrepeatable work in 2016 when I had a Battery incident and the aircraft took a bath. I had used the same LARGE SD Card for 2 morning events and then decided to grab some B=Roll during a lunch break. During said lunch break, pilot error kicked in and I lost the aircraft AND everything on the SD card.

Now our SOP is to change the SD Card with every flight. This way, worse case we only lose the CURRENT data.

Once we move the DATA to a backed up system (laptop with redundant systems) and we CONFIRM (don't just trust CONFIRM) the DATA is valid we format the cards and replace the "If found" TXT file on the cards.
Do I really need to reformat the sd card after deleting the content - after it's been safely saved to laptop and google drive?
 
I never reformat the card Like I said I just delete the dcmi folder on the card and all is good
 
Do I really need to reformat the sd card after deleting the content - after it's been safely saved to laptop and google drive?


I'm Old School and I like to format my cards fairly regularly. Deleting works fine 99% of the time but a good Format can reset things much better.

Maybe not format every time (honestly I do more than I don't) but it's a good practice to utilize now and again at least IMHO.
 
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Do I really need to reformat the sd card after deleting the content - after it's been safely saved to laptop and google drive?
We frequently see posts from mac users whose problem is that they just delete, but that doesn't clear the space on their SD card and they get a message advising that their card is full.
Formatting is simple and quick.
It clears the whole card and ensures you always have a 100% empty card.
And there's no downside to doing it.
 
I use a quick file transfer on my A3 to download Files from the SD card in the drone to my mobile device. Is it safe to then delete the files from the SD card? I have several cards but I am here in Exuma taking a lot of video and filling up my cards quickly. Low resolution files, cache, raw, and all this other stuff is new and confusing to me. I still have a lot to learn, but I don’t want to lose files that may later need to make good video when I learn how to use editing software.
As a suggestion. Western Digital have a stand alone Hard Drive, own battery, SD slot, cables connection, WiFi etc. I carry several 128 and more SD Cards. I plug the days recording to this HDD and it automatically uploads a copy to the WD HD Drive. No computer required.

But if you go this way, then become fully familiar with how it works so as to ensure you don't lose files, thinking they are back up, but are not.

It is not difficult to use, but familiarity is key to guaranteed success. Good luck
 
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Best data management practice is to always have at least two copies of your files on two different media. So I don't delete anything from my SD cards until it's been uploaded to my computer and backed up to an offline drive.
 
So I have the perfect solution (in my opinion), and while this product seems to have been discontinued, I think it's well worth picking one up anyway, used, or new if you can find one.

It's the Western Digital MyPassport Wireless portable storage unit. Was sold for at least 5 years before being discontinued. Earlier models have a laptop-sized hard disk, later models SSD, also laptop size. Powered by a pair of internal 18650s.

I have one of each, the SSD version being 2TB. Here's a new one unopened on eBay.

my-passport-wireless-ssd-lower-side.png.wdthumb.1280.1280.webp


Features:
  • USB and SD card (full size) ports to transfer media in the field. Can be configured to automatically copy new files from an inserted card, organized automatically into folders by date. After I'm done flying, I stick the micro SD card in an SD adapter, pop it in this baby, and let it copy while I drive home (or have a beer 😁).
  • Can be used as a power bank in a pinch.
  • Built-in wifi. Can be configured as an Access Point creating a network on-site, or can access an existing network as a client.
  • Supports SAMBA Windows Network Share... can mount the drive over the network on your PC, etc. Internal storage, USB slot and SD card slot all accessible as different mount paths
  • Micro USB port for charging, mounting to PC as USB hard disk
  • Internal Plex streaming server... mostly worthless for streaming anything above SD (480p) resolution. Not a powerful CPU in this little guy, but makes total sense. This is a portable storage device, not a streaming video server.
  • Web server, nice comprehensive administrative interface, supports WebDAV
  • Fast USB hard disk. Can be used as working disk with media in post, no need to copy source to PC disk for production work... Just plug it in and fire up your favorite editor.
I love this device, it stays in my "man bag" (see The Tour by Mountainsmith) and goes with me everywhere, not just flying.
 
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