Upgrade to my iPod video to 256gb SSD

Discussion in 'iPod' started by gdourado, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. gdourado, Dec 6, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2013

    gdourado macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    How are you?
    I have an iPod Video, the 5th gen one with 30gb.
    I enjoy the sound output from the ipod very much so I would like to keep using it.
    I would however like to expand it's storage.
    From what I read on the web, there are several possibilities for the iPod video, form larger 1.8 PATA hard-drives, to mSata SSD, to Compact Flash cards.

    From these options, what I would prefer would be the mSATA ssd.
    They are cheaper than CF cards for the same capacity and are more reliable than HDDs.
    I know mSATA ssds are SATA and that the iPod Video is PATA, so a convertor would be needed.

    My questions:

    Can I use any mSATA SSD, like this one for example:

    What convertor do I need?

    Will this work on a 5th gen 30gb video?

    Has anyone done this here on Macrumors?

    Please help me out.
    Thank you!

  2. rabi cs macrumors newbie

    Dec 11, 2013
    So sweet.....this isnt a rumor, 5S is old news. Find something better to report MC.


    i want to see that post again
  3. ragspark macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2013
  4. gdourado thread starter macrumors 6502


    Apr 22, 2010
    Thank you very much for your reply.
    I was thinking of going the mSATA SSD route, because my goal is to turn my 5th gen video into a 240gb or 256gb iPod.
    The mSATA SSD is more cost efficient than 256gb CF cards.

    I am thinking about this adapter:


    For the mSATA SSD, I am looking at a Toshiba drive, the HG5d mSATA.
    According to this, the drive is 3.3v:


    The other option is a 240gb Crucial m500 mSATA SSD.

    I cannot find confirmation of any of these setups to work on a 5th gen...
    Can you help me out?

    Cheers and thanks!
  5. ragspark macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2013
    According to the first review of the adapter on Amazon it sounds like it works in an iPod 5th gen, but if the dimensions of your entire SSD setup exceed the original HD dimensions (MK3008GAL: 71mm x 54mm x 5mm) you'll have a difficult time trying to make it fit inside the 30gb casing.

    I could not fit a Compact Flash Type II (5 mm thick) with adapter in my iPod 5.5gen 30gb that's why I'm looking into the ZIF to SD adapter. It's only a total of 4mm thick.

    If you manage to make it work and fit I'd like to see photos because it sounds like a very interesting setup.

  6. reinisbaab macrumors newbie

    Oct 20, 2009
    Hi, ragspark!

    I'm also thinking about replacing my iPod Classic's broken 1.8 ZIF HDD with a ZIF to SD module. The dimensions seem right, but I'm not sure this will actually work. Did it work for you?


  7. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    I can verify that the SSD mod is possible and works great!

    I took a stock 5.5 generation, 30GB iPod with video. Opened it, took out the HDD, and added the Crucial m500 480GB mSATA SSD (about $280 on Amazon), using the adapter pictured in a post above.

    I had to format the SSD BEFORE I put in the iPod, and that required another mSATA to USB external hard drive housing that I also bought on Amazon. For Mac, you format to Mac OS using Disk Utility. Once it was assembled it took quite a while for iTunes to initialize it and set it up as new, so if this happens, don't worry if it takes 15-20 minutes once you plug it in iTunes.

    The whole modification fits nicely in the 30GB housing, although a little snug, but the case snapped closed.

    The only caveats I can offer are:
    Formatted capacity of a 480GB SSD ends up being 446GB, and
    The whole iPod gets very warm when loading with media. Not burning hot, but very warm to the touch. It also gets warm when being used.

    These are not deal breakers, though.

    In total, this modification cost $300 (480GB mSATA SSD) + $20 (mSATA to ZIF adapter) + $10 (mSATA to USB external hard drive enclosure for disk formatting) = $330. There are less expensive, lower-capacity mSATA SSDs available out there. And there are more costly 512GB and 960GB ones, too. That might be my next project.

    I also made sure to have extra parts on hand from other 5.5 generation iPod Video units. For example: new face plate, new back plate, headphone jack/hold switch assembly, opening tools, battery, etc., just in case I messed up and broke stuff, which inevitably happens. The worst part was breaking one of the ribbon cable latches on the mainboard: those are not easily repaired, and I don't know how to solder, so I had to use a spare mainboard. Replacement mainboards and all these extra parts can be purchased through rapidrepair.com or eBay for about $60-$80.

    The most important thing to consider (that I have found in my research) is that the BEST iPod to work is a 5.5 generation 30GB or 80GB, mainboard part # 820-1975-A that has 64MB of RAM. There is something about that one that makes it better able to handle the increased capacity.

