Helpful Tips and Advice

Helpful Tips and Advice

Help me choose, please !

Everyone is different and we think providing choice is important hence why we have an extensive range of products to fit with everyones needs / desires / budgets and the need to go extreme 🙂

However, we do understand especially for new users just starting in the world of iPod modding the choices can be overwhelming.

Our recommended upgrade path by iPod model for newbie modders are :

3rd GeniFlash-Solo and 4th Gen Converter with an 128GB SDXC card
4th GeniFlash-ATA1 with 128GB to 256GB SDXC card
4th Gen PhotoiPods which use the 632-0259(-A) HDD flex internally
iFlash-Solo and 4G Ribbon
30GB 5g VideoiFlash-Solo with 128GB to 256GB SDXC card
60GB/80Gb 5g VideoGood capacity is 256GB to 512GB
Using the iFlash-Solo, iFlash-Dual or iFlash-Quad
6g Classic (80GB/120GB)These models are limited to 127GiB
Use the iFlash-Solo with 128GB SDXC card
6.5g Classic (160GB Thick)This model is limited to 127GiB
Use the iFlash-Solo and HDD ribbon (required) with 128GB SDXC card
7g 160GBGood capacity is 256GB to 1TB
Use the iFlash-Dual or iFlash-Quad

NOTE: Make sure your actual iPod model is listed as compatible with the iFlash board recommended especially the 3rd and 4th Gen iPods.

Of course if you are after flexibility and want to start with 128GB before slowly moving up to say 512GB or even 1TB. you may prefer to get the iFlash-Quad rather than the iFlash-Solo.

Other users like the idea of mSata or M.2 drives, you may have some drives left over from previous upgrades or projects.

While we can recommend products the choice comes down to your personal preference and of course budget, but our list makes a good starting point for the decision process!

General Tips

Opening iPods – take your time to minimise damage to the case back, there are plenty of videos on the internet which show iPods being opened – we suggest watching some to understand how the iPod is held together. With care and the correct use of the tools, it is totally possible to open with no damage.

ZIF Connector – lift the black bar on the ZIF connector on the iFlash board before trying to fit the HDD ribbon, the zif connector should always face out (this is the opposite to the original HDD).

HDD Ribbon – If you are having any issues it will generally be due to a damaged or faulty HDD ribbon, to confirm remove ribbon and inspect for cracks or tears. The iPod motherboard side can sometimes be warped – you may be able to recover it by straightening it slightly, otherwise you will need a new ribbon.

Rubber Bumpers – remove all rubber bumpers and strips that are for the original HDD from the iPod, these are not required for use with iFlash adapters.

Padding – make sure you use the supplied foam pads or thermal pad to secure the iFlash board and stop it moving around. This is important as any movement can cause stress on the HDD ribbon.

Before Closing – check the iPod powers up and you have the restore screen, and that you can restore/sync  before clipping it back together.

Library Size – refer to our compatibility chart to determine iTunes library size limits – if you exceed your iPods library limits this will show up as random resets, resetting on large playlists or genius mixes, or iPod hanging on the lit Apple logo on booting.

Tips for iFlash-Solo, iFlash-Dual & iFlash-Quad

At a minimum we recommend UHS-I U1 or U3 class SD cards, these have the best speeds and required access times to work in iPods. You can find lists of user reported working cards on the relevant product pages.

We suggest the fastest card you have is used in slot SD1 or uSD1.

SD slots have to be filled in order, so if you want to use 3 microSD cards in the iFlash-Quad, then they need to fill uSD1, uSD2, uSD3.

Tips for iFlash-Sata

The mSata and M.2 drives will get hot during syncing, if your ambient temperatures are high then try and cool the iPod, if possible.

Power draw is high for mSata / M.2 drives especially drives 480Gb and above in capacity. Do not allow the battery to drain too much or become low on charge.

Certain mSata drives (e.g. Crucial M500, Samsung EVO range) have a power-loss mode which will result in the iPod displaying the sad iPod/red cross display. If this happens you can only get out of this mode by connecting the mSata drive directly to a computer via an mSata-Sata enclosure (USB3.0 enclosures are also reported to work).

To avoid this – limit syncing to around 2 hours (so approximately 80Gb for the 6g/7g, 40Gb for the 5g/5.5g), and allow the battery to charge back up and cool down, before resuming syncing.

