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HI 0| XI 1 / 1 



Recording and reproducing device 



Publication number: 

Publication date: 

Inventor(s): 

Applicant(s): 

Classification: 

- international: 



- European: 
Application number: 
Priority numbcr(s): 



CN 1246707 (A) 
2000-03-08 

MOTOICHI TANAKA [JP]; TAKAAKI KOI A [JP] 
MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC IND CO LTD [JP] 

G06F1 26: G06F1/30; G06F12/16: G06F15/78; G10L19/00; 
G11B20/10; G11C7/00; G11C7/16; G11C16/02; G06FT/26; 
G06F1/30: G06F12/16; G06F15.'"6: G10L 19/00; 
f 11B2U/10, 31 ICT'PO C1 IC16/02 (IPC1-7) G11B20/10 
G06F12/00 
G11C7/00; G11C7/16 
CN19991019258 19990830 
JP1 9980244896 195 



Also published as: 

S CN.1121037 (C) 
"0 EP0984455 (A1) 
TW44 1 r . (B 
~i KR200000176T6 (A) 
JP2000076148 (A) 



Abstract not available for CN 1246707 (A) 
Abstract of corresponding document: EP 0984455 (A1) 
A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) 
comprising: a nonvolatile memory (7) which acts as 
a recording medium for recording digital data; and a 
microcomputer (5) which includes at least a RAM 
area and performs recording and reproduction on 
the nonvolatile memory (7); wherein the nonvolatile 
memory (7) includes a first area for recording 
management information of whole of the nonvolatile 
memory (7) and a second area for recording data of 
respective files; wherein the first area is a file 
management table (FMT1) for recording the 
management information including at least 
information on start addresses of the files and 
information on usable space areas of the files; 
wherein during normal operation of recording and 
reproduction of the data on the second area of the 
nonvolatile memory (7), the management 
information to be recorded in the first area of the 
nonvolatile memory (7) is neither written in nor read 
out of the first area of the nonvolatile memory (7) but 
is written in and read out of the RAM area of the 
microcomputer (5); wherein when a voltage of a 
power source (1) of the recording and reproducing 
apparatus (K) has dropped below a predetermined 
level, the management information is written in the 
first area of the nonvolatile memory (7) from the 
RAM area of the microcomputer (5). 




Data supplied from the esp@cenet database — Worldwide 



http://v3.espacenet.com/publicationDetails7biblio?DB=EPODOC&adja..._ 2009-08-06 



(19) 



(43) Date of publication: 

08.03.2000 Bulletin 2000/10 



Europaisches Patentamt 
European Patent Office 
Office europeen des brevets 

EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION 

(51) IntCI. 7 : G11C7/00 



niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii'iiii 

(n) EP 0 984 455 A1 



(21) Application number: 99116514.3 

(22) Date of filing: 24.08.1 999 



(84) Designated Contracting States: 


(72) Inventors: 


AT BE CH CY DE DK ES Fl FR GB GR IE IT LI LU 


• Tanaka, Kiichi 


MCNLPTSE 


Osaka-shi,Osaka 536-0005 (JP) 


Designated Extension States: 


• Furuta, Noriaki 


ALLTLVMKROSI 


Otsu-shi, Shiga 520-2101 (JP) 


(30) Priority: 31.08.1998 JP 24489698 


(74) Representative: 




Eisenfiihr, Speiser & Partner 


(71) Applicant: 


Martinistrasse24 


MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC INDUSTRIAL CO., LTD. 


28195 Bremen (DE) 


Kadoma-shi, Osaka 571-8501 (JP) 



(54) Recording and reproducing apparatus 

(57) A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) 
comprising: a nonvolatile memory (7) which acts as a 
recording medium for recording digital data; and a 
microcomputer (5) which includes at least a RAM area 
and performs recording and reproduction on the nonvol- 
atile memory (7); wherein the nonvolatile memory (7) 
includes a first area for recording management informa- 
tion of whole of the nonvolatile memory (7) and a sec- 
ond area for recording data of respective files; wherein 
the first area is a file management table (FMT1) for 
recording the management information including at 
least information on start addresses of the files and 
information on usable space areas of the files; wherein 



during normal operation of recording and reproduction 
of the data on the second area of the nonvolatile mem- 
ory (7), the management information to be recorded in 
the first area of the nonvolatile memory (7) is neither 
written in nor read out of the first area of the nonvolatile 
memory (7) but is written in and read out of the RAM 
area of the microcomputer (5); wherein when a voltage 
of a power source (1) of the recording and reproducing 
apparatus (K) has dropped below a predetermined 
level, the management information is written in the first 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7) from the RAM area 
of the microcomputer (5). 



