OSMC - Pi(B)- SD Card Dies

I have OSMC on multiple Pi’s and I seem to be killing the SD cards.
I have been using it for a couple of years (Raspbmc first then OSMC)

So “Does setting the “zerocache” cause premature SD Card death?”

Thanks for all the support -
Jim Pope

what exactly do you mean with ‘killing’?

  • Can you access still the FAT partition (mmcblk0p1) on any Linux or Windows computer?
  • if yes, can you mount -ro or fchk.ext4 /dev/mmcblk0p2 on Linux?
  • if no to the above, can you reformat and reapply the OSMC/raspbian image to the same SDCard?

A bit background of my questions:
My Pi1 B rev2 also trashes the SDCard aprx. all 3 months, mostly because I cut the power because of deadlocks. SDCard is affected aprx. each 3rd power cut.
My Pi1 B+ only trashed the SDCard once - after the only power cut ever (after a deadlock after kodi update in july).
My Pi2 B never trashed the SDCard until now, even after ~10 power cuts
… in all cases, my SDCards have not been killed, but the ext4 filesystem was extremely corrupted. No worth the repair (automatic Kodi backup each week to a cifs share), so I reinstalled all.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s surely annoying. But at least there is nothing damaged.

Laser Man

By 'Killing" I mean that I go to use the Pi, and the screen is frozen, or blank.
and the Pi will not boot.

I have been using the “zerocache” option to move the buffering from memory to
the SD card, and I am wondering if I am writing the card to death,

I have not looked at the cards, I have been tossing them and buying a new one.

I do not know linux very well, so I do not move beyond step-by-step instructions provided
by others.

Jim Pope

So you didn’t try reimaging any of these cards with the OSMC installer to see if it was just corruption ?

Also what brand of cards were they ? There is a big variation in quality between a good card and a cheap no name one, so if you’re always using really cheap ones that is not going to help.

Generally using zero cache (which enables unlimited caching to disk instead of ram caching) is not recommended on an SD card but for performance reasons as much as anything else.

MLC cards, which is the normal type to all type of cards have about 3000 write/erase cycles in life.

MLC is not the issue, the issue is whether the card support wear levelling or not. A cheap card with no wear levelling will not take kindly to zero cache mode as everything you play (depending on the buffermode setting) will be buffered via SD card.

A card with wear levelling will not only last many times longer, it will perform much better as well. If you’re using the SD card for the OS install (eg not using a USB or NFS install) don’t skimp on the quality of the card.

I’ve got nearly 10 SD cards used on 3 different Pi’s and a vero, all are branded (samsung, sandisk or noobs) and I have yet to have a single failure of any of the cards, and that’s considering that some of them I do full OSMC kernel/Kodi builds on them, which is a lot more disk intensive than playing a movie via zero cache buffering.

I would stop using zero cache buffering and buy a decent quality card and I doubt you’d have any problems.

I am a raw beginner to the Linux world, and use OSMC to find shows to watch
using the wide variety of add-ons. I started using zero-caching a couple of years ago,
to try and eliminate buffering.

So I am going to bet that the software now has better playback without the concerns on buffering
and I will not turn on the zero-caching, and see how the system performs.

Thanks for the help and observations.

Jim Pope