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  #1  
Old 08-16-2009, 06:40 PM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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Default 01.02.26 - I can't be the only one with painful refresh times

While I detailed a bunch of this in an unfavorable review of the Fuze I posted to my blog, and here am not addressing the playlist issues I also had with this version of the firmware, I've redone some things thanks to the information posted here and am still having ridiculous "Refreshing your media" times.

I bought a 2G Fuze when on-sale, figuring I could always upgrade later to the 8G and give this to the Mrs. The purpose is to replace the over-priced XM Satellite Radio in the car, and the songs will generally come from files legally-recorded from Slacker Radio, augmented by my CD (and record...I'm an old guy) collection - yeah, I know Slacker is only 128kbps, but since XM is running under 30kbps on their music channels, 128k is a big step up. The player I use must handle a boatload of songs efficiently, since I want to emulate some of the XM channels (i.e. "The Blend," which will require a playlist of 3,000 songs or more over forty years).

I originally had firmware revision 1.01.11 - clearly I can't back-step to that for testing since I can't find it on SanDisk's website, but I did download 01.01.22 and if it's safe to back-step to that revision, I may do so later to see if the times I recorded on 1.01.11 (much faster) hold. Anyway, to the problem...

Even though I had already used the Sansa Updater, I used the "manual" procedure here to re-apply 01.02.26, fired it up, set the language/region, and then formatted the Fuze's internal memory. I connected via MSC and restored the factory-supplied 19 songs, the factory-supplied video (edit: and photos), and added one album of 19 songs purchased from Amazon (with the $5 I got when I purchased the Fuze, for whatever that's worth). That's everything on the internal memory.

I have set up two separate microSDHC cards for testing; a 4G class-4 Kingston card, and an 8G class-6 pqi card. The 4G card contains 1,222 MP3 files in one folder, and 196 MP3 files in another folder...it's as full as I could make it, with only 1.3M free. The 8G card contains the same 1,222 MP3 files in one folder and 1,127 MP3 files in a second folder; there is roughly 473M free on this card.

I turn off the Fuze, insert the 4G card, and turn on the Fuze. It enters, "Refreshing your media..." mode, which takes...

Thirty-four minutes and fifty-eight seconds.

I turn off the Fuze, remove that card, insert the 8G card, and turn on the Fuze. It enters, "Refreshing your media..." mode, which takes...

Forty-four minutes and two seconds.

If I had an 8G fuse with, say, 2,000 songs on the internal memory, and a 16G microSDHC card with 4,000 songs on it, from the looks of things it would take over an hour and a half to "refresh," every time I changed a card, added a song, or even looked at it funny.

Consider a real-world scenario; I get into the car, and want to listen to an episode of The Bob Edwards Show I have copied to a 2G card I bring along with me. I remove the 8G, stick in the 2G, and listen to the show. Now I want to hear some music, so I replace the 8G card...and wait three-quarters of an hour before listening to anything else?

This can't possibly be right...please tell me I have done something wrong. And if I haven't, and the Fuze is simply designed to deal with no more than a hundred songs or so efficiently, does anyone have any recommendations for a player that can handle card-swaps with thousands of songs in a reasonable fashion?
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2009, 07:38 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Any particular reason it's as "full as you can make it"?
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:40 PM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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When I had mine, with that same 01.02.26 firmware, my refresh time for 1500-ish songs was between 3 and 4 minutes. Even when I squeezed a little over 2,000 on, it was less than 5 minutes. The refresh time is more related to total number of files than total memory used. However, something is clearly amiss with yours.

For what it's worth, my 8GB card that I had was a SanDisk class 2, coupled with a 4GB Fuze. The newest firmware, the .26, sped up the refresh time for me considerably, cut about a minute off the time, so a 20% improvement. This is why I think something must be wrong with yours. I can't think of any reason why yours would refresh so slowly.
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  #4  
Old 08-16-2009, 08:48 PM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
Any particular reason it's as "full as you can make it"?
Makes for a better test, is all. I didn't know when I set up the cards if the player cached a database for the card on the card; if it did, I wanted to challenge it on one card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian
I can't think of any reason why yours would refresh so slowly.
Someone else on a shopping board said the same thing; the times under the old firmware (01.01.11) were wildly different; with a different test setup and only 1,127 MP3 files on the 8G card, it was three minutes, fifty seconds for the "refresh," with other delays in the three-minute range when selecting playlists and such. Ended up being about ten minutes between turn-on and playing the first song.

