Introduction: CheapPod

Picture of CheapPod

I recently fried my mp3 player. One tiny little Linear Technologies chip had its part number blown off, so a $250 player is of no use because I cant replace a $0.50 part )o; that bums me out. So, what to do with a perfectly good 40G Tosh 1.8" HD?

Stick it in a HD broken Ipod off Ebay.

Step 1: Open the Case

Picture of Open the Case

this could not be more simple. Sharp knife in joint along the long side of the case. Ever so slightly wedge up the metal back section of the case. Press down on the plastic with the knife and encourage it to open in a levering motion.

Step 2: Ebay

There are three general types of dead Ipods

1)The broken screen of death. These players are now effectively large ipod shuffles and if that product was ever a bad idea, a 10-40G version is exponentialy worse. Avoid these at all cost.
2)The dead battery. Ipods have a history of crappola batteries, these are very common and easiest to fix. However everyone else knows this and they are relatively popular. Batteries are around $10
3)The ferked HD Ipod. If the seller notes that an exclamation mark with a folder symbol is displayed then you have a stuffed HD.

Step 3: Issues With Non 'ipod' HD in an Ipod

Ok, things are never this simple. Apple have nobbled the firmware in their HD so that if you swap it out with a generic HD it wont work smoothly. The work around I've discovered is thus.

You can charge your Ipod with generic HD via firewire but dont ever let itunes see this ipod hanging off your machine or it will scramble the contents like so many eggs.

You can sync with itunes via usb, but 3rd gen ipods wont charge via usb.

Step 4: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

While I had the thing apart I decided to customize the 'pod with a lick of paint
1)mask off the important parts with clear packing tape.
4)let dry and then remove masking tape

I then took an orbital sander to the metal case to give it a brushed look.

Next I'm building a car mount and dock on to the handbrake


shamone (author)2006-04-20

totally crap, no fix instructions you should be pummeled with VHS players

Callum Snowden (author)shamone2010-12-01

No, I think the instructable is supposed to show you what parts you need and what things/problems you might encounter on the way. It might also teach somebody something because if they don't know how to change a HDD in a Ipod, they should'nt have opened it to start off with...

dabom (author)2007-05-19

can i put the hd from a coputer in hd broken video ipod???

radiorental (author)dabom2007-05-19

yes, but you need to build a special cable for that - search the web - good luck

PSPerson (author)radiorental2010-08-03 It's called the ipod super.

ExtremeYoshiFan (author)2010-07-08

I know of a better charging fix, install rockbox, now your ipod will not be recognized as one and it can be used in many more ways now.

Zachalicious (author)2007-11-15

My video ipod has a broken screen, Do you think the 60 GB HD will fit in any other model than the videos? I know that the 4th generation 40GB's have the same dimensions, but do you think the hard drive plug in will be the same?

throw it into an original zune

abadfart (author)old_bass_masta2009-06-01

I'm getting a zune for a video player

radiorental (author)Zachalicious2007-11-16

the hd connector will be the same - no question. The issue is replacing with an apple 'flagged' HD

Zachalicious (author)radiorental2007-11-16

I don't understand what that means "flagged"?

robots199 (author)Zachalicious2009-03-07

It means if you dont like or think something is spam, hit this button

robots199 (author)Zachalicious2008-12-26

just replace the screen. Get the parts from

salemance25 (author)2009-05-17

not wanting to be rude but why

Yerboogieman (author)2008-02-16

does that say burns or bums you out


jamnoopers (author)2008-01-04

ahh. :D i love the look of the 3rd gen ipod

vaalessi (author)2007-06-27

cool. I've been messing around with a few old HD's in an effort to make them recognized as 'portable music players' by yahoo's jukebox service, for the purpose of downloading my yahoo library onto an external hardrive. Could a procedure similiar to the one used here work?

radiorental (author)vaalessi2007-06-28

yup, of course you can simply make them external HD with a usb-ide adapter but if you search the net you'll find a project that made an ipod-ide cable. You'll probably still need to made an external psu. Keep me posted on your progress - pauric

vaalessi (author)radiorental2007-07-26

so, it seems that to get music from services like Yahoo jukebox, your device needs to be "secure-file" approved or something like that. I'll be trying to find what exactly what that constitutes, and where i can download/rip it. suggestions appreciated, but i'll post where i found it if i succeed.

