Chip-off Data Recovery

This video details our chip-Off data recovery process and rates.

2019 update: We no longer charge an attempt fee for chip-off data recoveries!

When is a Chip-off Data Recovery necessary?

Chip-off recovery is only necessary when the controller/MCU fails in your Flash Drive, SD card, MicroSD card, and in rare cases SSD/CF/CFast devices. SSD/CF/CFast devices typically aren’t recoverable with “chip-off” techniques because these devices often use unbreakable encryption — once removed and read, the chips are encrypted with no way to decrypt. Companies do this to prevent other companies from seeing how their drives work and stealing their secrets. 

Chip-off data recovery is always a last resort, due to the time required to deal with the complexity of reconstructing the controller and the relatively low success rate overall (of about 60-65%).

How does Chip-off Data Recovery work?

Chip-off data recovery requires physically removing the flash chip(s) from the device’s PCB, cleaning the chips, “dumping” their contents into a flash recovery program, then virtually reconstructing the controller to access the data on from the flash chips. 

Here is the process we use for performing Chip-Off Data Recoveries:

  1. Diagnose the device to confirm chip-off recovery is the only option

  2. Confirm chip-off recovery is possible given the controller version and type of memory chip(s)

  3. Remove chip(s) from the failed device’s PCB (in this case, using an IR station)

  4. Clean chip contacts (in this case, using solder flux + solder wick + soldering iron)

  5. Clean chip/solder with alcohol

  6. Sand chip contacts to ensure proper connection to chip adapter


  7. Read/dump chip contents into Flash Data Recovery tools (in this case, PC3000-Flash)

  8. Reconstruct MCU/controller and extract data.

How is your Chip-Off Data Recovery rate different from normal hard drives or SSDs?

There are some major differences between recovering a device using normal methods vs recovering a Flash drive using “chip-off” methods:

1) “Chip-off” recoveries are much more complicated and time-consuming than a normal data recovery. Therefore, the turn-around time will be much slower (i.e. several days best case scenario but potentially several weeks or longer).

2) Our rate is slightly different: we charge $300 PER FLASH MEMORY CHIP (the same as our “RAID” recovery rate) — so the price will be more expensive than our $300 rate since if your Flash drive contains more than one flash memory chip. You can think of the chips inside your Flash drive like hard drives in a RAID. They all individually contain data and need to be read (aka “cloned”). Then we need to find and reconstruct the order of the data on the chips (this is in addition to reconstructing the controller as mentioned above).

3) Due to the time required to remove the chips, clean the chips, read the chips, error-correct the chips, and then virtually reconstruct the controller and “RAID” (several days or weeks per chip), we must charge an $100 per chip “attempt fee.”

4) There is no additional fee for declining our recovery once finished if we get back less than 99% of your files.


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