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Author Topic: Sansa Clip+ and Rockbox  (Read 18816 times)
oblivion
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« on: March 04, 2012, 05:27:08 PM »

Having read recent reviews of the Sansa Clip MP3s (and the rave reviews of Rockbox) in this very forum, I've just bought into the concept. 8Gb Sansa Clip + was under £30 and a respected Amazon-alike here in the UK was selling 32Gb Sandisk micro SDHC cards for £18. So now I have a 40Gb MP3 player for less than £50, which is just unimaginable...

So. Rockboxing it was straightforward -- although I haven't got completely comfortable with the interface yet (and I have yet to work out a good way to build playlists that aren't album- or artist-based) -- but my main problem is... in order to transfer music to it, I have to start it with the original firmware, because the Rockbox USB isn't recognised. With a nearly-full 32Gb card (almost my entire collection!) when I boot it into Sansa-mode, it rebuilds the music library... and takes AGES.

Is that just how it's going to be? Should I have formatted the card differently?

But the sound quality is superb. If I have to live with it, I guess I'll cope...
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superboyac
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« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2012, 09:37:46 PM »

Having read recent reviews of the Sansa Clip MP3s (and the rave reviews of Rockbox) in this very forum, I've just bought into the concept. 8Gb Sansa Clip + was under £30 and a respected Amazon-alike here in the UK was selling 32Gb Sandisk micro SDHC cards for £18. So now I have a 40Gb MP3 player for less than £50, which is just unimaginable...

So. Rockboxing it was straightforward -- although I haven't got completely comfortable with the interface yet (and I have yet to work out a good way to build playlists that aren't album- or artist-based) -- but my main problem is... in order to transfer music to it, I have to start it with the original firmware, because the Rockbox USB isn't recognised. With a nearly-full 32Gb card (almost my entire collection!) when I boot it into Sansa-mode, it rebuilds the music library... and takes AGES.

Is that just how it's going to be? Should I have formatted the card differently?

But the sound quality is superb. If I have to live with it, I guess I'll cope...
Oh yeah...I do remember experiencing that also.  If you're like me and you use rockbox only, you can skip the rebuilding step.  That's just for the stock sansa firmware.  I forgot how I got it to skip the rebuilding process...i think i did actually get it connected by usb without needing to exit rockbox.  So it was usb plugged into my computer AND rockbox was still running.  I was able to transfer files and everything.  I think you have to hold a button while plugging it in or something like that.
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tomos
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2012, 09:46:28 AM »

It sounds like the card is working for you, but I remembered this from the other thread, & wondered - could the problem be related to the size of the card?

IN preparation for my next vacation, I purchased the Sansa Clip Zip.  Not because I didn't already have 3 or 4 mp3 players, just because.  It's really quite cool!!  I'm no mp3 player expert, but I have followed it closely over the years simply because I'm all about music.  I'll break down what makes this thing so freaking cool.  If you've ever had a Sansa Clip of any model, I'm probably preaching to the choir:
1) Super cheap.  I got the 8GB model for $70, and the 4 GB model is $50.

Good to know as I just ordered on (for £30 (GBP) for the 8Gb model plus model). A Xmas present for a friend for the gym.

I must admit I am tempted to get one too - just for the microSDHC slot (max 16Gb by the way - don't know why as I thought one of the pounts of SDHC was to remove artificial capacity limits).
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oblivion
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2012, 10:12:18 AM »

Probably only indirectly. The card is definitely supported (I've checked the Sandisk forum) and the only vaguely possible issue I saw that might be relevant was the size of the allocation units at format time. The default is 16k: Sandisk recommend 32k; James Q Randombloke on the forum said 64k.

Copying 30Gb onto the card isn't exactly quick. Wink I've reformatted it with 64k and seen no difference; I either should have gone with the Sandisk recommendation or it's Just How It Is. (I'm inclined to stick with 64k anyway, it should keep the FAT smaller.)

I really do need to stop messing around with it, though. It's needed a hard power off a few times to deal with the apparent confusion I'm causing it. smiley
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Innuendo
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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2012, 11:29:43 AM »

I think the 16 GB limit was a limitation of the Rockbox firmware as the stock firmware could access larger SDHC cards with no problem. I say *was* because I'm pretty sure the Rockbox devs worked through that limitation & now their firmware can access cards as large as the stock firmware can now.
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superboyac
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« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2012, 11:31:21 AM »

I still think if you figure out how to connect the device to the pc in rockbox mode, all your problems will go away.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2012, 11:41:11 AM »

Can't remember where I saw the 16Gb limit but I think it was from the SanDisk website.

It appears they have now revised that to 32Gb (maybe a firmware update): http://kb.sandisk.com/app/answers/detail/a_id

Which file formats are supported by RockBox? Does it support audible?
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Deozaan
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« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2012, 12:08:37 PM »

I'm also trying to figure out how to connect it to my PC. In Windows 7 I just plug it in and it automatically pops up some SanDisk thing with information about the device and free space, etc. But when I plug it into my Windows XP netbook, XP doesn't even seem to recognize that there's a new USB device plugged in. It simply charges.

How can I connect the Sansa ZipClip to my machine and mount it like a normal USB device on XP? Or even on Windows 7? I don't like the SanDisk driver/software. It sometimes does strange things to the music, like renaming the files/folders on the device, so they are hard to find using the RockBox firmware and they play out of their proper order.

Any tips on getting this thing to mount like a regular USB storage device on XP and Windows 7?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2012, 01:13:47 PM »

It is supplied with USB mode set to Mass Storage (MSC) (because Apple doesn't work with MTP mode).

Change the USB mode in the device itself to MTP and it works fine.

