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Do you have any old SD cards or microSD cards (with a suitable adaptor) lying around? If so, don’t throw them away – there are plenty of projects that you can complete with these compact flash storage devices.

Whether your old SD card is a meager 64 MB or a massive 64 GB, various projects exist for you to make use of these storage cards. Smaller cards may be used as portable media storage, printing from SD and building a digital photo frame. Larger cards, meanwhile, might be used for providing emergency boot support to your PC, modding a Nintendo Wii or even installing CyanogenMod on your Android device.

Emergency Boot Device

Perhaps the most important use you can find for an old SD card is as an emergency boot device, to assist with problems when your computer won’t start up.

Typically, this might be something you can do with a Linux distro Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Read More , although it is also possible to boot a “live” version of Windows XP How To Create The Ultimate Boot CD For Windows How To Create The Ultimate Boot CD For Windows Read More , something a Windows user might be more comfortable with.

Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Hold on, these links are for USB flash drives,” and you would be right. However, with a device like this one below, you can turn your old SD card into a USB stick, something that proves pretty useful in a number of different situations.

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Portable Media Storage

The more space you have on your spare or old SD card, the more suited it will be for various multimedia-related projects.

One popular use is to store your favourite photos on it, and view them on a suitable digital photo frame. You might even use the card to install an operating system and add photos, ready to be used in a custom-built digital photo frame, one that perhaps started life as a notebook or netbook.

If you use a digital camera, you might use a spare SD card as a means of quickly checking your photos on your phone or tablet (assuming you have a suitable card reader).

There are also a couple of ways in which an old SD card can be used to create a media centre…

Softmod A Nintendo Wii

Using an SD card with the useful Letterbomb software installed, you can softmod your Nintendo Wii How to Set Up Your Wii for Homebrew Using Letterbomb How to Set Up Your Wii for Homebrew Using Letterbomb In ancient times, running homebrew software required owning a specific game and corrupting its save data to run an exploit. It was complicated. The most recent hack, which has been working for a year now,... Read More to allow various homebrew software applications to run.

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You might, for instance, use the device as a DVD player (standard DVDs cannot be read as standard by the Nintendo Wii; this mod will work on the older models, however), or to play homebrew and retro games.

Alternatively, you can use the mod to turn your Wii into a media centre How to Turn Your Wii Into a Media Center With WiiMC How to Turn Your Wii Into a Media Center With WiiMC Turn your neglected Wii into a media player. Listen to music and watch videos from your computer on your TV, or browse a bit of the best the web has to offer using your Wiimote.... Read More , capable of playing movies from your SD card or a storage device on your local network.

Print from SD

Another use for an old SD card is printing. You don’t need to have a wireless card or a wireless printer to send print jobs over your Wi-Fi network – you could just save the job to be printed to the SD card and then use your printer’s card reader (assuming it has one) to find the file that needs printing and begin the print job.

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Depending on the printer, this will probably work universally for images – although some printers can print documents without a connected computer. If you have any local photo printing booths that accept SD cards, this is a useful thing to be aware of.

Run a Raspberry Pi

Do you own a Raspberry Pi? If so, you’ll probably be aware that an SD card is required as the primary boot device, and can also be used for storage.

With multiple storage devices you can have access to different operating systems, customised for particular projects; you might, for instance, have RaspBMC installed How To Make Your Raspberry Pi Into a Home Theater System How To Make Your Raspberry Pi Into a Home Theater System Four weeks on and I’ve been playing with my Raspberry Pi in various ways, from using it to browse the web and standard day-to-day computing tasks to playing around with the various configurations that are... Read More to use the little computer as a media centre, or a RetroPIE installation for retro gaming How to Install Game Emulators on the Raspberry Pi How to Install Game Emulators on the Raspberry Pi Desktop computer, media center, an integral part of a budget space program - is there no end to the versatility of the Raspberry Pi? Seemingly not – because it also does games. Read More .

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The Raspberry Pi can be used for so much more, however; who would have thought that an SD card could form part of a low budget space programme Raspberry Pi Projects: A Car With Night Vision, Google Glass-like Translation, And More Raspberry Pi Projects: A Car With Night Vision, Google Glass-like Translation, And More We’ve previously looked at some excellent uses for this British minicomputer, but the fact is that it is just so versatile that there is always something amazing to talk about. Who would have thought that... Read More ?

GPS Expansion Card

If you regularly use your GPS device for travel and have found it seemingly running out of space, you might use the expansion slot to provide the space you need to download new maps and voices.

Surprisingly, GPS systems are still widely used as distinct units, as opposed to the various smartphone-based systems such as Google Maps and Nokia HERE.

Given the price of a new GPS unit, it makes sense to get as much use as possible out of these devices, so if you have a suitable slot for your SD card or microSD card, this might be a great way to solve two problems at once.

Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device

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Finally, if you’re using an Android phone or tablet and are less than happy with the installed version of the popular mobile operating system, you might take advantage of your SD card or microSD card (depending on the size of the card reader slot) to change this.

Perhaps the most popular alternative to stock Android is CyanogenMod How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device How To Install CyanogenMod On Your Android Device A lot of people can agree that the Android operating system is pretty awesome. Not only is it great to use, but it's also free as in open source, so that it can be modified... Read More , and you’ll find the details for installing this to your Android device (the initial steps for which often require a one-time installation to your SD card) by searching for the appropriate hardware on a site such as XDA-developers.com.

Are There Anymore Uses for an Old SD Card?

These are just seven of many uses for an old or spare SD card. We’re sure that there might be several other uses that we haven’t mentioned here. Have you found an interesting new use for an old SD card? If so, let us know about it in the comments below.

Image credit: Community History SA/flickr, camknows/flickr

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