Player no longer functional after attempted upgrade

After eyeing the Sansa Express digital audio MP3 player for more than a year, I finally bought the 2GB one. I just had to have expandable storage and subscription music support, and the OLED for daytime use sealed the deal. I’ve had it for four days and only just got to try a few things with it.

 

The first thing I tried was to load up some high-quality 24bit WAV files mastered from audio production applications (Reason), but I quickly discovered that they stutter/slow down after display goes blank from inactivity (adjustable between 3-seconds to 3-minutes in settings). This is intolerable because, at best, it requires me to press a button more than once every three minutes and sacrifice battery life to circumvent it. I expected that it would be fixed in a firmware update due to advertised WAV playback. This was later re-enforced when I discovered that it applied to all waveform audio (WAV) playback, though the player died fully before I could get it to successfully play a WAV file from a standard CD.

 

After encountering that problem, I updated the player using Sansa Updater. Progress in main window stopped at 50% while a pop-up dialog with its own progress indicator said that the update “successfully completed.” I was unable to close the main window as the application caused Explorer to stop responding. Even the Task Manager could not kill the Explorer process until I terminated the “Sansa Updater” process. I was then able to use the Task Manager to re-launch Explorer to restore functionality to Windows.

 

After this ordeal, the settings inside the player reported the updated firmware version, leading me to believe that it was successful as reported by the dialog that did not crash. Even so, I found that WAV playback did not improve. I had not yet loaded nor attempted to playback a standard WAV file ripped from an audio CD.

 

I then synchronized a new WAV file ripped from a retail CD. When selected for playback, the track would not play; one of the original WAV files I had synced would play instead. Selecting the track for playback a second time results in the track never starting and locking up with the pause indicator displayed (no “Play” indicator shown).

 

I then attempted to load an audio file with an alternate method as depicted in the User’s Guide, but the “Media folder” it mentions is not seen on the device in MTP mode (the “only” mode the device supports according to the device’s forum). I determined that “Media” was simply referring to the type of folders containing media and not a folder name, so I replaced a converted file with the source (uncompressed) file in an attempt to get the player to play it.

 

After this, the device only displayed half a SanDisk logo after being unplugged/booted. After a hard reset, the device would always lockup again displaying either a whole SanDisk logo (happened once) or half of one (happened many times). When plugging back into the PC, the device would lock up and report an error in the Windows Device Manager.

 

Updating the device again would cause it to reconnect and Windows would report a High-Speed USB 2.0 device in low-speed port, despite both being USB 2.0. Even so, the update process would continue and report that the player needs to be formatted. Formatting would fail at around 50%. When the failure message is dismissed, the dialog window displays a message indicating that the player was updated with the latest firmware.

 

After this update/failed format, unplugging the device and booting causes it to display “rebuilding database” repeatedly with a portion of the battery indicator on the wrong side of the display (upper-left hand side; left side of indicator was missing/off the screen). I have to do a hard reset to keep it from running dead. Plugging it into a PC to charge will result in it connecting and disconnecting repeatedly.

 

Please advise me on what to do next.

 

Despite searching for “WAV Express” with no results on the Sansa forums before even the first firmware update gone awry, I then manually found reports from others in the Sansa Express sub-forum that this is a problem with all Sansa Express players with all WAV files and even affects FM recordings (FM playback during recording). If so, this should be noted in a “known errata” section “stickied” at the top of the forum so that others will not needlessly update the firmware and encounter problems like these. Instead, I find that there are not even any change logs for firmware updates! Furthermore, I read many indications that Sansa is ending firmware updates for this player. If this is true and Sansa is truly ending firmware updates without restoring a functional WAV playback feature as advertised, then there simply must be a replacement program in place.

 

It looks like this player is useless no matter what my intentions. I could fill it up with WAV files and have a problem playing them, or I could fill it up with lossy music and have trouble when I hit 1,000 songs. The 1,000 song limit and the lack of advertised WAV support are VERY concerning. Why support SDHC if you can’t support the amount of songs that will allow? Even my $20 4GB card allows me to hold more full-length songs than that EASILY. Why continue to advertise WAV support if you have no intention of fixing it? If there are no more firmware updates to give it the advertised functionality, then you have an obligation to refund EVERY customer regardless of waranty or else you risk a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all customers.

use this zip file instead of sansa updater http://forums.sandisk.com/sansa/board/message?board.id=express&thread.id=1143 to reinstall it.    Please tell me if it works.

CZroe wrote:

After eyeing the Sansa Express digital audio MP3 player for more than a year, I finally bought the 2GB one. I just had to have expandable storage and subscription music support, and the OLED for daytime use sealed the deal. I’ve had it for four days and only just got to try a few things with it.

