It lives

Right before Thanksgiving my iPod went to that great electronics superstore in the sky.  More specifically, the cute little 1.8″ hard drive died.  Having looked around, I figured the best (or at least most interesting) fix was to replace the drive with a compact flash card.  The connector part finally came in today and we had a lovely (and to spare you the suspense, successful) operation.

We started with a 30 GB 5th generation iPod video showing the unhappy ipod symbol:


The first step was to open it up.  They make special tools for this, but I didn’t have any, so I used my old stand-by, a pocket knife to open it:

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I got the parts ready:


and did the surgery.  The result was the same iPod, no hard drive but with a 16 GB cf card instead:


At this point, I connected the power back up but did not completely reseal the iPod (in case I accidentally disconnected the audio out line.  Total time for the surgery, 15 minutes.  I turned the iPod on and saw:


Okay, it knows that it’s got a new drive and wants me to connect it to iTunes.  Hrm, problem.  iTunes doesn’t seem to have a linux version.  Okay, let’s boot the computer upstairs into windows mode – an ancient win2k install.  Run an old version of iTunes.  No go.  I had removed QuickTime to make space for ArcGIS and now iTunes is unhappy.  I tried to explain that I don’t really want to listen to the iPod on windows.  It doesn’t care.

I download iTunes.  It claims to be a 47 MB download – it’s actually 57 MB.  Fine.  Run the installer.  Nope – this version requires XP or Vista.  Crap.  Go back to Apple, find the older Win2k version.  Claims to be a 47 MB download – seems to be 37MB.  I don’t think Apple engineers understand file size.

Install iTunes, reboot the computer, run iTunes It won’t fix the iPod because it can’t find the network.  Network is working, iTunes can’t find it.  Search the web, find the solution and re-run iTunes.  It downloads a new firmware and fixes the device.  Time screwing with iTunes: 40 minutes.  Result:


Okay, now we’re in business.  I take a break for dinner and fire up GtkPod.  Too many mp3s to fit on the new system.  Fine, I get it down to the right size and start the sync.  Two and half hours later, we have music!


not much space left, but that’s okay:


First impressions?  It’s nice.  There’s no disk noise, no disk vibration and best of all, no disk spin-up delay.  You can jump between songs without waiting until the drive spins up and seeks.  Overall, it was definitely worth it.  Now when 32 GB flash drives are affordable I’ll have a good upgrade path 🙂

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