Sansa e200 v1 on Mac - Process & Scripts
I received a SanDisk Sansa e250 v1 for Christmas this year and was surprised to find that it didn't work with the Mac very well. I figured that it would automatically load things, that it would be all manual drag 'n' drop, but I thought it would at least support some common formats for files and videos. So, I'll detail here what I've done to improve the usability of my player. Mostly, trying to figure out how to convert files and script the process. If you can think of improvements to the methods below, suggestions are welcome.
I found that the beta firmware 1.03.01H from SanDisk worked better than the other firmware versions. There are issues with it, but every other version seemed to have issues as well. I installed Rockbox mostly for use with videos since the OF doesn't use a decent format. The games and applications it provides are nice as well. I dislike the RB interface, and since I use the player mostly for podcasts, I installed the ReverseBL so the OF comes up first. Yet, since playing with both more, I am now leaning more to RB. Mainly due to the vast superiority of the fast-forwarding and it's ability to remember where I left off in a file. Steps are as follows...
I must have 'bricked' my player at least three times during the process of figuring things out. Fortunately, I managed to recover it each time. The page here on the Rockbox wiki gave me all the info I needed. For the ROM and .mi4 files, I used the 1.01.11A versions.
When I had to do the manufacturing mode method, I did it on a Ubuntu computer, though it should work fine on Mac OS X. If you want to use Ubuntu, you can download and boot from a LiveCD found on the Ubuntu website. That way you won't have to install it. I don't remember if I needed to, but if you have trouble running the commands try adding 'sudo ' before them.
Photos, Video, and Music
It seems that the OF can't understand the JPEG format. (RB does fine.) The OF needs a 16-bit (R5 G6 B5) BMP sized to 176x224. GIMP will create these find, just choose advanced options when saving, but it's a pain if you want to do very many. Below is a script that will rotate and convert your images, then place them onto your player along with thumbnail files. It will create Albums with the name of Folder 001, Folder 002, Folder 003...
I couldn't figure out a way to make the thumbnails appear with the correct orientation. I think the 1.03 firmware ignores the thumbnails folder and creates it's own each time. I couldn't figure out how to override this. The script has some code in it for creating thumbnails, but it's all commented out.
First, you must install ImageMagick. You can find the instructions here. I suggest installing MacPorts first.
Next grab the Photo Converter script from here.
You must also download the bmp16 script found under Photos on Grant's website, here. Save this as bmp16.py and place in the same folder as the Photo Converter.
Now, when you drag photos onto the Photo Converter, they will be converted and placed onto your player.
I use Rockbox for my videos, since the format Rockbox uses takes up well under half of the space compared to the OF format and also works from the SD card. I did figure out how to get videos on the OF side of things though.
Quicktime Pro is required and if you wish to convert WMV files, the paid version of Flip4Mac is required as well. To do it manually, open the video in Quicktime. If you need to rotate the video, go to Window > Show Movie Properties (Command-J), select the Video Track, Visual Settings tab, and click on the rotate button. Next, export the movie (File > Export) and choose Movie to Quicktime Movie and click on options. Set the Compression Type to Photo - JPEG, Framerate to 15 fps, Depth to Color, Quality to Best, and click OK. Under Size, choose Custom and set it to 176 x 224, check Preserve Aspect Ratio, select Letterbox, and click OK. Under the sound settings, set Format to Linear PCM, Channels to Stereo (L R), Rate to 44.100 kHz, uncheck Little Endian, and click OK. Click OK again and then save.
Yep, pain in the neck... Download the script here and the settings file here. Place both in the same folder. Each video you drag onto it will be converted and placed onto your Sansa.
For this, mencoder is required. Install MacPorts, if you didn't earlier, and run sudo port install mplayer in the terminal. Next run
mencoder /file/input.avi -of mpeg -oac lavc -lavcopts acodec=mp2:abitrate=96:vmax_b_frames=16:vb_strateg y=2 -af resample=44100:0:0 -ovc nuv -lavcopts vcodec=mpeg2video:vbitrate=370 -vf scale=224:176 -ofps 25 -o /file/output.mpg
in the terminal. Be sure to change the paths. Thanks to cpchan who showed me the correct options in his script here. I'm pretty sure that this could be modified to convert videos to the OF format, but I haven't messed with that yet. If you have trouble converting certain types of files, try installing the Binary Codec Package from here.
And, of course, the drag and drop script is located here. This one creates a folder called Rockbox Video and places your videos in it.
I haven't messed with playlists yet. Anything that's already in MP3 format, I just drag and drop into the Music folder on the player. Album Art seems to work fine.
That's all I've got for now. Hopefully it helps someone out.
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