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Author Topic: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)  (Read 1339 times)

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Offline audBall

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The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« on: December 17, 2021, 10:31:56 AM »
I recently came across my old iPod 5.5 Video 80GB (purchased in 2005-2006) that was boxed up in storage years ago due to its dead HDD / sad iPod face screen. The original plan was to complete a CF card swap years back, but then I kind of forgot about the thing. It was unearthed a few weeks back from storage and some quick Google searches showed many options available for reviving these old players. It's kind of amazing how coveted (and easily repairable!) these things are - and it still sounds great! I ended up settling on an iFlash Solo with a 512GB SD card to replace the old HDD, and ultimately a much larger rechargeable battery. I had to restore the iPod with iTunes on an old Windows 7 machine; however, once that was done, the Rockbox OS was installed and iTunes was immediately left in the rear view mirror. As many are aware, Rockbox is great because it treats the iPod like an external USB drive allowing for dragging/dropping music files (including FLACs).

I now have a 512GB SD player with plenty of battery life (still running tests), holding Jerry FLACs (many, but not all sources) from 1961 - 1991. My plan is to install a 1TB card once the prices come down a bit so that I can fit everything, including all the official releases. Superfluous? Over the top? Absolutely!! Photos below.

The photo below shows the innards with the iFlash drive unconnected (right; original HDD already removed and not shown) and the initial replacement battery connected. This battery is basically a direct replacement for the original, marketed at 850mah (more likely 600-650mah based on what I've read).



The photo below shows the replacement battery I ultimately decided on (marketed at 3000mah, but more likely 1900-2000mah based on what I've read). The iFlash card is connected to the main board and is sandwiched below the battery.



The photo below just shows the iPod after successfully swapping the iFlash SD board and after restoring in the older version of iTunes.



Final action shots using Rockbox OS with the FreshOS Dark theme.





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Links to helpful youtube videos that were used as guidance:

HDD to iFlash SD swap instructional video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8satP4rwYg

Rechargeable battery options and compatibility with iFlash / iPod models:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9m0tfSus14

The various iFlash models and battery options are widely available on eBay and Amazon.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #1 on: December 17, 2021, 11:34:08 AM »
I now have a 512GB SD player with plenty of battery life (still running tests), holding Jerry FLACs (many, but not all sources) from 1961 - 1991. My plan is to install a 1TB card once the prices come down a bit so that I can fit everything, including all the official releases. Superfluous? Over the top? Absolutely!!

Brilliant! 

JerryPod is near guaranteed to produce smiles whenever you pull it out.  I'm smilin' now.
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Offline dyneq

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2021, 11:44:32 AM »
Nice hackery! I'll bet between the SD and Rockbox you'll get great battery life compared to the old setup.

Offline rigpimp

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2021, 12:23:36 PM »
I used to love Rockbox on my old Gigabeat.  I am glad to see the project still exists and is taking hardware out of the control of Crapple!  Nice mod!
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Offline RyanJ

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2021, 12:55:24 PM »
How easy was it to Rockbox this? I have modded two of my old iPod classics to 750GB each. One holds all my techno sets I've been collecting over the years and the other my ipod library.

The iPod is simply a classic music player. No extra fluff. That is why I love it. Here is one of them with the modded clear front.
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Offline audBall

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2021, 04:49:18 PM »
Very nice looking! My experience was limited to the 5.5 Video, so YMMV with the Classic model. That said, I found it to be incredibly easy and straightforward once I was able to get the iPod restored on the older Windows 7 machine with an older version of iTunes. Note: you need to make sure the iPod is set to be readable as an external drive in iTunes before moving onto installing Rockbox.

For the Rockbox OS installation, I recommend skimming the manual for your device on Rockbox's website, downloading the corresponding Rockbox OS extracting file, and doing the "Manual" installation, which really just involves extracting the firmware (".rockbox" folder) as-is to the root folder of the iPod (which you allowed external drive access). There is also the "Automatic" installation via the Rockbox Utility, but I did not find that to be necessary. From there you need to connect the iPod to your computer (USB) and run the ipodpatcher.exe bootloader installation file, which allows for the dual-boot feature so you can boot to either the stock OS or Rockbox OS (defaulted).

