Unbrick your Sandisk Sansa m250 (m200 Series)

The Symptoms :
Player freeze on “SANSA” Boot screen and does not response to any key pressed.
Device will not be recognised by PC (display always showing “Initializing”).
“not enough space for music db …..” on display and formatting device with windows will not work.
All solutions to reset your devive has been failed.

The problem :
The Player is updating/reorganizing his music database (ID-Tags) on every start-up.
If there is a corrupted file on flash, the firmware runs into an endless loop and the player will be inaccessible. My Player stopped working after I have copied a MP3 file with an included cover picture to the flash.

The solution :
You will need :

If your Sansa m2xx showing ““not enough space for music db …..” on display and it will recognized by your PC you need not disassemble the device! Do only steps 3 and 5-15!

1 . Disassemble unit carefully
Remove battery and screw under battery cover.
Remove front cover with your nails
Remove PCB
Locate Flash Memory, which is on a small extra board, fitted on back side of Main PCB

2. Set hold switch to “HOLD”

3. Connect Player to LINUX PC via USB (without battery)

4. Shorten pins of Flash Memory with a small knife or another metallic object.

You have to repeat this procedure several times until the device shows "USB Connected"
Now the Player should be recognised by your PC.
Maybe you can backup all your files from Player.

5. Open a terminal window on your Linux system and change to  Superuser” Mode
("sudo –i" on Ubuntu an derivates, or "su" on other systems)
 
6. Type  "fdisk  -l" to  determine  the device name ( sdb, sdc ….)

7. If your system is using “automount” you have to unmount the device with
"umount /dev/sdx"  (x=device from step 6)

8. Destroy the filesystem on your player with following command :
"mkfs /dev/sdx1" . (x=device from step 6)

This formats the player with an unreadable ext2 system

9. Disconnect player from PC

10. Put a battery into player and switch it on and wait 30 seconds
You should have to access to player menus now. If not repeat steps 2 to 9

11. Remove battery, set hold switch to HOLD and reconnect your player to your PC.
Wait until display shows "USB Connected"

12. Format device with a FAT(32) file system using command "mkfs.vfat  /dev/sdx1"  (x=device from step 6)
(do not forget to unmount if automounted, see step 7)
 
13. Disconnect player from PC , put a battery into player, power on and wait 30 seconds.

14. Connect Player to PC and check if  there are 3 folders (AUDUIBLE,CONFIG,RECORD) and file SYS_CONF.DNC present only (no other files!). Then Unbricking your SANSA m2xx was successful

15. Copy some files to player and test if all is working

16. Reassemble device

What we have done :
Shorting pins of flash memory causes a memory error. The player stops updating his database and proceeds to normal operation (connects to PC).  The only way to delete corrupted files is to destroy the whole file system on flash. On next boot the player will create its own files system FAT(32) again.

This procedure has been tested with a SANSA m250 (2GB) V3 Hardware (Firmware 3.2.8E).