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How do flash drives never loose their data after staying uncharged for a long time?

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LoneWolf121188

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Location
Osan AB, South Korea
How do flash drives never loose their data after staying uncharged for a long time?

I have an ipod shuffle and a mini, and both use flash memory. I have left them unused and unplugged for several months at a time, but when I turn em on, they just start right up and start playing again. Doesn't flash memory need a constant power source? Where is it getting power from for such a long time? Or is the drain just so small it can go for ages without needing power?
 

zip22

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
an (ipod) mini uses a hard drive. flash memory does not need a constant power source. think about regular thumb drives, they don't have batteries. i don't remember the specifics of how they physically work, but no, they don't need a power source.

here are some more details on the non-volatile memory (compared to the volatile memory inside your computer that does need constant power)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_memory
 

zip22

Member
Joined
Nov 18, 2003
computer memory is much much faster, but does require constant power and is more expensive.
 
OP
LoneWolf121188

LoneWolf121188

Member
Joined
Dec 31, 2004
Location
Osan AB, South Korea
Enablingwolf said:
This question promted me to go right to howstuffworks.com


I came up with this. Pretty simple explanation and uses.

http://computer.howstuffworks.com/flash-memory.htm
http://computer.howstuffworks.com/flash-memory3.htm said:
You may think that your car radio has Flash memory, since you are able to program the presets and the radio remembers them. But it is actually using Flash RAM. The difference is that Flash RAM has to have some power to maintain its contents, while Flash memory will maintain its data without any external source of power. Even though you have turned the power off, the car radio is pulling a tiny amount of current to preserve the data in the Flash RAM. That is why the radio will lose its presets if your car battery dies or the wires are disconnected.
Doesn't say why though...
 

JigPu

Inactive Pokémon Moderator
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Jun 20, 2001
Location
Vancouver, WA
...I haven't a clue what they mean by "Flash RAM", as every time I've heard that term used, it was referring to the Flash Memory they were just explaining.

The reason that DRAM (normal RAM) looses it's memory without power is because it makes use of a capacitor and a transistor to store a bit. No capacitor is perfect, and eventually will leak out all its charge. Howstuffworks has a good article on RAM which explains the effect by analogy with a leaky bucket.

SRAM (used for uber-high speed memory like L1 and registers) also looses its memory since it is created with logic gates (which require power to function)

JigPu
 

tom10167

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Oct 9, 2003
Location
Phoenix. YOUR HAIR IS GOOD TO EAT
Dude I just read that, it's the kind of thing where you think you want to know, and then when you find out it's like

Oops! Don't care. Seriously, WAY more complex than I bargained for.

I need explanations that start with "Basically."
 

deathman20

High Speed Premium Senior
Joined
Aug 5, 2002
tom10167 said:
Dude I just read that, it's the kind of thing where you think you want to know, and then when you find out it's like

Oops! Don't care. Seriously, WAY more complex than I bargained for.

I need explanations that start with "Basically."

Hehe Basically....

Best way I can discribe it, its like a light switch. 1 on 0 off and the electricity is like a finger hitting the switch.