My well intentioned friend set a challenge for me a fortnight back. Repair his portable MP3 player which was acting comatose.
The device in question, the RCA Lyra RD2762 was quite a trendsetter in it’s time. Featuring an internal 1.8″ 4GB HDD, rechargeable Li-ion battery, USB port connectivity and charging, drag-drop file transfer … the list of features is long and enviable.
Just one big problem: Device only displayed ‘File system is corrupt’ message.
Multiple attempts to connect the device to a computer and format the storage met with big failure. The reason: while the device itself is detected and shows up dutifully in Device Manager, no partitions on the disk are visible. Hence no formatting. In fact in the Disk Management Console, the drive does not show up at all.
Google members had lot of suggestions:
- Change the USB protocol from MTP (Music Transfer Protocol) to MSC (Mass Storage Controller). Quite logical thing to do. MTP is not natively supported in Windows XP and requires the installation of manufacturer specific software. Vista supports MTP by default. MPT devices do not show up as removable devices that can be formatted. MSC on the other hand shows up as a drive.
- Attempt a device reset.
- Open up the device and check for broken parts.
So I went about all three of them. The default USB behavior was indeed set-to MTP. Once I changed it to MSC, the device promptly showed up in ‘My Computer’ with a drive letter. Attempts to format the drive were unsuccessful. In fact, the HDD was probably so badly corrupted, that if the player was connected to the PC, File operations tended to get stuck for minutes altogether.
The player has a feature to reset all settings. It didn’t help. I was stoically met with ‘file system corrupted’ message.
Opening up the device and checking for broken parts was easy. The device was already in pretty beat-up condition with the back cover barely hanging in place. Once removed, the device internals were in shambles. Everything seemed to have experience Richter Scale 8.5
As hinted in Google and visibly present in this device, was the loose connector of the HDD. The HDD on the device is connected to the board by a thin flat ribbon connector that is clamped at both ends. While the clamp on the PCB end is reasonably large and secure, the clamp on the HDD end is really small and delicate.
Once temporarily reconnected (connecting cable held in place by sticky tape), the device miraculously showed up in ‘My Computer’ and present it’s existing content in FAT32 file system glory. The problem was therefore identified as loose HDD cable.
Attempting to clamp the cable on the HDD was quite a challenge. A very thin black plastic sliver (easily broken, easily misplaced, easily discarded) is actually slid into the connector to secure the cable to the HDD. Once this was accomplished, the HDD reliably worked in Windows, allowed me to format it and load it up some music to prove that I had indeed touched it.