8GB iPod nano hack

nano

2,000 songs. Impossibly small. Reeks of fish.

There is something very fishy going on with this conversion of a 4GB iPod nano to an 8GB nano. To start, the obligatory “new capacity” screenshot isn’t provided. Next, it is almost too simple: just piggyback the flash chips on top of each other. Wait, weren’t the chips in the 4GB nano mounted on a daughter card? ([Omikron]‘s photos of the daughter card in his 4GB nano) The 2G version had flash chips on the main board, but those were Toshibas not these Samsung chips. There are really basic instructions provided that encourage you to buy a broken nano on eBay and salvage the necessary chips. If that seems a little hard, the author has plenty of the correct memory chips on hand and is willing to upgrade your nano, for a fee. This page is mirrored in an auction. What kind of person has a pile of 2GB iPod flash chips on hand? I don’t know, but they seem to have sold a lot of 4GB iPods in the last month. I wonder what capacity the iPods really were

102 thoughts on “8GB iPod nano hack

  1. Opened a 4gb nano that was purchased 1 week after the release. Also opened a 4gb nano purchased today. On both nanos there are 2 samsung 2gb chips stacked in ONE SLOT. Other slot is totally vacant. NO DAUGHTER BOARDS FOR MEMORY AT ALL. That site looks correct. I guess Apple did this so when it comes time all they have to do is add a set of stacked chips for their 8gb nanos. Futher Discovery- There are some pins on the top memory chip which apple cut. If I remember correctly this helps address the memory flows. I think if you add memory to the vacant slot you will need to bridge these cut leads and leave cut pins at the same leads for the vacant slot. This hack is 100% totally doable but you will need to bridge some leads to make it happen which the site is not talking about. I don’t think a bios rewrite is needed but it won’t be to hard if it is as it’s *very easy* to reflash the bios of the nano. Someone should start a forum on this subject as it’s a very desirable hack to perform.

  2. Hey i dont know much about ipods but all i know is that if some one actually does it ill pay them to do mine too! Cuz i know about computers but ive always had a diff time with sodering ive F-ed so man Xbox’s But it sounds do-able but it just has to be plain tested thats the only way

  3. As for the nano’s firmware supporting the hack, I don’t see why it wouldn’t. The 2GB and 4GB nanos use the exact same firmware; it would make sense for Apple to have the firmware check the size of the memory, say, when the firmware is initially flashed (or even when it boots up) rather than hard coding the sizes directly into the firmware. While the validity of this website is certainly questionable, the hack itself does seem like a real possibility!

  4. A 32 Gbit(Gb) flash drive is the same as a 4 GB (GByte) flash drive.
    1 byte = 8 bits
    Sorry for the confusion, I and most everyone else have been ignoring capitals…

  5. Ah, I see… never mind, I hadn’t noticed that all capitals are removed from our posts.

    4 gigabyte flash chip (capital B) = 32 gigabit (lowercase b) flash chip

    1 byte = 8 bits

  6. Seems there are a lot of different nano’s around then. The 4G nano I have opened has a daughter board. It was sold at the Paris Expo. Upgrading it like this is not possible with that model, unless you desolder the existing connector. One thing is for sure though, the room is there.

  7. I have been fixing ipods for many years now. Almost all 4gb Apple nanos I see have 2 slots with 1 slot containing 2 stacked 2gb memory chips. The other slot is empty like the picture on multiarcade.com. Almost all 4gb nanos from release to current do not have daughter boards. That chip is not a 4gb chip it’s an image of two 2gb chips stacked on each other. The other image is of four 2gb chips (8GB total), side by side with 2 stacked. K9NBG08U5M is a 2 gig samsung chip, all the other numbers on the chip don’t mean anything important other than PCAO which is the package type. Apple does not use Samsung 1gb chips and they don’t use Samsungs 4 gb chips. Apple does not use 1gb samsung on any models. However ipod does use hitachi 1gb in 2gb nanos. They only use samsung 2gb chips ONLY most of which are stacked. A very few early release 4gb nanos have daughter boards which have 2, samsung 2gb chips but they are not stacked, but these units are rare.

  8. sooo besides all the…. it’s plausible, not plausible, how about someone out there with money try it already, otherwise, i’m’a start a site on trying to validate the concept and beg for donations to buy the materials ’cause i dont have the money to risk it yet… i’m sure someone else out there does

  9. i noticed something when fixing the configuration of my buddy’s nano, his music disappeared when he hooked it up to a mac, and for some odd reason it said he only had 268mb space left. said the total size of the chip was 1.9, after i updated the firmware and did a factory restore it started telling me that the max space was 1.7gb… so i’m guessing the firmware started tracking the chip as being a different size

  10. Does anyone know where I can get my hands on one of those 4GB chips? I have a 4GB nano I’d be willing to try this on. Samsung’s website says that the minimum order size is something like 2000 units…that’s about 1998 more than I need…

  11. The website in mention (multiarcade)says that the 4G ipod has a single 4G Samsung K9NBG08U5M chip soldered onto the main board. This leaves space for a second chip on the main board, another 4G chip. This would mean each soldered chip has it’s own CS (chip select). The idea of soldering another chip on top will not work, each chip needs to have its own CS line !!!!!
    You can’t piggy back CS lines !!!!

