The Original PiPod

5 posts
by peterburk » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:07 am
In 2001, Apple changed pockets around the world. The original iPod had a 5GB hard drive, and put 1000 songs in my pocket!

In 2012, the Raspberry Pi foundation made the cheapest developer-friendly Linux computer, and successfully marketed it to schools.

The iPod has a huge accessory market. Cases are plentiful and cheap. The Raspberry Pi has a helpful developer community, but manufactured accessories are slow to arrive.
But the worst part is that the Raspberry Pi doesn't fit in my pocket. If something is in my pocket, I use it several times a day. If it's in my bag, I can often use it, but not as regularly. My laptop doesn't always travel with me, and I need a USB host device to access memory sticks on my iPhone.

I could buy a CloudFTP. But it's $100. The Raspberry Pi is $35, and is programmable. With libimobiledevice, it can even mount an iPhone or iPod Touch, not just USB memory sticks! So I made it into a USB host, and wrote a tutorial.

But how does it fit? I made a 5 part tutorial where I replaced all the large connectors.
- Video:
- Audio:
- Ethernet:
- USB:
- Power:

Now, let's put it inside an iPod.

1. Find an original iPod.
Not a third-generation one with the four buttons behind the screen - this is an original first-generation one! You'll be relieved to know that it was broken when I bought it for 50 CHF = $55 on eBay in 2005, because I thought that I could repair it. Apparently it had been through a washing machine, and it wasn't going to work. So it sat in a drawer until this week, when I could use it again!

2. Remove the scrollwheel using tape.
The original iPod has a physically moving scrollwheel. Apparently the slotted wheel interrupts a diode, so I could theoretically wire it into the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins. But that's another project.

3. Use a thin screwdriver or tools to open the iPod, and a Torx 6 screwdriver to remove the motherboard.
Yes, the original iPod has Torx screws inside, unlike the new pentalobe ones on the iPhone 4.

4. Melt the scrollwheel attachment lugs.
Try to hold your breath, because melted plastic smells terrible. It probably causes cancer too. But that's a problem for the future.

5. The Raspberry Pi doesn't fit! Follow the low-profile tutorial to remove the connectors.
I could have cut holes in the side of my iPod. But I am a professional Raspberry Pi modder! Well, I have a Masters degree in electronic engineering, I'm 23, and I'm unemployed. So I'd rather spend a week soldering and changing all the connectors than an hour with a hacksaw. It also looks neater!

6. Coat the inside of the iPod with sticky cellophane to insulate it.
This might stop the iPod from closing so easily. But it will work.

7. The board fits inside! Now it's just finishing touches.

8. It's easier to plug in connectors before you seal up the case.
You can take measurements for when we seal the connectors in place, or just guess. This is a good time to test that each connector is still working.

9. Seal the connectors in place.
You could use a rapid-prototyper to make a frame, you could measure the exact dimensions of each part and carefully align them... or you could just use duct tape. :-P

10. Print a screen for your PiPod.
Sorry, I removed the ® logo. It just looks nicer this way.

11. It boots! The red lights show through the USB port.
You can't see the USB port when an iPod is plugged in, but it's nice to know that it's really working. This is the real thing, not an elaborate fake.

12. The Original PiPod is complete! Now it's time for a photoshoot.

Successfully mounting and sharing an iPod over WiFi.

Wearing a Speak iGuy case. It fits!

With a collection of other old electronics from my attic.

My workbench, in a cramped corner of the garage.

I asked my iPod how she felt about the PiPod project.

Me holding the PiPod.

Just the PiPod. Pocket sized at last.

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by tonyhughes » Tue Feb 05, 2013 1:19 am
"O for awesome" - looks great.
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by dan3008 » Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:25 pm
If your ever in the market for selling such a device... lol

Actually, I do think there is alot of potential for such a device, a portable computer, all you need is a screen :)

Epic design. Do you have a blog? or somewhere to post all your tutorials where they wont get burred in the forum?
dan3008 wrote:Pays your money, takes your choice
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by peterburk » Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:49 am
Yes, I would be interested in making a Kickstarter project to sell kits for this mod. I couldn't source genuine iPod shells of course, but a case that is compatible with iPod cases would be useful!
In order to have a Kickstarter project though, I need a team and a business plan. If you're offering to help, then yes - I can contact my friends with factories in China to ask about manufacturing costs.

The screen is accessible through VNC on my iPhone. With VGA out from there and a Bluetooth keyboard, it's a real computer! I can even run the Raspberry Pi off my Third Rail Smart Battery, although it doesn't slot nicely into the case yet.

I have a blog post on about the project, but apparently my web host is blocked in China. I'll find another host and back up the content there!

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by peterburk » Thu May 02, 2013 7:20 am
A sad ending to this story:

On the 20th of March, I flew from Brussels to Beijing with Hainan Airlines. During that flight, the Raspberry PiPod was pickpocketed from my left belt clip. It didn't fall off, because the security chain had been detached while I slept; the chain wasn't broken.

The worst part is that the new owner probably has no idea what they stole, or how to use it.

I've since got a new Raspberry Pi here in China, but all my tools are still in Europe, so I don't know if I can do another mod like this for a while. It's not all bad, though - I was able to meet Egoman, the Chinese manufacturer, and talk to them about the Pi. They took pity on me and gave me a new one, which was very kind.

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