My 5.5g ipod's hard drive had failed 2 months ago.
While looking up a replacement hard drive online, i found an alternative method that allows the ipod to accept CF cards.
It involves replacing the iPod's hdd with a CF card adaptor dubbed the "iFlash".
Unfortunately, this adapter is compliant only with 5g, 5.5g, 6g, 6.5g and 7g models of the iPod classic.
The website can be found at http://www.tarkan.info.
For those wary of tinkering with your iPod, rest easy. The whole process is incredibly simple and doesn't require any soldering, though some patience and care will ensure success.
-Reduces weight by quite a bit.
-Replaces the hdd with stationary components. Less movement, less chance of failure.
-Eliminates the boot up time that comes with the hdd spinning into action. Thus, starts up much faster.
-Eliminates the heat produced by the hdd, in turn making the iPod run cooler overall.
-Depending on the speed of the card you use, transferring data to the card might be slower than the hdd.
-Highest capacity card to my knowledge is 128 gb, so size might be inadequate for your purposes.
USD$?-(Price of SD or CF card)
List of recommended CF cards: http://www.tarkan.info/20080506/blog/iflash-compact-flash-compatibility-help-needed
From CF to SD-
CF cards are typically used in cameras and tend to be more expensive than sd cards of equivalent size.
I then found that there were cf to sd card converters available. I sent an email to Tarkan Akdam himself (the creator of the adaptor), and was told that he had experimented extensively with cf to sd adapters.
The whole story can be read here: http://www.tarkan.info/20121226/tutorials/ipod-and-sdhc-sdxc-cards.
In short, the latest models of these SD to CF adapters incorporate a pcb design that make it possible for use with the iFlash.
The link provides information on how to identify the newer revisions of these SD to CF adapters.
As for which SD card to use, right now there isn't an extensive list of approved cards, the link above lists a few that work.
I personally use a 16GB Class 4 Sandisk Micro SD card in a Micro SD to SDHC adapter.
(UPDATE: I found that my card has issues with flac playback, possibly due to the low r/w speeds of class 4 cards. Thus i can no longer recommend this card. Will update my results with a CLASS 10 SDHC card soon.)
My setup is a micro SD in a micro SD to SDHC adapter in a SD to CF adapter in a CF to iPod adapter. Had to jump though a few loops :p
Follow this guide to open your iPod and remove the hdd. The opening tools sold with the adapter are REALLY handy here.
When you're done removing the hdd, follow this video:
-When opening the iPod, you do not need to remove the headphone jack ribbon connector. That's the one in the yellow box in step 8 of the iFixit guide.
-Use a small flathead screwdriver to detach the ribbon cable in step 6 of the iFixit guide.
-Take care when dealing with the black latch on the hard drive connector cable, use the same flathead to flip it up.
-Its not very clear how to attach the hard drive ribbon cable in the video. When he attaches the cable at 3.35 of the video, there is a very slim slot in the white part of the adapter that fits the ribbon cable, that's where you insert the cable.
When you're done, turn on your iPod, it should prompt you to restore it using iTunes. Do so, even if you want to use RockBox exclusively. Speaking of which, yes RockBox works, provided that it runs on your iPod model in the first place.
After that it should function like any other iPod, albeit with some modern improvements :)
Any feedback, criticisms, questions and discussions are welcome. This is my first guide after all, hopefully i haven't missed anything.
I have taken some pictures while doing this myself the first time, will put them up when i do.
Edited by ThaJM - 12/31/12 at 11:48pm