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SD Card example

(See the file in the upper level 'examples' directory for more information about examples.)

This example demonstrates how to use an SD card with ESP32. Example does the following steps:

  1. Use an "all-in-one" esp_vfs_fat_sdmmc_mount function to:
    • initialize SDMMC peripheral,
    • probe and initialize the card connected to SD/MMC slot 1 (HS2_CMD, HS2_CLK, HS2_D0, HS2_D1, HS2_D2, HS2_D3 lines),
    • mount FAT filesystem using FATFS library (and format card, if the filesystem can not be mounted),
    • register FAT filesystem in VFS, enabling C standard library and POSIX functions to be used.
  2. Print information about the card, such as name, type, capacity, and maximum supported frequency.
  3. Create a file using fopen and write to it using fprintf.
  4. Rename the file. Before renaming, check if destination file already exists using stat function, and remove it using unlink function.
  5. Open renamed file for reading, read back the line, and print it to the terminal.

This example support SD (SDSC, SDHC, SDXC) cards and eMMC chips.


This example runs on ESP-WROVER-KIT boards without any extra modifications required, only the SD card needs to be inserted into the slot.

Other ESP32 development boards need to be connected to SD card as follows:

ESP32 pin SD card pin SPI pin Notes
GPIO14 (MTMS) CLK SCK 10k pullup in SD mode
GPIO15 (MTDO) CMD MOSI 10k pullup, both in SD and SPI modes
GPIO2 D0 MISO 10k pullup in SD mode, pull low to go into download mode (see Note about GPIO2 below!)
GPIO4 D1 N/C not used in 1-line SD mode; 10k pullup in 4-line SD mode
GPIO12 (MTDI) D2 N/C not used in 1-line SD mode; 10k pullup in 4-line SD mode (see Note about GPIO12 below!)
GPIO13 (MTCK) D3 CS not used in 1-line SD mode, but card's D3 pin must have a 10k pullup
N/C CD optional, not used in the example
N/C WP optional, not used in the example

This example doesn't utilize card detect (CD) and write protect (WP) signals from SD card slot.

With the given pinout for SPI mode, same connections between the SD card and ESP32 can be used to test both SD and SPI modes, provided that the appropriate pullups are in place. See the document about pullup requirements for more details about pullup support and compatibility of modules and development boards.

In SPI mode, pins can be customized. See the initialization of sdspi_slot_config_t structure in the example code.

Note about GPIO2

GPIO2 pin is used as a bootstrapping pin, and should be low to enter UART download mode. One way to do this is to connect GPIO0 and GPIO2 using a jumper, and then the auto-reset circuit on most development boards will pull GPIO2 low along with GPIO0, when entering download mode.

  • Some boards have pulldown and/or LED on GPIO2. LED is usually ok, but pulldown will interfere with D0 signals and must be removed. Check the schematic of your development board for anything connected to GPIO2.

Note about GPIO12

GPIO12 is used as a bootstrapping pin to select output voltage of an internal regulator which powers the flash chip (VDD_SDIO). This pin has an internal pulldown so if left unconnected it will read low at reset (selecting default 3.3V operation). When adding a pullup to this pin for SD card operation, consider the following:

  • For boards which don't use the internal regulator (VDD_SDIO) to power the flash, GPIO12 can be pulled high.
  • For boards which use 1.8V flash chip, GPIO12 needs to be pulled high at reset. This is fully compatible with SD card operation.
  • On boards which use the internal regulator and a 3.3V flash chip, GPIO12 must be low at reset. This is incompatible with SD card operation.
    • In most cases, external pullup can be omitted and an internal pullup can be enabled using a gpio_pullup_en(GPIO_NUM_12); call. Most SD cards work fine when an internal pullup on GPIO12 line is enabled. Note that if ESP32 experiences a power-on reset while the SD card is sending data, high level on GPIO12 can be latched into the bootstrapping register, and ESP32 will enter a boot loop until external reset with correct GPIO12 level is applied.
    • Another option is to burn the flash voltage selection efuses. This will permanently select 3.3V output voltage for the internal regulator, and GPIO12 will not be used as a bootstrapping pin. Then it is safe to connect a pullup resistor to GPIO12. This option is suggested for production use.