I'm running out of time today, but tomorrow I'd like to flash it with 01.01.22 (any reason this would be a bad idea?) and run apples-to-apples tests...that is, perform exactly the same procedure I did today and see what times I get. I'm also going to need to perform playlist tests with both versions of the firmware (since the older firmware has no other way to play separate folders).

If it's a bad flash, though, it's two bad flashes, since as I mentioned I re-updated before the format just to make sure.
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2009, 09:01 PM
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If refresh time's too long, try the panasonic formatter and re-load tunes, always worked on my e200 series.
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2009, 10:13 PM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
If refresh time's too long, try the panasonic formatter and re-load tunes, always worked on my e200 series.
For just the microSDHC cards, or the internal memory as well?
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Old 08-16-2009, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieSummers View Post
For just the microSDHC cards, or the internal memory as well?
Both would help more.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:31 PM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Both would help more.
Hum...didn't occur to me that the internal memory would emulate an SD...the formatter absolutely saw it, though, so a quick format it is.

Quick-formatted the 4G card (in an external reader) as well as the internal memory; restored the 4G card to have the previously-too-many files on it (1,418 total between two directories), also restored the same files to the internal memory as previously (factory stuff plus one album).

Shut it down, inserted the 4G card, and fired it back up. "Refreshing your media" lasted seven minutes and fourteen seconds. That's still a long while, but it isn't anywhere near the jaw-droppingly long thirty-four minutes and fifty-eight seconds it took before.

Hum. Thank you very much for the advice, and sometime tomorrow I plan on testing the 8G card to see if it, too, improves as much. But I gotta ask...what exactly changed to make such an impressive improvement? Will a Full Format give any additional speed increase?
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:40 PM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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How do you create your playlists? I just created 4 lists from various folders on the 8GB SDHC named pebkac1, pebkac2 etc.

Each playlist was over 1300 files in length. Refresh time was 3 minutes 42 seconds.

I'm guessing the non standard method of playlist creation you mention in your blog is the root of your problem. A fair test of the refresh time would be to test the players ability to refresh with a properly constructed EXTM3U list per these directions.

The directions refer to Winamp but any one of a number of softwares, Mp3tag, XMPlay, foobar2000 w/EXTM3U playlist plugin to name a few, will get the job done. The only critical part is to save the created playlist to the same folder as the songs to avoid creating relative/absolute path problems.
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Old 08-16-2009, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieSummers View Post
... ... Thank you very much for the advice, and sometime tomorrow I plan on testing the 8G card to see if it, too, improves as much. But I gotta ask...what exactly changed to make such an impressive improvement? Will a Full Format give any additional speed increase?
No problem, glad it worked. With mine, the second boot is even faster as long as I don't change anything, AFAIK it fixes errors and corrupted data, fresh start. What do you mean by full format, you didn't fully formate each drive?

Edit: BTW, my files are very organized in folders, by artist folder/albums, imo this helps
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Last edited by WalkGood; 08-17-2009 at 12:15 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2009, 12:11 AM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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How do you create your playlists?
MediaMonkey created the 60s.m3u and 70s.m3u for the tests the blog references (the combined playlist, Decades.m3u, was manually combined from the other two created directly by MediaMonkey), although you should know that none of the tests detailed here contained any playlists. I wanted to separate out the playlists from the media refresh, and concentrate solely on the latter. The Fuze and cards currently contain no playlists at all (unless you count the empty GoList the player maintains). FWIW, generating a Decades.m3u from MediaMonkey would be trivial, but I'm pretty certain it would look exactly like the manually-combined file.

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Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
Each playlist was over 1300 files in length. Refresh time was 3 minutes 42 seconds.
When you play off of any of those playlists using firmware version 01.02.26, can you see more than 1,000 songs? When I originally flashed the update, all of the playlists that had worked in 01.01.11 were suddenly limited to 1,000 songs (at least with Random and Repeat turned on, the settings when I checked). I assumed it to be a bug in 01.02.26.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
I'm guessing the non standard method of playlist creation you mention in your blog is the root of your problem.
Can't be, since as I mentioned all of the tests run here were playlist-free. (I planned on testing playlists tomorrow, although after the impressive change in speed after using the Panasonic Formatter on the Fuze and 4G, I'm going to target the 8G tomorrow first to see what improvement will be made there.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
The only critical part is to save the created playlist to the same folder as the songs to avoid creating relative/absolute path problems.
That works fine for the playlists that only have songs in one folder (indeed, assuming all songs in the folder are in the playlist, with the Folder entry they would no longer be required), but the Decades.m3u must cross folders (that's kinda the point; a single playlist for the 70s-through-today); generating consistent naming schemes, directories without spaces, and relative paths (in the blog post, Decades.m3u is directly above 60s/ and 70s/ so including the relative directory path should make the M3U file "legal"). But again, the playlists were clearly not the cause of the problem, since it occurred after the Fuze and cards were reworked to eliminate all of the playlists. The slowdown is in the generation of the internal database drawn from the ID3 tags, and why the Panasonic Formatter should cut the time to 1/4 is beyond me...
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2009, 12:43 AM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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Quote:
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What do you mean by full format, you didn't fully formate each drive?
No, the Panasonic Formatter defaults to Quick Format, Format Size Adjustment Off. I left it at the default settings when formatting the 4G card and Fuze...hitting the "Option" button provides a choice of Full Format Erase Off and Full Format Erase On, which I did not use, as well as turning Format Size Adjustment On, which didn't seem prudent. I admit, since I never used the app before, I left the defaults as the safest choice. And still it cut the time down by three-quarters...impressive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Edit: BTW, my files are very organized in folders, kinda like skip252 says, but mine are by artist folders/albums
Most people's are, but then my requirements are somewhat different. I am not interested on the whole in having many songs by one artist, instead I'd prefer a few songs from many artists. There are exceptions, of course, but honestly for the car player I didn't really plan on loading any of my "favorite" artists or bands anyway. The plan is to have many folders containing decades hits, smooth jazz, coffeehouse-style singer-songwriters, etc., etc., and by the creative use of playlists weave them together into...well...self-crafted "radio stations" to fit whatever mood I'm in at the moment. I focused on XM's "The Blend" simply because it would be the easiest to build...create folders of 70s top-40, 80s top-40, 90s top-40, and 2k top-40, and build a single monolithic playlist. Add Random and Repeat, and *poof* - "The Blend" on steroids. When I say I want to replace the overpriced XM Satellite Radio, I'm being literal.

Since the ultimate goal will require multiple 16G cards, not to mention the 2G 'carry-around" cards I plan to use for podcasts and public broadcasting recordings, that refresh time is a vitally-critical element for me. I'm starting to think I need to find a player that doesn't build an internal database at all, just one that can random/shuffle the playlists I create. But I don't know if any such player exists (every player seems to want to cache data and present too many to-me unnecessary options), especially one with a mircoSDHC slot. The Fuze is the closest I've found to what I need, but I'm always open to suggestions...

And if I forgot, as I do sometimes, my thanks to everyone for the suggestions and education - I've learned more about the Fuze in the past eight hours than in the past week.
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  #13  
Old 08-18-2009, 08:12 AM
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oobergeek oobergeek is offline
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correct me, and I haven't used the software in a while, and it may have been updated since, but isn't that Panasonic formatting software suppose to be used on SD cards only?
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Old 08-18-2009, 08:17 AM
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The internal memory of many players behaves like an SD or MMC card. If the SD Formatter app recognizes the player, it's safe (and often beneficial) to format it that way.
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  #15  
Old 08-23-2009, 10:12 PM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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As it frequently does, life took me away from testing out the Sansa Fuze the past week or so. But I have gotten back to it...

Performed a Quick Format in the Panasonic Formatter on the 8G class 6 pqi microSDHC card using an extrnal card reader (not the Fuze), re-loaded the two folders-full of music (without the playlists), and stuck it in the Fuze; it took sixteen minutes and nineteen seconds...still unacceptably long, but much better than the forty-four and change before the format for the same 2,349 files on the card and two 19-song folders on the internal (oh, there were two files added to the internal memory, two podcasts I wanted to hear, but that should be the only change from earlier tests).

Then performed a full format (with erase off) on the card again in an external card reader, and installed the same 2,349 MP3 files again without the playlists; this took a slightly shorter fourteen minutes and fifty-eight seconds. For giggles, I powered-down the unit, added the playlists to the folders, and again refreshed...this time, it came in at eleven minutes and six seconds. That didn't make sense, so I removed the card, refreshed the media without it, then refreshed again with the card installed, taking eleven minutes and nine seconds.

Is it possible the playlists actually speed-up the refresh somewhat?

Still and all, though, better than ten minutes seems an awfully long time to wait every time a memory card is swapped out. While I have grown to like the Fuze, unless I can find a way to bring that down I think I'll be posting in the appropriate forum for suggestions on a player that doesn't need to maintain an internal database just to random/shuffle user-created M3U playlists.
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  #16  
Old 08-24-2009, 03:49 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Have you considered using Rockbox? The firmware revisions you are testing indicate you have a V1 which would allow you to install the official test build.