    Using all of these parts and considering all the factors I described, this has been an excellent project, well worth the investment and time.
  8. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
  9. rgarjr macrumors 603


    Apr 2, 2009
    Southern California
  10. DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014

    Hey brsedu, how are you buddy... Hey, I came across this post a few weeks ago after doing research on wanting to upgrade my ipod 5.5th gen to a mSATA. I actually found this thread, and your post. Excellent post, thanks for the information you've provided.

    I went ahead and purchased exactly everything you've linked lol. And it came in the mail a day ago. I took my ipod all apart, and dissembled all the ribbons and connections.

    Went I went to go put the mSATA to SATA adapter with the mSATA card installed, into the enclosure... my computer would not pick it up... Its recognized, because it says "This device can work faster if you connect it to a high speed usb 2.0" message, but isn't pulled up on my computer. I've tried both USB 2.0, and 3.0. As well as taking it apart to make sure its connected right... Any ideas?

    And also, could you explain what I need to do to "format" this drive to make it compatible with the ipod, as you explained...Do I just right click on it, once it appears, and his format "FAT option"?
  11. DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014

    brsedu, cmon man lol.. You were online today, and I've been checking everyday since I last posted to see if I could get some info. Please!!!

    I bought the same exact mSATA card w/ the card reader for the pc... I cant get it to read on my Windows 7 64 bit system. It regonizied something was plugged in, by stating "Connect to high speed usb 2.0" but doesn't show up under my computer. I've looked for drivers missing or out of date. I've got nothing... Please, how did you format the mSATA drive? I'm literally sitting on a lot of money I cant do anything with, please!!!!
  12. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    Sorry for the delay

    Hey DKRTEch - sorry for the delayed response. I was looking more into the issues you are describing.

    I have had some recognition issues with some HDD enclosures that I have purchased on Amazon. In fact, early on in this project I had to return 2 enclosures and one mSATA to SATA adapter because they were not recognized. I sent them back and opted for the ones I posted the links to in my earlier post above.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of variability with whether these components work all of the time, or with every system. Sometimes I think that it might be faulty HDD enclosure or adapter, in which case it's just trial and error. Other times, it's whatever OS you are using.

    I have a Mac running OS 10.8 and that is how I formatted the mSATA. I cannot speak for how to resolve the issues with Windows 7, sorry. I know there are drivers, programs, and compatibility issues with Windows, so that may also be the problem.

    A message like you said, "This device can work faster if you connect it to a high speed usb 2.0" might indicate your USB port does not have enough power to access the drive (which either means the HDD enclosure needs an external power source, or you need to plug the HDD enclosure directly into the computer rather than a USB hub, and/or unplug all other USB devices from the computer and ONLY plug in the HDD enclosure).

    Once that is figured out, on a Mac, you open Disc Utility and selected the mSATA HDD enclosure you just assembled, and then tell it to re/format to either Mac or Windows. With a Windows machine, the format is FAT 32, according to what I have read.

    Sorry I don't have a conclusive answer to your problem. That the beauty and frustration with this kind of project - it's not always a sure thing, and those of us who have attempted this kind of modification are designing a rudimentary roadmap for for others to follow: When it works, that's great. When it doesn't, we have to keep testing.

    The resource for a lot of my project questions came from poring over pages and pages of discussion about this kind of project that is well documented in Head-Fi's thread:

    Good luck!
  13. DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014

    Fantastic, I just was able to locate a way to format inside Windows 7. I took out all the usb cables plugged into my computer, besides my keyboard & mouse, and just proceeded anyways. I found the problem was I had too many hard drives, and cd drives. This mSATA inside the adapter was being picked up, but was not given a "letter". I did a simple assign, and once done, "My Computer" regonized the drive. Than I used this software
    to format to FAT32. Excellent. Not my hard drive is formatted for FAT32, and ready to go!

    Thanks so much for the advice.

    Now the last thing I need to figure out is how to connect the mSATA to the IPOD lol. The adapter the msata sits in, that goes into the ipod. The ribbons included are larger than the ones on the ipod. Should I cut it to size, or should I try to use the ipod one? I can take pictures explaining what I mean, if it was to vague. Its no rush on this, simply because I broke a clip on the logic board so now I've got to order a new one. This is a big learning experience lol!
  14. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    I used all the original ribbons, especially the one connecting the mSATA adapter to the iPod. It was a bit of a challenge, but if you look at the orientation of the adapter/mSATA assembly in this picture, you can see how the stock ribbon would work. You just have to flip the assembly upside-down at the bottom of the iPod in order for the connection angle to work.


