Actually, there is no fixed maximum of files on the Sansa. There is a limit to the size of the database–Artist, Album, etc., drawn from the ID3 tags in the files–but that is a number of characters, not number of files. Longer tags = smaller number of files shown on the screen because the database gets too big. Some albums disappear.
I have a 32GB card in mine and yes, it’s pretty slow to refresh. But unless I add or remove something, it doesn’t refresh again.
Try the basic fixes.
See if you still have the problem with the card removed from the unit. That would point to trouble with the card or slot.
Reload the firmware from the firmware update thread. Use the manual method–you don’t need to have the Updater running all the time.
- Make sure you have copies of all the files on the unit, because they’ll be erased, and format the unit and card either through the unit (Settings/System Settings/Format) or via Windows in MSC mode (Settings/System Settings/USB Mode/MSC), formatting to FAT32.
Then add your files 10 or 20 albums at a time, let it refresh, add some more. If one batch starts the problem, there may be a file the unit doesn’t like in that batch.
Remember, the Clip is really not very intelligent–think how small its tiny brain has to be–and sometimes one bad file can make it go bonkers.
Another thing you can do, which is maybe a 3-minute job to set up and a five-second job before transferring an album, is to install mp3tag, free software that makes tags the Clip likes. Tags are not standardized, and they are at some point typed in by humans, so even legitimate ones can trip up the unit.
Get the free program mp3tag. http://www.mp3tag.de/en/
When you install it let it add itself to context menus (an option while installing).
After it installs, start mp3tag and go to Tools/Options/Tags/Mpeg and under Write choose ID3v2.3 and ISO-8859-1. (ISO-8859-1 is how Windows displays English language text.) Make sure those are saved.
When you want to send an album over to the Sansa, right-click on it and choose mp3tag to open it. Highlight all the files and, under File, click Save Tag. This cleans them up.
Another useful function in mp3tag is Tools/Auto-numbering Wizard. Make sure the files are in playing order, top to bottom, and choose the Leading Zeroes option. If an album has more than 10 tracks and they are labeled, 1, 2, 3, etc., the Clip will play 1, 11, 12, 13, before 2. Leading Zeroes fixes that. If you run that function, you’ve also saved the tags, so no need to do that again. Highlight, a few clicks, fixed.