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Tarkan Akdam’s iFlash iPod Compact Flash Adapter (mk II)

I use my iPod daily, both in the car and at work for listening to music. I’d also recently come across a nice little PCB made by Tarkan Akdam called the iFlash iPod Compact Flash Adapter (mk II) which allows one to replace the 1.8″ hard drive in their iPod with a CompactFlash card. This card is a very nice, basic design, and can be purchased for a very reasonable price directly from the person who came up with it.

Since the hard drive in my iPod will eventually fail, I wanted to replace with flash before this happened and sell the working disk on eBay. A few months back I’d purchased one of Tarkan’s adapters for £14.50 (US$24.45, at the time) and kept it sitting on the shelf, waiting for a good time to do the replacement. Seeing that a 32GB Kingston CompactFlash card could be purchased for roughly $76.25 from Newegg I figured that now was the time, cashed in some change at a Coinstar machine, and ordered the card. (I was originally going to purchase it with an fee-less Amazon gift card from Coinstar, but the machine couldn’t issue one and thus did fee-less change counting. I then made the purchase from Newegg, who had faster free shipping.)

I’d also considered replacing the battery at the same time, but as I still get great battery life out of my iPod, I couldn’t see the need. Opening the iPod is easy enough, so when the time comes to replace that, I’ll do so.

The 32GB CF card arrived yesterday, and since I’m home watching Danielle as she recovers from having her wisdom teeth removed, I set to work today installing it. Opening the iPod was easily accomplished using one of Danielle’s guitar picks, and after disconnecting the flexible PCB cables and removing two little gray plastic spacers, the compact flash adapter was placed in the iPod frame, where the foam rubber cusions made for a nicely snug fit. After closing the iPod it presented me with a screen indicating that it needed to be connected to a computer for restoration, which puts the OS back on it. After doing so, the flash conversion was complete.

Since there is no longer a need to wait for the disk to spin up, the UI is much more responsive now. Battery life should also be improved greatly, as flash takes less power to run. The only current downside is that the iPod now feels off balance. Previously it’d felt very evenly weighted; solid and firm, but not overly heavy. Now the top of the device, where the battery is, feels a bit heavier than the bottom. Thankfully this shouldn’t matter for me, as most of the time my iPod is sitting on a desk or in a car mount.

Later tonight I’ll post an eBay auction for the old hard drive from the iPod, a Toshiba MK3008GAL 1.8″ 30GB hard disk. I hope that it’ll fetch $20 or $30, to offset the cost of the flash adapter and card. Now, here’s to hoping this iPod has another three years of life left in the rest of it.

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