    If you are saying something different, please post a picture.
  15. DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014

    I just got a new ipod classic 5.5g 30g, (broke my 80gb in fustration lol, on my last attempt). I easily connected the msata to the ribbon already attached to the logic board. I first attempted to install the new battery (1300mah) into the ipod, but for 20-30 minutes it says "Very low battery. Please Wait".

    I then decided to try the previous battery. Same thing, "very low battery, please wait". So this mSATA harddrive that doesnt have anything on it, is it suppose to be acting like this? Or should it boot an apple logo because its installed in that same manner, and is formatted to fat32?

    What I'm trying to get to is, do I need to install rockbox or apple firmware outside of the ipod, or should itunes pick up the mSATA regardless? I'm thinking its reading low battery, or not charging/fuctioning right is because the blank mSATA doesn't have anything on it besides formatted fat32
  16. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    My experience with this behavior is that there is something wrong with the hard drive. I have had this happen with corrupt stock iPod HDDs (both 30 and 80GB) that I have tried to install into refurbished iPods.

    The standard procedure, for me, has been to format the SSD prior to installing into the iPod, which is why I purchased the external HD enclosure. Once I formatted the SSD (again, using Mac OSX Disk Utility formatted to OS Journaled), I just connected it to the main board, closed the iPod, connected it to iTunes, and waited for it to recognize and restore. I have only been using new batteries, and making sure the battery voltage rating matches the iPod model/SSD requirement. I used a Crucial M500 480GB SSD that is rated at 3.3V, so I used a brand new 3.3V "thin" iPod battery (usually for 30GB iPod).

    When I have had the same problem you mention, "very low battery," it was correlated with a corrupt HDD format. The only way I could get around that is to remove it from the iPod, and reconnect to computer via HDD enclosure, and attempt to reformat. Unfortunately, I have found that reformatting at this time doesn't work that often, so I am left with a non-usable HDD. I hope this isn't the case with your SSD! I haven't figured out why this happens, but I'm guessing it has something to do with compatibility between the main board and HDD, or if the HDD has been associated with another main board at some point in the past, or even if there is something wrong with the main board itself. It could even be that the HDD was used with a "more recent" main board, i.e. a 5.5G iPod video main board being used with a HDD that had previously been in an earlier 5th generation iPod video. These are all just guesses, though.

    I have not had any experience with Rockbox, but it worked fine for me to format the SSD prior to installing in the iPod, and at that point, when the whole thing is assembled, plug it in to iTunes and it should work fine.

    There could be some variation when using Windows, though, and I have not had any experience in that area. I really had very few problems using Mac OSX with my project.
  17. DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014

    This could very well be one of the greatest journeys I've ever decided to take lol. So a few things happen since the last time we spoke, and I've gotten to a chapter.

    When I kept getting the "Very Low Battery... Please wait" messages, I decided somethings not right. After an hour of charging, it wasn't going to change its outcome. I realized upon installing the new 1300mAH battery I purchased (rated for a ipod 5.5gen 3.3v), the bracket the battery wiring plugs into was pulled out, and realized one of the three sets of pins that stick out of the logic board broke up. Upon reconnecting that bracket/clip to the logic board the battery plugs into, I was able to get power to the LCD. But was convinved a bad install job on behalf ruined the ipod.

    So I decided to start over. I went to my buddy's shop, and swapped for a new 5.5g ipod video (30g model). I got home, and did not disconnect anything, but the hard drive. Put the mSATA w/ adapter inside the ipod, and connected it to the ribbon as you have displayed in the picture in the previous post. Ribbon was all the way connected in, and convinced this was going to be the moment I've waited for.

    After I partially closed the ipod together, to turn it on. I hit the hold switch, and powers onto the "apple.com/support" message with a "!". I'm assuming its because the harddrive doesn't have anything on it lol. When plugged into my computer, itunes doesn't pick it up. Also holding menu, and select to try and get it into DFU mode doesn't not work.

    So I log back on here to see what you had to say, and than you talked about what caused these error messages for you. I unfortunally do not have access or own a Mac computer. So i guess my question here, is the deal braker...

    Do I NEED to format the mSATA to OS Journaled? I thought the mSATA being format to FAT32 would be good enough. Does the FAT32 have to be formatted to be read on a MAC, not windows? I thought a format was universal, am I mistaken?

    or am I missing something?

    So until you're reply, I'm going to go ahead of try and get ahold of a mac.
  18. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    I know, this thing is complicated, and it adds to the complexity when there are both Windows and Mac variables.

    From the research I have done, FAT32 is the format for Windows-based iPod hard drives. (see this article: https://discussions.apple.com/message/21610995#21610995)

    However, this article also says that when this approach does not work, you can use a Mac computer to format it to OS Journaled and it will still work on a Windows computer when you connect it. In fact, this article suggests this approach. Check it out!

