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Wiki > Main > SanDisk > SansaE200Port > SansaE200Unbrick (r23)

Unbrick your Sansa e200/c200

WARNING: These instructions apply only to the e200v1 and c200v1 players with PortalPlayer CPUs

Unbrick

We call a device a brick when it is no longer functional and cannot be repaired. This article mentions "unbricking" in the sense that it can fix the devices as they are not actually "bricked". These instructions come with no guarantees and can be dangerous if not followed closely. Only follow these directions if you cannot boot into the original firmware by holding the |<< button on startup (or if you really know what you're doing), otherwise, refer to the manual section on uninstalling Rockbox (e200) or uninstalling Rockbox (c200) and try again from the beginning. It is also recommended that you search the Mail/IRC/Forums/Tracker for other people who are experiencing a similar problem as it may be a common bug. With that said:


Recovery Mode

Recovery mode can be used to replace a bad .mi4 image on the player. If you by some reason can't boot into the original firmware, like if you messed up the installation or similar, you can boot into the recovery mode as follows:

  • Power off
  • Turn ON lock/hold
  • Hold down record
  • Hit Power/Menu Button

You will find a 16MB USB drive now, this is the recovery partition.

A word of caution %W%

  • Only copy .mi4 files to the recovery partition. Note: If you have an e200 series, you might have to rename the .mi4 to PP5022.mi4 if it is not named that already. If you have a c200 series, you might have to rename the .mi4 to firmware.mi4 if it is not named that already.
  • Do not format this 16MB drive
  • Do not copy anything except one .mi4 file to the recovery partition. This might turn your shiny toy into a paperweight!
  • Do not copy .rom, .btl, or .bin files to that partition unless you know exactly what you are doing. Again: You might brick your player!
  • Do not interrupt a file transfer or running operation. Again: You might brick your player!
  • Do not try anything else unless you have to. Again: You might brick your player!

You have been warned.

Restoring the original firmware

When "Welcome to Recovery Mode" appears you copy an original firmware .mi4 file (if you don't have one try here) to the device and disconnect it. It will cause the device to reinstall the original firmware. A corresponding message should appear on screen.

In most cases, this should be enough to get your device working again. Only continue with the next step if this step did not help.

Formatting the device

Note: This step does format your device, you will lose all data stored on it. %W%

If the previous step did not work, you might have to reformat your device. Enter recovery mode again and after copying the.mi4 file, create a file named sansa.fmt on the device. ('touch sansa.fmt'). Note: This does not appear to have any effect on c200s. %W%

After you disconnect the device, it should say 'Formatting' on the screen. Be patient, this can take a few minutes.

Restoring the bootloader

Note: This step can brick your device further and may require you to enter manufacturing mode. This step also formats your device so you lose all data stored on it. %W%

If the previous step did not work, or you had to enter the recovery mode through manufacturing mode, you need to reinstall the bootloader.

Enter recovery mode again and do the following:
  • Copy the .mi4 file
  • Copy a bootloader .rom (or .btl in the case of the R series models) file which is compatible with your firmware file (see here)
  • Create a file named sansa.fmt on the device (not c200)

Next disconnect and wait till after it has formatted your device.

Further reading

If your device works again, you can now restart the Rockbox installation procedure and make sure to do it properly this time!

In the unlucky case that your device still does not work, these instructions cannot help you any further. With some luck you might still find a solution on the Rockbox forums or the mailing list.

Note: On c200, in some cases, the Sandisk firmware can get confused by a corrupted partition table or FAT bootsector. This can manifest itself in various ways, such as the OF freezing or not booting at all, showing weird free disk space estimates, or reporting bad information to the PC in MSC mode. In those cases, following the instructions at SansaC200Erase may help.


Manufacturing Mode

At times people mess up the bootloader and then the recovery mode doesn't work (In the sense that you cannot enter recovery mode anymore). In this unlikely case, you can enter manufacturing mode and use the e200tool to restore the bootloader. Manufacturing Mode should work with a completely corrupt firmware partition, it is not stored on the Sansa's flash memory,

Note e200tool is for both the e200 and c200 %W%

You can download the sourcecode for e200tool as well as a compiled Linux binary from http://daniel.haxx.se/sansa/e200tool.html Note: Do not follow the instructions on that page, you might further brick your player.

The e200tool works fine under Linux, *BSD and Mac OS X or similar systems, as long as you have libusb installed. If you are a Windows user, you should consider booting from a Linux Live-CD, as getting e200tool to work under Windows is extremely difficult and not recommended.

To recover from manufacturing mode, you also need to have a working bootloader file (which has .rom as filename extension). You can download bootloader files from http://daniel.haxx.se/sansa/mi4.html

You can boot into the manufacturing mode as follows:

  • Power off
  • Turn ON lock/hold
  • Hold down center select button
  • Insert USB cable

The screen should stay black with the blue ring lit. A new USB device should get detected.

Once inside manufacturing mode, use the following command to copy and load the original bootloader to the device:

For the e200:
 ./e200tool recover  BL_SD_boardSupportSD.rom

For the c200:
 ./e200tool recover pribootLoader.rom

You may need to make e200tool executable: for this type
 chmod +x e200tool

e200tool will then load the Sandisk bootloader into the players RAM, and then begin to execute it. No changes are made to the players internal storage, rebooting or powering off will undo everything. While e200tool writes the file to the device, you need to hold down the record button on your player, otherwise you may miss going into recovery mode. Hold it until the device enters recovery mode. If you miss, reboot the device and start the instructions from the beginning.

You should now be in recovery mode. Continue with the bootloader reinstallation as described in the previous section. Note that while you have just loaded the bootloader, you have not actually installed it to the device's memory, so you will need to install both the firmware (.mi4 file) and the bootloader (.rom). You may not need to format unless the file system on the main disk is also corrupted.

NOTE that if you have an e200R model, you want to recover to the BL file mentioned above, but then when it goes into recovery mode you really really want to install the binary-patched e200R model bootloader.


Pre-boot Mode

If the Sansa is booted and discovers a corrupted i2c rom or if there is no working bootloader at all, it will enter manufacturing mode automatically. During this mode, the Sansa appears as a "PortalPlayer USB Device."

Before you try anything else, you should try recover from a working bootloader to get into recovery mode as described in the previous section.

In the worst case, your i2c rom might be corrupted. Only if all other options fail, you can try to restore such a bad i2c rom by following the instructions mentioned here: http://daniel.haxx.se/sansa/e200tool.html


Do Not Email Daniel

Thanks for respecting this. If you still have problems, post your questions to the mailing list or possibly the Rockbox forums. You may email me (AlexZajac) at any time, and I will get back as soon as possible. I am very happy to help anyone unbrick their player (on Windows, Linux, or Mac).
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r23 - 01 Aug 2009 - 18:15:07 - MichaelGiacomelli
Copyright by the contributing authors.