Sansa repair

I finally got around to fixing my MP3 player this weekend. I have a Sandisk Sansa e280 running the Rockbox open-source firmware replacement. Despite being a little light on capacity (8GB internal flash plus 2GB for the non-HC microSD slot), I like it a lot. However, recently the headphone jack had gotten very loose. If I jiggled the jack a little, the sound would cut in and out. After a while, it reached the point where I had to pull the cord at just the right angle to maintain enough contact to listen to anything.

Fortunately, this turned out to be relatively easy to fix. I found some instructions on the abi forum, along with links to pictures. It took a little time, but I got the headphone jack working like new again.

The main problem I had was prying up the plastic headphone jack. The plastic part is only held to the board by the metal contacts, which are soldered on. So you can just lift it off to get to the contacts themselves. However, I didn't want to use too much force to pry up the plastic, lest I break one of the contacts or crack the board. After fiddling around with it for a while, I decided to try the opposite route, taking advantage of the fact that you can see the top of the contact poking through the plastic. So, rather than pulling on the plastic, I held onto the plastic part and held the board up off the table. Then, I pushed down on the top of the contacts with a pin and they slid out without too much effort. So I bent the contacts in a bit and put small pieces of a rubber band behind the to try to prevent them from bending in the future. Then, to get the plastic back over them, I gently pushed on the top of the contacts with a straight screwdriver to guide them back into the channels in the jack.

Worked like a charm! I listened to my Sansa all day today and didn't have the sound cut out once. I was starting to fear I'd have to get a new MP3 player. And while the Sansa View and Sansa Fuze look nice enough, and have high-capacity microSD slots, Rockbox isn't stable on them yet. And frankly, Sandisk's native firmware isn't that great. If nothing else, I just like that Rockbox lets you use both database and file system navigation. Not to mention those handy plugins and the extra media formats.

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