Sign in or create your account | Project List | Help


example showing how to use this library for basic SD manipulation


SD_uFAT Basic - Basic use of SD Cards

Copyright (C) 2008 Libelium Comunicaciones Distribuidas S.L.

This example allows manipulating one file stored in the SD card called "hola.txt". I have chosen "hola", meaning "hello" in Spanish, just because I was a little tired of the classic "hello world". The file should be stored in the card and comes in the ZIP file containing this example. You manipulate the file by simple commands over the serial port. Here a list:

  • H: prints a help message with all commands implemented
  • L: lists the file's info, calls the ls("hola.txt") function
  • D: deletes the file, calls del("hola.txt")
  • P: prints a string to the file, in this case "hola caracola"
  • W: allows you init the file entering text (beware, it erases the file)
  • R: dumps the contents of "hola.txt" to the serial port
  • A: append data interactively to the end of the file


I use the SD uFAT approach, this example offers a series of functions to manipulate the content of SD cards. The only premise is that the files in the card must be pre-existing. A good way is to add text documents created with gedit (LIN), textedit (MAC) or notepad (WIN)

The documents could be filled up with any characters of your choice and should have a certain size. The uFAT approach to controlling SD cards won't allow listing directories, or modifying the file size. I fill up my files with blank spaces (0x20), it makes easier to look at the files in a text editor later

The end of files will be marked with the character End Of Text, we choose it to be 0x03 as in ASCII. This will be the programatical trick to look for the end of file. Just to make things easier for you, it is possible to download some pre-made empty files in different sizes with the 0x03 character in first position from, also there are some coming in the ZIP where you got this example from

The functions implemented for this library can be categorized in basic, advanced, and experimental (unstable); they are:


  • ls(filename): lists the size, amount of sectors, and real use of a file
  • del(filename): erases a file by putting a NULL character at the beginning of all its sectors
  • print(filename, string): appends a string at the end of a file [1]
  • println(filename, string): appends a string + EOL at the end of a file
  • cat(filename): prints out the contents of a file to the serial port
  • append(filename): will listen to the serial port and append the data to the file


  • usedBytes(filename): answers how many bytes are actually in use in the card
  • startSector(filename): answers the sector on the SD card where a file starts
  • verbose(mode): mode == ON (default) will print out help strings to the port; mode == OFF will get the functions to work in silent mode

EXPERIMENTAL (unstable or not implemented)

  • append(filename1, filename2): appends filename2 at the end of filename1
  • indexOf(filename, string): looks for a string in a file answering the position
  • indexOfLine(filename, int): gets the offset in the file to the line determined by the parameter


The way to interact with this example is through a serial monitor. Arduino's is good but any others will also work. I recommend the following: GtkTerm (LIN), ZTerm (MAC), and Brayterminal (WIN). All are free or freeware and can be obtained from different sources


To make this example I have been streching the variable space to the limit, you can easily implement programs reading analog sensors or buttons and store that data as in the SD card. You can probably read information from the serial port or sensors hanging on I2C and push it into the card. If you ran into problems, just remember the issue about the variable space. You cannot reduce the buffer[512] variable, but you could work out with DATABUFFERSIZE (defaulting to 32) to get some extra room


The code compiles to a small sized library (7KB), however, it can be even smaller if you just erase the functions you don't need from the library, customizing it to fit your needs. Also, even if the buffer[512] cannot be changed in size, you can use it for other things during the time it is not used to access the SD card. In this way it could be e.g. the temporary memory for a graphical display, swap for some of your processes, etc


This code has been kindly commissioned by and has been executed by D.J. Cuartielles -aka BlushingBoy-. The code was written in Sweden, Spain Mexico, Korea, and Singapore. It is based on previous work by others

Created: 8 years 3 months ago
by David Cuartielles