My goal was simple.
I wanted my 2GB Sansa Express to have a micro 4GB card added. I knew that more memory than that was not useful; the Sansa Express chokes on more than 1000 songs.
I also have a Rockboxed 2GB C250 V1 that could use the 2GB card I had in the Express. I know that Rockbox could use a micro SDHC card as well, but that my little routine to get the C250 connected on my computer – on with left held down to boot to Sansa, wait through database refresh, left held down while connecting to get to MSC connection – wouldn’t be useful. Rockbox supports SHDC, but it does not support USB connection to the computer, and the Sansa firmware supports connection, but doesn’t support SDHC, so I would have to use a card reader to access the card and the Sansa software to access the internal memory.
Does that sound complicated to you? It should, because it is. Rockbox is a nerdpuppet system, very configurable but insanely complicated to use, having to support long and short pushes and other artifacts of a system that combines nerds and hardware that is simplified to death. But Rockbox has true bookmarking – no Sansa does – and the menus are readable, as opposed to the selected indication on the default software that is almost invisible and unchangable.
I figured I could keep audio books on the Rockbox and use the Sansa Express for music, using the bookmarks and avoiding the need to edit playlists on Rockbox.
I did have the firmware update to support SHDC on the Sansa Express, and when my 8GB PQI card came, it was good.
Well, good when I got it to work. It turns out you have to leave empty space on the card to be usable, but in the first few days with the dammned Express I had to learn how to do the master reset (plus volume button and select button) enough times to get good at it. I had an RMA rquest in, but a few hours of jamming made it work.
I was smart enough to copy the contents to a directory on my drives, which would come in handy if I needed to refresh it.
When the PQI lost its memory, I thought it was a fluke. But by the next day, nobody would read it. It took lots of copies on all three machines (the third my HP internal cardreader, which supports SDHC but is physically flawed and needs the card to be shimmed in for connection.)
It got sent back, dead, and I got credit.
I bought an A-Data, and waited for it to come.
It was about four hours of work when I realized that even though the first copy took, the A-Data was losing memory. I wrote for an RMA, and got a lecture about SDHC not working. My response apparently loosened the fingers and I got a number; it’s going back now.
The SanDisk I ordered came today. I put it in the card reader and copied the files. Easy.
But when it went into the Express, the Express couldn’t see it.
I figured I’d use a trick I had used previously, formatting the card in the Sansa Express.
The format finished in 10 seconds, and the card was still unwritable. I put it in the card reader and ScanDisk, which showed the directories & chains were busted.
I reformatted and tried the same thing. Same problem.
On my third copy, after a clean ScanDisk, I just put it in the C250. Rockbox read it fine. On the other hand, I booted to the Sansa firmware, went to mass storage mode and tried to ScanDisk internal memory, which lead to a few reboots, even with no external card in place.
The Express, though, well, the SanDisk 4Gb is still invisible.
I think I’m getting a replacement rather than refund for the A-Data, once they decide it is dead the first day out of the box. I didn’t tell them this story; they would blame the Express, even though it still reads the 1Gb SanDisk and 2Gb PQI fine and was great with the 4Gb PQI until it died.
I have given up trying to get the Express to see the SanDisk 4Gb. Maybe the new A-Data will work in the Express for more than a week. Maybe.
In the end, the hours I have spent and the frustration that came with them, well, it makes me think that these machines really aren’t for average users.
I have a couple of the original SanDisk Digital Audio Players, and an M230 & M240, and I liked the simplicity.
But these cards slots and internal batteries just have been making me crazy.