Okay so I've been trying at this for a few days and I'm not getting too far..
So I have this older iPod Video 30 gig. The battery wouldn't take a charge when plugged in, so I hooked it up to a lithium ion charger to kick start it. That worked fine. Got the iPod on, and that's when I realized the reason it wouldn't charge was because the USB port was dead. Sure enough, I took it apart and U31 on the logic board is blown to bits. It still powers on and everything fine though.
So here's what I've been trying to do. I found a CF card and an adapter and have been trying to sideload the Apple firmware and install Rockbox without the iPod being connected at all, using a CF card reader for my PC. I have the firmware partition and data partition, and got to the point where the Rockbox Utility identifies the iPod just fine, installs the bootloader and everything with no errors. However, when installing the card into the iPod, I still get the "Connect to iTunes" prompt, which obviously I cannot do. I don't have another iPod Video logic board to use either if only for the initial install.
The reason I decided to install Rockbox is because it offers more features, and no, I couldn't get the original Apple firmware to boot by itself either. Just keeps giving me the connect to itunes screen.
I guess what I'm wondering is if there is any special requirement to get around that prompt. It's formatted as a WinPod, all the flags are set correctly on the partitions, and the partition map matches the real iPod from what I've been finding online. Unfortunately I don't have a working drive from this model to make sure it matches completely.
Thanks for your help,