< 

lo 




Q. 
LU 



1 EP 0 984 455 A1 2 



Description 

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 

(Field of the Invention) s 

[0001] The present invention relates to a recording 
and reproducing apparatus which includes a nonvolatile 
memory acting as a recording medium for recording dig- 
ital data and a microcomputer for performing recording w 
and reproduction of data on the nonvolatile memory. 

(Description of the Prior Art) 

[0002] Fig. 5 shows a conventional recording and u 
reproducing apparatus and Fig. 6 shows a data struc- 
ture of a nonvolatile memory of the conventional record- 
ing and reproducing apparatus of Fig. 5. In Fig. 5, the 
conventional recording and reproducing apparatus 
includes a power source 21 formed by a battery or the 20 
like, a booster 22, a decoupling capacitor 34, a flash 
memory 27 acting as the nonvolatile memory, a micro- 
computer 25, a display 33, a sound signal processor 28, 
a microphone 31 and a speaker 32. The sound signal 
processor 28 is constituted by a compression and 25 
expansion controller 29 and an A/D and D/A converting 
means 30. The power source 21 supplies a fixed volt- 
age VDD to the whole conventional recording and 
reproducing apparatus through the booster 22. The 
decoupling capacitor 34 is provided at an output of the 30 
booster 22 so as to absorb variations of the fixed volt- 
age VDD due to load variations. 
[0003] Although not specifically shown, the conven- 
tional recording and reproducing apparatus includes 
various operating switches such as a recording key, a 35 
playback key, an erasure key and a stop key. For exam- 
ple, when the recording key has been operated, sound 
picked up by the microphone 31 is converted into digital 
data by the A/D and D/A converting means 30 and then, 
the digital data is compressed by compression function 40 
of the compression and expansion controller 29 so as to 
be recorded on the flash memory 27 via the microcom- 
puter 25. On the other hand, when the playback key has 
been operated, compressed digital data recorded on 
the flash memory 27 is read out of the flash memory 27 45 
and then, is delivered to the compression and expan- 
sion controller 29 by way of the microcomputer 25 so as 
to be expanded by expansion function of the compres- 
sion and expansion controller 29. Subsequently, the 
expanded digital data is subjected to D/A conversion by 50 
the A/D and D/A converting means 30 so as to be con- 
verted into analog data such that the analog data is 
reproduced by the speaker 32. 
[0004] ' Generally, in order to perform file management 
efficiently, a file management table (referred to a "FMT', 55 
hereinafter) area (file management area) for collectively 
managing start addresses of files, etc. is provided in the 
flash memory 27 as shown in Fig. 6 so as to manage file 



information recorded in a data area of the flash memory 
27. 

[0005] In the conventional recording and reproducing 
apparatus in which the flash memory 27 is employed as 
the recording medium and file management is per- 
formed by ordinary management of the FMT, the follow- 
ing disadvantages are incurred. Namely, if the battery is 
instantaneously detached from the conventional record- 
ing and reproducing apparatus due to vibrations during 
recording, data which is being recorded is nullified. 
Meanwhile, if the battery is instantaneously detached 
from the conventional recording and reproducing appa- 
ratus during rewriting of the FMT area, the whole 
remaining file information may also be nullified. Further- 
more, if recording and reproduction are repeated in the 
conventional recording and reproducing apparatus, 
damage at the time of erasure and recording is concen- 
trated at the FMT area and thus, service life of the flash 
memory 27 is shortened extremely. 

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION 

[0006] Accordingly, an essential object of the present 
invention is to provide, with a view to eliminating the 
above mentioned drawbacks of prior art recording and 
reproducing apparatuses, a recording and reproducing 
apparatus in which recorded data is not erased even at 
the time of instantaneous interruption or voltage reduc- 
tion of a power source and service life of a flash memory 
can be lengthened by eliminating frequent access to a 
specific portion of the flash memory. 
[0007] In order to accomplish this object of the present 
invention, a recording and reproducing apparatus 
according to the present invention comprises: a nonvol- 
atile memory which ads as a recording medium for 
recording digital data; and a microcomputer which 
includes at least a RAM area and performs recording 
and reproduction on the nonvolatile memory; wherein 
the nonvolatile memory includes a first area for record- 
ing management information of whole of the nonvolatile 
memory and a second area for recording data of 
respective files; wherein the first area is a file manage- 
ment table for recording the management information 
including at least information on start addresses of the 
files and information on usable space areas of the files; 
wherein during normal operation of recording and 
reproduction of the data on the second area of the non- 
volatile memory, the management information to be 
recorded in the first area of the nonvolatile memory is 
neither written in nor read out of the first area of the non- 
volatile memory but is written in and read out of the 
RAM area of the microcomputer; wherein when a volt- 
age of a power source of the recording and reproducing 
apparatus has dropped below a predetermined level, 
the management information is written in the first area 
of the nonvolatile memory from the RAM area of the 
microcomputer. 