dabom (author)2007-05-20

just tell me plz

dabom (author)2007-05-20

how much would the cable cost

radiorental (author)dabom2007-05-20

you have to make it yourself!

dabom (author)2007-05-20

will there still be a video feature

varun_mani (author)2006-06-11

ok yes mine is a 3rd gen ipod... so it is possible to change the HD just like that right?

radiorental (author)varun_mani2006-06-12

you can change the hd on most any ipod with a hd in it I think. But these intructions are just for 3rd gen.

varun_mani (author)2006-06-09

wait 3rd gen means the one with scroll whell and the 4 buttons on top rite?

radiorental (author)varun_mani2006-06-09

they all have a scroll wheel and four buttons of some description. 3rd has no moving part but does have the amber/red button backlight

varun_mani (author)2006-06-09

Hello, I have a 3rd gen i pod. Or rather i HAD a 3rd Gen ipoid but i think i completely messed up the hard disk. I had a very strong magnet on my table and then when I placed my ipoid near it they both stuck together. Then when i tried to switch on the ipoid again, the dreaded folder icon showed up!!! Would it be possible to change the HD myself and CHEAPLY? Cos I really dont want to send it to apple!

admanrocks (author)2006-03-09

funny... cuz i swear thats my broken ipod i just sold on ebay, I swear!

radiorental (author)admanrocks2006-03-20

got this a while ago, but go on.. what makes you think this is it? (o;

admanrocks (author)radiorental2006-03-27

well... ists a 3g, and the scratches on the screen

spinach_dip (author)2006-03-22

try rockbox to replace firmware , looks promising

radiorental (author)spinach_dip2006-03-23

doesnt work on 3rd gen... though thanks.. I'm planning on installing ipod linux

andreq (author)2006-03-15

hey ! Nice one.

I've done the same last october. I bought a broken Ipod for 60$, a working HD (100$...). Painted it black.

here is the result :

radiorental (author)andreq2006-03-17

snap! (o; Did you have the same trouble with the HD clicking like mad if connected via firewire? and if Itunes saw it over USB (only charges on USB) it ate the contents?

andreq (author)radiorental2006-03-18

Actualy, this is a 3rd gen Ipod so it only char on firewire. When I first pluged it on my USB it worked great with winamp + ipod plugin (now included in 5.2). On a Mac with firewire it worked well to store file... did not try itunes (never opened itune actualy....).

robogobo (author)2006-03-04

ha, sorry, i almost quoted verbatim your step 2, i shouldn't comment til i read all the way through....

robogobo (author)2006-03-04

i tried this project several times a few months ago, but was using all iPod parts (original was an iPod). it worked great! (except for the one time i incidentally formatted the HD. DON'T format the HD! the partioning scheme of the ipod is not rebuildable) it's surprisingly easy to work your way atround inside one of these, once you get the nerve to pop one open. you can usually find various broken ipods on ebay, one with a cracked screen, another with a dead drive. put them together and you're golden.

radiorental (author)2006-03-01

changed text, not a fix, you're right

maffiou (author)2006-03-01

Nice little project... Well done...

reanalyst (author)2006-02-28

The fix... Is something missing here? Is the fix left out? Looks like the text skips over the fix and goes on to cautions about how to charge the Ipod.

radiorental (author)2006-02-27

Jason, I should have made it more clear, my previous mo3 play was not an ipod, hence why I had a 40G non apple badged HD

radiorental (author)2006-02-27

Thanks guys! Jason, without knowing the part thats blown I cant replace it. Trust me I spent days scanning through 10 pin sip packages with possible input voltages around 4-6 and output... 3.3-? I gave up in the end, even ordered the same device from a retailer, opened it to find they've rev'd the part out (and then returned it) Jkotrub, The ipod updater with 3rd gen ipod and generic HD with Firewire cable will NOT work. You must use a USB cable, strange yes.. but well documented. You must use a firewire cable to charge it (no worky with USB) but must not let itunes see your non apple badged HD over firewire or it will eat it. Trust me.. (o;

jkotrub (author)2006-02-27

The iPod updater on the apple site is a full copy of the firmware from the HD (just follow the instructions and it should work with itunes)

JasonBrewer (author)2006-02-27

There are a lot of Linear Technologies part numbers listed on the iPodLinux Wiki ( You may just end up with two MP3 players!
Cheers! --JasonBrewer

About This Instructable




Bio: Appreciate what you've got, every day will bring something new.
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