The V3 cameras use 32GB FAT 32 Format, but many owners are using 64GB and some class 10 128GB micros sd cards instead. Does anyone (like tech support) know What happens if a 64GB card is used? will it become corrupted or crash memory in the cameras internal memory while processing and sorting??? There must be a REAL REASON why the cams are only certified for 32GB
I don’t represent Wyze, but I can help provide a little understanding on the differences.
Differences to understand upfront to not get confused by the rest of the explanation:
- SDHC and SDXC are capacity standards.
- FAT32 and exFAT are File Structure formats
- Class is the speed the SD card can write
What it mostly boils down to is the following:
- FAT32 is basically free to use at this point. It is an older file system and it has some limits (no individual files greater than 4GB), 8TB partition limits, and Windows will not allow you format anything larger than 32GB into this Format (because they want to promote NTFS and exFAT instead).
- There are licensing issues around exFAT, it belongs to Microsoft and while there are some opensource exFAT drivers, they aren’t in the mainstream for legal reasons.
- Nearly all cards 32GB or smaller are SDHC and so come with FAT32 formatting, while nearly all cards greater than 32GB are SDXC and so come with exFAT formatting (although technically FAT32 can work on cards up to several TeraBytes in size).
- Wyze tries to keep things as inexpensive as possible. If they switch to support exFAT/SDXC, they potentially could have some licensing issues with Microsoft…they may have to pay more money (read as CHARGE US MORE MONEY), or risk some legal issues if Microsoft decides Wyze finally looks like a tasty snack worth bullying. You can use exFAT pretty easily in Android because Microsoft and Google have a wide ranging set of patent and cross licensing deals (probably including FAT32 and exFAT), but Wyze doesn’t have much to offer in return except for a cut of the profits. I assume that’s why they are avoiding exFAT.
So, there are different formats and technologies to take into account with SD cards, and so some of them are incompatible with certain devices. When SD (Secure Digital) cards first came out the file formatting system set a limit at 2GB (Now called “Stadard” storage tech).
Then SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) came out and allowed storage to go up to 4GB - 32GB. Almost every device is now compatible with SDHC, so it works in basically everything, using FAT32 formatting (another reason why everyone thinks FAT32 is limited to 32GB). It appears that this tech is what Wyze wants to guarantee will work with their devices, as it works in basically EVERYTHING now without having to work out all the licensing issues. Also, as mentioned already, Windows won’t natively allow you to format anything greater than 32GB into FAT32, they will try to force you to use exFAT (and this is likely another reason why Wyze won’t commit to supporting cards greater than 32GB). The point is that almost all 32GB cards are SDHC technology and so use FAT32. Wyze officially supports SDHC, and so they say they are limited to 32GB.
The problem is that now most SD cards are made using technology called SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity), which uses exFAT file structure format that is licensed by Microsoft and SDXC cards support storage capacity between 64GB - 2TB. Not all devices are compatible with this tech yet, but in a way it is currently the only [legal?] way to use more than 32GB of external storage…well…that’s a little simplified…The point is that if an SD card supports more than 32GB of storage, it is SDXC technology, and so comes formatted in exFAT (which Wyze doesn’t support).
Every generation of SD tech is backward compatible, so any device that supports SDXC can support SDHC or Standard SD, but sometimes companies will set their own storage limits in their firmware (only allow 16GB but not 32GB, even though SDHC supports both)
Then you get into speed class (the number that says how many MB/sec it can run at, and why Wyze requires a Class 10 as is needed for HD videos.
So, if you have to use SDXC (and thus exFAT) to use anything higher than 32GB, how are larger cards running on FAT32, when it’s limit is supposed to 32GB? Some programs will bypass the format limitation Microsoft tried to force onto FAT32 (which they did to promote NTFS and exFAT use instead). But people (3rd parties) bypass this “convenience” limitation (you can actually do it natively in windows with a command line execution, but that’s too complicated or confusing for most people). FAT32 will actually work fine with partitions as big as like 16TB. I think FAT32 is free simply because it was first introduced way back in 1996. So it seems like while the SDXC cards come standard with exFAT on them, converting them to FAT32 still works, and FAT32 will theoretically support storage as high as 16TB…although SDXC can only get up to 2TB.
I guess the point is that one needs to not confuse the capacity standard (SDHC/SDXC) and the File structure format (FAT32/exFAT) even though they usually go hand in hand. The problem is that Wyze only officially supports “SDHC” which means FAT32 format and a limit of 32GB cards…but the cameras are working with SDXC cards that are formatted into FAT32 (which the firmware is set up to use properly). In theory, we might be able to have SD cards as large as 2TB in there on FAT32 format and run just fine. Wyze can’t promise any of this though because the hardware components and testing were all structured for SDHC (and thus 32GB limits running FAT32 structure). Obviously, there was no firmware limitation code restricting them to only allow 32GB…they only care that it is running FAT32.
I hope that wasn’t too confusing, and might give you an idea of why it’s working with larger cards, why Wyze (and many other companies) won’t officially support larger ones, etc.
Honestly, my V2’s (and my pan cam) work fine with SDXC exFAT 128GB cards, but to use any SDXC cards on the V3 or Outdoor Cam, I have to format them to FAT32 (they either refused to work with exFAT, or would go in and out and had tons of problems). I used this program to bypass Windows’ 32GB FAT32 limit :
After using that, the cards worked perfectly fine in the V3 and Outdoor cam.
Even though my V2’s and Pan Cam have worked [MOSTLY] okay with exFAT (I actually have had a few problems using exFAT with the Pan Cam…a few times it has freaked out about it and made me reformat the card to get it to work normal again), I would still highly suggest formatting all their cards to FAT32 as well so it works much more smoothly.
Wow, thank you so much for the very detailed explanation, This clarifies everything about why some cards work and others do not!
It is SO CLEAR that Wyze and other manufacturers should place a note like this in their Technical Support Forums. It is not only brain candy for techies like me, but would be of GREAT HELP to others in understanding why some cards dont work, which ones to buy, and how to correct problems by reformatting them in FAT32. this would save Wyze a lot of time handling Tech Calls with customers who accidentally bought the wrong class of card, which was reformatted in exFAT.
Thank you so much for the time taken for preparing this article.
Nice write-up! We are all a smidge more smrter now!
Thanks guys, it’s always good to hear when such efforts are appreciated and helpful. Particularly thanks @Usa1000 for a very insightful question that I actually enjoyed answering/explaining and will probably bookmark to be able to refer others to in the future since this topic is commonly misunderstood or frustrating to lots of people. I agree with you that a modified version of this post (made slightly more professionally worded) would make a great FAQ or something. For now, I think I’ll just bookmark it so I don’t have to retype all of that again in the future for all the tons of people who keep having the same questions and want to understand it.
I am sure there are also others in the forum who could add some great insight and points I missed, though this should give a decent foundation for those interested.
Great post. Enjoyed a bit of education. I took my 3 new Sandisk 64s and formatted in my old V2, BINGO, works in my new V3s, thanks to the suggestion from others … and now I know why
Yep. I put a brand a new 64GB Sandisk card in my brand new V3 cam, but the cam acted as if there was no card inserted.
I removed the card, put it in the adapter provided with the card, and put that in my laptop.
I tried to format it FAT32 with Windows, but it would not offer the FAT32 format, due to: the card is over 32GB.
So, I used https://www.diskpart.com/free-partition-manager.html ( AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard ) to format the card with FAT32. I left the cluster size at default.
Then I put the card back in the camera, and in a few seconds, I heard the chime, indicating the card was ready.
I haven’t tested playback yet, but the camera reports the proper card size, and recording turned on by itself.