Dead iPod Hard Drive Hack

Paul writes, "I've just read your article about reviving your Archos. I've been looking tirelessly for a case to fit my 30gb (g3) ipod hard drive into so that I can use it as an external hard drive. Do you know of a case that the 1.8" drive can fit into?"

The article I wrote about extending the life of my Archos Multimedia Jukebox you refer to is valid for any portable player with a 2.5-inch drive. The battery in the Archos wouldn't hold a charge and I couldn't find a supplier for the battery, so I gutted the drive. If you have any hope of using your iPod as a music player, I recommend against this course of action because it voids the warranty and generally renders it unusable. Since it sounds like your 3G iPod isn't working anymore, warranty is likely no longer an issue. I don't have an iPod I'm ready to gut just yet, but I do have an older Rio player with a 1.8 inch drive. The Rio flaked several months ago and is currently in a shoe box. Any device wit a 1.8-inch drive can find new life as a portable storage device by gutting the drive and putting it in a new housing. I went shopping for enclosures and found a few options.

eBay is one of my favorite places to shop for obscure items like drive enclosures. As of this writing there are two sellers with high marks and great buy-it-now prices selling what appears to be the same 1.8 inch drive enclosure. The enclosures are USB 2.0 and going for either 9.99 or 14.99 with plenty in stock.

Search eBay for 1.8 inch drive enclosures

An alternative to eBay is Sewell. Their prices are considerably higher at $35.95 per case. I haven't ever purchased anything from the company, but they are certified, which is certainly better than having nothing to gauge their quality. Like the options available on eBay, the cases are USB 2.0. Sewell has enclosure options in a variety of colors.

If you have a dead iPod mini, your options are slightly different. The mini uses a Hitachi MicroDrive, which is compatible with CompactFlash card slots and compatible with some high end digital cameras. If your mini dies, simply gut the drive and reformat it to FAT32 with any CompactFlash card reader connected to your PC.