[0008] In accordance with the present invention, even 



2 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



4 



at the time instantaneous interruption or voltage reduc- 
tion of the power source happens, latest management 
information on the data recorded in the nonvolatile 
memory is properly written in the nonvolatile memory 
and the data recorded in the nonvolatile memory is not s 
nullified. 

[0009] Furthermore, in accordance with the present 
invention, since frequent access to the specific portion 
of the nonvolatile memory is eliminated, service life of 
the nonvolatile memory can be lengthened. 10 

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS 

[001 0] This object and features of the present inven- 
tion will become apparent from the following description is 
taken in conjunction with the preferred embodiment 
thereof with reference to the accompanying drawings in 
which: 

Fig. 1 is a block diagram of a recording and repro- 20 
ducing apparatus according to one embodiment of 
the present invention; 

Fig. 2 is a view showing data structures of a nonvol- 
atile memory and a microcomputer of the recording 25 
and reproducing apparatus of Fig. 1 ; 

Figs. 3A to 3D are flowcharts showing processing 
sequence of the microcomputer of Fig. 2; 

30 

Fig. 4 is a flowchart showing a subroutine in the 
flowcharts of Figs. 3A, 3B and 3D; 

Fig. 5 is a block diagram of a prior art recording and 
reproducing apparatus (already referred to) ; and 35 

Fig. 6 is a view showing a data structure of a non- 
volatile memory of the prior art recording and repro- 
ducing apparatus of Fig. 5 (already referred to). 

40 

[001 1 ] Before the description of the present invention 
proceeds, it is to be noted that like parts are designated 
by like reference numerals throughout several views of 
the accompanying drawings. 

45 

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION 

[0012] Hereinafter, one embodiment of the present 
invention is described with reference to Figs. 1 to 4. Fig. 
1 shows a recording and reproducing apparatus K so 
according to the one embodiment of the present inven- 
tion. In the same manner as a prior art recording and 
reproducing apparatus of Figs. 5 and 6, the recording 
and reproducing apparatus K includes a main power 
source 1 formed by a battery or the like, a booster 2, a 55 
decoupling capacitor 14, a flash memory 7 acting as a 
nonvolatile memory, a microcomputer 5, a display 13, a 
sound signal compressor 8, a microphone 11 and a 



speaker 12. The sound signal processor 8 is constituted 
by a compression and expansion controller 9 for com- 
pressing and expanding digital data so as to efficiently 
record digitized data on the flash memory 7 and an A/D 
and D/A converting means 10 for performing A/D and 
D/A conversions and is provided for recording and 
reproducing sound through A/D and D/A conversions. 
[0013] The recording and reproducing apparatus K 
further includes an auxiliary power source 3, a voltage 
detector 4, a power source switching means 6 for 
switching over a power source of the recording and 
reproducing apparatus Kto one of output of the booster 
2 and output of the auxiliary power source 3 and an 
operating panel 15 having various operating switches 
such as a recording key 15a, a playback key 15b, an 
erasure key 15c and a stop key 15d. 
[0014] The main power source 1 supplies a fixed volt- 
age VDD to the whole recording and reproducing appa- 
ratus K through the booster 2. The auxiliary power 
source 3 incorporates a secondary battery or the like 
and is recharged by output of the booster 2 so as to 
function as an auxiliary power source when the main 
power source 1 is incapable of supplying electric power 
to the recording and reproducing apparatus K. The aux- 
iliary power source 3 is provided for supplying electric 
power to the microcomputer 5 and the flash memory 7. 
The voltage detector 4 is connected to the main power 
source 1 and monitors voltage of the main power source 
1 so as to output its monitoring result to the microcom- 
puter 5. The microcomputer 5 issues commands, for 
example, outputs a power source switching signal 5a to 
the power source switching means 6 when output of the 
voltage detector 4 has dropped upon detection of volt- 
age reduction of the main power source 1 . 
[0015] The power source switching means 6 is con- 
trolled by the power source switching signal 5a from the 
microcomputer 5 and normally selects output of the 
booster 2. Writing, read-out and erasure on the flash 
memory 7 are controlled by the microcomputer 5. Input 
of sound to the sound signal processor 8 is performed 
by the microphone 11, while output of sound from the 
sound signal processor 8 is performed by the speaker 
12. The display 13 is provided for displaying operational 
states of the recording and reproducing apparatus K, 
e.g., recording and reproducing states of the flash mem- 
ory 7. The decoupling capacitor 14 is provided for out- 
put of the booster 2 so as to absorb variations of the 
fixed voltage VDD due to load variations. 
[0016] Hereinafter, operation of the recording and 
reproducing apparatus K of the above described 
arrangement is described briefly. For example, when 
the recording key 15a has been operated, sound picked 
up by the microphone 11 is converted into digital data 
by the A/D and D/A converting means 10 and then, the 
digital data is compressed by compression function of 
the compression and expansion controller 9 so as to be 
recorded on the flash memory 7 via the microcomputer 
5. Then, when the playback key 15b has been operated, 



