I love little semi-retro gadgets, maybe because I grew up playing a GameBoy? Anyway, a few months ago, this video about Rockbox really sold me on getting a first-generation Sandisk Sansa Clip, and I ended up ordering an unopened one off Ebay.

There was one problem, though. Turns out if you leave a LiPo pack on the shelf for ~15-17 years it stops working. And the Sansa Clip was never designed to be repairable.

Jimmying the cover open without damaging the little guy too much was probably the hardest part of this “project”.

The second-hardest part was soldering a new battery in. This isn’t the original battery model, by the way–the original was Sandisk-specific. This is just a roughly equivalent generic battery.

(By the way, that’s already the new battery. The photos you’re seeing here are actually the second time around I’m doing this–I had a wire snap when I went to upgrade the case. I didn’t have a good camera the first time around.)

Anyway, it turned out the new battery’s leads were too short, and soldering directly to the ends of the leads led to such large solder joints that I could no longer fit the battery in the case. So I ended up desoldering the original leads and soldering my own wires between the battery and the Sansa Clip, which involved removing the kapton tape and unfolding the tiny pcb attached to the battery.

This was admittedly a little nerve-wracking, but I tried my best not to skewer the battery with my soldering iron, and everything turned out great.

Even after all that effort, it turned out the new battery still wouldn’t fit in the old back cover–it’s just not shaped quite the same. The old back cover was pretty dinged up from being forced open anyway, and it wouldn’t have gone back together securely. So I ended up designing a new case. The new case envelops the original front cover and replaces the original back cover. I didn’t include the clip attachment because I didn’t feel I needed it.

Continuing with the nostalgia junkie theme, the clear craze felt fitting here–and hey, I went through all that effort to replace the battery, so why not show it? So I printed the case out of Formlabs Clear V4 resin, even though Clear is brittle and would likely shatter if dropped.

Anyway, I’m quite pleased with the result. Could’ve polished the case a bit more, but oh well.

Here’s the CAD if you want.