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  #1  
Old 07-28-2007, 12:03 PM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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Default 01.01.01A Firmware Update Saga

Here's why I'm posting:
1. To warn others that the new firmware has a bug reading SD cards.
2. I'd like to roll it back to an older firmware version but have not found any information on how to do so. Can anyone tell me how or point me in the right direction?

My story:
Purchased my Express about a month ago along with a 2 GB PNY microSD card and enjoyed it. Did the firmware update thing every time there was an update to be had an still everything was good.

Until the most recent update. After applying start up time was long, the screen animations ran slow, in Windows XP the external memory no longer would show when it was plugged into the USB port. The system option in the menu saw the card but would not format it.

I tested the card in other devices and it worked.

I worked with SanDisk to try to resolve the problem and they decided to RMA the old one and send me a new one. They were very prompt and professional.

Once the new one arrived I fully charged the device and then checked the firmware version - it was an older version so I tested my SD card - sure enough it worked. Start time was fast, screen updates, button input were fast and both memory areas appeared in Windows XP.

Now, you know I have to know if the brand new device will break with the new firmware. I let the Sansa Updater do it's thing and the Express is back to all the same problems it had before.



Thanks
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  #2  
Old 07-29-2007, 08:16 AM
Kilgore Trout's Avatar
Kilgore Trout Kilgore Trout is offline
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Very interesting post. Was your SD card plugged into the SE when you updated the firmware? That shouldn't have made any difference but who knows. Many people have also reported problems with Kingston cards. I wonder if they would have worked with the older firmware. This is the most direct evidence I've seen that memory problems with cards from different manufacturers may be related to the firmware. The good news is that SanDisk should be able to fix this in the near future and I'm sure they will if enough people report the problem.
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  #3  
Old 07-30-2007, 10:51 AM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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The first time I did the update - on the original SE - the card was plugged in.
After SanDisk sent me a new SE I did the update with the SD card out.

So it made no difference.

I have a ticket open with SanDisk detailing what I'm seeing so there is hope that they will fix the problem in a future firmware update.
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  #4  
Old 07-31-2007, 05:55 AM
mdboom mdboom is offline
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I am experiencing identical symptoms (with a Kingston 2GB memory card), which I purchased after already owning the Sansa for some time and upgraded to 01.01.01A. I have contacted technical support in an attempt to get an earlier firmware version, or have it RMA'd (with hopefully an earlier firmware version on it.)

They gave an interesting response, which I thought might be of historical interest, if only for the number of factual errors it contains per square inch:

Quote:
Sansa Express cannot be used as a memory card writer. Sansa Express only has MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) mode which is used for synchronizing music files whether they are licensed or not. MSC (Mass Storage Class) mode makes Sansa a removable drive and enables the microSD slot. This mode ,however, is not available in Sansa Express. Having said that, your microSD should be already loaded with music files using a different card reader and writer before inserting it to Sansa as it can only play music files.
1. If Sansa can not be used as a writer to the external memory, this goes against the information on page 5 of the user's guide. Can someone confirm that the manual is correct or incorrect?

2. The Sansa Express works fine in MSC mode (that's my primary mode of operation).

3. Loading .mp3 files onto the MicroSD using another reader and then inserting into the Sansa does not work. The files are not visible, and the player menus become extremely slow. Loading the exact same .mp3 files onto the internal memory works perfectly.

I have followed up with Sansa support for a second opinion, obviously. Hopefully this can be resolved (at the very least by downgrading the firmware).
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  #5  
Old 08-01-2007, 06:36 PM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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Exclamation A SanDisk MicroSD Card Works...

I purchased a SanDisk MicroSD 2GB card today and it works.
The guy at Radio Shack let me try the card before I bought it and sure enough all the problems previously documented went away.

Something SanDisk did in the most recent update made it so that only SanDisk memory cards will work.

Think it is an accident or did they do it on purpose?
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  #6  
Old 08-02-2007, 06:25 AM
nodamidis nodamidis is offline
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I bought a SanDisk card as well. It worked for a while but after about a month, the Express stopped recognizing it. I am working with SanDisk technical assistance now to see if we can get it reformatted--using the reformat option on the Express and using the reformat option in Windows Media has not worked. Now we are trying to reformat using a card reader. Will keep you all posted.
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  #7  
Old 08-02-2007, 07:13 AM
mdboom mdboom is offline
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Here's the latest reply from SanDisk. Seems much more reasonable. Hopefully the firmware will be fixed sooner rather than later.