3 



5 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



6 



the compressed digital data recorded on the flash mem- 
ory 7 is read out of the flash memory 7 by the microcom- 
puter 5 and then, is delivered to the compression and 
expansion controller 9 so as to be expanded by expan- 
sion function of the compression and expansion control- 5 
ler 9. Subsequently, the expanded digital sound data is 
subjected to D/A conversion by the AID and D/A con- 
verting means 1 0 so as to be converted into analog data 
such that the analog data is reproduced by the speaker 
12. 10 
[001 7] Then, operation of the recording and reproduc- 
ing apparatus K at the time the battery or the like form- 
ing the main power source 1 has been instantaneously 
interrupted due to fall of the recording and reproducing 
apparatus K, etc. is described. When the main power 75 
source 1 has been instantaneously interrupted, electric 
power is not supplied to the booster 2 and thus, output 
of the booster 2 also vanishes. At the same time, the 
voltage detector 4 detects voltage reduction state of the 
main power source 1 and transmits this detection result 20 
to the microcomputer 5. Upon detection of the voltage 
reduction state of the main power source 1 by the volt- 
age detector 4, the microcomputer 5 outputs the power 
source switching signal 5a to the power source switch- 
ing means 6. In response to the power source switching 25 
signal 5a from the microcomputer 5, the power source 
switching means 6 changes over supply of the fixed volt- 
age VDD of the recording and reproducing apparatus K 
to output of the auxiliary power source 3 from output of 
the booster 2 connected to the main power source 1. 30 
The auxiliary power source 3 is usually recharged by 
output of the booster 2 so as to be capable of outputting 
the fixed voltage VDD. Meanwhile, in addition to instan- 
taneous interruption of the main power source 1 due to 
fall of the recording and reproducing apparatus K etc., 35 
detection of voltage reduction of the main power source 
1 is likewise performed also when output of the battery 
or the like forming the main power source 1 has dropped 
below a predetermined level due to its consumption. 
[0018] As is clear from the foregoing description of this 40 
embodiment, even if voltage reduction happens due to 
instantaneous interruption of the main power source 1 
or consumption of the battery or the like forming the 
main power source 1 , the fixed voltage VDD of the 
recording and reproducing apparatus K can be secured. 45 
Meanwhile, in the recording and reproducing apparatus 
K, the voltage detector 4 is provided as a separate cir- 
cuit element but may also be replaced by an A/D con- 
verting function imparted to the microcomputer 5. 
[001 9] Hereinafter, file management in the flash mem- so 
ory 7 at the time digital data is recorded and reproduced 
on the flash memory 7 by the microcomputer 5 is 
described. An upper portion of Fig. 2 shows data struc- 
tures of the microcomputer 5 and the flash memory 7 of 
the recording and reproducing apparatus K. The flash 55 
memory 7 is formed by an aggregate of sectors No. 01 
and so on each acting as a minimum recording unit. The 
flash memory 7 includes a file management area acting 