 

The first thing I tried was to load up some high-quality 24bit WAV files mastered from audio production applications (Reason), but I quickly discovered that they stutter/slow down after display goes blank from inactivity (adjustable between 3-seconds to 3-minutes in settings). This is intolerable because, at best, it requires me to press a button more than once every three minutes and sacrifice battery life to circumvent it. I expected that it would be fixed in a firmware update due to advertised WAV playback. This was later re-enforced when I discovered that it applied to all waveform audio (WAV) playback, though the player died fully before I could get it to successfully play a WAV file from a standard CD.

 

After encountering that problem, I updated the player using Sansa Updater. Progress in main window stopped at 50% while a pop-up dialog with its own progress indicator said that the update “successfully completed.” I was unable to close the main window as the application caused Explorer to stop responding. Even the Task Manager could not kill the Explorer process until I terminated the “Sansa Updater” process. I was then able to use the Task Manager to re-launch Explorer to restore functionality to Windows.

 

After this ordeal, the settings inside the player reported the updated firmware version, leading me to believe that it was successful as reported by the dialog that did not crash. Even so, I found that WAV playback did not improve. I had not yet loaded nor attempted to playback a standard WAV file ripped from an audio CD.

 

I then synchronized a new WAV file ripped from a retail CD. When selected for playback, the track would not play; one of the original WAV files I had synced would play instead. Selecting the track for playback a second time results in the track never starting and locking up with the pause indicator displayed (no “Play” indicator shown).

 

I then attempted to load an audio file with an alternate method as depicted in the User’s Guide, but the “Media folder” it mentions is not seen on the device in MTP mode (the “only” mode the device supports according to the device’s forum). I determined that “Media” was simply referring to the type of folders containing media and not a folder name, so I replaced a converted file with the source (uncompressed) file in an attempt to get the player to play it.

 

After this, the device only displayed half a SanDisk logo after being unplugged/booted. After a hard reset, the device would always lockup again displaying either a whole SanDisk logo (happened once) or half of one (happened many times). When plugging back into the PC, the device would lock up and report an error in the Windows Device Manager.

 

Updating the device again would cause it to reconnect and Windows would report a High-Speed USB 2.0 device in low-speed port, despite both being USB 2.0. Even so, the update process would continue and report that the player needs to be formatted. Formatting would fail at around 50%. When the failure message is dismissed, the dialog window displays a message indicating that the player was updated with the latest firmware.

 

After this update/failed format, unplugging the device and booting causes it to display “rebuilding database” repeatedly with a portion of the battery indicator on the wrong side of the display (upper-left hand side; left side of indicator was missing/off the screen). I have to do a hard reset to keep it from running dead. Plugging it into a PC to charge will result in it connecting and disconnecting repeatedly.

 

Please advise me on what to do next.

 

Despite searching for “WAV Express” with no results on the Sansa forums before even the first firmware update gone awry, I then manually found reports from others in the Sansa Express sub-forum that this is a problem with all Sansa Express players with all WAV files and even affects FM recordings (FM playback during recording). If so, this should be noted in a “known errata” section “stickied” at the top of the forum so that others will not needlessly update the firmware and encounter problems like these. Instead, I find that there are not even any change logs for firmware updates! Furthermore, I read many indications that Sansa is ending firmware updates for this player. If this is true and Sansa is truly ending firmware updates without restoring a functional WAV playback feature as advertised, then there simply must be a replacement program in place.

 

It looks like this player is useless no matter what my intentions. I could fill it up with WAV files and have a problem playing them, or I could fill it up with lossy music and have trouble when I hit 1,000 songs. The 1,000 song limit and the lack of advertised WAV support are VERY concerning. Why support SDHC if you can’t support the amount of songs that will allow? Even my $20 4GB card allows me to hold more full-length songs than that EASILY. Why continue to advertise WAV support if you have no intention of fixing it? If there are no more firmware updates to give it the advertised functionality, then you have an obligation to refund EVERY customer regardless of waranty or else you risk a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all customers.

Lawsuit happy america strikes again.

You’re saying that, in other countries, you can get away with printing “IT CURES AIDS!” on the packaging and not be expected to make it work for that purpose?!

* CZroe rolls eyes, even though nobody can see

CZroe wrote:
You’re saying that, in other countries, you can get away with printing “IT CURES AIDS!” on the packaging and not be expected to make it work for that purpose?!

* CZroe rolls eyes, even though nobody can see

haha, im not saying that at all. I just think Americans are way to happy to jump on a lawsuit over such miniscule issues.

