Converting 5.5G iPod to 6G (software, hardware, help?)

Discussion in 'iPod' started by LPsoldier76, Mar 12, 2011.

  1. LPsoldier76 macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    So this weekend my Zune reached the point of 3.75 MB of free space remaining. With my iPod 5.5G sidelined for a few years because of harddrive lag, and my Zune now out of space, I realized that I need to upgrade. However I don't want to do a regular 'New iPod purchase' but something more fun.

    Upgrade iPod Video 30 80GB to 120GB HDD mk1224gah - eBay (item 250691849228 end time Apr-01-11 09:20:55 PDT)

    My first plan was to just buy that, switch out the harddrive and have a fresh new 120gb on my old iPod and stop there. But then I started thinking. If I'm gonna upgrade the harddrive, couldn't I just upgrade everything else?

    Basically what I'm trying to do here is turn my iPod into a 6G iPod with a 5G body. Having hacked and modded my iPod numerous times before, I know this isn't simply just a firmware overwrite - the innards of the current 5.5G are not compatible with the firmware of the 6G iPods. So I'm thinking of buying the hardware from 6G iPods to replace on my 5.5G iPod so it will be 6G firmware compatible.

    Am I crazy or could this just might work?
    Can anyone help me out?
    What hardware I need to swap out, how to get my Computer and iTunes to read it as a 6G iPod, etc?

    Did some research, looks like I may or may not have to switch out for more RAM for this to work, but definitely need a new processor? Before I make purchases I would like to know is this even possible?
  2. herruberraschen macrumors newbie


    Jan 23, 2011
    If your looking for maximum space you can put a 220 gb hard drive in your 5.5G but you need to get a 80 gb iPod to house the hard drive and it has more ram. However, it is nice to have the newer classic so you can rent movies.
  3. Kenndac macrumors 6502


    Jun 28, 2003
    The cheapest and simplest thing to do would be to buy a 6G, take it apart and put the innards in the 5.5G case.

    It wouldn't surprise me if even things like the touch wheel and display are different between generations.
  4. AdrianK macrumors 68020

    Feb 19, 2011
    Yeah, you're mad, or trolling... You'd have to swap everything. An iPod is not a desktop, you can just swap out anything you want, it's all soldered to the logic board. Anyway, you'd be buying everything apart from the case, but since parts are expensive you probably wouldn't save any money.

    tl;dr: illogical idea is illogical. Throw a massive HDD in there or buy a 6G.
  5. LPsoldier76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    It isn't as easy as an entire logic-board swap?
  6. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    it should be. i was looking into the same thing for my ipod 5.5g when the hard drive and lcd screen went out on it, but i couldnt find a busted ipod that had everything i wanted for a price that was reasonable. my reasoning was that i have custom engraving on the back plate that i wanted to keep. i ended up getting just a new screen and hard drive. everything i researched pointed to the guts being transferable between the two models. in fact, the hard drive and lcd screen i purchased were both spec'd as being for a 6gen ipod classic and they both dropped right in and work great.

    i still may look into swapping the logic board in the future. but for now, i'm happy with what i have.
  7. LPsoldier76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    So since I'm already planning on buying that 120gb hard drive upgrade for my iPod, I should just look for a broken iPod 6th gen with just a faulty hard drive and then take that logic-board, throw it into my 5.5 gen with the upgraded hard drive, and it should work? iTunes would be able to read that my iPod was indeed a 6th gen, install the firmware necessary, and I would be good to go?
  8. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    yeah, its the logic board that determines the software ;)