as a first area and a data area acting as a second area. 
The first area is formed by the sector No. 01 , while the 
second area is formed by the sectors No. 02 and so on. 
The second area is constituted by a plurality of files 
(record data) each having a plurality of the sectors in 
accordance with its data quantity. 
[0020] The file management area acting as the first 
area is formed as a file management table (referred to 
as a "FMT", hereinafter) and is provided at a leading 
one of usable sectors of the flash memory 7, i.e., the 
sector No. 01. The FMT is a table for writing therein 
management information of the whole flash memory 7, 
which is composed of information including at least 
information on start addresses and usable space areas 
of each of the files as shown at a lower portion of Fig. 2. 
This table is designated by a first file management table 
(expressed by a "FMT1 ", hereinafter). Thus, the lower 
portion of Fig. 2 shows an internal structure of the first 
file management table FMT1 of the sector No. 01 of the 
flash memory 7. At the lower portion of Fig. 2, "ADR" 
denotes "address". Meanwhile, in the data area formed 
by the sectors No. 02 and so on, a second file manage- 
ment table (expressed by a "FMT2", hereinafter) is pro- 
vided at a leading one of sectors of each of the files. A 
vertically middle portion of Fig. 2 shows an internal 
structure of the second file management table FMT2 of 
the sector No. 07 of the flash memory 7. As shown at 
the vertically middle portion of Fig. 2, the second file 
management table FMT2 is a table for writing therein 
management information composed mainly of link infor- 
mation on the sectors of each of the files. Thus, the file 
management tables FMTs formed in the flash memory 7 
are classified into the first and second file management 
tables FMT1 and FMT2. 

[0021] Meanwhile, as shown at the upper portion of 
Fig. 2, the microcomputer 5 has a RAM area and a 
ROM area. A file management table FMT1 which is 
expressed in the same manner as the first file manage- 
ment table FMT1 of the flash memory 7 for the sake of 
convenience is provided in the RAM area and is a table 
for mainly writing therein management information of 
the whole flash memory 7, which is composed of infor- 
mation including information on start addresses and 
usable space areas of each of the files of data recorded 
in the flash memory 7 in the same manner as the first 
file management table FMT1 formed in the file manage- 
ment area acting as the first area of the flash memory 7. 
This management information FMT1 is adapted to be 
written in the RAM area of the microcomputer 5 when 
data is recorded in the data area of the flash memory 7. 
[0022] Hereinafter, operations of the recording and 
reproducing apparatus K at the time of recording, eras- 
ure, reproduction and detection of voltage reduction are 
described with reference to flowcharts of Figs. 3A to 3D 
and 4 illustrating processing sequence of fife manage- 
ment. Initially, at step S1 , initialization is performed in 
which (1 ) the file management area of the first file man- 
agement table FMT1 disposed at the leading sector No. 



4 



7 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



01 of the flash memory 7 is initialized, (2) for the file 
management table FMT1 of the RAM area of the micro- 
computer 5, start addresses of space areas and 
addresses of current space areas are set in sectors fol- 
lowing the leading sector No. 01 of the flash memory 7, 5 
(3) linked space areas are set to be nonexistent and (4) 
an area corresponding to a necessary recording period, 
for example, a maximum recording period set in the 
recording and reproducing apparatus K provided with 
the flash memory 7 is secured. w 
[0023] Thereafter, a main processing for detecting key 
input and voltage reduction is constituted by steps S20, 
S2, S8 and S14 of Fig. 3A. Step S20 is a subroutine of 
Fig. 4 in which processings are performed when voltage 
reduction of the main power source 1 due to instantane- (5 
ous interruption of the main power source 1 or con- 
sumption of the battery has been detected by 
monitoring output of the voltage detector 4 as described 
earlier. In the subroutine, it is initially judged at step S23 
whether or not voltage reduction has occurred. In the 20 
case of "NO" at step S23, the program flow proceeds to 
step S2 of Fig. 3A. On the other hand, in the case of 
"YES" at step S23, current operation, for example, 
recording or reproduction is terminated at step S24. 
Then, at step S25, the power source switching signal 5a zs 
is outputted to the power source switching means 6 so 
as to change over supply of the fixed voltage VDD to 
output of the auxiliary power source 3 from output of the 
booster 2. Subsequently, at step S26, latest manage- 
ment information written in the file management table so 
FMT1 of the RAM area of the microcomputer 5 is written 
in the first file management table FMT1 of the file man- 
agement area of the flash memory 7 such that informa- 
tion in the file management table FMT1 of the 
microcomputer 5 is equalized with that of the first file as 
management table FMT1 of the flash memory 7. Then, 
the program flow proceeds to step S2 of Fig. 3A. 
[0024] Thereafter, if it is found at step S2 that the 
recording key 15a has been inputted, the program flow 
proceeds to step S3 of Fig. 3B, in which "1 " is added to 40 
the number of the final file of the file management table 
FMT1 of the RAM area of the microcomputer 5. Then, at 
step S4, writing areas are sequentially secured from a 
leading one of the space areas. If the space areas are 
not available at this time, the writing areas are secured 45 
from the linked space areas. Subsequently, at step S5, 
data obtained from the sound signal processor 8 and 
link point information are written in a corresponding sec- 
tor of the flash memory 7. The next step S21 is identical 
with step S20 of Fig. 3A, in which processings of Fig. 4 50 
are performed. Thus, if voltage reduction has been 
detected even during recording, latest management 
information written in the file management table FMT1 
of the RAM area of the microcomputer 5 at the time is 
written in the first file management table FMT1 of the file 55 
management area of thef lash memory 7 such that infor- 
mation in the file management table FMT1 of the micro- 
computer 5 is equalized with that of the first file 



