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Troubleshooting "from all angles" - iPod Classic 6g with microSD cards

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Hi everybody!

So far, I've spent three full days trying to get my device running, but at least I'm learning stuff on the way :)

It's an original iPod Classic 6g bought off eBay, with 160GB HD, changed (by me) to an iFlash Quad card with 4x128gb microSD memory cards.

Running the iPod in diagnostic mode to check the disk and memory (both the original HD and the microSD cards), I get all tests passed.

Resizing (up from the 6g's native limit of 127gb) and formatting the partition to FAT32 occurs without a glitch. The iPod is recognized in Windows Explorer as expected, showing the correct disk capacity, etc.

Running chkdsk /F /R returns no errors on the hard drive.

I can get the bootloader installed, and I can install Rockbox. I can transfer music onto the iPod, and I can play it.

Basically, I can do everything with it, EXCEPT:

- sometimes, while transferring music onto the iPod, file transfer slows down for between 5 and 30 seconds, only to resume again, though sometimes it just hangs completely. In these cases, although the iPod screen shows the "USB Keypad Mode: Multimedia" image, when I (correctly) unplug the iPod, a white screen appears with a "*PANIC* Failed to boot...." text. This happens regardless of the number of files I transfer, so it has nothing to do with the iPod (or Rockbox) not being able to take on so much new data in one go.

- on other occasions, while playing music, the music stops and the iPod shuts down. Battery power is sufficient, so that shouldn't be the cause. Upon reboot, the device reaches the Rockbox welcome screen (black background with the yellow Rockbox logo much like the one at the top of this page), but instead of moving onto the "Home Menu", stays locked on that screen forever. Any number of reboots yield the same result, forcing me to restore the iPod using iTunes.

- It doesn't seem to be the Bootloader that's malfunctioning, otherwise Rockbox wouldn't even start up, correct?

- It doesn't seem to be Rockbox, either, since Rockbox gets correctly installed, runs and works fine.

- I'm currently running a thorough check on the microSD cards with a program called H2testw.exe, which specializes on SC cards, supposedly. It's been reading and writing onto the SD cards for a little under three hours now, and should run, as it says, for another 18.

If this test comes up with no errors, WHERE could the fault be?

If I get the iPod running with Rockbox again, I have decided NEVER to initialize the Database, or use it for anything, for that matter. I have a hunch the iPod hangs on file transfer, because automatic database updates may have been happening at the same time, causing some type of "overflow" or clogged RAM, or something.

The only other reason I can come up with, based on my humble PC skills is that I read somewhere on these forums that the partition needs to be formatted with a cluster size of 512bytes. Although I spent some time researching this topic, I couldn't find any software that allows me to actually format my drive to that particular cluster size. The general consensus seems to be, that the hardware itself tells the formatting software what cluster size (or possible other cluster sizes) it must be formatted to.

I'd appreciate any kind of input on the subject. I hope I've specified all the needed information.

Just use the OF mode for transferring files.  Unless there's a hardware fault that should probably fix the problem.

Those adapters rarely work well with rockbox, and people frequently report problems like you are describing.

@ Frankenpod:

Sounds like a good idea, but what's the difference between plain copying files onto the iPod and doing the same, but while it's in Apple Disk Mode?
I'd prefer having just Rockbox on the iPod (single boot). Mainly because iTunes can only address 127gb on an iPod Classic 6g, and I have way more.
Wouldn't trying to set up a dual boot (under these circumstances) open a whole new can of worms?

@ saratoga:

Yep, it's staring to look a lot like it. The 21-hour thorough disk check shows no errors, although it's now veryfing results for another 6 hours, so maybe errors show up when it's finished.

Why is it, though, that Rockbox has problems with adapters such as this? How does it even know it's not a spinning disk, but rather microSD's? And why should it bother WHAT's connected to that end of the logic board, as long as it's formatted to Rockbox requirements and provides storage capacity?

If it's a 'thick' 160gb classic, then, yes, there's no good solution if you want >128gb.  Dual boot works for the slim 160gb.  Thick 160gb classic is not best choice for larger flash drives.


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