Librem5 faulty SD card reader

a few month back my SD card reader in the librem 5 would not read anything… and after several attempts and flashing the phone I bout a new sdcard and it finally started working again so I never messed with it today I had to swap sim cards to go to a new cell carrier… and it at first read no sim card but after several attempts finally saw the sim card but now it can’t read the sdcard (which reads / fsck’s fine on another computer) …
what I see in dmesg does not seem good…

[ 49.729375] [drm] Connector status: 0
[ 49.950190] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 UNKNOWN(0x2003) Result: hostbyte=0x00 driverbyte=DRIVER_OK cmd_age=5s
[ 49.950223] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 Sense Key : 0x3 [current]
[ 49.950233] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 ASC=0x11 ASCQ=0x0
[ 49.950245] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 CDB: opcode=0x28 28 00 3b af ff 80 00 00 08 00
[ 49.950253] critical medium error, dev sda, sector 1001389952 op 0x0:(READ) flags 0x80700 phys_seg 1 prio class 2
[ 55.547403] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 UNKNOWN(0x2003) Result: hostbyte=0x00 driverbyte=DRIVER_OK cmd_age=5s
[ 55.547434] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 Sense Key : 0x3 [current]
[ 55.547444] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 ASC=0x11 ASCQ=0x0
[ 55.547456] sd 0:0:0:0: [sda] tag#0 CDB: opcode=0x28 28 00 3b af ff 80 00 00 08 00
[ 55.547465] critical medium error, dev sda, sector 1001389952 op 0x0:(READ) flags 0x0 phys_seg 1 prio class 2
[ 55.557423] Buffer I/O error on dev sda, logical block 125173744, async page read

this being the second sdcard I bought for the phone (this being a Samsung EVO Plus Class 10 Micro SDXC with Adapter, 512GB and the previous simular) and that it tests fine outside the phone … it seems like the phones fault but last time it suddenly started working again…


Looks like it is failing to read right near the very end of the disk. (Looks like your 512 GB uSD card is ever so slightly bigger than mine.)

Also, have you formatted the uSD card yourself and if so what
a) partition table type
b) file system type(s)

and how many partitions?

(Best case simple answers are: dos partition table, one partition, containing ext4 file system.)

As it works in another computer, please post the output of

sudo fdisk -l /dev/whichever

on that other computer.

You may wish to censor any unique identifiers from that output.

You powered off before doing that, right?

ext3 has been around a long time so I make one primary partition and make the ext3 with a nice label that for removable media…

purism@librem5:~$ sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda
[sudo] password for purism:
fdisk: cannot open /dev/sda: No medium found

I always shutdown phone completely and pull power sources (even battery) before inserting / removing cards
keep in mind… card works fine / tests fine fsck’s fine plugged into another device

oh yes… and two sd gards… on 32 gb and one 512 both doing the same (only work on other devices)

… on the other computer where it works.

Yes, I understand that I am asking you to shutdown and remove the card again.

Also, bear in mind that when you format as ext4, it does it asynchronously in the background (lazy init) and on a slow card like a uSD card, that could take an eternity - so it hasn’t finished when you think it has. I don’t know whether ext3 does the same (and to be honest I don’t know whether it even does this with removable disks).

Tested with f3write / f3read ? (On a 512 GB card that will take a very long time e.g. several hours.)

OK, that adds to the puzzle. Can we see dmesg output and fdisk output for that card?

PS If you have enough gadgets, you can also put a uSD card in a USB card reader gadget and plug it in to the bottom of the phone (with a USB-C to USB-A adapter if needed). That will confirm once and for all that the Librem 5 is happy with the card itself and with the contents of the card.

I will find one and plug it in now…
I already reflashed the phone in case I had something weird in the software…
the thing is… this happend before, and then started working again

I could not find my normal sdcard adapter… but I remembered this dock I hardly used due to heat issues has a sdcard slot (never used before) … and yes the phone can see fsck and mount it fine from there.

so after I fsck’d and mounted it fine via the dock I shut all back down and tried again via normal sdcard slot… nothing…

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Or via a dock, yes.

The only other thing that I wonder about is seating of the uSD card in the tray. It is kind of fiddly getting the tray in and out while ensuring that neither the SIM card nor the uSD card moves. I guess you’ve done it plenty of times now though.

Otherwise I think you are contacting Purism Support. I would stick with the 32 GB card, as that is less demanding, and provide to them the requested info.

neither seem to mount… but I did do a test where you run the “jumpdrive” over usb which at first it complained about not being able to use the sdcard… but after a new blank partition table on the 32 gb sdcard it could at least talk to the slot enough to get the phone into the telnet-able state (so the reader might not be completely failed).

I had this same issue, but mine was from not powering down properly during early ownership, then inserting the SD card.
I was going to purchase a new motherboard, but I decided I don’t use the SD card enough to bother with such measures.

not sure this will help but format ext4 version 1.0 is what i am using with luks encryption.

also there is a SD card formatting tool somewhere online since you want to nuke the partitions and tables that sometimes come with the factory SD, i dont think the usual disks tool is sufficient for sdcards to really wipe them clean and start over and only use one partition for testing purposes. Maybe the L5 is more picky- also 512GB maybe too much, try the 32GB first.

A 512 GB uSD card works fine in the Librem 5 - however not all 512 GB cards are exactly the same size. In theory, the SDXC standard goes up to 2 TB but I don’t feel like shelling out enough cash for a card as big as that. 1 TB seems to be about the largest non-counterfeit card that you can get at the moment anyway.

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I take it back it supports 2TB tops. Though with the USB2 connection to micro SD it may take a week to download all the data.

You take the card out, download the data to the card in a bigger computer, and then put the card back. At least that’s what I did. It will still take a long time.

If you are seeing the same as: Librem 5 SD card reader not working you may have to rma the phone.

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Interestingly, if the SIM is correctly inserted you can turn the tray upside down and the card won’t fall out. The same is not true for the µSD card.

Also, the OP mentions that
“this happend before, and then started working again”
which strongly points to shaky electrical contact, whether that be a hardware problem or a usage problem.

Well I think some people in this forum have complained about having a tray at all. It could have been like the OpenPGP card i.e. remove back cover, remove battery, gives access to a bank of three card slots - SIM, uSD, OpenPGP. That would mostly stop people frying their SIM card too i.e. by removing it while power is applied. But who knows what different problems a different design would cause.

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I suggest that a usage issue is quite unlikely … I am a sysadmin so I am extremely careful with all removable media , so I methodically shutdown/ remove the power and battery before moving the tray every time… when it started working again in the past I made sure to not open the drawer / breathe on it (LOL) out of concern that some connection inside there is flaky


I am certainly not in favor of having a fiddly tray on a device that is apparently marketed to consumers as well as techies. Particularly so when the fiddly procedure has somehow to be combined with carefully avoiding the power button on the other side of the device out of sight.

I would go further than you and wonder why the data card can not be made hot-swappable, as on the Maemo devices of 2004-2009. What is the point of removable storage if you can’t in fact easily remove and replace it? (while keeping the SIM safely behind the battery, as you suggest). However, I have no idea of the engineering implications. I merely commented on the device as it is, not as I might wish it to be.

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