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causa mortis: sweat. death — and rebirth — of an mp3 player

only six months after i got my sansa m250 it died on me. #%&*$@!? i was in love with it already! it was tiny (this is pre-shuffle), easy to operate and the 2gb were plenty for me.

sad loss, but no surprise. i sweat like a pig. when i wrote runner’s voodoo i was happy to have resuscitated my sweat busted hydration pack. could i save my mp3 player? i don’t know. i didn’t try. i called sandisk and explained that my sweat might have corroded the power contacts (or whatever). it wouldn’t power up on the external battery, but worked fine when connected to the computer. the technician wasn’t eager to offer an exchange right away. he first asked me if i had tried a new battery (DUH!!!) then had me update the firmware and format the device. no success (as expected), so i was offered to send it back for a replacement. yay!

even though i took better care of the new one, (i wore it upside down so the usb port and headset jack were somewhat covered, and i wiped it after every run), it still didn’t last a year before it died the same death. #%&*$@!? i called sandisk again, but no luck this time. before hanging up i kindly suggested they improved their product, as it is common for people to wear it while exercising… anyway, since it would still work when connected to the computer, i used it as a pen-drive for a while.

then last weekend i decided to open it up and “take a look”, what the heck. (i’ve been taking things apart — and most of the time putting them successfully back together — since i was a kid). you know, to satisfy that itching curiosity to see what’s inside (c’mon, i’m not the only one). what i did to my sansa was simple, and since it worked, i’m posting a picture here and encouraging anyone to “play” with something they’ve already resigned to throwing out, before actually doing so. (i repeat and emphasize “already resigned to throwing out“).

the red circles show the battery contacts. they were pretty gunky, and i cleaned both with a q-tip dabbed in alcohol. the negative pole, by the usb port, left, was so salty i had to scrape it with a toothpick. i also cleaned some salt/rust from around the circuit battery (red arrow).

i then tested it by carefully holding the aaa battery in place while pressing down on the switch (bottom left, by the negative pole) and it powered on beautifully! now this is very important: in my excitement i broke the lcd when putting the circuit back in its casing, so make sure you keep your cool until the very end, after everything is properly put back together AND tightly closed. well, it works. i just can’t see half of the display anymore…

ps: the player now goes in a ziplock bag in my waist pack, as opposed to strapped to my arm.

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{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Dmitri January 31, 2008, 5:33 pm

    Nattie, you are a nerd! And a very patient one 🙂
    Even if I managed to go all the way as you described, I would probably squash this thing in anger after LCD broke 🙂
    Good job!!!
    P.S. See you in Cerritos soon… many times… hahaha :)))

  • Greg February 5, 2008, 9:48 pm

    Hey baby, you are a genius! We DO need to catch up.

  • Ben February 15, 2008, 4:07 pm

    Ziplocks are good.
    Happy trails, Ben

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