View Full Version : how format micro sd card to fat16?

11th October 2009, 12:14 PM
hi all,

just wanting to do the above specified. have tried disk utility which does ms-dos but this is fat32. have also tried a terminal line
diskutil partitionDisk /Volumes/NDS 1 MBRFormat "MS-DOS FAT16" "NDS" 1000M
but this delivers an error. have also tried working through these steps (http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=7108) but can't get success.

working with parallels and xp only gives fat32 format option. partition magic in windows will not show the usb device.

also found this post (http://forums.mactalk.com.au/23/26840-nintendo-ds-2.html#post429563) in mactalk about macdrive, but not sure how one formats anything other nfs with this.

any tips, please...

i don't have a windoz box.


11th October 2009, 01:06 PM
from terminal...

Last login: Sun Oct 11 14:02:08 on ttys000
natakims-mac-mini:~ natakim$ cd /Volumes/
natakims-mac-mini:Volumes natakim$ ls
My Documents NDS SharedDocs natakim natakim backup
natakims-mac-mini:Volumes natakim$ diskutil partitionDisk /Volumes/NDS 1 MBRFormat "MS-DOS FAT16" "NDS" 8000M
Started partitioning on disk disk2
Creating partition map
Formatting disk2s1 as MS-DOS (FAT16) with name NDS
[ / 0%................................................ ... ]
Partitioning encountered error on disk disk2s1: The chosen size is not valid for the chosen filesystem (-9962)
natakims-mac-mini:Volumes natakim$

11th October 2009, 01:58 PM
At least you are able to mount the card and see it with Disk Utility. That's a start.
I think there's a bit missing from the workaround. When you first do the erase and format (FAT 32), you should select Options and then 1 Partition. Then proceed with the steps as detailed. If you have tried all that without success, it looks like the micro SD is dead. To determine that, it would be best to try and format it in any device other than a Mac. Possibly a camera. I guess you purchased it with the regular SD enabler for some other device? I assume that since you don't want FAT 32, it is for use in another device, which you may possess. Might point is, that if it will not format in the device - it is kaput. Sad if it is large capacity, but if a small one, they are plentiful and relatively cheap on eBay.

11th October 2009, 03:25 PM
thanks, i finally got it to work through terminal. that was 7 hrs of my life i'll never get back.

19th April 2010, 02:54 PM
How did you manage this? I am in a similar position

19th April 2010, 04:18 PM
How to copied from Apple support forums - Apple - Support - Discussions - SD Cards & MS DOS FAT 32 ... (http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=1302331) :

My Panasonic PV GS400 camcorder will not recognize FAT 32 format but it will recognize FAT 16 formatted SD cards. I found some useful formating instructions at http://osx.tribe.net (http://osx.tribe.net/). Note: FAT 16 only supports 2 GB or less. I had no problems reading FAT 16 formatted SD cards in Leopard. I revised the instructions a bit:
To format the SD card, you will need the path to the SD card device and the SD card device number.
1. Insert the SD Card into a card reader.
2. If you don't know how to find the device number of the SD Card, here is one way to do it:
2b. Open Disk Utility
2c. Highlight the SD Card device (upper icon), not the SD Card volume (lower icon)
2d. Click Erase at the top of the window
2e. Select Volume Format: MS-DOS (FAT) Click Erase... > Click Erase
The SD Card Volume Name will change to the UNIX device number e.g. "disk5s1". Note this number as it will change by itself to "Untitled". It is now formatted in MS-DOS FAT 32. We need to reformat it in FAT 16.

Once you have the device number of the SD Card, you need the path to the SD card device.
3. For my Mac, the path to devices is "/dev". In a terminal window: type "cd /dev" and hit the "Return" key to go to the "dev" directory. Then type "ls" (with a lower case L) and "Return" key. You should see the SD Card device number listed.

Formatting the SD Card in FAT 16:
4. In Disk Utility, highlight the SD Card device and click Unmount at the top, not Eject. The desktop icon of the SD card will disappear.
5. Go to the Terminal window. Be careful to type the following command with the correct letter case and spacing. Again, make sure you type the correct device number and path as you can very easily erase your hard drive in UNIX.
Type the command:
newfs_msdos -F 16 (path to SD Card device)/(SD Card device number)
e.g. newfs_msdos -F 16 /dev/disk5s1
and hit the "Return" key.
6. If you get just a new prompt (or a prompt with some warnings, e.g. below), the command executed successfully. You can remove the SD Card; it is now formatted in FAT 16. You can verify this in Disk Utility after mounting the SD Card.
If you get some instructions on the newfs_msdos command with a new prompt, the command did not execute. Make sure you enter the command with the correct case and spacing. Hint: to re-enter a previous command you typed, hit the up arrow repeatedly. For more information, type: "man newfs_msdos". Scroll with arrow keys. Type "q" to quit and return to prompt.

Warnings Example
newfs_msdos: warning: /dev/disk5s1 is not a character device
/dev/disk5s1: 1998208 sectors in 62444 FAT16 clusters (16384 bytes/cluster)
bps=512 spc=32 res=1 nft=2 rde=512 mid=0xf0 spf=244 spt=32 hds=128 hid=0 bsec=1998738

19th April 2010, 04:43 PM
2gb or smaller ,looks like it is possible with 4gb on windows though, bootcamp here I come

11th November 2010, 05:22 AM
When I put cd/dev into terminal it says no such file or directory. I'm stuck at that step any help? how do i know the path to my devices?