Posted on Sep 14, 2020
by Paul Jensen
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A problem that frequently comes up on the COPA forums is the lack of 2GB USB sticks (flash drives). These specific-sized sticks are necessary to download engine data on an airplane with an Avidyne MFD, yet only larger sticks are available to purchase. This becomes important if you have an engine issue, and you want to get help from others.
If you have the 2GB USB stick, you can go to your airplane, insert it into the MFD and download the engine data. Once you have the data, it can be uploaded to cirrusreports.com, Savvy Aviation’s website, or you can view the data yourself replaying your flight. You can also use the data to create a logbook of all your flights.
It is possible to turn a larger-sized stick, such as the more available 16GB, into 2GBs in a few minutes with only four commands. The hardest part is typing the commands exactly as they appear, with upper and lowercase characters. If you enter anything wrong, it won’t work; and if you are sloppy, you can wipe out your hard drive. Consider this a warning!
You should purchase USB sticks in the smallest storage space available. If you have a choice, select USB 2.0 instead of USB 3.0. Pick well-known brand names, if possible. I have had good results with Onn, SanDisk and Kingston. You might want to get a couple of different brands as one brand might not work.
In this article, I will be using Windows 10 on a laptop. You can use a Mac or Linux (using different commands), but hopefully most of you will have access to a Windows 10 PC or laptop.
Here are the steps to convert to the 2GB stick:
The first thing to do, once you have the USB stick and access to Windows 10, is to start PowerShell. Do this by holding down the Windows key (has a “window” imprinted on it) and tap the “x” key. You should see the menu (below) pop up. Click on “Windows PowerShell (Admin).”
Which will take you to this screen that asks, “Do you want to allow this app to make changes to your device? Click the "Yes" button.
This should take you to the PowerShell prompt, as shown below.
Insert the USB stick into the computer; it should show up as “Drive E.” This should be verified with a pop-up message on the lower right of your screen (like below). Don’t click on it; it will go away in a few seconds. If the drive is not “E,” write down what letter drive it is.
Now, on the screen after the “PS C: \WINDOWS\system 32>” type “Get-Disk” and hit enter (do not type the quotes). You should see a listing of your main drive and the USB stick (shown below).
Note that the main drive is Number 0 and the USB stick is Number 1 in this example. If the USB stick is not listed as “1” write down the number it is; this will happen if you have more than one hard drive.
Next you are going to wipe out everything on the USB stick with the following command. Type: Clear-Disk -Number 1 -RemoveData
If your USB stick had a different number listed, use that number instead of “1” in the command above.
It will ask for a confirmation, press “Y” for yes.
The USB stick is now clean with nothing on it. You then need to type the following command to make it 2GB: New-Partition -DiskNumber 1 -Size 2GB DriveLetter E
If your USB drive is not “1” substitute that number in the command above. If the USB stick drive letter is not E, replace that letter with the appropriate one.
Next, the USB stick needs a format command as shown below. Type: Format-Volume -DriveLetter E -FileSystem FAT
Again, if your USB drive letter is different, substitute that letter in the command.
To see the USB stick information, click on “This PC” and note that the drive has 1.99GB of free space.
Right-click on the USB drive icon and select “eject” to remove the USB stick.
If you want to change another USB stick, just press the (up arrow) key to see the commands you entered earlier. You can do the second USB stick in a minute. Just follow the same order of commands.
Congratulations! Now you have a correctly formatted 2GB USB stick that will work in the Avidyne MFD.
This article was initially published in the June 2020 issue of COPA Pilot
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