Reanimating A Philips HDD 1420 MP3 Player

[OiD] had a dusty, old, forgotten Philips HDD1420 GoGear mp3 player kicking around his place. As you can imagine, the battery was dead. He had no charger or connector for the thing, but decided to try to resurrect it anyway.

He thought it would simply be a matter of providing alternative power, but the GoGear wasn’t having it and insisted on being connected to a computer. He had some luck consulting and found Philips’ own device manager software, but it still wasn’t easy. The device manager doesn’t work on Windows 7. He tried an XP box, but it didn’t detect the device.

Finally, he discovered that the hard drive was kaput and replaced it with an 8GB Microdrive. That helped, but he still had a hard row to hoe. [OiD] formatted the new HD and gave it the official firmware, but still had to replace some system files according to the Philips manual. He ended up using RockBox to reanimate it and decided to keep it on the device.

There was still an issue with charging, though. It has an IC that handles selection of either the proprietary external adapter or USB power, but the RockBox firmware doesn’t implement switching and defaults to the adapter. Several tweaks and a hacked-in mini USB later, the patient is in stable condition and cranking out the tunes.

7 thoughts on “Reanimating A Philips HDD 1420 MP3 Player

  1. I did similar with my iAudio X5, one of the best sounding mp3 players ever. First problem was the battery, I used mobile phone battery, removed protection circuit and soldered iAudio’s. Another problem was 1.8″ hard drive that likes to suck batteries, I ordered 1.8″->CF adapter and replaced hard drive with 32GB CF card. Now I have more playback hours than device had when it was new. It is also much lighter and resistant to drops. Rockbox was my choice too, it has many options and supports flac, ogg, mp3, and other audio formats. Luckily guys who made that device did not introduce proprietary charging, it can be charged via miniUSB port or with DC adapter. Device shows in Windows as normal removable drive.
    BTW, I also have some Philips goGear devices, but with flash memory, not with hard disk. They can be charged with normal miniUSB plug, and don’t require any programs on your computer. It is unusual that Philips opted for some strange charging solutions on devices with HDD.

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