Archos Use

I let Jeb borrow my Archos indefinitely. It is a great device, with a 20 GB hard drive that will play MP3’s but also act as an external hard drive (at least to Windows machines).

You can download the drivers at:

It is a Archos Jukebox, not a recorder. In particular it is the Archos Jukebox Studio 20.

This is the Yahoo group about the product:

And this is the group of software writers that wrote the new operating system Rockbox that makes the Jukebox more useful:

With Rockbox installed (as it is currently) here’s the basic operation:

To turn it on: Hold down the ON button until the hard drive starts to spin up.

There are three modes you can be in. Play mode is while you are playing a song. The buttons act like you might expect. Pause pauses. + fast forwards if you hold it down and skips to the next song if you press it and let go. – goes rewinds or skips back. STOP stops the song. Holding STOP down will turn the machine off. If you want to have the song pick up right where you left off you have to pause and then turn it off, otherwise it will pick up where the hard drive last ran which could be a minute or two earlier in the song. To change the volume hold MENU (or ON?) and use + or -.

In browse mode you use + and – to scroll through a list of directories or files. PLAY will enter a directory (or start playing a song or playlist). STOP will let you go up one directory level.

Then there is menu mode which you get to by pressing Menu anytime. You can change all kinds of preferences, put it in shuffle mode, change backlight setting, adjust the tone, etc. It even has some way of making playlists.

The operating system is a file called ARCHOS.MOD stored on the root of the player. ARCHOSv57.MOD is the original operating system which works differently and can’t resume in the middle of a song. ROCKBOXv13.MOD is the Rockbox OS. You can switch back and forth by renaming either of those files ARCHOS.MOD. (I think the current ARCHOS.MOD is actually Rockbox 1.4).

There is a set of preferences that allows you to change the display while a song is playing. You can have it show time remaining, track number, file names, tags like Artist, Song Title, etc. It’s cumbersome but it works. You’ll have to refer to the Rockbox documentation to figure it out. Those settings are stored in the .ROCKBOX folder in a file called system.wps


Don’t let the batteries run all the way down. The adapter I included should be set to 12 volts even thought the Archos jack says 9 volts. If you set it to 9V the batteries will never recharge fully (while recharging it will say “Batteries Charging” and then change to “Batteries Charged” when done about 6 hours later). Don’t leave it plugged in all the time; the hard drive will run to dissipate the extra power once the batteries are charged up. Don’t reverse the polarity on the adapter by removing the adapter head and putting it on wrong. When charging the batteries make sure the Archos is well-ventilated or it will melt. Really. Some guy wrote and said he had his plugged in and fell asleep and his pillow fell on it and he woke up and the thing was melted.

Taking out the batteries is ridiculous, but you shouldn’t have to do it very often. I’ll have to show you how. You use the little notch in the case to push the silver side-piece out just a little (a millimeter maybe) and then pry the top of the sidepiece near the blue bumper upwards and the bottom upwards. But it is easy to break it or damage it if you don’t do it right.

Don’t use the line out: It is very weak. Use the headphone jack. Don’t lose the USB cable; it is unique. The LINE IN doesn’t do anything. The Archos skips if it gets jarred a lot while playing.

You can erase anything you want on there (I have a copy of everything on my hard drive). The Archos should play any kind of MP3 file you put on there as well as .m3u playlists but not any other kind of audio file. I think it can also open text files but you can’t see them while browsing unless you change the setting so that you can see all files. Because it is USB it will take several hours to rewrite everything to its hard drive, so make sure it is plugged in (it doesn’t use USB power) when it will be hooked up to a computer for a while.

5 thoughts on “Archos Use

  1. Very useful post! Thanks!

    I’ll keep the collection in tact for a while. Think of it as your off-site backup.

    I’ve enjoyed listening to J. Geils and Johnny Cash so far. I like the resume feature. Reminds me of our first portable CD players, although even more useful.

    The Line-Out works much better hooked to my Tivoli Aux-in that does the Ear port, which is as it should be.

  2. I could see how the line-out would work with the Tivoli. When I hooked the Archos up to mine I usually set the volume at about 50% otherwise it was hard to set the Tivoli at a low enough volume to fall asleep. However when I hooked the Archos up to the car stereo through the tape deck I had to crank it a little more or else turn the car stereo almost all the way up so line out was no good there.

    I should revise my post to say the Archo is the Jukebox Studio 20 as opposed to the Recorder, but it has the same circuitry as the Jukebox 6000. The Recorder has a better display and a functioning Line In that lets you record (which might be useful for taking analog songs from cassettes and albums as well as copy protected CD’s and turning them into MP3’s as well as recording concerts and voice through a microphone). But that cost more.

  3. Tucking this here for future reference. (Danny lost the giant brick in Pensacola.)

    JC: What is the polarity of the Archos AC/DC converter?

    TC: “The tip (inside) is positive and the outside is negative.”

    Mnemonic: Archos may look negative on the inside (compared to an iPod) but he is positive on the inside, and that’s what counts.

  4. Revisiting the Archos which has lived under DC’s bed for about a year, ever since he got a shuffle and went off to college. Booted up and is running fine. Playing Brothers in Arms. Ted suggested I reload the Archos and hook it up to our stereo after I said I was going to get an iPod and do this. Good thinking UT!

  5. What goes around comes around. The Rockbox guys who originally rewrote the operating system for the Archos have now written a new OS for the iPod. It’s all the rage among iPod hackers. I’ll have to come visit the Archos someday just to remember how big and clunky an MP3 player can be.

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