    Sorry, I wish I could be more help with a Windows-centric project like this, but it's beyond me (which is why I stick to Macs for everything).

    If you have the time, this forum (I referenced above) was very helpful when I did my project - plenty of Windows users and Rockbox questions:

  19. DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014
    Haha, you wouldn't believe this. So yesterday I tried everything I could to get it to work, and had no success. I read around on the forums, watched videos, even in an act of desperation was researching how to build a hackintosh on my main computer JUST TO get that disk utility program lol. I ended up going to bed, then headed to work... again, one day longer with no ipod. I hate using my iphone as a mp3 player. So I get home, check these forums, and check the links you provided. I then plug in the mSATA into the ipod, and was going to try getting it disk mode... then out of nowhere, BAM my computer recognized the ipod and required a format. But then like 8 seconds late itunes pops up, and I was able to restore it to default settings...


    The crazy thing is tho, I scratched my head trying to figure out what I did to get it to work. And I didn't do anything. So I don't know why, but I'm not asking any questions.

    Thanks so much for all the support, and fast replies. I wish there was a way I can repay the efforts... And a BIG thank you, for posting on these forums on what you did, and what things you bought. I followed everything you said, and now I'm a happy happy guy. Thanks man!

    This was just a 120gb mSATA, so now its time to build bigger! I hear Samsung is coming out with a 1TB mSATA in a month or two, haha! (Evil Grin!)

  20. brsedu macrumors newbie


    Apr 9, 2009
    Sacramento, CA
    That's fantastic! Sometimes these devices and their components will surprise you, so I'm glad it worked out.

    We get to be an elite group, designing and testing some rare projects, and we have to doi it trial and error.

    Hopefully our work will ehlp others who are attempting the same thing. I know I am really enjoying the 446GB of usable space on my 5.5G iPod Video, as it has plenty of space to hold my entire library and some to spare.

    When you want to attempt at 960GB or 1TB project, make sure to post your findings here!

    Best to you.
  21. DKRTech, Mar 1, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014

    DKRTech macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2014
    I will be trying one of those sizes in the near future, maybe even sooner than I expected.

    After I got the ipod all setup, with songs. I find the time between songs is long, menus take a while to load (not drastically long, but long enough for me lol). So began doing some research, and it appears the ipod 5.5 gen models are different internals. Is it true the 30gb has 32mb ram, and the 80gb has 64mb?

    Is this correct? It's safe to assume that's why my ipod is running slower/lags because I'm used to 80gb model. Think I might have to sell this and buy a 80gb again. I just bought the 30 because im not even going to be using the hard drive inside lol.
  22. mm9 macrumors newbie

    Nov 27, 2007
    Could someone please confirm if its possible to install MSATA 480GB SSD into iPod Classic 7GEN which originally has 160GB HDD??

    Which parts do I have to buy to upgrade my iPod and are there any cons to that setup??

    Thank You
  23. egophec macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2014
    Great write-ups but need more info

    So the mSATA route looks like the way to of with my 5th gen 80GB. Does the upgrade to the msata drive have a negative or positive impact on battery like at all?
  24. aycon macrumors newbie

    Oct 1, 2014
    San Diego, CA
    Frustrated with mSATA

    Thanks for all of these GREAT posts on the mSATA mod for the 5.5 iPod. I've been following the instructions to the letter and must be missing something. I've experimented with both 256GB and 480GB mSATA's with similar, disappointing results, no matter if pre-formatted with OSX or FAT32. I have a very large collection of music - almost 29,000 songs - roughly 220GB.

    Everything goes well from installation and recovery, and even through synching the entire music library. It appears to synch nicely (though it takes a LONG time,) even showing all of the music physically on the iPod. The challenge arrives when I eject the iPod: it just appears to display the muted Apple logo and then it finally goes blank. This has occurred with both the 480 and 256 GB mSATA's (both high quality Crucial, btw.) Am I missing a step? Please advise. Thank you in advance for any assistance you can offer. I have three different iPod 5.5's I am working on at the same time - yes, I am afflicted!

    Oh, forgot to mention - as it might be the ZIF to mSATA cards (3 of em,) I have placed an order for Tarkan's version. Just got a note from him that it has shipped from the UK so it may be a few more days before it arrives here in California.
  25. matthew2926 macrumors 6502

    Sep 13, 2013
    I was pulling my hair over the fact that nobody has linked you to Tarkan's page. Was just about to put the link myself but I see you have already found it. Tarkan is the man, he makes the best adapters and even runs battery life tests and makes graphs of the results. I have his ZIF to CF adapter as well as his CF to SD adapter. Both installed in my 5.5th gen Video along with a 64GB SD card. Everything works great and the device is noticeably lighter with better battery life. Cheers to modding!

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