Librem5 faulty SD card reader

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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If it is deliberately made difficult to remove and replace it then I guess the point would be … extending the total (local) storage. It also allows you to leave storage behind if you anticipate being in a situation where the device might have to be surrendered for examination e.g. crossing an international border.

Question is if inserted microSD card recognized at all (on Librem 5 terminal app), therefore:
sudo fdisk --list

This might serve the purpose (be taken as starting point, only if no data on this microSD card):
sudo dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sd[x] bs=32M count=2


Few perhaps/hopefully related posts you’ll find here: Talking about Librem 5 in French language .

fdisk does not list it nor can you read or right to it… (I remembered it as sda1 but you can’t even fdisk /dev/sda to look at partitions)

I tried translating that to see what they were saying but never got far

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This is good sign, therefore please repeat inserting procedure again, few times if needed (Librem 5 battery out, check with side look if microSD card horizontally leveled within its slot, insert it back …).

You should see this lsusb output there:

No need to translate anything, just check post #96 (erase and format microSD card externally again).

Dimension (W×H×D): 15 x 11 x 1 (mm)” … we actually do not know if there less than 1 mm of inserted microSD card depth so adding one layer of electrical tape underneath of this microSD card might be worth of trying there:

Adding some safe tape just under 0.7mm flat surface (trying to get 0.72mm, up to max. of 0.75mm):


Good suggestion! I wondered about putting a tiny smear of contact cement on the µSD (the surface against the tray) but decided I had better not. As previously noted, the tray holds the SIM pretty securely but not the µSD.

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Thanks for improving my English! And yes, it doesn’t need to be shellac, or small amount of adequate lacquer (like nail polish), yet if indeed needed to get electrical contacts of some microSD card to communicate there, I’d probably go with double component epoxy resin and hardener glue (let it dry hard first on 0.7 mm surface, opposite one to the contact surface).

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Voyant que vous me remerciez au sujet de l’usage anglais, je me permets de dire que c’est difficile à comprendre en contexte la phrase citée ci-dessus. Je pense que vous voulez dire que l’on peut également appliquer de la gomme-laque etc. En anglais, on pourrait comprendre plus facilement:

“… you could use shellac instead, …”


FWIW I’m in contact with Purism support about this issue on my phone and they warned me not to put shellac/epoxy/anything in the SD card tray. I took the phone apart to inspect/test the contacts inside the SD card reader and there doesn’t seem to be anything mechanically or electrically wrong with them. They stick out far enough that any card in the tray is going to make contact with them.

Has anyone had success in fixing this without having to RMA the phone?

Finally it’s getting serious here, as my only real concern was (although I never wrote anything about) and still exists: “Besides being smaller a nano-SIM is also thinner than the mini-SIM and micro-SIM cards. It is 0.09mm thinner than mini and micro SIM.” Now, let me admit that I’m actually unsure if my 4FF card indeed up to max. of 0.67 mm thickness, nothing else (please follow: not properly inserted nano SIM card will increase standard thickness of 0.67 mm and have great potential to damage micro SD card contacts, not the other way around).

Within same link as above: “You must note that a nano SIM card is a little bit thinner (0.09mm thinner) than the standard and micro SIM card so if you are reducing your SIM card to nano SIM card and if it is not fitting in you Smartphone tray properly then you can reduce its thickness by sanding out its bottom slightly using a sand paper or a file.