management table FMT1 of the flash memory 7. Subse- 
quently, at step S6, it is judged whether or not a request 
to terminate recording has been made, namely, opera- 
tion of the stop key 1 5d, detection of a trailing end or the 
like has been performed. In the case of "NO" at step S6, 
sector addresses are updated at step S7 and then, the 
program flow returns to step S5 such that recording is 
continued. On the contrary, in the case of "YES" at step 
S6, recording operation is terminated and the program 
flow returns to step S20 of Fig. 3A. 
[0025] Meanwhile, in the case of "NO" at step S2, it is 
judged at step S8 whether or not the erasure key 15c 
has been inputted. In the case of "YES" at step S8, it is 
judged at step S9 of Fig. 3C whether or not the files 
should be erased wholly, namely, whether the files 
should be erased wholly or individually. In the case of 
"YES" at step S9, the program flow proceeds to step 
S12 in which start addresses of space areas are set in 
the file management table FMT1 of the RAM area of the 
microcomputer 5. Thereafter, "1" is added to start 
addresses of current space areas at step S13 and then, 
the program flow returns to step S20 of Fig. 3A. On the 
other hand, in the case of "NO" at step S9, the program 
flow proceeds to step S10 in which link information of 
the corresponding file to be erased is added to an end 
of linked space areas of the file management table 
FMT1 of the RAM area of the microcomputer 5. Subse- 
quently, "1 " is subtracted from the number of the final file 
of the file management table FMT1 of the RAM area of 
the microcomputer 5 at step S1 1 so as to update data of 
the file management table FMT1 of the RAM area of the 
microcomputer 5 and then, the program flow returns to 
stepS20ofFig.3A. 

[0026] On the other hand, in the case of "NO" at step 
S8, it is judged at step S1 4 whether or not the playback 
key 15b has been inputted. In the case of "YES" at step 
S14, the program flow proceeds to step S15 of Fig. 3D, 
in which data on a playback start address is fetched 
from the corresponding file. Then, at step S16, data is 
read out of the flash memory 7 and one sector of the 
data is reproduced by the sound signal processor 8. 
The next step S22 is identical with step S20 of Fig. 3A, 
in which processings of Fig. 4 are performed. Thus, if 
voltage reduction has been detected even during repro- 
duction, latest management information written in the 
file management table FMT1 of the RAM area of the 
microcomputer 5 at the time is written in the first file 
management table FMT1 of the file management area 
of the flash memory 7 such that information in the file 
management table FMT1 of the microcomputer 5 is 
equalized with that of the first file management table 
FMT1 of the flash memory 7. Thereafter, at step S17, it 
is judged whether or not a request to terminate repro- 
duction has been made. In the case of "NO" at step 
S17, sector addresses are updated at step S18 and 
then, the program flow returns to step S16 such that 
reproduction is continued. On the other hand, in the 
case of "YES" at step S17, reproduction is terminated 



5 



and the program flow returns to step S20 of Fig. 3A. 
Meanwhile, in the case of "NO" at step S14, the pro- 
gram flow returns to step S20 directly. 
[0027] In the above described embodiment of the 
present invention, during normal operation of recording 5 
and reproduction of data on the data area of the flash 
memory 7, the management information is neither writ- 
ten in nor read out of the first file management table 
FMT1 of the flash memory 7 but is written in and read 
out of only the file management table FMT1 of the RAM w 
area of the microcomputer 5. Meanwhile, at the time of 
voltage reduction of the main power source 1, contents 
written in the file management table FMT1 of the RAM 
area of the microcomputer 5 are written in the first file 
management table FMT1 of the flash memory 7. There- is 
fore, since such operations in which the management 
information is written in and read out of the first file man- 
agement table FMT1 of the flash memory 7 each time 
data is recorded and reproduced on the data area of the 
flash memory 7, i.e., frequent access to the specific por- so 
tion of the flash memory 7 can be obviated, service life 
of the flash memory 7 can be lengthened by equalizing 
frequencies of use of the sectors of the flash memory 7. 
[0028] As is clear from the foregoing description of the 
present invention, since such operations in which the 25 
management information is written in and read out of 
the file management table of the nonvolatile memory 
each time data is recorded and reproduced on the data 
area of the nonvolatile memory, i.e., frequent access to 
the specific portion of the nonvolatile memory can be 30 
obviated, service life of the nonvolatile memory can be 
lengthened. Meanwhile, such marked effects can be 
gained that latest management information on data 
recorded on the nonvolatile memory is properly and 
positively written in the file management table of the 35 
nonvolatile memory even at the time of instantaneous 
interruption or voltage reduction of the power source 
and that the data recorded on the nonvolatile memory is 
not nullified. 

