Replacing the Raspberry Pi's SD Card Socket

Not so long ago I dropped my Raspberry Pi. It fell on the SD card, which resulted in breaking the slot. After a long search on the internet it was clear that a lot of people had the exact same problem, but all of them solved it by gluing the slot back together in some way or another. Because this solution was not satisfactory for me, I replaced my slot with a new one. In this article I will describe how to do that.

Choosing an appropriate replacement slot

First we need to know how the SD Card slot of the Raspberry Pi is built up. This is shown in the figure below. (Sorry it is hand drawn and everything, but I really didn't have the time to make proper figures on the computer)


As you can see it is a 13-pin slot, using 2 pins for both for the "Write Protect" and "Card Detect". This is a problem, as most of the available slots we can find at electronic parts vendors have either 9 pins (no "Card Detect" and "Write Protect") or 11 pins, using just one pin for each function.

I chose to use a 11-pin slot that I found on ebay. Most of the 11 pin slots have a similar layout. It's very cheap and shown in the picture below.

The layout of the slot is given in the picture below:

Because of the bad positioning of the "Write Protect" and "Card Detect" pins, we will not be able to attatch these pins correctly to the Raspberry Pi. We can solder the "Card Detect" pins on the pi together, so they make a short circuit and the Pi will work. I don't think this is a big problem. And correct me if I'm wrong, but I might have read somewhere that the "Wire Protect" is not even used.

Desoldering the remainders of the old slot & soldering the new slot in place

First get rid of the old slot by desoldering all the broken parts!

Then just solder on the new slot and leave the pins "Card Detect" and "Write Protect" from the SD connector floating (or cut them off if you want to be safe). The other pins should nicely align with the solder pads on the Raspberry Pi. Use the figures (poorly drawn sketches) above for reference and proper alignment. Make sure to short circuit the "Card Detect" solder pads on the Raspberry Pi. For mechanical strength, I added a wire as tightly as possible to the slot and the solder pads of the Raspberry Pi. It is shown in the picture below. I strongly recommend doing this, as it will increase the lifetime of the slot A LOT.


Enjoying the enhanced Pi

Now you should be done. When you plug in your SD Card and power on the Pi, everything should work as it did before. Enjoy your frankenberry pi!


It even still fits in a pibow!

Comments

Neat job - and you got your Pi back! You might have a problem if you want to put it in a case, though. I did the same job (http://exartemarte.site40.net/?p=4), using a half-size cardholder which fits within the Pi envelope, and a Dremel to cut through the contacts before unsoldering so as to minimise the risk to the board.

Half-size card holders with the same pinout as yours are also available on eBay: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/221122087175?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=...

Thanks! I didn't think of using a half-sized SD slot. It still fits inside the standard cases though. I added a picture of mine in a PiBow for those who are concerned!

Hey, thanks - just what I was looking for!

Honestly, I think a larger case would be good to better protect the memory card, particularly for dedicated applications (where you don't need to remove the card often...) maybe two inches longer to accommodate the SD card and a WiFi USB. I think I'll make one!

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