Ativa 8GB USB flash drive - Avoid!

My workplace recently purchased several Ativa 8GB USB sticks from its office supplies agent and a colleague transferred some content to one to take for travelling. To his surprise, about half the files vanished when he later checked it and asked if I could have a look.

After noticing several corrupt files on it, I decided to format it and check it with H2testw and sure enough it failed the test. So I asked if there were any other of these sticks and he had two more still in their clamshell packaging. So I tested them two and the following are the results of all three:

The following is a picture I took of one:

As about 500MB of each drive is defective compared to 75+% defective with fake capacity drives, it appears they either have buggy firmware or used poor quality NAND chips.

They must have pretty poor standards unless this is just a faulty batch.

Always worth sharing stuff like this though as it might help someone out.


Coming from a 3rd party supplier, they could also be Chinese fakes. Tell the boss to buy them from Amazon next time. :wink:

I already tried suggesting Amazon and even though Amazon is generally cheaper for everything he orders, he wants everything next day. :doh:

Here in Ireland, Amazon’s quickest delivery is 2 days, whereas Viking Direct (which we normally use) delivers the following morning even when ordering at 5pm.

Anyway, we complained and got them to send out another brand (in this case SanDisk) and this looks more promising:

While doing some cleaning at work, I came across this old dodgy Ativa flash drive and decided to try an experiment.

How does it cope with a deliberate static discharge? :grinning::zap:

I have an old piezo ignitor from a gas barbecue and noticed it makes a substantial spark when the button is pushed, about 3cm or just over an inch. So I placed the USB stick in-between its two metal contacts. The spark went in one part and out another part. I plugged it in and it appeared to open fine with still the same ~500MB of bad blocks in H2testw.

I took out the stick and struck the ignitor button a few more times along the length of the USB stick. This time when I plugged it in, the PC did not detect it. After a few seconds, I unplugged it and noticed it got rather warm.

With a USB meter and a power bank, I checked the power consumption. Whatever failed in the stick, it is now drawing about 700mA!

I know people that had USB sticks unexpectedly fail before where the stick was working before they unplugged it and no longer worked again. I had an SD unexpectedly fail a few years ago also where it worked fine before unplugging it the final time. So it wouldn’t surprise me if a static discharge when grabbing the USB stick or memory card caused a similar failure.

As with handling bare circuit boards, touch a grounded surface (e.g. PC metal case) before inserting or removing a USB stick or memory card. :wink: