SanDisk Sansa MP3 Players/m200
Driver for Linux
Most modern distros support this product right out of the box, as a mass storage device (formatted as vfat). If you are going to use the device from both Linux and Windows, be sure to set your player to USB Mass Storage mode (see Changing USB mode below), or otherwise you may experience that music uploaded from one system will not be accessible from the other.
Music files (mp3 or wav format) may be uploaded to it (in the root folder and in user created folders) and will be found automatically by the player.
It is also possible to upload playlists, as follows:
- Upload the music files which will be referenced by the playlist to the player. The advice below suggests placing the music in a "Music"folder, but this does not seem to be necessary.
- Create the playlist in your favorite music management program and save is as a M3U file (EXTM3U format).
- Edit the M3U file (it is just a text file) to eliminate paths from filenames. That is, a line of the form "/path/to/my_file.mp3" should be replaced by just "my_file.mp3".
- Convert the newline format of the M3U file from Unix-style newlines to DOS-style newlines. (There are scripts available to do this, such as 'unix2dos'. Your favorite text-editor may also be able to do this.)
- Upload the M3U file to your player. (Again location should not matter.)
Driver for windows 98 and windows ME
SanDisk does not support windows 98 for the m200 series of players, so they will not make a driver available. The e100 series driver does not work.
Refer to a discussion on CNET about the need for a win98 driver, where a working driver can be found. Someone has made a generic driver for USB mass storage device class that works with the m200 series. Both links lead to the same patch.
If you've got a windows 98 language version other than English, or have Windows ME, you may need to read the whole thread. It should be possible to use the driver, but it requires special care. Some sub versions have been made, so read the whole thread.
Changing USB mode
If you want to set your player to USB Mass Storage mode, try this:
Menu button - Settings - USB - MSC
There might be a difference in firmware versions (Europe and USA have different firmware), so check if yours is the same.
The American version (USA) has a higher volume setting and Fm reception while the E(Europe version) Has no Fm reception and has a volume Cap On It.
There's a post on the Post No Bills blog with a response from Sandisk about how you can create playlists.
One approach is to put all the MP3 files in one directory (Music), and create playlists that refer to those files.
The problem is that one directory is hard to maintain when you want to find files and delete them. The m200 firmware is able to read mp3 ID3 tags versions 1 and 2, including the track number field. For best results, you should use mp3 ID3 tags version 2 and use the track number field, so the original track order is preserved.
In the Sansa drive in Windows Explorer select the songs that you want in the playlist. Right click and create playlist. You can do minimal playlist editing through the playlist file properties. Drag files to the references tab to add files.
There is a free playlist creator which creates playlists for each folder on the sansa player with one click. it is written in .NET and does not alter the music files (http://www.infosys.tuwien.ac.at/staff/cp/playlist_creator.zip).
There is also one written in Python that should work on both linux and Windows (http://people.ifm.liu.se/yohell/make_playlists.py).
Try Musicmatch Jukebox or MediaMonkey. Both of those should be able to create a music library using only files from the device. Then sort them by artist and album, and delete them from the library, deleting the files as well. Transfer new files to the device as files (MSC USB mode on the player), not by syncing. You can create a new music library on the fly if you've made extensive changes. It doesn't take much time. Playlists should not contain drive letters or folder names, so edit them in Notepad, unless you have an app that makes them on the fly (suggestions?).
You can keep your main database in MediaMonkey, and open the Sansa device (see the plus and click on it). You'll be able to delete files from there. But if you double click on a song on the Sansa device, the wrong song will play. Dunno why, but that's what happens on my computer. But deleting files works.
Rename all your tracks so artist (look for batch renaming feature in your software. Add example of freeware editor?), album and song name is in the file name. That won't be visible in the player, but can aid administration if you use the player in MSC mode.
The following solution appears to allow you to create an extended m3u (EXTM3U) playlist file using Windows Media 9 and allows you to keep album directories. It is unclear what the maximum file and folder count are on this device.
- SanDisk m200 is set to auto-detect USB mode (MTP). Also tested and verified on m250.
- Create the "MUSIC" directory on the SanDisk m200, if it's not already there.
- Copy all music files and their respective album directories into the "MUSIC" directory of the device.
- Run Windows Media 9. Click on Media Library on the left navigation. Click on the album node in the left window pane. Click on the Add button near the top of the application window and then click "add from directory" from the resulting menu. You are going to add albums to your computer's Media Library from your m200. Do not load files from your computer. Add each directory you want to the Media Library. They will appear as albums in the left window pane. Windows Media 9 will find all the files within that directory.
- Click on the Playlist node in left window pane. Click the Playlists button near the top of the application window and create a new playlist.
- Now click on the album you want in the left window pane. You will see the files belonging to that album in the right window pane. Drag and drop the file from the right window pane over to the playlist. That will add the file to the playlist. Keep doing this until you have the files you want.
- When you are done, click on the playlist to highlight it. Then, click File menu and click the Save Playlist As option. Save the playlist to the m200 in the "MUSIC" directory as a m3u playlist (you will need to change the filetype dropdown in the Save File Dialog window). Windows Media Player 9 will save as an EXTM3U file.
- This m3u playlist is a text file that you can view in a text editor if you want to check if the files are listed correctly.
- Disconnect the m200 from the computer. The m200 will rebuild its internal database.
- Go through the m200 menus and select the Play Music menu. Then, pick the Playlists option. You should see your playlist.
You can add more playlists to the m200, and they will show up individually. This will allow you to make multiple playlists to suit the occasion.
Note: The m200 does not seem to recognize the regular M3U format. The music library software must be able to save playlists as EXTM3U format. It may be possible to use another program besides Windows Media Player to create playlists. One popular program is Winamp, which creates correct playlists based on the saving directory (saving the playlist directly onto the Sansa device will give correct track paths).
Use Winamp. Select SanDisk m200 on left pane of Media Library under Portables. Then select the songs in the media library which you want on the playlist. Right click to save the playlist.
- Connect Sansa in mtp mode
- Copy all the mp3 files in any subfolder of 'music' folder of sansa say 'rock' subfolder created by you.
- After all mp3 files are copied, select all these by pressing shift key and highlighting the icons.
- Once all selected,finally right click- you will get option of create playlist—that's it! You can create and rename playlist as you like. But you have to have winamp 5.5 installed on your PC.
An MSC format playlist editing trick:
The m3u format that works for me is very simple:
Note that there must be a blank line after each song. Note that there must be two blank lines after the EXTM3U line. Also note that the folder/path names must not be included in the file name. The sansa will automatically search through all the folders and find the file names.
Copy the playlist to the top folder/directory of the player (MSC format) (or into the album's folder).
A big benefit of playlists for me is that songs will play in the order specified in the playlist (unless shuffle is on)!
Use a standard text editor like Notepad. If you use custom text editors, make sure they save in LF/CR (DOS) format.
Note 1: If the filename has only numbers in it (eg. 40.mp3), the playlist will cut off at that song. Rename the file to begin with a letter (eg. forty.mp3) and update the playlist.
Note 2: If the Sansa has a problem with the playlist, it will stop reading it in, but will remember all the songs right up to where it found a problem (got confused). Use this knowledge to view the playlist on the Sansa and quickly track down the problem song and fix it in the playlist (this is how I discovered Note 1 above).
A playlist editor that lets you actually create the list and name it. Written in Win32 C++. Only been tested in MSC mode. NOTE: You need to have the folder 'Playlists' in the same folder as your music folder.
This one is the most easy and most reliable. A Program that creates Playlists from the directory structure of your mp3 player, without fiddling around wit all that stupid media player stuff...
Download it at http://www.infosys.tuwien.ac.at/Staff/cp/playlist_creator.zip if you want, its free ;-)
I wrote a little .net program to make it easy to create playlists for your sansa. Creates playlists in the same way as playlist_creator above, but allows you to choose what songs go in a playlist, their order, etc. Currently only works in MSC mode, but I'm working on adding MTP support. The program is here http://www.randomphotos.org/SansaPlaylists.zip , and the source is here http://www.randomphotos.org/SansaPlaylists_source.zip.
Place the following script into the root directory of the Sansa player, and run it (i.e. double-click it). Bash is included in OS X and nearly every flavor of Linux. For Windows, you'll need bash, find, sort, and a few others. It would be best to install Cygwin or use one of the other methods above (or switch to a Unix-like OS).
#!/bin/bash # Written by Jason Gyorog # Place this script on the device, at the root level. # Any directories with mp3 files will have playlists created. cd "`dirname "$0"`" # Set working directory to script directory. find * -type d -depth 0 | while read DIR; do find "$DIR" -iname [^.]*.mp3 | sort | while read TRACK; do basename "$TRACK" done > playlist.temp if [ -s playlist.temp ]; then echo -e "#EXTM3U\r\n\r" > "$DIR".m3u while read TRACK; do echo -e "\r\n$TRACK\r" >> "$DIR".m3u done < playlist.temp fi done rm playlist.temp
Alternative to playlists
Some prefer to use custom genres in the ID3 tag to create mixes for workout, relaxation or other moods. It's more flexible than playlists and easier to add to. This should work with the e100 series as well, but it's reportedly buggy in that respect.
Playing tracks in order
The m200 series rely on ID3 (Version 1) tags for sorting songs. Most people hit Play All when they've chosen an album. If you do that, the songs will play in alphabetical order. But if you want to play the songs in track order, scroll down to the first song and hit play instead. Make sure shuffle is off. The m200 series was previously believed to not be track tag aware. Thanks to Chip_Leader for the solution.
The m240 (latest firmware) is track tag aware and should play album tracks in track order. However it will ignore both v2 and v1 if any of the MP3s in the Album list have invalid characters in the track tag. The tag must be numeric. For example, if you choose the "Track X of X" option when tagging in ID3TagIt, the software will enter "1/12" for the first track of twelve into the MP3 track tag. The Sansa will ignore this tag because of the "/" and will sort by track name instead, even if the v1 ID3 tag has a valid value in it and even if only one MP3 in the list has an invalid character in the track tag.
Alternatively, use a playlist. If shuffle is off, playlists will play in order.
Extra care should be given when using Audio Books, since chapters could easily play out of sequence. Batch rename the ID3 tags for song title to reflect the numbers from the file name, or create playlists. Some use several folders (directories) for easier administration of audio books, and batch rename. I'd actually consider using something like Mp3splt to split into smaller files, if you go back and forth between music and audio books. Audio book files are often way too long.
The FAT files system used has some file limits. One report appears to say that the limit is 130-140 files in the root directory.
Unknown Album and or Unknown Artist
There is a known issue regarding these players’ tendency to display “unknown artist” or “unknown album” even when Windows Explorer, or Media Player clearly reflect the correct artist and or album of a particular song when the unit is connected via the USB port. This issue appears to occur randomly and even the most recent beta firmware (version 2.2.5) has not resolved it.
Workaround in this thread: http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages/15118/209222.html
This issue is actually related to the number of files stored on the device. When using MSC mode every 100'th file uploaded to the device will appear as unknown artist. This appears to be some sort of off by one error in either the ID3 parsing routine or the database creation routine. Breaking large groups of files across multiple directories does not appear to solve this problem.
There is also an issue with the order in which WMP11 (and other converters?) stores the tags when converting from MP3. The version one M200 (and maybe others?) can't read the artist or title tags unless they come before all others as they are in a different format from all other tags except the comment tag. See this thread in the SanDisk user forum.
Comparing carefully files with a tag editor (I use Mp3tag) that came up as "unknown" and ones that came up correctly I found that all the files in the "Unknown" category had data in the "Album Artist" field and the ones that displayed correctly did not. I deleted the data in the "Album Artist" field and reloaded the files onto my player an they all appeared correctly after that.
A directory with the name "radio" seems to have some special significance. Files placed in a directory with such a name are not indexed by (or hidden from) the player.