With the proper settings it allows for very large playlists. You can browse by file, folder or database. The database does take a few minutes to build but does so in the background, your files are accessible immediately after boot. You should be able to access playlists stored on the memory cards almost immediately.

I have been running Rockbox on various Sansas for over a year now. I have used the test version on a 2 GB V1 Fuze for a bit over a month now. I find it to be very solid with no glitches.

The only time the player refreshes is when it boots to the official firmware after data transfer or charging with a USB port on the computer. I don't find that to be a problem but you can avoid that by using a USB wall charger once you get all your files loaded.

Almost forgot, if your eyes are as old as mine you will want to create a custom keyboard. The default font is tiny.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
BTW, my files are very organized in folders, by artist folder/albums, imo this helps
My files are also very organized by folders and subfolders. I have an 8-GB version-1 Fuze with a 16-GB Patriot class-2 card. I have 1028 songs on the internal memory with 66 MB free and 1270 songs on the external memory with 6.3 GB free. All are MP3s except for one WMA.

I am using the latest firmware. The last time I timed the amount of time it took the database to refresh after the transfer of one album to the external memory—which was yesterday—it was one minute and forty-seven seconds. I too believe that refresh times might be related to how well organized the files are by folders and subfolders.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:49 AM
JK98 JK98 is offline
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I would like to see an option in a future firmware for the Fuze to be able to disable tag browsing, so that navigation would be by folders only, and there would be no database refresh delays.

It would also be nice if Sandisk comes out with some new models that have more than one card slot. I would love having a player with two full sized SDHC slots, and the ability to copy photos from one card to the other. On vacation, one could copy their favorite images from a few different cards to a backup card. at a wedding, one could make copies of their images and give them to special guests. While netbooks are getting smaller, it would be nice to have this functionaly in an mp3 player, and not have to carry a netbook.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:05 PM
CharlieSummers CharlieSummers is offline
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Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
Have you considered using <a href="http://www.rockbox.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/WhyRockbox" target="_blank">Rockbox</a>?
No, but for a different reason than you might think; I wouldn't consider any other OS on a device while the warranty is in force. There's no reason to give a manufacturer an excuse if a problem arises, so while the warranty is in effect only "blessed" code goes into any device.

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Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
The only time the player refreshes is when it boots to the official firmware after data transfer or charging with a USB port on the computer.
Really? What happens if you switch cards? Doesn't it require a refresh then? (I was talking to someone else about Rockbox the other day, and thought I might look for a used OOW player that is supported.)

Also, will Rockbox allow for not maintaining an internal database at all, allowing the user to determine what he wants to play via playlists Rockbox could randomize/shuffle? That would certainly solve the problem...

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Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
Almost forgot, if your eyes are as old as mine
Probably older...I remember exactly where I was when I heard about the Kennedy assassination. (*sigh*)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enigmatic
I too believe that refresh times might be related to how well organized the files are by folders and subfolders.
That's very possible; unfortunately, my requirements are such that I do not have neat album/song requirements. While I suppose I could sort by album, almost every folder would carry one song, two max, in a folder of hits from the 1970's, for example. Might make for an interesting test if I get some time later in the week (I think MediaMonkey would make it relatively simple to do this on a spare drive, IIRC), but I can't imagine having close to a thousand separate subfolders under the \70s folder would speed the refresh up much. (And it shouldn't matter how the end user wishes to listen to music in any event.)

Or are you suggesting I simply create multiple folders under the /70s folders named 001, 002, etc., and stick ten songs in each one? Hum...I actually tried something similar in the blog posting before installing the latest software, but if you think it'll shorten the refresh time, I'll give it a try on the 4G card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK98
I would like to see an option in a future firmware for the Fuze to be able to disable tag browsing, so that navigation would be by folders only, and there would be no database refresh delays.
Seconded, although I doubt it'll happen. Sometimes electronics manufacturers are so determined to include bells and whistles they forget some of us neither want nor need 'em.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK98
It would also be nice if Sandisk comes out with some new models that have more than one card slot.
I'd settle for any manufacturer doing so. That would be seriously cool.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:44 PM
Enigmatic Enigmatic is offline
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Or are you suggesting I simply create multiple folders under the /70s folders named 001, 002, etc., and stick ten songs in each one?
Yes, perhaps something like that. But perhaps you might want to first divide that gigantic folder in half to see if it actually shortens the refresh times—so that you do not waste too much time if it turns out to be an incorrect suggestion. If you do go ahead with this, please post your results here. It might help other users who might have the same problem.
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