Rebuilding an iPod

Over the holiday (I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving!) I spent some time figuring out what to do about my broken iPod hard drive. The simplest/cheapest thing is to replace the drive with another 30 GB 1.8″ drive. The problem is that this is boring. Okay, next thought – up the drive size. I can get a 40 GB drive that’s the same size and is a drop-in replacement. Only problem is that this isn’t very cost effective in terms of dollars per GB. Apparently the wide-spread use of 30 GB drives in iPods has lowered the price point here. What about a 60 GB? It looks like that’s doable too and at a good price point. Downside is that I need a new back to accommodate the thicker drive. Hrm, that’s no good either.

In looking around online, I ran across Tarkan Akdam’s website. He had the same issue with a dead ipod drive and resolved it with a very cool hack. He built a connector board that connects a compact flash card to the ZIF connector for an ipod. This let him connect a 4 GB CF card in place of the drive. As an electronics engineer he did this right – not a cheap connector with random wires (like I would do), but a custom connector board. He’s now selling these and I’ve ordered one, along with a 16 GB CF card. Hopefully by next weekend everything will be here and I can put it all back together.

Cons:

  • less space
  • slightly slower data transfer speed

Pros:

  • exceedingly cool
  • hardier – no moving parts to break the next time I drop it
  • no spin-up time when I change songs – i.e., better ipod response times
  • better battery life (Tarkan’s done some tests and the results are impressive)

I would have preferred not to have broken the ipod, but this will at least be interesting and cheaper than a replacement 🙂

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