Data I/O Corporation

NAND Flash Bad-Block Design Options

NAND Flash is the storage media of choice in mobile applications. Designers are making
systems that can boot from NAND and then move the OS into RAM, but they must avoid passing
the issues associated with bad-block management to manufacturing. Handling bad-blocks in
NAND memory requires an extra layer of software to identify these blocks and to know what
to do with them when they are found. Error Correction Code is also usually required to
recover data if NAND bits fail during the life of the product.

Programming algorithms for flashing NAND devices must comprehend more than just the device
characteristics; they need to mirror how the NAND device is accessed in the application,
especially the handling of bad blocks. Communication of these details between design and
manufacturing is critical for a smooth transition to production.
For example, incorrect partitioning will prevent the product from booting up or selection
of ECC for the spare area will change the programming check sum.

To help our customers, Data I/O has developed a suite of bad-block schemes that cover most
applications in mobile and embedded products. This suite is available as an inexpensive
module to Data I/O’s award winning user interface for programming job creation, TaskLink
for Windows.


Hardware, software design, Wireless applications, Design with Hynix, Micron, ST Micro,
Samsung Toshiba NAND


Visit Data I/O’s NAND Portal for more information at


  • Design for manufacturing by optimizing NAND programmability for high yield
  • Seamlessly pass bad block information to manufacturing
    with data content
  • Built-in ECC algorithms for popular controllers
  • Works with flash file systems such as Datalight FlashFX
  • Built-in schemes that work with mobile operating systems like Symbian, WinCE, and PalmOS


  • Data I/O TaskLink software version 5.40 or greater
  • Data I/O programmer algorithm software release 2004C or newer
  • Data I/O FlashCore™ family programmers (FlashPAK, PS Series, Proline RoadRunner,

Contact Information

Data I/O Corporation

10525 Willows Road NE
Redmond, WA, 98073

tele: 425.867.6927
toll-free: 800.426.1045

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