yes the av100 series can read any memory card. you will need an adapter a little like a card reader but with a cf connection to plug into the archos, archos make one but any will do for example this one (picked at random) http://www.card-media.co.uk/Memory+Stick+Adapters.htm
regarding your fault, I'm not necessarily
saying this has happened to yours but its a relatively common
I would upgrade the firmware and try as many cards as you can.
To see if it is a mechanical
fault (board flexing and causing the problem apposed to the card drawing
too much power or the hard drive drawing
too much power as they tend to do when getting old and the memory card pushing it over the edge) with the board insert the card first then power up the archos and see if you have a greater success
I have never seen this problem specifically
but I have seen many of the high capacity av400 mother boards develop bad contacts which cause it to shut down. It often happens after a battery has failed (which usually
means its swollen
and bent the mother board) with the higher power requirements (of the higher capacity models over the 20gb version) they also run far hotter which could also contribute to mother board failure.
So if its happening on all your cards not just one it very much sounds like the mother board is flexing as you insert it and causing a problem or the hard drive may be on its way out. I would check the battery for swelling, although it may be a bit late for this one if it has already. I have spent many hours re-soldering
these boards (I've many in the scrap bin) and never managed to recover one.
Give me a shout if you need any further help
best of luck