Edit: I jsut re-read some of your stuff, am I right in understanding that you believe the express supporting .wav files? Because i only see mp3 and wma listed, nowhere do I see support for .wav files.

Although it probably records in .wav, I never saw a point where it supported playing your transfered .wav files. It probably will, but you would have to select it as if you were playing back a recording. Its probably coded in the firmware that way.

And if im to understand correctly, the only time the 1000 limit becomes an issue is when you select “play all” on your device. This was mentioned in another thread around here. Perhaps playing your content back by artist / genre or something to that effect woudl remedy your issues.

Message Edited by Enigma on 03-05-2008 03:35 PM

Enigma,

Reducing my options to some select artist, genre, or anything else is an ill formed bandaid.  I have a couple thousand songs that would (should) fit on this player in 64k WMA that I would like to randomly play.

I have a SanDisk e140 player THAT HAD NO PROBLEM DOING THIS.

Now years later the Express arrives and can’t handle more than 1000.  It’s total lack of foresight, or offshored engineering, or just plain idiocy that caused this.  Not even mentioning that it likes to randomly reset itself, and out in full sun you don’t know until well, the music doesn’t start, and then you have to find some shade to tell it you want you menu’s in English etc…  Oh yea, then there is the random play problem…

It’s a lackluster player at best, in spite of your best efforts to defend it.  I have moved on and would like to use it as a USB drive, but alas no MSC mode.

No joy.

timboaz

needhelp2 :

That appears to have been leaked from a support email. I was hoping to get a similar email response to this post. I don’t want to void my warranty by trying that until they tell me to try it. Thanks though.

Enigma :
I asked my brother to reply for me because I was on my way to work. I think he over-stated the point! Anyway, thanks for the potential work-around. To be sure, there absolutely is claimed WAV support:

timboaz :

Especially seeing as how it is a kind of a 1st gen “Shuffle” replacement that can’t shuffle 1K songs. Remember how much flak the Motorola ROKR (the first iTunes-compatible phone) took for having an arbitrary limit to the amount of songs? With over 1K songs on an SDHC card, shuffle becomes even more appealing. Sorting by artist, album, etc, doesn’t always work. For instance, I’d like to carry around tons of music from ocremix.com, but the tags make it near impossible to organize in a useful manner due to being submissions from a wide array of sources. The most usefull way to sort them, as they are sorted on the website, isn’t even possible: It’s a video-game music remix site organized by game/game series name.

timboaz wrote:
Enigma,

Reducing my options to some select artist, genre, or anything else is an ill formed bandaid.  I have a couple thousand songs that would (should) fit on this player in 64k WMA that I would like to randomly play.

I have a SanDisk e140 player THAT HAD NO PROBLEM DOING THIS.

Now years later the Express arrives and can’t handle more than 1000.  It’s total lack of foresight, or offshored engineering, or just plain idiocy that caused this.  Not even mentioning that it likes to randomly reset itself, and out in full sun you don’t know until well, the music doesn’t start, and then you have to find some shade to tell it you want you menu’s in English etc…  Oh yea, then there is the random play problem…

It’s a lackluster player at best, in spite of your best efforts to defend it.  I have moved on and would like to use it as a USB drive, but alas no MSC mode.

No joy.

timboaz

Somebody takes the life in mp3 players a little too seriously. Dont take my post as a defense of the product, merely an open mind… sharing my opinion. Don’t worry, I agree with you… the sansa express did a horrible job in regards to its roles as an mp3 player, and its a great thing its pulled off the market.

But, somehow, I think I am going to be able to manage to wake up tommorrow, without claiming a class action lawsuit.

Maybe its just me, but I just live and learn. I don’t call my lawyer because I have to deal without listening to my mp3 player.

Message Edited by Enigma on 03-06-2008 07:33 AM

just email tech support.  i am sure they will email it to you. they emailed me the 01.00.15F firmware

Class-action isn’t an example of “lawsuit-happy America.” I have never claimed in class-actions settlements that I have been entitled to. The very nature is to force the party to live up to their obligation, not reward a single person beyond what is reasonable. You can’t just duck something like that with a limited warranty/return period.

BTW, the store had another, I exchanged it. Unfortunately, the clerk gave me an opened one from behind the counter and assumed that the other clerk tested it and set it aside for me when I called, but it was clearly another return (even the strap was opened). It seems to work though, and it already has the latest firmware, but I haven’t checked to see if it has the scratchy headphone jack my sister’s 1GB player from Best Buy had. Even so, it doesn’t play WAV, so I still have to call them.

what if you guys load your .wav files in the record folder, and then try to play it back by selecting the same method to playback recordings?