• that tingly feeling.

    Set 10 2010, 22:27

    It's been about 14 years since I first heard Puressence's eponymous album. And Near Distance still gives me that tingling, hair on the back of my neck standing up, feeling.

    A hauntingly beautiful song from a shocking underrated band. And possibly the best live act I've ever seen.

    Ago 3 2010, 22:57

    Last week I told caitlin I wasn't getting any scrobbles because I was mostly using android to listen to music at the moment. This week there's a new client for android that scrobbles.

    She was obviously reading my mind or something! Psychic cat! (Mystic mog?)
  • Putting it all together

    Mar 21 2010, 21:28

    So everything had arrived. Time to put it back together.

    First up was to install the battery:

    When OWC say the battery won't fit in a 20GB ipod they are serious. The battery was a pretty tight fit. It was quite tall too. It would be hard to fit everything in the slim case if it wasn't for the hard drive being replaced too.

    Next up was to replace the hard drive. The converter from dealextreme had a couple of pins with a jumper on so that got bent out of the way and then it got plugged in. And then the battery was plugged in. Originally the battery cable went under the logic board but I figured it would make more sense to leave it above so it would be easier to remove the battery in the future.

    The headphone socket needed plugging in too. And then it looked like this:

    So that's all the hard work done. The back got clipped back on and that was it. And plugging it into a mac and up popped iTunes:

    It seemed quite happy. Even if it was in windows format (the CF card was formatted as FAT32). Just to make sure it was all working I told iTunes to restore the ipod which formatted its drive to a Macintosh format. And changed the name to "hackpod".

    And that made for a happy new old ipod. It doesn't play videos. It doesn't pretend to be a phone. It doesn't have a flashy colour screen with album art. But it does play music. Which to me is the point of these things.

    It also has more flash memory than most ipods (unless you want to spend a few hundred quid on a 64GB ipod touch) and if my calculations are correct it should have a battery life that craps all over anything that apple sell (from what I can tell it could last around 48 hours, but I need to test that over time).

    Plus on top of that if I want to upgrade the memory in the future I can. 64GB is available but pricey and 128GB is possible (if you have money to burn).

    What's next? Well with the bits I have left I was thinking of trying some surface mount soldering to repair the motherboard that's missing some chips. And with the 40GB case there's an interesting possibility. The first and second generation ipods had a battery with the same voltage and the same connector as the fourth generation. The difference in thickness between the two platter hard drive and CF card should mean it could fit in the case. And the capacity is almost four times the original battery. So that could mean a battery life of 48 hours before the gains from using flash memory instead of a hard drive. That's what's next. :-)
  • Spaced out

    Mar 21 2010, 10:46

    Since the 40GB ipod was a bit of a brick and didn't need the extra space inside the case I got a cheap 20GB ipod from ebay. £15 got a "faulty" ipod. The description said that the seller had replaced the battery and that it didn't work properly afterwards. Personally, I was only really after the back of the case, perhaps the front if it wasn't too scratched and with a view to resurrecting it if I could. Unfortunately it looked as though the seller had been a bit of a moron and hacked the case apart with a knife. In the process he'd managed to hack off a couple of chips of the motherboard. Which would explain why it didn't work at all. At least the back of the case was in decent nick.

    The 40GB ipod is about 3mm thicker than a 20GB one (or any high capacity ipod vs a lower capacity one). Here's why:

    On the right is a 20GB drive and on the left a 40GB one. The white plastic bit on the 40GB drive is just a bit of cushioning for the hard drive. The blue plastic bits are the same on both drives and mean they are held tight within the ipod.

    With that ipod all the pieces were in place to get the new ipod up and running.
  • Flashy memory

    Mar 21 2010, 10:10

    When it came to replacing the hard drive the obvious choice was some sort of flash memory. Of course it needed to actually connect up to the hard drive connector. And so everyone's favourite Chinese tat merchant dealextreme came up with the goods. About $4 came up with a compact flash to 1.8" hard drive convertor.

    The compact flash card with the best bang for the buck (or GB per £ if you want to be picky) seems to be 32GB at the moment. Amazon had a decent price for that. Not terribly cheap though - a 16GB one would be a lot cheaper but if all you wanted was a 16GB flash memory based ipod you could go and buy one from apple.

    So that's where the hard drive replacement came from. By replacing the 40GB hard drive with a CF card there would be a lot of extra space inside the ipod case.
  • 110%

    Mar 21 2010, 0:17

    Originally the 4G ipod came with a 630mAh battery. There's plenty of higher capacity batteries available. But the best at the moment is the 1350mAh battery available from Other World Computing. It should give an increase in battery capacity of about 110%. The original battery supposedly gives around 12 hours of battery life so this replacement should give a battery life over 24 hours.

    And so $20 got me this:

    The battery came with a couple of tools to open an ipod without scratching the case and so I popped it open to have a look.

    The best instructions to open an ipod seem to be from ifixit. They suggest starting at the headphone socket to open the case which seems to make a lot of sense. There's clips holding the ipod together on all sides except the one with the headphone socket so that's the easiest place to get the tools in.

    And so this happened:

    So that's what the inside of an ipod looks like. Pretty well packed.

    The OWC battery says it only fits in a 40GB ipod. But that assumes you're using the original hard drive. If there were to be something thinner then it should fit in a 20GB ipod. A compact flash card would be perfect. Which lead to the next step.
  • ipod acquisition

    Mar 20 2010, 23:26

    Naturally apple don't sell six year old ipods. And so I turned to the source of all tat in the universe - ebay.

    £20 got me a 40GB 4G ipod with a monochrome display. The only problem with it was the battery was very tired and wouldn't hold more than a few minute's charge. Not like it matters if you're going to change the battery though.

    And so this arrived in the post:

    It's a bit scratched and scuffed, but works fine.

    Next was to get a new battery.
  • hacking ipods for fun and profit

    Mar 17 2010, 22:43

    So it turns out that hacking open a 6G ipod to replace the hard drive isn't likely (or at least not without destroying it). So how are you supposed to repair an ipod? Luckily even after all its falls mine's still working.

    But what about when it does stop working? It would be nice to be able to fix it. It would be nicer to make it better. A bigger battery would be better. Or just a longer battery life.

    All this got me hankering for an old ipod. A 3G would be nice for nostalgic reasons (my first ipod was a 3G). But after a bit of research it turns out the most hackable is the 4G. It's easy to get the case open and the battery can be replaced for something with a much higher capacity.

    And so the plan was hatched... First thing on the list was to get a 4G ipod...
  • poor little ipod

    Ott 16 2009, 3:44

    My ipod hard drive is making some "bad noises"(TM) and it's been crashing and rebooting itself recently.

    Poor little pod. :(

    Worse is that it's an ipod classic and from what I tell looking at ifixit there's not really much chance of being able to repair it.