Re-writable solid state memory may be the best thing since diced wafers, allowing us to re-program our microcontrollers and store tons of music on our cell phones, but it isn’t without it’s faults. Though (mostly) immune to the bumps and jolts that would trash a comparable hard drive, Flash and Electrically-Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory (EEPROM) memory does suffer from one issue. They only are only rated to stand a limited number of writes before they stop working.
Fortunately, this number is in the millions or tens of millions, so you can continue to safely flash the latest programs into your Arduino for the foreseeable future, however if you plan to use your EEPROM to continuously record sensor data, you might find yourself running up against the limits of your hardware. The folks at Dangerous Prototypes decided to take things into their own hands, and built the Flash Destroyer project to test just how long it would take to drive a Microchip 24AA01-I/P to failure. Source code, schematic, and kit are available at their website. Note that they are aware of the fact that they are testing an EEPROM, not a Flash device, but that ‘Flash Destroyer’ just had a cooler ring to it.
To add to the gratuitous drama of the experiment, they are live-streaming the whole endeavor. Anyone want to take a bet at how long the poor memory chip will survive? [via Hacked Gadgets]