Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:10 pm

iPod Podcast Downloader

Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:22 pm

This is stretching the definition of a media centre a little, but it's my first Pi project, and I want to share it.

I have bought and updated an old iPod Mini with a Compact Flash card to replace the mini hard drive, and upgrade it to 64GB. I love iPods with physical buttons; but I also love podcasts, and the drawback to the classic iPod models is their dependency on iTunes and a Windows PC to update my subscriptions.

I wanted to make an iPod that didn't need a PC to update my Podcasts.

First I installed Rockbox, an alternative firmware that allows you to sideload media files without using the iTunes database. You set up a directory structure for your Music, Podcasts etc and the OS does the rest.

Then I set up a Pi Zero W with Raspbian lite Stretch. I found a bash script called Podsh to download my Podcasts, and automated this using cron to run every hour. I tweaked the script a little to tag my downloads. The Pi runs headless, so I used SSH to set this all up.

Then I used devmon to watch for my iPod connecting to the Pi USB port, and run rsync to copy the podcasts across to the iPod and unmount it again. I need this to happen without logging in, so I set up a systemd service entry for devmon with my parameters.

It's taken a couple of days to sort it out, but it now works well. The Pi runs constantly, downloading new podcasts every hour. When I plug the iPod into its cable, the podcasts are copied over. I take out the cable, the iPod updates itself and I can listen.

Posts: 2
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2018 8:10 pm

Re: iPod Podcast Downloader

Mon Apr 30, 2018 8:02 pm

I've improved the system to get rid of Rockbox, and go back to original firmware.

I used Raspbian lite for the base.

The podcasts are downloaded with a shell script called 'podsh', which I have improved to fix some bugs and add some tagging via eyeD3. I have set up an hourly cron command which updates and downloads the podcasts.

I use python-libgpod to copy the podcasts across to my iPod mini. I have a simple python program, adapted from the example files, which copies all the podcasts to the iPod.

I used devmon & systemd to automate everything, so the podcasts are copied over when the ipod is plugged in.

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