I wish I could say that SanDisk was alone in releasing broken firmwares, but in my experience that seems to be the norm, so I'm willing to wait this one out.

Quote:
As of right now, we are unsure as to an official cause of why its not reading your Micro SD Card. There are rumors thats its caused by the new FW we have released. We are currently re-reviewing it to determine if thats the cause.
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  #8  
Old 08-02-2007, 08:14 AM
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Kilgore Trout Kilgore Trout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bytemerc View Post
Something SanDisk did in the most recent update made it so that only SanDisk memory cards will work.

Think it is an accident or did they do it on purpose?
Almost certainly an accident. SanDisk would receive a firestorm of criticism from the other manufacturers as well as consumers like you if they deliberately tweaked their players to only only work with their memory cards. I would never buy another SanDisk product if I thought they were doing this deliberately.
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  #9  
Old 08-12-2007, 11:18 AM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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Maybe a fix is comming.
Here's the latest from SanDisk:

If possible, please bring up Sansa Firmware Updater. See if you can change your region over to Pacific Rim. If you can this should be a quick work around to the Express not reading the microSD card.

We cannot send out a firmware rollback at this time. Please be patient, we are working hard on creating a firmware update that will resolve this for you.
If possible, please bring up Sansa Firmware Updater. See if you can change your region over to Pacific Rim. If you can this should be a quick work around to the Express not reading the microSD card.
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  #10  
Old 08-13-2007, 02:10 AM
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Captain Morgan Captain Morgan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bytemerc View Post
...If possible, please bring up Sansa Firmware Updater. See if you can change your region over to Pacific Rim. If you can this should be a quick work around to the Express not reading the microSD card....
Has this worked for anyone?
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  #11  
Old 08-14-2007, 09:59 AM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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I have not gotten around to trying it yet, I'm going to have to poke around and figure out how to set my updater to "Pacific Rim"
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  #12  
Old 08-16-2007, 04:35 PM
dangdude dangdude is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
Almost certainly an accident. SanDisk would receive a firestorm of criticism from the other manufacturers as well as consumers like you if they deliberately tweaked their players to only only work with their memory cards. I would never buy another SanDisk product if I thought they were doing this deliberately.
Extremely likely, however, that the Express and its FW was only tested with Sandisk branded MicroSD cards, and any "generic SD interface" incompatibility was missed.
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2007, 03:57 PM
!express !express is offline
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Argh! I had looked at the sandisk forum and this forum and still
upgraded my 2G Express to 01.01.01A.

Of course my 2G Kingston microSD card is no longer recognized and
causes the express to go into super slow non-functional mode.
(Which suggests it is trying to mount the micro drive over and over again?)

So far Sandisk has suggested to reformat the "Sandisk memory card"
externally. So I sprang for a $10.00 SD card usb reader and writer.
No luck (I had reformatted it a camera first.)

I also tried the Asia/Pac version and Japanese versions.

I did update the player with the SD card in place.

I have also noticed some issues with files listed in the database for
"no song" after this upgrade. And some odd things in MTP and
USB mass storage mode, with the updater saying it can only update
in USB mode, and then working in MTP mode (I might be wrong about this.)

I am waiting on the next answer from Sandisk. Clearly there first
answer was confused.

Does anyone know where the firmware is stored? Is it stored on
the main internal flash memory? Could someone say post the old
01.01.01 file?

So, at this point I am into this for extra $$$ (do I spring for a sandisk
microSD card and then I could have bought a 4G Iriver clix or some such.)

See why people buy Ipods.

I have mostly decided to RMA this to TigerDirect with the Sandisk
correspondence. I do like the player, it is perfect for traveling, I can
operate with one hand etc etc. I won't accept this stuff though. This
is the TOP issue over on the sandisk forum on the express. What
is the point of the having a Sandisk Forum?

I set it up on Monday, and Wednesday night I upgraded to WM 11 to
get MTP mode for playlists, the Sandisk updater said update, so I did.
Big big mistake.

So the Sansa Sandisk people can't replicate this problem? Or is this
something else, about DRM etc etc. For a while I was getting
read only files on the Express when I was still trying to use it with
the 2G card in place. I wonder if this beast is supposed to only
operate in MTP mode. I am a bit suspicious at this point. Hard to
believe what worked and what does not now work is just a bug.

A very enjoyable experience the first 48 hours, has turned into a
huge disappointment and time and money sink.