Press home and find Settings, go to System Settings and then USBMode - select MTP, plug it in to your PC and it should work.
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oblivion
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2012, 04:09:29 AM »

I still think if you figure out how to connect the device to the pc in rockbox mode, all your problems will go away.
Far as I can tell from the docs (and my fumble-fingered testing Wink ) if you attach a powered USB connection to a switched-off Rockboxed Clip+, it starts up in its native (Sandisk) firmware and the preferred connection type (MSC seems to be what the Rockbox guys suggest and means it presents as a drive rather than a media player). Alternatively, you switch it on while holding <left> before connecting it -- which also has it running the native firmware.

However... all my problems with slow database updates are currently academic. Using my shiny new gadget in the car yesterday (connected to an FM transmitter that the car stereo is tuned to) I forgot to disconnect the wires when I got out of the car in the supermarket carpark. The audio cable got shut in the car door, the Clip unclipped and hit the ground and although I picked it up (with a few carefully chosen Words that would have even shocked any passing service personnel) I didn't discover until this morning that the 32Gb SD card is no longer in the device.

Like I'm going to find something the size of my fingernail in a carpark. Sick Although I'm going to take a long lunchbreak today...)

I suppose I should amuse myself with the idea that someone will notice and retrieve it, stick it in their phone and be so unimpressed with my choice of music that it gets handed in as lost property.   Wink
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 05:47:22 AM »

Bummer - expensive accident!
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superboyac
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« Reply #11 on: March 06, 2012, 08:51:57 AM »

 tellme oh no!

But DC brings luck in situations like this:
Quote
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oblivion
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« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2012, 08:55:53 AM »

Bummer - expensive accident!
Indeed. I have done my myopic best to examine the area but 15 hours  or more had passed and it was probably too much to hope. Sad

I think I may see if I can find some sort of skin for it that doesn't have an opening for the SD slot, before risking any repetition.  embarassed


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oblivion
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« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2012, 09:03:38 AM »

But DC brings luck in situations like this:
I shall keep my various crossable digits crossed, then. smiley

Perhaps I should get some sort of DC charm to hang round my neck. A tiny silver Cody perhaps. Hm. I sense a marketing opportunity... smiley
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superboyac
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« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2012, 09:06:18 AM »

I think you can find it.  Who's going to pick it up??  It may not even be broken!
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2012, 09:20:18 AM »

I think I may see if I can find some sort of skin for it that doesn't have an opening for the SD slot

Small strip of black vinyl tape should do it.
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oblivion
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 11:14:36 AM »

Small strip of black vinyl tape should do it.
The cheapest solutions are very often the best. smiley Thmbsup
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oblivion
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« Reply #17 on: March 06, 2012, 11:20:00 AM »

I think you can find it.
I've been and looked. No sign. Sad

Quote
Who's going to pick it up?? 
A 32Gb card that'd go in almost any non-Sony cellphone?

Hm. You're probably right. Wink

Quote
It may not even be broken!
I recall the packaging saying that it's waterproof and extremely robust. I'm sure you're right!

But I have a vague idea that I'll never know either way. Sad
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Edvard
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« Reply #18 on: March 06, 2012, 08:58:36 PM »

I have a Clip, not the Clip+, and it always fired up as a drive for me with Rockbox.
Then again, different model and without extra chip.
Sorry to hear of your loss, better luck next time, eh?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2012, 04:33:51 AM »

Can someone clarify for me:

If you install RockBox on a Clip+ does that mean you can use either firmare? RockBox by default but still access the original firmware (and therefore file formats RockBox doesn't support such as Audible)?
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oblivion
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« Reply #20 on: March 07, 2012, 05:00:18 AM »

If you install RockBox on a Clip+ does that mean you can use either firmare? RockBox by default but still access the original firmware (and therefore file formats RockBox doesn't support such as Audible)?

Yes.

If you power up while holding the Left button down, it starts the original Sansa firmware.

You can also put another firmware file onto the system with a .sansa extension and "play" it -- presumably so you can test different versions of the Sansa firmware without actually installing them. (See p151 of the current Rockbox Sansa Clip Plus manual.)
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« Reply #21 on: March 07, 2012, 09:42:41 AM »

That's the great thing about Rockbox. If things go pear-shaped, you can always retreat back to the factory firmware to regroup & figure out what went wrong.

Been a long time since I ran a PMP with Rockbox, but what always amazed my friends was my ability to play GameBoy games on my mp3 player. Wink
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #22 on: March 07, 2012, 10:17:57 AM »

If you install RockBox on a Clip+ does that mean you can use either firmare? RockBox by default but still access the original firmware (and therefore file formats RockBox doesn't support such as Audible)?

Yes.

If you power up while holding the Left button down, it starts the original Sansa firmware.

You can also put another firmware file onto the system with a .sansa extension and "play" it -- presumably so you can test different versions of the Sansa firmware without actually installing them. (See p151 of the current Rockbox Sansa Clip Plus manual.)


Hmmm - was going to give it a go but this gave me pause for thought:

Quote
DRM capability. It is possible that installation of the bootloader may lead to you permanently
losing the ability to playback files with DRM. (page 13)

I don't have much DRM music but I do want to use Audible audiobooks.
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Edvard
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« Reply #23 on: March 07, 2012, 01:21:11 PM »

While I would advocate DRM-free alternatives when possible, neither am I an advocate of circumvention if the original files are reasonably usable with the DRM.

That said, can they be easily converted to another format?
I realize that Audible would probably frown on the practice, but honest folk who simply want to enjoy their product shouldn't be on their worry list...
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #24 on: March 07, 2012, 01:46:41 PM »

There are ways to convert audible files but they are not straightforward and tedious (software) or very laborious - burn the books to CD and then rip them back to MP3 - trouble is each book can be between 6 and 10 CDs.
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