    but, like i said, i couldn't find one that had a good hard drive, good logic board, and a good lcd all for the right price. most were within a few dollars of a working unit.
  9. LPsoldier76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    Okay so everything else would be compatible right? Like let's say I pick up that hard drive for 120 gigs, get a logic board and install both, the screen and click wheel, etc would all work? Also if I got a 6th gen face place, do you think it would attach onto a 5th gen back? They're all interchangable compatible with cosmetics as well as their hardware? Because I got that harddrive+battery+replacement back for 85, a logic board for 40, and a 6th gen face plate for 5 bucks. Will they all fit together?
  10. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    i think you will need a later-model screen, but i'm not 100% sure on that. i know mine was backwards compatible, but i'm not sure about the other way. also, not 100% sure about the front plate either. i never went through with the complete swap.
  11. LPsoldier76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    But the 6th gen logic board will definitely work if I hook it up to my 5.5 Gen iPod?
  12. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    the logic board "IS" the ipod, and it will physically fit right into the older case. so, i guess the answer to your question is "Yes."
  13. LPsoldier76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    So just to be sure:
    The 6th gen faceplate should attach onto a 5.5 gen back.
    The screen, clickwheel, and buttons will all fully function with the logic board and fit with a 6th gen faceplate.

    Everything should work and I'm not going to waste my money assembling the parts to do this?
  14. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    already answered that one
  15. LPsoldier76, Mar 14, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011

    LPsoldier76 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 12, 2011
    Someone told me 5 and 5.5 gen iPod screens won't be compatible with a 6th gen logic board. Is this true?

    EDIT: also, I'm bidding on ebay for an iPod. The user says

    "You are bidding on a broken 80 gb iPod 6th generation. iPod turns on and plays music but has trouble syncing to iTunes. Buyer pays $4 shipping. No returns as this item is broken! Any questions please ask!"

    Sounds like just a harddrive problem right? The logic-board should be working perfectly since it turns on and plays music, it should just be the harddrive that's the issue since it won't sync. Since I'm planning on buying a new harddrive anyway this should work right?
  16. YanniDepp macrumors 6502


    Dec 10, 2008
    The iPod mini had two generations. They looked almost identical. But they had screens and click wheels that were totally incompatible with each other.

    It will definitely be the same for the 5.5 gens and classics.
  17. Nopstnz8 macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2010
    I'm actually doing this as well, but using flash instead of an HD. The logic board I had worked until I broke the headphone jack clip. I need a new one now, but were the logic boards changed at all between the 6g and 7g Classic? I mainly can only find the 6g boards, but want to make sure the one I buy is the newest revision. Anyone know any legit sites other than ifixit and ebay that I could get the board from?
  18. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Nov 6, 2009
    No, the cheapest and simplest thing to do would be to buy a 6G and use the 6G. ;)
  19. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    ditto... where would be the best and least expensive place to get a 6th or 7th gen logic board?
  20. Nopstnz8 macrumors member


    Mar 22, 2010
    Bump. I'm also trying to find a replacement 6th or 7th gen Classic faceplate in gunmetal color that is of the same quality as the ones Apple uses. I ordered a black one on Ebay, but it's some cheap plastic type, so I'm not really trusting too many sources at the moment.
  21. njaremka macrumors 6502

    May 11, 2010
    so, i wanted to post an update/conclusion to this thread.

    i recently purchased an ipod classic 120gb with a busted hard drive from ebay to finally swap out the logic board with my 30gb ipod video.

    well, the logic board physically fits into the 5gen video housing, but the click wheel would not work correctly. in the classic, apple added a couple or screws to secure the logic board to the mid-frame, and these apparently also act as ground connectors for the click wheel sensors. (or something) everything worked fine, except the click wheel.

    also, the video face plate will not work with the classic mid-frame, as there are different profiles to the mid-frame and faceplate that are not compatible. i could not get the video face plate to sit correctly with the classic mid-frame.

    my whole purpose in this exercise was to retain the ipod video "appearance" and utilize the classic os and features. the ipod was a gift from my loving wife, and has some sentimental engraving on the back housing that i wanted to retain. well, it just didn't exactly work out that way. i now have a classic front and guts with my ipod video back plate.

    in summary, the following parts are not directly interchangeable between the video and the classic:
    - click wheel
    - mid-frame
    - logic board
    - face plate
    everything else can be swapped between the two models.

    that being said, if you choose to perform a logic board swap, plan on using everything listed above from the classic.

    also, steer clear of the "Thick" 160gb classic models, as these used a different hard drive interface and NOTHING is interchangeable with those models.

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