In use we do not suggest letting the battery rundown below 20%, as the startup power draw by the mSata can cause the battery level to dip low enough to cause the mSata drive to enter Power-Loss Mode.

26 thoughts on “Helpful Tips and Advice

  1. alex

    I got two iFlash SATA v10 here, with iPods, same setup, same components.
    The M.2 SATA SSDs I use are:
    Transcend 480GB M.2 SSD TS480GMTS420S
    One works fine, the other does not boot and shows only the sad / dead iPod logo.
    Is it possible, that the battery was too low for the 480G drive and now the drive is in power-loss mode?
    I can not see it in the Diagnostics menu, there are no characters displayed at all.
    Just ordered A M.2 SATA adapter and will try to get the drive out of the power loss mode (perhaps).
    Any tipps?

    1. alex

      I tried again after a while and it seems I got confused with the orientation of the HDD/SSD ribbon cable. It works now and I’ve got all my Music on one wonderful audiophile iPod. What a bliss, thank you!

  2. Brian

    Beware of swapping or changing the order of micro SD cards in a quad iFlash!
    Fault symptoms (iFlash quad) boots, restores and loads music and video OK, but frequently refuses to play eg a video, or hangs and reboots.

    I’ve previously created 2 512gb iPods successfully using 4x128gb Sandisk Ultra. I then tried to create a 1TB with 4×256 Sandisk extreme and got this problem. I now think this was due to the reported potential compatibility issues. I next tried a combination of 128 and 256gb cards, but still had this problem. I decided to abandon my attempt to create a 1TB iPod and installed 4x128gb, which I know works. HOWEVER I still had the same problem! After replacing the disk connector etc, I eventually discovered the cause.. When you restore an iPod it partitions one of them (presumably slot 1), presumably creating a boot partition. If you then shuffle the micro sd cards (as I must have done unwittingly), the next restore creates a new boot partition BUT DOES NOT DELETE ANY OTHER BOOT PARTITION YOU MIGHT HAVE ON ANOTHER OF THE CARDS THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY IN SLOT ONE. This was the cause of my problems with 4x128gb. I fixed it by removing all the cards and using Windows disk management tool to delete ALL extra partitions on each card, creating a single ‘simple’ partition then formatted as exFAT. All working perfectly now. SO TAKE CARE IF YOU REMOVE, REFIT OR TRY DIFFERENT COMBINATIONS OF CARDS! The card that was in slot one when restored will have a boot partition created that is not removed by a restore if fitted in a different slot!! Not surprisingly having two or more boot partition on an iPod gets it quite upset..

  3. Stephen J

    I have a 6th gen 160 GB model, I’m just wondering why these models are limited to 128 GB, because the model is already 160 with the hard drive, so how can it be capped at a 128 SD card?

    1. DigIt

      It depends: verify in the About menu which version is your iPod.
      If you read 2.0.4 or 2.0.5 then you will have no problem installing any size of SD/ZIF storage.
      If you do have a different reading you will be limited to 160 GB but only with the >>> exact brand/model HD <<< or you will be limited to 128 GB for the known issue quoted below:

      'The 6th Gen models (80Gb/120Gb/Thick 160Gb) are limited to LBA28 addressing by Apple, so these models will only show and use up to 128Gb of the storage installed – The other iPod models have LBA48 addressing so do not have this limitation.'


    2. peter

      Because the ipod detects which kind of interface is being used, and defaults to different forms of addressing as a consequence. It only allows >128Gb if the original CE interface drive is being used. Don’t know why it’s designed that way, seems to be going out of its way to be annoying.

  4. Melissa

    I’m getting error 1429 on iTunes restore with a 5th gen 32MB motherboard and Quad with 3 or 4 512GB Samsung Evo Select cards inserted. I followed all of the usual prep procedures with formatting to FAT32. All of them restore fine either with 1 or 2 inserted. Any ideas?

  5. Daniel

    HI, my IPod classic part number is a1238and I can’t find anythjing on the internet that tells me if it’s 6th gen or 7th gen. I’d really like to put one of your m.2sata cards in it and pa 1tb drive in it but if it’s 6th gen there’s no point right?

