First of all, welcome to the not-getting-ripped-off side of the music player universe. I’m amazed at how much people play for doPi players with such limited capacity.
Apple’s strategy is to stay incompatible with the rest of the known universe. So you have to build some bridges first. I know this looks long but it’s basically a one-time setup for a simple thing. You can thank Steve Jobs for the annoyance factor.
Anyway, it sounds like the Clip is getting files or a format it doesn’t understand, and it’s choking.
I’d suggest nuking it and starting over.
Take out the microSD card and see if the unit will boot up.
If it will, go to Settings/System Settings/USB Mode and make it MSC. MTP connects to Windows Media Player and Auto Detect just flips between the two modes. With a Mac you’ll always use MSC, so make it official.
(If it won’t boot up but your Mac can still read it, delete everything you have put on it and empty the trash before disconnecting.
With luck, that will let you restart the Sansa.)
Go to Settings/System Settings/Format. That will format the Sansa’s internal memory to remove everything you’ve put on.
Also, format the 64GB card to FAT32 (you just said FAT, it has to be FAT32). Are you sure it’s a working card?
OK, now reload with well-tagged mp3s.
The Sansa reads the tags of the mp3 files to list Album, Artist, etc. Its favorite tag version is ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1, but it will also read ID3v2.2, which is what my (Windows) version of iTunes puts out. ISO-8859-1 is the way Windows encodes the alphabet. Macs use UTF, which sometimes gives you funny characters onscreen or, worse, makes the unit choke. And I don’t think Sansa has caught up with ID3v2.4 yet in case your music software is doing those.
Do a little research and find a free Mac tag editor that can change the tag version (there’s probably no need to pay for one). Just Googling, I see kid3.
I just downloaded it and the Windows version has ID3v2.3 ISO-8859-1 as a default. But look in Configure kid3 to check that on your Mac.
iTunes also does Track numbers as 1/12, 2/12, etc. Sansa prefers, 01, 02, 03 and, unfortunately, will play 1/12, 10/12, 11/12, 12/12 before 2/12. kid3 has a Number Tracks under Tools.
This sounds like a PITA but it’s basically a five-second operation. Start kid3, go to the album folder, highlight all the files, Number Tracks with 01 as the first track. Bingo, they’re renumbered and ID3v2.3
Do that with each album before loading the card. Good tags = a happy Sansa.
There are more potential tag problems. Some people load album art into each track, and the Sansa can choke on a giant image. If you’re still crashing, you may need to find another tag editor to get that art out.
And one more caveat. 64GB is a whole lot of storage. The Sansa has a size limit on its database, the list of information from the tags, which is basically a text file (MTABLE.sys). If you have a lot of little files you are going to max out the database and it won’t display everything. I have a 32GB card filled with mp3s at 320kbps and it shows them all. But if you were using the crappy iTunes default of 128kbps, plus a card double the size, you’re probably going to max out the database.
The solution to that is the alternative open-source firmware, Rockbox, at www.rockbox.org. But that’s another post. First, nuke your Clip+ and get it working again.
You can also reload the Sansa firmware to make sure you have the latest. You can get it from this thread:
Download the .zip file, unzip it, drag the folder onto the Clip+ root directory (the drive letter), disconnect and the firmware will install itself. You’ll have to go to Settings/System Settings/USB mode again and set it to MSC.