    It doesn’t say to solder another chip ontop of another (wouldn’t work, need seperate CS for each chip)the diagram between steps 7& 8 is confusing. The question is also have apple changed the latest 4G ipod to no longer use the daughter board with 2x2G chips to make 4G, but might now ship it with 1x4G chip and no daughter board. Who has opened up a 4G ipod that might be their latest batch, eg jan 2006 shipment ?
    Sorry leaving mine intact, too much other stuff to do.

  12. The website in mention (multiarcade)says that the 4G ipod has a single 4G Samsung K9NBG08U5M chip soldered onto the main board. This leaves space for a second chip on the main board, another 4G chip. This would mean each soldered chip has it’s own CS (chip select). The idea of soldering another chip on top will not work, each chip needs to have its own CS line !!!!!
    You can’t piggy back CS lines !!!!

    It doesn’t say to solder another chip ontop of another (wouldn’t work, need seperate CS for each chip)the diagram between steps 7& 8 is confusing. The question is also have apple changed the latest 4G ipod to no longer use the daughter board with 2x2G chips to make 4G, but might now ship it with 1x4G chip and no daughter board. Who has opened up a 4G ipod that might be their latest batch, eg jan 2006 shipment ?
    Sorry leaving mine intact, too much other stuff to do.

  13. Dear aussiepod, You have no clue! The multiarcade site is not saying to piggyback anything. The site says to use the vacant slot. All the site is saying is to remove a prestacked 4gb chip (already pre-stacked by samsung as per the samsung tech sheet and you can see a picture of the factory stacked 4gb (2×2) chip from the samsung datasheet at http://www.samsung.com/Products/Semiconductor/NANDFlash/SLC_LargeBlock/32Gbit/K9NBG08U5M/ds_k9xxg08uxm_rev10.pdf
    on page #7). So aussiepod, take a look and you will see there is NO stacking of any chips because on nanos (with out a daughter board which is most of them) the chips are prestacked and there is a vacant spot for another prestacked 4gb chip. NO STACKING ENVOLVED!!! So your chip select (CS) theory is so silly.

  14. I see what you guys mean, thanks for the clarification. Looked at the data sheet, and yes, it is factory prestacked chip, with pins 9 &10 unused from the top chip (ce1,ce2) but 9& 10 used by the bottom chip, so that they can toggle between the top chip and bottom chip.

    So where can one buy these chips in small quanaties, eg 1, if the firmware supports it, and the CE lines are used on the second set of solder pads when going above 4G, it should work ?

  15. Hi,

    The Chipquik removal method works well, I’ve used it on a 256MB keydisk to mod it to 512MB.

    One thing that I did notice is that the stacks probably have the chip select lines hard wired. This is a common method which does work but you need to wire alternate lines to GND for it to work properly (so CS1—GND CS2—CS1board on the first chip, and CS1—CS2board, CS2—GND

    It might work with just pins and leaving them floating, but usually this doesent work properly unless the chip has internal pullups or pulldowns.

    -A

  16. All nano’s I have opened so far have either 2 1G chips side by side or on daughterboard. :-(
    Seeing the stacked chips are sold by Samsung, but they have more Select and Ready lines than the other chips, this might mean the motherboard of the nano has to be ready for this too. I wouldn’t mind soldering in an extra stack but… well, just haven’t found the right nano yet.

  17. RRRICHIE…. The only IPODs that have stacked chips are the 4 gig nanos. NO 2 gig nanos have stacked chips, you are describing 2gig nanos.

  18. It’s totally doable.

    I live in Shanghai – you can buy iPods from the factory (off the back of lorry style) in many places in Shanghai.

    My Nano guy sells nano’s sans ram for 900RMB

    You can add your own ram to those – they’ll do surface mounted component mounts instore for you.

    So, yeah, its possible.

  19. @Lawrence Sheed:

    Would be interested to purchase at least one from you, email me at paulrolton-at-yahoo-dot-co-dot-uk.

    Cheers, Paul

  20. well a friend of mine just got back from china and gave me what looks to be a ipod nano 2gb (alhough only showes 1.87gb) that he bought for about

  21. I cracked open my 4GB nano and I can confirm that it dose not have a daughter bored and it dose have two stacked 2GB chips and one empty slot… I can post pictures if necessary!