40 

Claims 

1. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) com- 
prising: 

45 

a nonvolatile memory (7) which acts as a 
recording medium for recording digital data; 
and 

a microcomputer (5) which includes at least a 
RAM area and performs recording and repro- so 
duction on the nonvolatile memory (7); 
wherein the nonvolatile memory (7) includes a 
first area for recording management informa- 
tion of whole of the nonvolatile memory (7) and 
a second area for recording data of respective 55 
files; 

wherein the first area is a file management 
table (FMT1) for recording the management 



information including at least information on 
start addresses of the files and information on 
usable space areas of the files; 
wherein during normal operation of recording 
and reproduction of the data on the second 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7), the man- 
agement information to be recorded in the first 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7) is neither 
written in nor read out of the first area of the 
nonvolatile memory (7) but is written in and 
read out of the RAM area of the microcomputer 

(5); 

wherein when a voltage of a power source (1) 
of the recording and reproducing apparatus (K) 
has dropped below a predetermined level, the 
management information is written in the first 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7) from the 
RAM area of the microcomputer (5). 

2. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) as 
claimed in Claim 1 , wherein the first area of the 
nonvolatile memory (7) is disposed at a usable 
leading sector of the nonvolatile memory (7). 

3. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) as 
claimed in Claim 1, wherein the file management 
table of the first area of the nonvolatile memory (7) 
acts as a first file management table (FMT1), while 
a further file management table formed by link infor- 
mation of each of the files of the nonvolatile mem- 
ory (7) is recorded at a leading one of sectors 
forming each of the files of the data in the second 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7) and acts as a 
second file management table (FMT2) such that the 
nonvolatile memory (7) includes the first and sec- 
ond file management tables (FMT1 , FMT2). 

4. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) com- 
prising: 

a nonvolatile memory (7) which acts as a 
recording medium for recording digital data; 
a microcomputer (5) which includes at least a 
RAM area and performs recording and repro- 
duction on the nonvolatile memory (7); 
a main power source (1); 
an auxiliary power source (3) which is 
recharged by an output of the main power 
source (1); 

a voltage detector (4) which detects a voltage 
of the main power source (1) so as to output its 
detection result to the microcomputer (5); 
a power source switching means (6) for switch- 
ing over a power source of the microcomputer 
(5) to an output of the auxiliary power source 
(3) from the output of the main power source 
(1); and 

a signal processor (8) which performs analog 



6 



11 EP 0 984 455 A1 12 



and digital signal transformation so as to record 
and reproduce the digital data on the volatile 
memory (7); 

wherein when the voltage detector (4) has 
detected that the output of the main power 5 
source (1) is lower than a predetermined level, 
the power source switching means (6) is 
arranged to switch over the power source of the 
recording and reproducing apparatus (K) to the 
output of the auxiliary power source (3) from w 
the output of the main power source (1) for use 
during normal operation. 

5. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) com- 
prising: 15 

a nonvolatile memory (7) which acts as a 
recording medium for recording digital data; 
a microcomputer (5) which includes at least a 
RAM area and performs recording and repro- 20 
duction on the nonvolatile memory (7); 
a main power source (1); 
an auxiliary power source (3) which is 
recharged by an output of the main power 
source (1); 25 
a power source switching means (6) for switch- 
ing over a power source of the microcomputer 
(5) to an output of the auxiliary power source 
(3) from the output of the main power source 
(1); and 30 
a signal processor (8) which performs analog 
and digital signal transformation so as to record 
and reproduce the digital data on the volatile 
memory (7); 

wherein the nonvolatile memory (7) includes a 35 
first area for recording management informa- 
tion of whole of the nonvolatile memory (7) and 
a second area for recording data of respective 
files; 