For me the clunkiest part of the entire process was restoring the device as my Windows 10 machine running current iTunes would not recognize the device at all and my computer was giving me an error that the E: drive was an invalid drive. Once it restored on the older machine, everything fell into place without issue.

Photo of the bootloader installation progress:

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Offline tedyun

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2021, 02:21:24 PM »
For bonus points, these iPods have a Wolfson DAC chip, and there is a mod where you could directly connect the output from the DAC to the line outs on the dock connector. The reasoning was that Apple put in a quality DAC, but all the components in the path to the line out were crap! You also had to put capacitors in-line with the signal because apparently there was some voltage coming out of the DAC, and if your headphone amplifier didn't have some way to suppress that voltage, it would fry the amplifier.

There was a audiophile shop called Red Wine Audio that pioneered this mod. They either performed the mod, or you could buy a modded iPod. In addition, they sold the "line-out dock" that had a dock connector with BlackGate capacitors, and copper wiring with an audiophile plug. Back in the day, the mod cost a few hundred, along with the line-out dock, then a headphone amplifier. It could cost over $1,000 depending on the options.

Over on head-fi.org, some experts figured out how to do the mod and posted instructions. It's definitely not for the shaky handed solderers! I took a look at trying to do the mod myself, but soldering those tiny pins on the DAC takes an extra steady hand. They figured out how to mod the iPod 4 and then some subsequent versions. Although I think past the iPod 5, Apple wised up and started using cheaper DACs, as they figured out that putting crappy components downstream of an audiophile component ended up being the weaker links.

The iPod is limited to 16-bit though, so with the modern DAPs moving toward 24/96 DACs, these modded iPods are going the way of ... well ... the iPod! People either go to their phones, or if they want the audiophile experience, they go to the Astell & Kern. I still have my modded iPod tho! Complete with the flash memory mod too. I love it.
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Offline audBall

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2021, 04:28:40 PM »
Yeah, there seems to be some praise for the DAC in these players and its unfortunate the hardware limits its full potential. I read a post on the iPod subReddit claiming that hardware separate from the DAC chip limits bitrate to 400kbps, effectively rendering FLAC playback unnecessary. I couldn't find any further information about this claim elsewhere on the net. I've also avoided transferring 24bit FLACs to the player.

The extent of the modifications, and the lengths people go to, never cease to amaze. I see people are installing wireless chargers and bluetooth chips as well. Really loving this resurrected thing, using it daily for background tunes and the battery life is amazing now. It's been fun to match current dates (month/day) with shows played.
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Offline RyanJ

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2021, 09:06:29 AM »
Yeah, there seems to be some praise for the DAC in these players and its unfortunate the hardware limits its full potential. I read a post on the iPod subReddit claiming that hardware separate from the DAC chip limits bitrate to 400kbps, effectively rendering FLAC playback unnecessary. I couldn't find any further information about this claim elsewhere on the net. I've also avoided transferring 24bit FLACs to the player.

That's an interesting bit. Makes sense as it was never intended to be a lossless player. Although most of my AIFF files don't even play on my iPod. The iPod just advances the tracks.

It's hard for me to move on from the iPod. I love how it works with both computers and syncs (and I have all my playcount since 2006 on there lol)
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Offline gormenghast

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2022, 01:13:22 PM »
My 512GB ( more like 470gb ) iPod 5.5.  I purchased it on eBay and it had a bunch of Christian music and bible studies.  I used a Windows XP laptop I had laying around to restore and load rockbox.  I installed two 256gb micro SD cards.  I'll eventually do the newer battery when I need it.

Plan is to load about 5000 songs into it, then add a bunch of SCI and Kimock flacs.



A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

Offline audBall

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2022, 10:35:20 PM »
Nice work, looks mint!
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Offline gormenghast

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Re: The JerryPod 512GB SD Conversion (formerly iPod 80GB HDD)
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2022, 12:49:08 AM »
Yes, very clean.  Even had it's original sleeve that came with the iPods.  I have a near new condition 80gb 5.5 I bought when they first came out.  I won't do anything to that one.

Anyway, the seller listed it as a classic not a 5.5 enhanced.  These things are fun though.   
A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

 

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