Bembel-B Blog


Preparing MP3s and Cover Art for SanDisk Sansa e200 Portable Audio Player

Last year I purchased a flash based 2 GB DAP SanDisk Sansa e250 to join my good ole 20 GB HDD player Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Firewire. Sadly the Sansa is quite picky when it comes to ID3 tags.

SanDisk Sansa e200

By experimenting and reading up I found out how to retag my MP3s using Linux (and probably also Windows using Cygwin) so that they all will be fully recognized. I also found a procedure to nicely resize cover scans which can be displayed when playing a corresponding track.


For ID3 tagging I’m using the command line application eyeD3, as it handles ID3v2.4 and – yes – it’s commandline driven. I made an RPM for Fedora Core 5. The original spec file didn’t work because of using the wrong python version. I’ve put my edited spec file and the RPM into my share.

To handle the cover scans I use ImageMagick.


For better performance one should copy the files to be uploaded to your player somewhere on your harddrive.

Copy your MP3s to some working directory and finally cd into it

mkdir -p ~/wrk/mp3new
cd /windows/g/mp3
cp -r _electronic/Aphex\ Twin/Aphex_Twin-...I_Care_Because_You_Do-1995/ /windows/g/mp3
cp -r _metal/Colonel\ Claypool\'s\ Bucket\ of\ Bernie\ Brains\ -\ Big\ Eyeball\ in\ the\ Sky/ /windows/g/mp3
cp -r _metal/Primus/primus-pork_soda-1993/ /windows/g/mp3
cd ~/wrk/mp3new


The Sansa preferres ID3v2 tags over ID3v1 and can read up to ID3v2.3 tags. But it doesn’t seem to like some of the special fields possible with ID3v2.3 and therefore these will have to be removed. The following steps may seem a bit complicated, but it’s the only way to do the cleanup with eyeD3 currently.

1.) Convert to v1.x

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --to-v1

2.) Remove v2

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --remove-v2

3.) Convert to v2.3

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --to-v2.3

4.) Remove v1

find -type f -and  \( -name "*.mp3" -or -name "*.MP3" \) -print0 | xargs -0 eyeD3 --remove-v1

To make things easier, I’ll try to condense all this to one single command next time. So stay tuned..

Cover Art

My procedure will only keep the front cover scans, where available. If you’d like to keep other images too, you’d have to follow the alternative procedure 1b/2b instead of 1a/2a.
Please note: even png images will be renamed to folder.jpg ImageMagick will correctly recognize them as pngs when converting.

If you’d prefer not to use folder.jpg for the resized cover images you may instead use Album Art.jpg as filename.

1a.) List all jpegs and png files. Then manually delete all unneeded files!

find -type f -and \( -name "*.jpg" -or -name "*.JPG" -or -name "*.png" \)

2a.) Rename cover images to folder.jpg

OLDIFS=$IFS ; IFS=$'\n' ; \
for fn in `find -type f -and \( -name "*.jpg" -or -name "*.JPG" -or -name "*.png" \) -not -name "folder.jpg"` ; \
do mv -v "$fn" "${fn/`basename "$fn"`/folder.jpg}" ; \
done ; IFS=$OLDIFS

1b/2b.) Alternative: To keep other images as well, you’d have to manually rename (or copy to keep the original) the front cover images to folder.jpg

3.) Proportionally resize cover images to max 200 x 200 px

OLDIFS=$IFS ; IFS=$'\n' ; \
for fn in `find -type f -name folder.jpg` ; \
do mogrify -verbose -resize '200x200>' "$fn" ; \
done ; IFS=$OLDIFS

I must admit this isn’t the most elegant way. Maybe I’ll manage to make some little GUI and trying to automatically chose the front cover image files. We’ll see..

Uploading to the Player

Nothing special here. Just plug in your Sansa in MSC mode. Then move the files to the player.

mv -v * /media/Sansa\ e250/MUSIC

If you’re replacing files on your player, you’ll have to purge the tag database in order to let the player recognize the changes.

rm /media/Sansa\ e250/SYSTEM/DATA/PP5000.DAT


[070923 Fix backslashes (“\\” markup was meanwhile rendered as “\\” and not “\” as before.]
[080120 Add “Sansa e200” category and link to it.]


The SATAnic Power of State-of-the-Art OSes and Installing Them

I recently did a clean install of Windows XP and Fedora Core 5 on my SATA HDD and it was quite an odyssey to get it working. I’ll briefly describe the odds I was confronted with. The real problem was to get Windows NTLDR/boot.ini bootstrap and the GRUB bootloader installed and configured correctly. One source of trouble seems to be that I had my old (even though unpartitioned) IDE HDD still plugged in and it could not be disabled in the BIOS. I am using an Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe mainboard.

Installing Windows XP

Of course one needed to have the Sil SATA driver on a floppy disk and press F6 when the Windows XP Install CD got booted. I knew this already. But downloading that 20+ MB driver package from the Asus website took over 30 minutes with about 13KB/s.. Very frustrating!
The strange thing with the Windows install was that it wouldn’t let me install on the SATA HDD without having enough free space on the IDE HDD. I had to create some partition on the IDE HDD and then the first step of installation continued.
Funny enough, the Windows bootloader got installed on that IDE HDD. So I had my Windows installed on drive C: (SATA) and the bootloader on drive D: (IDE) with a boot.ini configured to load Windoze from the second (SATA) HDD.
To fix that, I had to change the boot.ini to use the first HDD. I edited the file using a Linux Live-CD and copied it to a floppy disk (as there is no text editor included in the Windows Recovery Console AFAIK). Then I booted the Windows Recovery Console and copied all files from the IDE drive and the fixed boot.ini from the floppy disk to the SATA drive. This of course only was sufficient, as I wanted to use GRUB as my bootloader. Quite interesstingly, the drive letters using the Recovery Console where different, i.e. C: was IDE and D: was SATA.. Stupid drive letters anachronism I say!

Installing Fedora Core 5

The installation process was quite straight forward. Only thing that was annoying: There was only the option to install GRUB into the boot sector of the IDE drive or into the beginning of the first Linux partition (SATA). So I had to reinstall GRUB giving the desired destination after the OS was installed.
But this wasn’t enough. The problem is that I booted from CD and therefore the CD-ROM drive was seen as first boot drive and the HDD was considered the second drive. So I had to edit /boot/grub/ and define the HDD to be the first boot drive and do a reinstall of GRUB (grub-install /dev/sda).


Some part of problems I think were caused because I had that IDE HDD still installed. On the other hand the installer programs should be smart enough to automagically get around these problems. Sadly I didn’t find the solution as directly as it may sound. Searching the web I didn’t find anything describing my case, so this is why I wrote this..
My description of problems and how I solved them is surely very compressed for such a complex and confusing topic. So feel free to ask for clarification etc. by commenting.


[2006-04-23: Add tags.]

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