Standard USB flash drives and secure digital cards contain a printed circuit board with components and chips joined by tracks on the circuit board. Although these components and tracks are small they’re visible and can be removed and swapped in order to repair a damaged device.
Monolithic devices have all of their component parts built onto one integrated circuit board and then encased in a protective material. There’s nothing for us to repair to get your device working again.
Is your device a monolith device.
It’s not always easy to tell if your device is a standard or monolith without opening the case, however there are few signs which will give you an idea.
- Physically small usb drives like the Sandisk Ultra Fit and PNY Mini.
- Thin drives like Transend Jetflash 710 or Kingston Datatraver SE9.
- A retaining bar on the bottom of the USB connector.
- All micro SD cards.
We recover monolith devices.
It’s possible to recover data but it requires extensive time under the microscope.. We must remove the protective coating and piggyback the connections by soldering a dozen or more very thin wires onto very small contact pads directly on the device. We can then use these connections to extract the raw data from the chips and rebuild your files using professional data recovery software.
Extracting data this way takes considerable time and skill, the photograph opposite shows a monolith prepared for data extraction with a grain of rice for scale. Even once soldered transfer of the data from a monolith may take over a day depending on the drive capacity.
Unfortunately there are no standards for these connections, each manufacturer has a different layout between device types and even versions of the same device. Unless we have the connections already in our databases the only way to determine the layout is via a logic analyser. The increases in labour and equipment costs to do this means it’s normally not financially viable.