Resurrecting an iPod Video

The iPod Video was the fifth generation of the iPod (now known as the iPod Classic) and came out in 2005. I picked one up after my 4th generation iPod died (full story at the end of the post). That one died a long time ago and I don’t even remember getting rid of it.

Max found this iPod Video in a Goodwill auction lot a while back. He gave it to me, and I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away, despite the fact that it makes a clicking noise when you power it on, and doesn’t complete the boot up.

Recently I ran across, which sells a converter device allowing you to replace the hard disk storage with an SD card, increasing both speed and storage. Coincidentally I ran across the iPod in a drawer, and figured I would try out the repair.


I bought the iFlash Solo and a 128 GB micro SD Card, and they arrived yesterday.

The instructions were pretty simple, so I got right into it today and started by cracking open the iPod using a spudger.

Here is the iPod laid open, power ribbon already disconnected.

Removing the hard disk was straightforward — just needed to flip over the hard disk, pry up the bar securing the hard disk ribbon, and remove the ribbon.

Installing the iFlash Solo was easy too… First, I inserted an SD card adapter with the micro SD card already loaded; then, I slid the ribbon into the slot on the iFlash Solo (this took more force than Zero Insertion Force implies). The kit comes with a piece of foam with a sticky back to keep the converter card from flapping around.

Nothing left to do now but close the iPod back up, connecting the power ribbon just before sealing it.

I immediately connected the iPod to my notebook using the venerable 30-pin connector. iTunes recognized it and began restoring the operating system.

Within minutes, I saw the familiar “Do not disconnect” message.

I loaded up some music through iTunes, plugged in some headphones… and music came out! The iPod works just like new — a very satisfying repair.

The battery seems to be holding up. I may replace the battery later.

As I mentioned at the beginning, my 4th gen iPod died when the hard disk failed… but that was actually the second time the hard disk failed in that iPod. The first time, I dropped the iPod in the doorway of the our townhouse, the first place we lived when we got married. I had recently started working at IBS and met and become good friends with Max. After I dropped the iPod, the hard disk made clicking noises when it powered on and wouldn’t fully boot up. When I showed Max, he quickly ordered a compatible hard disk, and when it arrived, he opened the iPod up and installed the replacement drive. There were several things that amazed me about this: first, I was really touched by how he spent his own money to buy the hard disk just because he wanted to get it working again; second, this was before how-to videos proliferated on YouTube, and before comprehensive tear-downs existed for every device ever; third, he was fearless in opening up the iPod, carefully working around all the delicate internal electronics, removing the dead hard disk, and installing the new one. That first iPod project opened my eyes to the possibilities of repairing and modding electronics, which is still a big hobby of mine.

The replacement hard disk sadly didn’t add too much life to that 4th gen iPod. Luckily, right around the time that second drive failed, I got a bonus at work which enabled me to buy my beloved iPod Video.