Write it off to some funky Microsoft/Sandisk DRM game gone
wrong.

-r
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  #14  
Old 08-25-2007, 10:28 AM
!express !express is offline
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I talked to Sandisk support on the phone today. Very professional,
they offered to RMA the player which I will eventually do (I bought
the mp3 player now because I needed one for travel.).

I tried to discover if Sandisk was actually aware of this issue
as a known bug, and that was not very clear in the end. A lot
of "I am just the phone tech guy what can I do but RMA it?"
talk talk.

The phone tech did say there would be a new update in a month
and that I should not update the new player. But the suggestion of
a update in a month could be just so much pleasant talk.

Clearly a problem with a large non-integrated manufacturer.
There are probably at least 4 entities involved, hardware design,
software design and they might or might not even work for Sandisk
(could be contract.) The Sandisk corporate, and of course sales and
marketing, and then the user support. And it is not like the tech on
phone can call down to the code developers and say "what's up".

And if it is in fact something about DRM, that if I have a subscription
service, and if it stored music on the microSD, I can remove the card
and then by hook or by crook get the music off the player and
remove the DRM protections. I would be curious if the player's behavior
changed wrt to subscription services after the upgrade.

It really does act like the "Operating System" is trying to mount the
2G microSD card over and over again. Lots of things use SD cards,
one would think that code is very stable and would not change.
Of course if the local stores did have Sandisk 2G microSD cards
might just spring for one to confirm the behavior.

I even used Window Media Player 11 to "sync the flash card" while
in the external reader/writer. No joy. I have considered doing an
external format on the internal memory, I find it interesting the
files the firmware puts on the player are dated 2002

A poke at sandisk.com did not show any hidden ftp or other
places where old versions of the firmware might be hidden.
Reverse engineering the updater seems like too much work.

Irony is of course, this whole thing, is in fact how I make my
living

This explains why people buy Ipods, I have a pretty good clue
what is going on, and am willing to fight the good fight. Probably
a lot of folks buy this player, and then that player, and then another
and they all "don't work" and eventually end up with an Ipod which
works.

Probably most Express players will never see an update or
a microSD card ever.

There are statistics that say most returns of electronics are not
that they are defective, just that people can't get them to work.

-r
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  #15  
Old 09-02-2007, 12:15 PM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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"Clearly a problem with a large non-integrated manufacturer.
There are probably at least 4 entities involved, hardware design,
software design and they might or might not even work for Sandisk
(could be contract.) The Sandisk corporate, and of course sales and
marketing, and then the user support. And it is not like the tech on
phone can call down to the code developers and say "what's up"."


Maybe, all I know is it worked before the update - that seems to indicate a software only problem in my mind.

Even with the problems I have had I'd rather have the features of this device than an iPod
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  #16  
Old 09-16-2007, 08:21 PM
eeman331 eeman331 is offline
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Default Sansa Express (1GB) woes

I too have a 2gb Kingston micro sd card and on 9/14/07 let the upgrade happen. Like so many others, my unit now does not recognize the add on card and is extremely slow or refuses to load new tunes on the internal memory. Sandisk tech support is supposed to get back to me in the next day or so.

BEWARE THE UPGRADES!!!
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  #17  
Old 11-24-2007, 09:36 PM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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It's been much more than a month. I've been checking the Sandisk website and the updater for a new firmware. In spite of all the promises there has been no update. Clearly, making the SE work with any SD card is not high on Sandisk's list.

My SE is still working fine with the Sandisk SD card so I guess I'm Ok. It takes a long time to boot. I was hoping the firmware would speed boot up and maybe increase the capacity of the supported SD card.
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  #18  
Old 02-15-2008, 03:42 PM
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wow..i just updated my brothers friends express and all of hte songs have been removed!
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  #19  
Old 04-12-2008, 08:51 AM
bytemerc bytemerc is offline
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It's been a long time since I messed with updating my SE. I had given up on Sansa ever fixing the problems!

I'm thrilled to report that 01.01.05A reads non-Sansa 2gb cards.
I can't confirm any other improvements but I know the memory card that would not play with 01.01.01A is working now.

Boot times seem to be quicker. No solid testing on that but I know it use to annoy me to wait for startup, now I don't really notice it.

Sure would be nice if they would announce what they fix with an update.
I know it's crazy and all but they could send email notice to people who have registered.

Oh well, fixed is fixed.
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