  22. Anyone find this interesting… At all… Im still trying to get my hands on another 4GB iPod, once I do ill do the hack and (dis)prove it once and for all.

  23. soooooo… does it work??? or not work??? i hate how people just stop sending info. and we dont even know if it works yet and if it does then i want to know because then i will do it to my 4g ipod nano…but i wont do it untill i know if it works and i really dont want to try it on my i pod unless i know thaT IT WORKS FOR sure. well any ways i really really want to know if it does work. someone please tell me.
    E-mail = phillyj2121@hotmail.com
    ok bye!!!=)

  24. So has any one figured out if this works?? I have 2 4GB nano’s on the way and i am wondering if this will be a waste of my time. email me = tcbuffs at gmail

  25. Well, after so much reading about if it was a fake a not, I decided to put my hands at work and test it by myself.

    The hack as described IT IS A FRAUD!!!, at least as it is describe it. Could be possible but there should be neccesary a new firmware or perhaps to place or to remove a jumper.

    Keep away from it and spend your money and time in some thing more productive, or save it until apple release a proper one.

    I have ruined 3 4GB ipod nano beyond repair, and as I bought them on eBay as broken screen ones, I have spend 319.52

  26. isshou – are you familiar with ipodlinux? I ask because if you have tried it, you are probably familiar with the hp flash format tool. Google “hp usb format” and get the cached hp site, you can download from there. I was too lazy to get you the actual link. I’m guessing that you MIGHT be able to format whatever memory you have on the nano. I think you have a good chance at salvaging the hardware you have and probably get back the original 4 gigs. Who knows you might even get 8 gigs. Many people when they first try to install linux on their nano believe that they have “bricked” it, but a simple format (to fat32) with the hp format tool will set your ipod back to pretty much what it was before it was plugged into your computer for the first time. From there you can communicate with it using the iPod software.

  27. Hi dexter,
    Thank you for your comment. I haven’t added any new entry because I thought it was not important for the main subject, that is, the 8GB upgrade. But yes, I have manage to recover 2 out of the 3 ipod nano. And yes, I am familiar with the Podzilla, I have a 6GB mini with linux installed. With the HP USB formating utility I managed to format the 4GB nano and they are working (2 of them) I sold back one of them and I gave the other one to my daughter, in the third one I got a few broken pads on the PCB therefore it will not work again.
    Since I placed the previous entry I have been reading a bit about those memory chips and I have found out quiet a few interesting things. I shall come back with fresh news when I done it.

  28. Hi dexter,
    Thank you for your comment. I haven’t added any new entry because I thought it was not important for the main subject, that is, the 8GB upgrade. But yes, I have manage to recover 2 out of the 3 ipod nano. And yes, I am familiar with the Podzilla, I have a 6GB mini with linux installed. With the HP USB formating utility I managed to format the 4GB nano and they are working (2 of them) I sold back one of them and I gave the other one to my daughter, in the third one I got a few broken pads on the PCB therefore it will not work again.
    Since I placed the previous entry I have been reading a bit about those memory chips and I have found out quiet a few interesting things. I shall come back with fresh news when I done it.

  29. i was looking on ebay it would be cheaper to buy a 4Gb ipod nano logic board and use that chip then to buy a broken nano

  30. i am pretty sure this will work cause when you look at the pictures in the link it looks like there is a sspot for another 4gb chip and in the 2gb nano it is set up the same but it has 2 1GB chips that make it 2GB so that should as well for the 4GB nano too.

  31. hey guys if your willing to pay 200$ theres a way to put two 8gb chips in for a total of 16gb from the company micron, they offer 8gb models stacked in one package. i checked the pins and it should work. post anything if somebody tries this. i don’t take responsibility for broken ipods. this is just for somebody to do on their own time! thanks, corey

  32. see in the 2gb ipod nano i could swear i saw it had 2 slots and the 4gb the same but now ppl are saying it has one i have like 3 nanos to spare so ill figure it out i am just having trouble opening it up

  33. it works, use ipod linux to access the extra memory, just be careful not to burn the pads where the chips soldered, the board is crap, extreamly fragile.

    8 gb nano

    sweeeettt.

  34. john doe,
    so you have managed to enable the pads for the second chip setting the proper resistor combination!.
    Please, let us know which of the 5 resistors should be set / removed to make the board work as a 1Gb, 2Gb, 4gb , 8gb or 16gb.

    thank you.

  35. the guy from comment #80 should buy these 8gb chips that the guy on #95 is talking about. is it not more realistic to replace the chips with latger ones than bouble them up?

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