Giving A 6th Generation iPod A New Lease On Life

It can be disheartening when a favoured device begins to break-down. Afflicted by an all-but-dead battery and a fritzing-out hard drive, Redditor [cswimc] sensed the imminent doom creeping up on their 6th generation iPod, and responded by reviving and upgrading the decrepit device instead!

It’s no easy task to crack open one of these things, so they found themselves taking their time and carefully wedging the pry tool between the front and back covers, working their way around the exterior. Once separated, gingerly disconnecting the few ribbon cables allowed the iPod to be opened fully. From there, they turned to  swapping out the original hard drive for an iFlash dual SD card board — one of the cards turned out to be a dud, but 128GB is still a step up from 80GB — and a new 3000mAh battery. Combined with replacing the power-hungry HDD, the battery life has been overwhelmingly increased over the original’s 650mAh capacity!

Before re-sealing the iPod, they tested to see if the device was functional, and then ran the recover and restore functions. They also replaced the original software with Rockbox, breaking free from iTunes — although that step is optional.

There are more drastic upgrades out there — some dating back to the heyday of iPods — but this one keeps the form factor from growing out of control.

[Via /r/DIY]

12 thoughts on “Giving A 6th Generation iPod A New Lease On Life

  1. I have an iPod on a belt clip right now, like every day!

    I upgraded mine to add a WiFi card reader too.

    Now I’m no longer using the iFlash-CF, but instead I have the iFlash-Dual. A 64GB SD sits in slot 1, and the PQI Air Card + ribbon cable sits in slot 2. When I want to use it as a WiFi card reader, I reboot into Disk Mode and put a card into the SD female ribbon. The iPod won’t boot in that state, but Disk Mode provides power to the PQI air card so it can share the SD card to my phone. The rest of the time, I keep a 512GB SDXC in the space, with the connection covered by a piece of tape. That has a backup of my laptop, in case my bag gets stolen (in that situation, I’d lose my laptop master and external hard drive backup – having a backup in my pocket gives me much more peace of mind).

    The PQI Air Card uses the same firmware as the Transcend cards, which have been hacked to run Linux.
    https://hackaday.com/2013/09/19/advanced-transcend-wifi-sd-hacking-custom-kernels-x-and-firefox/

    If there’s any Rockbox developers here, I’d like to talk about adding serial passthrough to the USB HID mode of the iPod so I can turn my iPod into an external keyboard. Please get in touch, I’ve been hacking iPods since the original 5GB in 2001 when I was 12 years old!

    1. I’m not a Rockbox developer and I’m not sure what exactly you have in mind, but my 5.5g iPod does work as USB HID device – it can control playback and volume … ZIF 128GB SSD and stock battery in mine;) and Rockbox of course … :)

      1. That’s right – it only controls playback and volume. I want a full keyboard, ideally customisable and/or with serial passthrough.
        For example, typing Chinese on my iPhone, sending the keystrokes to the iPod over serial, and then out by USB.

        I could go from the iPhone to USB over WiFi using cnlohr’s design, but despite contacting several Makerspaces and seeedstudio, nobody’s able to build it for me. Building an iPod serial & USB wire is within my soldering skills, surface-mount PCB pick & place by hand isn’t.

  2. Last year I refurbished my 3rd gen iPod. The solid state buttons in the middle version. New battery and I got a CF card for it, but after seeing the 1.8″ drive I could not scrap it. Cutest darnedest little drive. So I kept that for the moment.

  3. Noooo, the most special and amazing thing about these ipods is the tiny hard drive that you can actually hear clicking away. I’ve replaced my headphone jack and battery but will never go to flash. Seriously, in twenty years or so these will be computer history.

  4. i got a 5th gen thats still working. so far i had to replace a battery and a screen, both repairs were successful and i installed rockbox so i could get rid of itunes.

  5. very important detail that most missed. only the last model of the ipod classic supports storage higher than 160Gb. all other models are fixed to 128gb due to their firmware. Full explanation is on the site of iflash.

  6. Not (easily) possible.

    Upgrading storage would require removing and soldering a new storage chip on the main board. If you wanted an external or otherwise readily replaceable drive, like a SD card, you’d need to develop a specialized interpreter board that could be soldered on and could translate between the iPad and the SD card.

    Similarly, replacing the battery with a larger unit would require either a denser capacity battery or finding more space in the casing for the battery, which isn’t likely unless you find a battery with a different capacity, but new chemistries often don’t charge to the same voltages and won’t have compatible monitoring circuitry that the iPad would insist on talking to. Of course, I guess you could just build an interpreter circuit, too…

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