wherein the first area is a file management 40 
table (FMT1) for recording the management 
information including at least information on 
start addresses of the files and information on 
usable space areas of the files; 
wherein during normal operation of recording 45 
and reproduction of the data on the second 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7), the man- 
agement information to be recorded in the first 
area of the nonvolatile memory (7) is neither 
written in nor read out of the first area of the so 
nonvolatile memory (7) but is written in and 
read out of the RAM area of the microcomputer 
(5); 

wherein when a voltage of the main power 
source (1 ) has dropped below a predetermined 55 
level, the power source switching means (6) 
changes over the power source of the record- 
ing and reproducing apparatus (K) to the output 



of the auxiliary power source (3) from the out- 
put of the main power source (1) in response to 
a command (5a) from the microcomputer (5) 
and the management information recorded in 
the RAM area of the microcomputer (5) at this 
time is written in the first area of the nonvolatile 
memory (7) from the RAM area of the micro- 
computer (5). 

6. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) as 
claimed in Claim 4, wherein the main power source 
(1) includes a booster (2) for boosting the output of 
the main power source (1). 

7. A recording and reproducing apparatus (K) as 
claimed in Claim 5, wherein the main power source 
(1) includes a booster (2) for boosting the output of 
the main power source (1). 



7 



EP 0 984 455 A1 




EP 0 984 455 A1 



Fig.2 



FMT1 



SECTOR FILE 
No. MANAGEMENT 
01 AREA 

02 
03 

04 y FILE1 
05 
06 

07 , 

F|| F? I DATA 
FILE2 f AREA 



r 5 




FMT1 






4 

> 









FMT2 (SECTOR 07) 



FRONT LINK 


REAR LINK 


FILE 








POINT 


POINT 


No. 








SOUND 


SOUND 


SOUND 


SOUND 


SOUND 


SOUND 


DATA 


DATA 


DATA 


DATA 


DATA 


DATA 



FMT1 (SECTOR 01) 



FILE 01 
START ADR 


FILE 02 
START ADR 


FILE 03 
START ADR 




FILE nn-1 
START ADR 


FILE nn 
START ADR 




SPACE AREA 
START ADR 


CURRENT 
SPACE 
AREA ADR 


SPACE AREA 
RESIDUAL 
SECTOR 


LINKED SPACE 
AREA 
START ADR 


LINKED SPACE 
AREA RESIDUAL 
SECTOR 







EP 0 984 455 A1 




EP 0 984 455 A1 



Fig.3B 



S3 



ADD "1" TO FINAL 
FILE No. 



S4 SECURE WRITING AREAS 



S5 



S21 



WRITE DATA IN 
FLASH MEMORY 



PROCESSING AT THE TIME 
OF VOLTAGE REDUCTION 



YES 




S7 



UPDATE SECTOR 
ADDRESSES 









11 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



Fig.3C 




ADD LINK INFORMATION 
IN FMT1 OF RAM 



S11 



SUBTRACT "1" FROM 
FINAL FILE No. 



S12 



SET START ADDRESSES OF 
SPACE AREAS 



S13 



ADD "1" TO START 
ADDRESSES OF CURRENT 
SPACE AREAS 



12 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



Fig.3D 



S15 



S22 



FETCH PLAYBACK 
START ADDRESS 










READ AND REPRODUCE 
DATA FROM FLASH MEMORY 




I 


PROCESSING AT THE TIME 
OF VOLTAGE REDUCTION 





^REPRODUCTION 
FINISHED 



Tno 



S18 



13 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



Fig.4 




( RETURN ) 



14 



EP 0 984 455 A1 




15 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



Fig.6 PRIOR ART 



FMT 



SECTOR FILE 
No. MANAGEMENT 



> FILE2 



L DATA 
y AREA 



16 



EP 0 984 455 A1 



European Pi 
Office 



EUROPEAN SEARCH REPORT 



EP 0 924 708 A (SAEHAN INFORMATION SYSTEM 
INC ;DIGITALCAST INC (KR)) 
23 June 1999 (1999-06-23) 

* abstract; figure 3C * 

& KR 9 800 471 A (MOON KWANG-SU, HWANG 
JUNG-HA) 6 March 1998 (1998-03-06) 

US 5 787 339 A (ASAZAWA HIROSHI) 
28 July 1998 (1998-07-28) 

* column 2, line 38-55 * 

* column 3, line 65 - column 4, line 21; 
figures 2,3 * 

PATENT ABSTRACTS OF JAPAN 
vol. 1998, no. 02, 

30 January 1998 (1998-01-30) 
& JP 09 284707 A (SONY CORP), 

31 October 1997 (1997-10-31) 
abstract *