Need Help Upgrading Hard Drives In Ipod Classics
Aug 6, 2012 at 12:45 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8


New Head-Fier
Mar 18, 2006
Hey guys, I'm looking to upgrade the hard drive in a couple of Ipods, and I've got some questions for anyone who might have performed this procedure.  The details of the Ipods are:

Ipod "Video" 5th Generation
A1136 (EMC 2065)
60GB "thick model"

Ipod Classic 7th Generation (Late 2009)
A1238 (EMC 2173)
160GB "thin model"

Through searching the internet, the only hard drive model I see consistently mentioned as verified to work is the Toshiba MK2431GAH 240GB.  While I wouldn't mind even more space, this is at least a 50% improvement in capacity, so it would be worthwhile in either circumstance.
Question #1: If I install this hard drive into the older Ipod #1, is it going to need a custom firmware to be able to see the full 240GB?
Question #2: From what I've gathered, this new hard drive will not physically fit into Ipod #2 because it is a "thin" model.  However, I found refurbished thick rear panels for sale.  Will one of these thick rear panels physically connect to my newer 7th Gen Ipod #2?
Question #3: Will the new hard drive need any sort of special formatting before being installed?
Question #4: Other than Ebay, do any reputable dealers sell this drive?
Aug 6, 2012 at 4:37 AM Post #2 of 8
I installed the 120GB Toshiba MK1234GAL into my 5th gen (not 5.5 gen) iPod with no issues.  You need to figure out whether your iPod is a 5th gen or 5.5 gen.  The 5th gen won't support hard drives over 120GB, to my knowledge.  The 5.5 gen should take up to 240GB drives. 
I believe that some 5.5 gen iPods won't accept over 120GB drives, depending on the logic board.  Either that, or some 5th gen iPods may support larger than 120GB drives, depending on the logic board.
I think the only drives that work with iPods that are larger than 240GB are the 256GB SSD drives, which are very expensive.
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
Aug 6, 2012 at 9:42 AM Post #3 of 8
How do I determine if it's a 5th gen or 5.5 gen? I've got all the information from the back panel listed above. The information I've found while searching has been a bit inconsistent in regard the the generations.
Aug 6, 2012 at 11:20 AM Post #4 of 8
How do I determine if it's a 5th gen or 5.5 gen? I've got all the information from the back panel listed above. The information I've found while searching has been a bit inconsistent in regard the the generations.

The 60gb is 5th gen. 80gb is 5.5 gen. 5.5 gen videos have the search function under the music menu where as the 5th gen videos do not.The only other difference (to my knowledge) is that the 5.5 gen iPods have a brighter screen, but it is only because of a firmware change and not due to the screen or logic board itself.
Also, I had thought that if the iPod was a "thick" ipod (has a dual platter drive), then any capacity dual platter zif drive will work. I believe there was a certain iPod classic generation that came with a sata connection instead of the zif and thus unable to be upgraded to 240gb. I'm at work so I can't really do the research now but I will figure it out later.
To answer your questions:
1. If the iPod can use the 240gb hdd at all, then no, it won't. I have added a 240gb hdd to one of my iPods and it was recognized in the Apple firmware and Rockbox.
2. That is correct. If it is a dual platter drive, you need a thick backplate. I'm not 100% sure but I believe it will fit. Again, I will check when I get home tonight.
3. It will need to be formatted, so the ipod will tell you to plug it into iTunes and have it restore the iPod.
4. Not sure. I got mine off ebay and it works fine. I would say that if the seller has enough reviews, you should be ok.
Aug 6, 2012 at 5:06 PM Post #5 of 8
Thanks guys. NAWilson9, I'll be looking forward to your update. Seems there's alot of conflicting information on whether the 5th gen will have any issues. Some say it will work fine, some say you need a 5.5, while still others say it depends on the logic board. I'm inclined to just try it and see what happens.
Aug 6, 2012 at 9:50 PM Post #6 of 8
Ok, so, to answer your question about the backplates, yes that one will fit. This one is much cheaper though. I don't know why but earlier I thought you meant that you wanted to fit the 7th gen back plate on the 5th gen iPod. Any 7th gen part is interchangeable with any 7th gen iPod. The obvious exceptions to this are the back plates, hdds, and batteries due to sizing issues. Here is where I read that the 160gb "Fat" iPod classic has the different hard drive connection. I don't know anything else about it but you should be fine. It seems to me that any iPod will work except the thick 160gb Classic.
Aug 7, 2012 at 3:52 PM Post #7 of 8
Thanks again NAWilson. Someone else had mentioned the drive interface, but the link you provided pretty much corroborates all the other info I had found. Just to be on the safe side, I'm going to start with the 5G Ipod and order a single drive. Once I get the tools, I'll pop open the newer 160 and verify that it's the same interface. If all is well (as I believe it should be), I'll go ahead and order the 2nd drive and thick backplate. Thanks again for your help.
Aug 7, 2012 at 4:52 PM Post #8 of 8
Not a problem. Good luck with your mod!

Users who are viewing this thread