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Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-30-2012

Clip+ broken (memory or memory controller?)

Two days ago my Clip+ stopped playing music in the middle of a track and after that it did not respond to any key pressed. The only way to switch it off was to hold the on/off button for about half a minute. Then it just would not switch on. After trying to reset it again I still had no luck. No response by connecting to the computer. (btw. I was using rockbox 3.10 as a firmware)

 

I waited until the battery supposedly depleted, and tried to switch it on then by connecting it to the computer. Surprisingly it switched on, viewing the usual file transfer screen of the clip+, but there was no working drive. Windows wants to format it, linux just can't mount it. I checked, how the device looked like, and only a 4 MB device is recognized (instead of 8GB). I cannot be formatted nor partitioned.

After detaching and pulling out it cannot jump back to the normal menu (original Sansa) as it used to. Thus I cannot perform a format.

 

Sometimes it switches on, and boots into rockbox. Then the problem is, that the filesystem is useless. I can still browse the folders, but cannot do much more. Playlist file is corrupted, cannot delete it. Cannot delete anything else either. Neither music nor any other files.

 

It was completely dry, no phisical harm was done to it before and it is more than 2 years old.

 

I thought this 4 Mb partition might be for the firmware, but it is much larger so it cannot be "dd"-d on it.

 

So it looks like I can trow it away, but these moments of partial ressurrections prevent me to do that. This 4mb large device, however, makes me think of a memory problem, which would be strange regarding the relatively rare copy to the device. Does anyone have any ideas how to make sure if it is a hardware fault?

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SanDisk Guru
Posts: 1,265
Registered: ‎04-24-2009

Re: Clip+ broken (memory or memory controller?)


@gozvakond wrote:

 

I waited until the battery supposedly depleted, and tried to switch it on then by connecting it to the computer. Surprisingly it switched on, viewing the usual file transfer screen of the clip+, but there was no working drive. Windows wants to format it, linux just can't mount it. I checked, how the device looked like, and only a 4 MB device is recognized (instead of 8GB). I cannot be formatted nor partitioned.


The 4MB 'disk' means the NAND memory didn't respond during power up.  In that state the storage is fully disconnected and its not possible to write to the disk.  Usually this means the NAND is physically broken.
Being able to boot into rockbox but seeing no files is interesting.  During bootup rockbox will copy the file structure into RAM so that it can be browsed quickly without having to access slower storage.  It sounds like the memory sometimes works, but then stops by the time the player is booted.  That would mean you could see the file structure, but reading the contents of files would fail, just as you've seen.
Since the memory seems intact enough that rockbox can sometimes read the file structure, I tend to think it might be something like a lose solder connection on the board.  You could open the player and see if theres a damaged solder, but it might just be easier to buy a new player.  I've seen used Clip+ players go for <25 dollars online.  
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Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-30-2012

Re: Clip+ broken (memory or memory controller?)


@saratoga wrote:

Since the memory seems intact enough that rockbox can sometimes read the file structure, I tend to think it might be something like a lose solder connection on the board.  You could open the player and see if theres a damaged solder, but it might just be easier to buy a new player.  I've seen used Clip+ players go for <25 dollars online.  

Thank you for your fast response! I was also thinking of opening it, at least to see whether there is any physical error. Your explanation is very likely to describe the real problem. If the problem is only one junction, I may be able to repair it, an SMD reworking station lies around somewhere. I have been able to repair a faulty PGA laptop GPU with a heat gun, I may have some chance to fix this one also. Thanks again, i will report what I find.