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Repair Sansa Clip

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My Sansa Clip display stopped working, but it appeared to still turn on, play music, and more.

In order to fix the display, I took it apart and cleaned it up.

After I disassembled the Sansa Clip, I reassembled it and it worked great!

The Details

 …so my Sansa Clip is my prize running/biking/working out accessory and when it quit it put a serious damper on my will to burn calories.  I had purchased it refurbished about 3 months before this happened and I used it fairly constantly (about 5 days a week) as part of my exercise routine.

I could, of course, have just purchased another one (and at $35 each I probably should have) but I took on the challenge of fixing the stupid thing because I wanted to.  To take on this project, you’ll need:

  • Precision screwdrivers (like for eyeglasses)
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Scotch tape
  • Camera
  • Plastic or wood scraper (I used a plastic toothpick)
  • Cotton swab


Note that you’ll probably void your warranty and possibly damage your Clip beyond repair by following my instructions (the odds of damage go up more if you DON’T follow my instructions carefully).  Proceed at your own risk.

For all steps, take pictures liberally using your camera.  This will help you find your way if you can't figure out how to reassemble your Sansa Clip.

1.  Open the Clip housing

I inserted a 1.2 mm flathead screwdriver between the USB jack and the on-off-hold switch of the Clip and pushed gently but firmly directly into the seam of the plastic. 

(Note that if you push too hard you may damage the internal contents of the Clip. Please be careful)


Your Clip is already broken, and if all goes will the Clip will be fixed.  Proceed at your own risk.

Once you’ve penetrated your clip, gently pry open the case, taking care not to damage the plastic tabs that will continue to hold it together when you’ve finished.

2.  Unscrew shiny screws

Using a #0 Philips head screwdriver, undo the two silver-colored screws that you can see when you open the Sansa Clip. Affix these to a piece of scotch tape for safekeeping.  I use the tape because if I don’t, I tend to lose the screws somewhere along this project. I warned you.

3.  Lift and separate the battery

Use a small flathead screwdriver, lift the battery off the metal cover. The battery is affixed to the metal cover by two adhesive strips of foam/rubber.  I was able to gently pry the battery off these adhesive strips and allow the strips to remain on the metal case using a small flathead screwdriver.

4.  Unscrew black screws

I was unable to get at these screws using my #0 Philips head screwdriver, so instead I used my 1.2mm flathead screwdriver to do so.  Remove these gently to avoid stripping the heads.  Once again, stick these to a handy piece of tape to avoid losing them.

5.  Remove metal shield

6.  Remove circuit board from plastic Clip housing

Be gentle to avoid damage.

7.  Clean the circuit board

As you can see below, the part of my circuit board that is usually on the bottom of the Clip when it is clipped upright is corroded and covered with gunk (yes, it’s a technical term. Gunk).  I believe that, when an exercising user sweats into his Clip, sweat pools in the bottom of the plastic case of the Clip. This sweat then dries/fuses with the circuit board to form this gunk.

(click for larger image)

To clean the circuit board, I took these steps:

1)      Remove the orangish-clear plastic tape and discard

2)      Scrape the circuit board gently with your plastic scraper to remove gunk

3)      Using a swab dipped in rubbing alcohol, gently ‘wash’ the circuit board

WARNING: Your Clip probably has electricity in it. This is likely not enough to hurt you, but it may be enough to hurt your Clip. Avoid touching the circuit board with metal or any conductive material.

When you are done cleaning the Clip, you can test it (if it has power), by using the on/off switch on the circuit board.  If you have removed the problem, your Clip should power up, the screen should display, and it should operate normally.  

(click for larger image)

Note that it’s possible that you can accomplish all of this without disassembling your Clip by just giving it a good soak in rubbing alcohol. The rubbing alcohol may just dissolve the gunk, and the Clip may function normally when it dries. I am unwilling to try this on my now-working-perfectly Clip, but I may give that method a shot if I run into this again.

8.  Replace missing tape

I replaced my gunkified, no-longer-sticky orangish-clear plastic tape with 3M Scotch tape.  I’m not positive I understand what this does (I imagine an insulator of some sort), but I decided that there was no harm in putting something inside the Clip in place of the tape that it came with.


9.  Reassemble your Sansa Clip

Reassemble the Clip by reversing steps six through one.  On step 6, make sure you have snapped the circuit board back firmly in the Sansa Clip’s housing before proceeding to step five.

I’m curious how your progress goes, let me know how things sort themselves out at cliprepair@edtronic.com.


Thanks again for spending the time!

I hope this helped, and that I was able to help salvage your Clip.  Again, if you want to say "thanks" to me, then why not click through the banner ad below and buy something from Amazon? You were probably going to get something anyways, and this way Amazon will thank me on your behalf :)