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-   -   Alternative firmware development (http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showthread.php?t=305)

zivan56 05-29-2006 09:45 PM

Alternative firmware development
Well, it looks like Sandisk has contacted RockBox to see if they can port RockBox to it (link).
From what I have gathered, this should not be to difficult to do due to the similarity to the iPod Nano 2nd gen (PP5022).
Either way, I have created a utility which should extract firmware from your current player. It may also be able to write it, but I have not tested it.
download it here.
I accept no responsibility if this bricks your device, I have only tested it for read support
basically, to back up your firmware, run:
sansapatcher -r 1 firm.bak
running it without any arguments will produce help instructions, 1 means next fixed drive after C:; so D: or E: (CD drives don't count). Running it with the -l option will give you a partition table, so you can see for sure if the device you specified is correct (there is a hidden 20mb parition which stands out). Keep in mind if you choose the wrong drive for writing, you could damage/delete the drive you specified
This should create a ~20Mb firmware backup file.

The Sansa uses a hidden second partition to store its firmware, and a basic bootloader at the beginning of the drive to jump to it. There is some extra data before what the firmware files by Sansa provide, and it may hold region codes or something similar (or it may just be standard boot stuff). There is also quite a bit more space to add new code, and it may be possible to have 2 firmwares in places (so it could dual boot). Well that is all I have been able to gather from the software side of things. If someone could post high res scans of the board itself, that would be help development quite a bit.

In short, Rockbox development may soon start if Sandisk and they work together (and hopefully provide the devs over there with the hardware). At least there is an easy way to get new firmware to the device (same basic way as the iPod).

xatax 05-29-2006 09:50 PM

This would be godlike...isn't? :D
Thank you for your effort making the utility and trying to support the Sansa.

Moordryd 05-29-2006 10:57 PM

Great work. Porting Rockbox would be ideal.

EnzoTen 05-30-2006 12:33 AM

I have high res versions of this and many other pics of the board. I shot all the photos in 7MP when i disassembled it. I have the ones you seen in the review as well as 15 or so more. Let me know who i can give them to or where i should post them.

I have some programming knowlege and i can take apart nearly any player with my eyes closed... let me know if i can help.


zivan56 05-30-2006 12:36 AM

Thanks for the pics. If you have a scanner, you can easily scan the PCB from the front/back. A camera would work too. Basically what is needed is to see the traces and the writing on each chip. It might be easier to just take a pic of each chip on there if you don't have access to a scanner.
As for where to put it, the best bet would probably be on the forum above. Or if you want PM me with a link to them and I can do it.

tonysan 06-01-2006 10:59 PM

I think we should pressure sandisk to support a rockbox development, like sending few sansa e200s to the rockbox developers would be nice.

Personally, I think rockbox is one stone two birds for Sandisk. RockBox has everything that sandisk firmware lacks of and more. Also sandisk can reduce their spending to develop their firmware.

Slaughter 06-02-2006 08:24 AM

If you go over to the Rockbox site, they won't just make the firmware for Sandisk, they will only answer questions and help someone who wants to make the firmware. That is the impression I got from reading their forums.

Moordryd 06-02-2006 02:27 PM

Rockbox for e200 is a GO!

EnzoTen 06-02-2006 02:43 PM

Lets get some more attention to this so it gets moving... dig it...


smeakim 06-02-2006 02:57 PM

I wish I was a developer I would be jumping all over this. I would love to help if I knew what I was doing. Hopefully this gets moving as I would love mpg4 support and more codec support. Crossing Fingers.

zivan56 06-02-2006 04:11 PM

The story is now in slashdot.org!

EnzoTen 06-02-2006 04:34 PM

yeah too bad cnet never sites thier sources :rolleyes:

DLF 06-02-2006 04:50 PM

Speaking of /.
Some commenter referred to this site as "SanDisk-sponsored" like iDont.com

There can be no truth to that whatsoever, right?


Originally Posted by zivan56
The story is now in slashdot.org!

winste2 06-02-2006 04:54 PM

slashdot.org appears to be an apple website. Look at the address when you link to it, it actually starts "apple.slashdot.org".

zivan56 06-02-2006 04:59 PM


Originally Posted by DLF
Some commenter referred to this site as "SanDisk-sponsored" like iDont.com

There can be no truth to that whatsoever, right?

I'm not a webmaster, but I don't believe this site to be pro-any company, just against iPod.


Originally Posted by winste2
slashdot.org appears to be an apple website. Look at the address when you link to it, it actually starts "apple.slashdot.org".

Slashdot is a very popular news site, and it has many sections.

winste2 06-02-2006 05:01 PM

Thanks for clarifying.

zivan56 06-02-2006 05:01 PM


Originally Posted by EnzoTen
yeah too bad cnet never sites thier sources :rolleyes:

Its funny how Cnet and others blew the story out of proportions. I was in the IRC chan for Rockbox and a couple of the developed were just as stumped as me on how Sandisk was "working with them." :)

EnzoTen 06-02-2006 05:10 PM

do you think that my story correctly reported this?

zivan56 06-02-2006 05:24 PM

Your story was definately what happened, as they did contact Rockbox. I am only saying that they blew your story out of proportions/added speculation which is only semi true.
P.S. I am almost finished with a UMS mode playlist editor/file copier, so I hope to get that released soon.

Slaughter 06-02-2006 07:09 PM

Zivan, I know you are making the playlist editor/copier, but from all my testing by making PLP/PLA playlists from hand and placing them in the PLAYLIST folder in UMS mode, they still don't show up in playlist menu. Is your program going to be able to add them so they show up?

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