I'm writing to see if anyone has any experience with using/building hubs that can read multiple SD cards at once? I'm trying to explore ways to speed up the manual transfer process of camera trap images from the SD cards to hard drives. With the teams I work with, we often have 50+ camera traps to download data off. Having the potential to read multiple cards at once could potentially really speed up the manual transfer, particulary when there is a need to utilise the cards again in a short timefrime.
There are some commercially available models like the SanDisk Pro-dock 4, or Lexar Professional Workflow series (both with 4 SD card slots), and I recall reading a while back about a project that had built their own and paired it with a download script program that processed the photo metadata (it was on Github but alas I can't find it again despite searching). Most basic SD card readers are for users that may only be working with one or a few cards at once so it makes sense to only require limited read capacity, but for many of us that work with 10s of cards at a time from large camera trap arrays, I thought this could be a helpful advance.
Interested to hear if anyone has worked with a system like this, or knew whether it was possible to design one?
2 October 2022 9:51pm
I've only ever used one of the commercial models (I forget if it was SanDisk or Lexar), and it worked fine--each card showed up as a separate drive in Windows, and I was mostly manually dragging and dropping files until they were set up in the staging directories I expected before automation could take over.
It could also be possible to rather than using an off-the-shelf multireader, instead use a USB hub (on whatever is the fastest USB standard your computer will support) and then getting a bunch of individual SD card readers to plug into that. Even then, it's not clear what the bottleneck will be in terms of reading data off cards, writing it locally, writing it to a NAS, etc. Would still likely require separate automation on the software end of things but could be more flexible