Blog » AVLabs Digital Photo Frame Stops at "Initializing"

AVLabs Digital Photo Frame Stops at "Initializing"

If you have a digital photo frame from AVLabs (or some other company) and it simply shows "initializing" when you insert an SD card, and switch it on, try a smaller card. I came across this problem recently when my sister bought a digital photo frame, and a 4 GB SD card. Unbeknownst to both of us, a 4 GB SD card, is in fact a 4 GB SDHC (High Capacity) card, and the SDHC standard is incompatible with the SD card that it is based upon.Yes, that's right, despite having SD written on the front (with HC in a different font), and having the same physical size as the original SD card standard, only SDHC card readers can access the data on 4 GB to 32 GB SDHC cards.

After taking the photo frame and SD card home, photos were copied onto the SD card, the card was inserted into the photo frame's card slot, and the device was switched on. The result was a black screen with "Initializing" written in the top left hand corner. The  photoframe could still be switched to AV input, but otherwise it remained "Initializing" perpetually. Unfortunately, none of those who had this problem seem to have fixed it (and posted it on the internet for the benefit of others). This blog post aims to rectify this.

At this stage, we had a quick look through the manual, which was about 16 useless pages of stating the obvious, and providing no useful details (stating that the switch marked power switches the device on and off is not useful). Next, a quick look on the internet, brought up conflicting reviews; some said that it was a great device, while others complained about the poor manual (agreed), and how it simply says "initializing." Okay, others have the same problem.

Next, I tried a USB drive, which it also failed to read. After a few wasted hours, it was discovered that it would read a USB stick, but not a USB hard-drive. Finally, I looked at the Secure Digital entry in Wikipedia, which states:

"Changes to the interface of the established format have made some older devices designed for standard SD cards (≤4GB) unable to handle newer formats such as SDHC (≥4GB). All SD-cards have the same physical shape and form factor however, which causes confusion for many consumers."

Ah, so that is the problem. After copying the photos to a 2 GB SD card (minus the HC bit), everything worked perfectly.

To me, this is an example of poor user interface design. Sticking at "Initializing" when a device isn't readable is very poor feedback to the user; it tells the user nothing about why it doesn't work, and makes it very likely that he/she will take the device back to the shop. Having a user manual that doesn't provide even basic setup/installation instructions only adds to the problem. Granted, when a photo frame works, there isn't much to the installation but, when things go wrong, the manual should provide some assistance.

In summary:

  • Some digital photo frames (e.g., the one that we tried from AVLabs) cannot handle SDHC cards or higher (i.e., cards with 4 GB or more storage space),
  • Some photo frames can also only handle USB sticks, not other kinds of USB storage devices, and
  • If it doesn't work with your existing card (e.g., stops at "Initializing"), try a 2 GB SD card or smaller.

Blog » AVLabs Digital Photo Frame Stops at "Initializing"

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  • Hi Wayne,
    Sorry, I haven't seen a download available anywhere.


    Posted by Hans, 29/01/2017 1:23pm (4 years ago)

  • I have lost my manual for my AVL 15 inch digital photo frame.
    Can I download it somewhere?

    Posted by Wayne Real, 12/01/2017 10:19pm (4 years ago)

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Blog » AVLabs Digital Photo Frame Stops at "Initializing"