    Thanks for you help

    1. Sayan

      Search for the serial number on the apple serial number checking website.
      120gb version are either 6th Gen or 6.5th gen. Either 5.5 (80) or 7th Gen (160 GB) models are best compatible with higher memories.

  6. Otto Nikolaus

    Is there a place here to report results with particular iPods and flash card capacities? I think it would be useful to have a simple list that would build up over time.

  7. nick

    I for My IPOD 5g over 1TB but it’s not straight forward. with my Iflash quad

    Firstly prepair your SD cards . I have personally tested 2x512GB + 400GB + 200GB

    attempt to restore your Ipod as normal, This will fail.

    it should go back to the apple screen then do it’s flash bar but it is now likely to be stuck in a reboot loop.

    to exit the loop put it in disk mode by holding play/pause and select

    in disk mode just like when you prepaired the SD cards, go back into a good partitioning software like aomei and check your Ipod you should have the ipod system partition and probably a large unformatted partition, now format this as fat32 use default cluster size , and SSD alignment like your previous.

    when this is done and you restart the ipod it should boot ready for you itunes/rockbox install and files as normal.

  8. Winkler Wilfried

    @brent bowman I never heard of a Cowon D7, but I tried several SSDs and adapters in my X7 but had no luck. The iFlash adapters work in a Cowon A3 (SD-CF adapter and a red CF2IDE18ZIF adapter. The Cowon Q5W accepts them too, but can only see 128GB.

  9. brent bowman

    I am thinking of using this with my Cowon D7, which also uses a ZIF connection. Has anyone tried this with alternate players/devices?

  10. Gary Malcolmson

    Hello–looking for some help, please. I’m trying to install an iFlash solo into a 5th gen – 80GB Video ipod. I’m using a Samsung 128GB ProPlus full size SDXC UHS-I card. I’ve reformatted the card using Aomei as detailed on this site. After doing that I was able to get iTunes to restore and loaded my music. Once that was done and disconnected, iPod acted normal but I could not get sound from headphones. In trying to troubleshoot that I lost the programming and now cannot connect to iTunes to restore. I’ve run the internal diagnostics and the SD card shows up OK and all other tests are OK. I’ve reformatted the SD card a few times and checked it in Windows–shows as being OK.
    So the main problem is that I cannot get the iPod to connect to the iTunes restore function. Also, it doesn’t want to connect to computer in disk mode. I’ve tried re-installing drivers with no luck. And repairing iTunes. But my “newer” 7th gen iPod connects, syncs and works fine. So it seems like the base software that resides in the 5th gen iPod is corrupted. Is there anyway to restore that? Or any other suggestions?? Thanks in advance for any advice.

  11. Peter

    How about a hex adaptor? Seems there’s physical space for one with 6 x micro sd card slots. I don’t know about the technicalities of it, of course.

    1. Peter

      Of course, unless Rockbox is one day enhanced to support exFAT, there will remain the FAT32 limit of 2Tb. But a 6xcard iFlash would allow that to be reached more cheaply, using smaller capacity cards.

    1. Peter

      4Tb will almost certainly run into the limits of FAT32. So you’ll probably only get about 1.7Tb. Indeed, people have tried 4x1Tb cards and that’s what happened. Will presumably only be possible to get past that if someone, one day, rewrites Rockbox to support ExFAT.

    2. Hannibal

      Agree with @Peter. Also keep in mind the 50k file limitation with Rockbox bootloader. So even if you did manage to put more than 2TB on the device (which you won’t), you probably exceed the file limitation… unless your using all FLAC

    3. Nick

      the Rockbox would ether have to support at least 2 partitions or boot loader needs to support GPT and exFAT to break the 2TB barrier.

      I can’t see this happening.

  12. PAPB

    If anyone wakes up one day and your ipod is showing “connect to itunes to restore” you need to add tape, the sd card popped out. (iFlash Solo).

    1. Support Post author

      @PAPB – This is actually explained in the installation instructions for the iFlash-Solo, the foam pad should placed across the top of the SD card and connector to lock them together. This will make sure that if the iPod is dropped or banged that the SD card is not ejected.

  13. Zedhed

    I’m a big fan of all these adapters. Is your iflash CF adapter still being produced? It’s been sold out for a while. I guess there’s less need for it with large capacity SDXC cards now so cheap.

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