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  #1  
Old 01-28-2009, 10:04 PM
maeks84 maeks84 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 5
Arrow Right 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.

Random Notes
  • OF - Original Firmware
  • RB - Rockbox
  • MSC - Mass Storage Class, use this USB mode to connect to your Mac.
  • MSP - Media Transfer Protocol, for use with music subscription services.
  • To completely power down your player, press and hold the power button for ten seconds.
  • The first step for the initial setup requires a windows computer. In this case, find a friend or visit your local library. Better yet, find a solution that works on a Mac.
  • For the Rockbox install you need to unzip a file that contains a folder that begins with a period. On the Mac, this indicates an invisible file. Run 'defaults write com.apple.finder AppleShowAllFiles TRUE' in the terminal with out the quotes to view hidden files. Change the TRUE to FALSE to hide the files again.
  • The first time I tried to install Rockbox, I tried the auto install and bricked my player. Just do the manual install. It's not that hard.
  • Any of the scripts that I've written have the code included in the them. Just open the with Script Editor and feel free to modify however needed.
  • Unless modified, the scripts require that your player be called SANSA E200.
  • The version of your player is found in Settings > Info > Version. If this number begins with 01, you have a v1 player. If 02, you have a v2.
  • Some of the steps below may require the Developer tools be installed on your computer. They should be on your OS X install CD/DVD.
Initial Setup
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...

  1. Download and run the e200 1.03.1 beta firmware on a Windows computer.
    Is there a .mi4 file for this version somewhere? Then a Windows computer wouldn't be needed.
    Note: If you don't want to use the OF primarily, I don't suggest the 1.03.01 firmware. Due to the fast boot feature introduced.
  2. Download the files for Rockbox.
    SanDisk Sansa e200, Manual PDF, and the English voice from here.
    sansapatcher.dmg from here.
  3. Install Rockbox
    Unzip rockbox-sansae200-3.1.zip and drag to your player. You did enable the viewing of hidden files, right?
    Unzip rockbox-fonts.zip and replace the fonts folder on your player with the one you just unzipped. (In the .rockbox folder.)
    Unzip sansae200-3.1-english.zip and drag the langs folder to the .rockbox folder on your player.
  4. Install the Rockbox bootloader.
    The Rockbox manual outlines this step quite well. See Bootloader installation from Mac OS X.
  5. Download and install the ReverseBL.
    Download the ReverseBL-2007-12-14.mi4 from here.
    Connect your player to the computer.
    In a new terminal window, drag the sansapatcher application from earlier into it. Add '-a ' without the quotes, but with the space and drag the ReverseBL-2007-12-14.mi4 into the window and press enter.
    Disconnect your player and reboot.
    Note:To reboot into RB, completely power-down and hold down select (middle-button) while powering-up. Without the ReverseBL, hold down the back button ( |<< ) while powering-up to get into the OF.
Bricked players
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.
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  #2  
Old 01-28-2009, 10:06 PM
maeks84 maeks84 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 5
Default Photos, Video, and Music

Photos
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.

Videos
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.

Original Firmware
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 &gt; Show Movie Properties (Command-J), select the Video Track, Visual Settings tab, and click on the rotate button. Next, export the movie (File &gt; 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.

Rockbox
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.

Music
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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