USB 3.0 eMMC Reader

Hardkernel’s ODROID platform has a unique advantage over other similar Single Board Computers (SBCs) that they allow the eMMC module to be removed and reflashes using an external USB adapter. All of Hardkernel’s eMMC modules ship with an SD card adapter that allow the user to flash an operating system or inspect the contents of the solid state drive on another computer using utilities such as Etcher or dd. However, the SD card adapter required that another adapter be used in order to access the drive via USB, and many SD to USB adapters were not compatible with Hardkernel’s adapter.

Figure 1 – Hardkernel’s new eMMC to USB adapter is a convenient way to read and write the eMMC module contents on a host computer without needing to buy an additional adapter

A new eMMC to USB all-in-one adapter is now available from the Hardkernel store at http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G152105300286 for USD $9.90, and is an improvement over the original SD card adapter, since a separate third-party USB adapter is not required to convert from SD to USB. It also does not the same type of compatibility issues as the original SD card adapter, and can be used with any operating system and any platform that supports USB 3.0.

The original SD card adapter was also confusing to some new users, who assumed that the eMMC module needed to be attached to the adapter, then inserted into the SD card slot of the ODROID, which decreased the performance of the EMMC module. All ODROIDs have an eMMC slot directly on the PCB, which optimizes the performance of the eMMC module and makes it much more secure during handling.

To use the USB 3.0 eMMC Reader, simply align the eMMC module with the white outlined box labeled “eMMC” on the adapter’s PCB, and press gently until the adapter snaps into place. Then, insert the male USB adapter into the USB 3.0 slot on the host computer, and access it like any other USB drive. A red light will appear when the USB power is being applied.

When you are finished using the eMMC module on the host computer, eject it using the operating system’s Eject feature, then remove the adapter from the USB port and detach the eMMC module from the adapter by gently pulling up on the adapter, away from the PCB. Finally, the eMMC module may then be attached to the ODROID by first powering down the ODROID and unplugging it from the power source, then aligning the eMMC module with the white outlined box labeled “eMMC” on the ODROID, and pressing gently until the adapter snaps into place. Apply power to the ODROID and the ODROID should boot from the eMMC adapter. Some models of ODROIDs have an SD card/eMMC selector switch which needs to be in the “eMMC” position in order to boot from the eMMC module.

For more information on flashing operating systems to the eMMC module, please visit the ODROID Wiki at https://wiki.odroid.com/troubleshooting/odroid_flashing_tools. Please note that this reader does not work with the eMMC Black modules.

Specifications

  • USB 3.0 Interface
  • Native eMMC 8bit wide data interface, instead of slow SD 4bit width
  • Works in HS200 mode
  • Windows / Mac / Linux Compatible
  • Works with ODROID Orange, Red and Blue eMMC modules
  • Use with Etcher or Win32DiskImager software on your PC
  • It can’t access the eMMC hidden boot blocks
  • Rated Power : 5V/500mA (including eMMC module)
  • Dimensions : 60x26x4.5 mm

Speed tests

We compared the OS flashing speed between our USB 3.0 eMMC Module Writer and a generic card reader. The USB 3.0 eMMC Module Writer is 3-4 times faster than a normal USB 3.0 card reader.

  • Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-7700 CPU @3.60GHz 3.60GHz / RAM 16GB / 64bit Windows 10
  • Etcher version 1.3.1
  • 64GB Yellow eMMC
  • ubuntu-16.04.3-4.14-minimal-odroid-xu4-20171213.img(1.63GB)

USB3.0 eMMC Module Writer: Flashing 28.18s, Validating 20.31s, Total 48.49s Transcend USB3.0 card Reader: Flashing 93.64s, Validating 81.23s, Total 174.86s

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