View Full Version : Am I nuts? (iPod mini upgrade)

Nov 12, 2007, 01:48 AM
I was planning to buy a fat-nano when they came out, expecting that the top size would be bumped to 16GB. But that didn't happen so I decided to wait a year until they bump it up and keep going with my 6GB iPod mini (even though I'd love to be able to carry all my music (~13GB) with me).

The other day I remembered the web page of the guy who replaced the hard drive with a CF card (http://geektechnique.org/projectlab/753/how-to-turn-your-ipod-mini-into-a-flash-based-ipod). So I checked prices on 16GB CF cards and they are getting close to $100. Now I'm thinking that this would be worthwhile since I would get my 16GB a year earlier and don't really need any of the nano's (or touch's) features.

The only hitch is that this mod doesn't work with all CF cards. The one that the most people have had luck with is this A-Data one (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?CMP=AFC-TechBargains&Item=N82E16820211170). But I don't live in the US and Tigerdirect.ca wants 147 jumbo Canadian dollars for it. That's 40% more ignoring the fact that the Canadian dollar is above par with the USD.

So I either have to gamble on a different card (like this one http://cgi.ebay.com/6Fi-16GB-COMPACT-FLASH-CF-CARD-8GB-SAMSUNG-16G-16-GB-G_W0QQitemZ250184509769QQihZ015QQcategoryZ122613QQcmdZViewItem) or sweet talk someone in the US into ordering from NewEgg and forwarding it to me.

Any advice from people who have done it or considered this mod? In some ways this seems like a crazy idea but in other ways it makes perfect sense.

[I was also thinking of replacing my battery if I'm going to open my iPod up anyway. So I decided to test it to see how bad it is. It's down to 0 segments on the battery but is still running after 17 hours, so that's pretty good for a 2 year old battery with lots of use. So I think I'll leave the battery alone.]

Thanks - Greg

Scarlet Fever
Nov 12, 2007, 02:24 AM
I was going to do the same thing to my sister's mini, but it turns out the logic board is broken, so I can't do it.

This (http://geektechnique.org/projectlab/753/how-to-turn-your-ipod-mini-into-a-flash-based-ipod) guy has done it, and he's found that not only does it work, it works much better than a HDD as well. Battery life, playback speed and presumably durability improves dramatically.

I reckon go for it :D

Nov 12, 2007, 04:10 AM
I tried this once and had no luck, as the HD in my bro's mini died.

After he bought a new nano, I was cleaning up one day and decided to put it back together, lo and behold the damn HD came back to life (I'm serious, I tried about 20 times to get it to work before and it was no good at all)

Regardless, it doesn't always work, then again I never used an A-Data card.

Sun Baked
Nov 12, 2007, 05:46 AM
Re: Am I nuts?

I'd avoid jelly for a little while. ;)

Nov 12, 2007, 03:58 PM
That for the comments folks.

The CF card needs to have an ATA interface to work with the mini. The ebay one I linked to does but I'm still not 100% sure it will work. So I may try to get the A-Data one somehow.


Nov 19, 2007, 11:20 PM
A friend in the US is ordering the A-Data card from newegg and will forward it to me. I'll give an update once I've received and installed it.


Dec 6, 2007, 11:41 PM
I received the newegg A-Data card today and got it installed without any trouble. My iPod is currently getting filled with my whole music library (~13GB). Currently it's at 10.8GB after 1.5 hours of sync'ing.

The newegg price has dropped $17 since I ordered (from $105 to $88) so if anyone is thinking of upgrading their iPod mini now is a good time.

More details about my installation tomorrow.


Dec 7, 2007, 02:43 AM
Nope I already using a 16gb cf card i got from newegg on my gen2 mini.

Dec 8, 2007, 12:22 AM
For anyone considering this mod I'll post my experience.

I used a .008" thick feeler gauge (similar to this http://www.toolmix.com/browse/product.asp?pid=72224&s52cnc=KELKOO-UK&s52r=KELKOOSHOPPING) to pry off the top and bottom covers since I didn't have a plastic pry tool. It worked pretty well, leaving no dents in the plastic and only a slight bright edge on the aluminum.

The bottom double-C clip in my iPod was poorly stamped. One of the holes was too small for my smallest snap-ring pliers tips. The pliers still worked well to get three of the four unclipped. Then I used a small screwdriver to unclip the too-small one.

Unplugging the click wheel connector was easy. Just remember to pry on the white connector not on the flex PCB. Then the circuit board and display slid out easily.

Removing the hard drive was easy. Opening the tape was the hardest part. When I installed the CF card I put the four blue rubber bumpers back on the corners and re-used the tape so that the thinner CF card wouldn't rattle around inside. (One of the web pages says that the A-Data card has the label on the bottom. Mine didn't so the orange A-Data was intalled up (away from the PCB like you would expect).)

When I slid the PCB back in (LCD side up) some components on the top tried to catch on the click wheel so I pried gently with a screwdriver from the bottom to flex the PCB a bit so it would get past the edge of the click wheel. Then it slid in fine.

I powered it up to make sure it was still alive. Then I re-installed the double-C clip and the top plate. Then I reset it and got the folder symbol so I connected it to iTunes and restored it. After it reset iTunes showed I had 15.3 GB of space. Success!

A little over two hours later and all my songs were loaded and I was read to go (to bed :) )

There was one user post that said he copied the iPod_Control folder to his CF card before installing it, and that it helped. So I did that before installing. I'm not sure if it helped. It didn't hurt at least.

I'm very happy with my iPod now. I don't know how much the battery life will be extended. With the way I have my playlists set up I don't skip songs very often (Skipping causes the HD to have to spin up more often). I got almost 18 hours when I tested a couple weeks ago, so maybe I'll get over 20 now.

I hope this helps someone considering this mod. (Standard disclaimer: I'm not responsible for any damage if you undertake this mod.)

Cheers - Greg