The following command can be used to program flash voltage selection efuses to 3.3V:

    components/esptool_py/esptool/ set_flash_voltage 3.3V

This command will burn the XPD_SDIO_TIEH, XPD_SDIO_FORCE, and XPD_SDIO_REG efuses. With all three burned to value 1, the internal VDD_SDIO flash voltage regulator is permanently enabled at 3.3V. See the technical reference manual for more details. has a --do-not-confirm option if running from an automated flashing script.

How to use example

Configure the project

If using Make based build system, run make menuconfig and set serial port under Serial Flasher Options.

If using CMake based build system, no configuration is required.

SD card can be used in various modes. See below on choosing the mode to be used.

4-line and 1-line SD modes

By default, example code uses the following initializer for SDMMC slot configuration:

sdmmc_slot_config_t slot_config = SDMMC_SLOT_CONFIG_DEFAULT();

Among other things, this sets slot_config.width = 0, which means that SD/MMC driver will use the maximum bus width supported by the slot. For slot 1, it will switch to 4-line mode when initializing the card (initial communication always happens in 1-line mode). If some of the card's D1, D2, D3 pins are not connected to the ESP32, set slot_config.width = 1 — then the SD/MMC driver will not attempt to switch to 4-line mode.

Note that even if card's D3 line is not connected to the ESP32, it still has to be pulled up, otherwise the card will go into SPI protocol mode.

SPI mode

By default, the example uses SDMMC Host peripheral to access the card using SD protocol. To use SPI peripheral instead (and SPI protocol), uncomment #define USE_SPI_MODE line in the example code.

Build and flash

Build the project and flash it to the board, then run monitor tool to view serial output:

make -j4 flash monitor

Or, for CMake based build system (replace PORT with serial port name): -p PORT flash monitor

(To exit the serial monitor, type Ctrl-].)

See the Getting Started Guide for full steps to configure and use ESP-IDF to build projects.

Example output

Here is an example console output. In this case a 128MB SDSC card was connected, and format_if_mount_failed parameter was set to true in the source code. Card was unformatted, so the initial mount has failed. Card was then partitioned, formatted, and mounted again.

I (336) example: Initializing SD card
I (336) example: Using SDMMC peripheral
I (336) gpio: GPIO[13]| InputEn: 0| OutputEn: 1| OpenDrain: 0| Pullup: 0| Pulldown: 0| Intr:0 
W (596) vfs_fat_sdmmc: failed to mount card (13)
W (596) vfs_fat_sdmmc: partitioning card
W (596) vfs_fat_sdmmc: formatting card, allocation unit size=16384
W (7386) vfs_fat_sdmmc: mounting again
Name: XA0E5
Speed: 20 MHz
Size: 61068MB
I (7386) example: Opening file
I (7396) example: File written
I (7396) example: Renaming file
I (7396) example: Reading file
I (7396) example: Read from file: 'Hello XA0E5!'
I (7396) example: Card unmounted


Failure to upload the example


A fatal error occurred: Failed to connect to Espressif device: Invalid head of packet (0x34)

Disconnect the SD card D0/MISO line from GPIO2 and try uploading again. Read "Note about GPIO2" above.

Card fails to initialize with sdmmc_init_sd_scr: send_scr (1) returned 0x107 error

Check connections between the card and the ESP32. For example, if you have disconnected GPIO2 to work around the flashing issue, connect it back and reset the ESP32 (using a button on the development board, or by pressing Ctrl-T Ctrl-R in IDF Monitor).

Card fails to initialize with sdmmc_check_scr: send_scr returned 0xffffffff error

Connections between the card and the ESP32 are too long for the frequency used. Try using shorter connections, or try reducing the clock speed of SD interface.

Failure to mount filesystem

example: Failed to mount filesystem. If you want the card to be formatted, set format_if_mount_failed = true.

The example will be able to mount only cards formatted using FAT32 filesystem. If the card is formatted as exFAT or some other filesystem, you have an option to format it in the example code. Modify format_if_mount_failed = false to format_if_mount_failed = true in the example code, then build and flash the example.