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Ok, If the plug and power source are fine then i believe that the cause of self shut off is the board capacitor. If there are blown or faulty capacitors this are usually the result. Please have a good look at the capacitors.
A SD flash card is not part of the player itself and you will need a SD card adapter to plug it into your computer. With the adapter you can transfer files over to the SD card and then place the card back into the player. Adapters are usually no more than 10 dollars at local stores.
Make sure you don't have to many folders or sub folders, best to keep it simple.
Wipe the card and format it as "FAT" not "FAT32" just right click your usb or SD card in vista or XP and select format.
Drop your MP3 album onto the card, If you use your USB Stick and SD card at the same time then it will default to SD and not play from both.
I found it would not read from one card unless I had a playlist, so I used a free program called Playlist creator 3 - get it here (only relates to MP3's)
I dropped and xvid movie onto the SD card and it played fine, just make sure you are in the correct menu 1st! and the movie isn't in some very old format as it may not play all codecs (encoding used to make movie)
What, you actually hotwired a flash card into the Ilo? Impressive. Or are you trying to get the Ilo to play music from an SD card, when you have both plugged into the computer?
If you're talking about the first, then I'd say you did a good job at NOT destroying your Ilo. If its the second, then unplug your Ilo, put your headphones into the headphones jack in the computer, and play the music from your computer.
This might be a really stupid suggestion so please don't rate me badly or anything. Check how loose the battery is. That could be the problem. If that dosn't work, maybe it's the battery itself. If that dosn't work, don't return it right away because it might be a very minor problem. Sorry if it dosn't work.
Hope it works