The Null Device

Archos Jukebox hard disk transplant

As of today, I have a 40Gb* Archos Jukebox Recorder 20.

This Sunday, I went to the computer swap meet and picked up a 40Gb notebook hard disk (a Hitachi TravelStar, for what it's worth), along with a notebook-drive-to-IDE-cable adaptor. Yesterday, I wandered down to Jaycar and bought a set of Torx screwdrivers (that's the funny hexagonal screws used to fasten things that people with ordinary household screwdrivers have no business in opening) and an antistatic wrist strap (just in case).

First, I copied the contents of the Archos to the new disk; I used the adaptor to attach the disk to my Linux box (as /dev/hdb; to make it into the slave device, I borrowed a jumper from an ancient SCSI hard disk I have lying around whose exact origins are lost in the mists of time). I then partitioned it (making one big FAT32 (LBA) partition, as on the Archos), and copied the Archos' contents to it in one gulp, with:

dd if=/dev/sda1 of=/dev/hdb1

Then I used GNU Parted to resize the partition (and the FAT filesystem on it) to take up the entire span of the new disk.

Then came the hardware modification; off came the "Warranty Seal" sticker, and the rubicon was crossed. I was working from this guide, which, whilst written for older Archos units, was quite accurate. The operation was easier than I feared; I was half-expecting the Archos hardware to be next to impossible to take apart without destroying some delicate connection or other, but this turned out not to be the case. The most tricky thing was putting on the black rubber bumpers when putting the case back together (obviously, whoever designs cases for Archos is not the same person who designed the Apple Macintosh G4 case or any similarly hacker-friendly hardware enclosure). In any case, everything went smoothly and without a hitch. I'd say that changing the hard disk in an Archos Jukebox isn't much harder than doing so inside a generic PC; if your warranty has expired (or would involve shipping the unit to France by courier or something similarly useless), it's worth a try.

Now I've got a 20Gb hard disk full of MP3 files, waiting to be recycled. In an ideal world, someone would sell external USB drive enclosures (like the ones you can buy for hard disks) with built in MP3-player functionality. (I believe there are all-in-one MP3 decoder chips that can talk to an arbitrary IDE disk.) Though if those don't exist, I may just end up using it as a backup device or somesuch (the usual fate of old hard disks).

* That's in marketing gigabytes. It actually has 37Gb or so of space, though that is still twice its former capacity.

There are 2 comments on "Archos Jukebox hard disk transplant":

Posted by: emg Follow Me Here http://gelwan.com/followme.html Fri Jan 16 03:00:30 2004

I have so far only managed to fill <8 gigs on my 40 gig iPod. How much of your 40 gig capacity is filled already? I figger even if I erase nothing, I won't fill the device up for at least the next five years of music buying/downloading.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org Fri Jan 16 12:29:42 2004

57%, as of last night (after copying about a dozen recent acquisitions, and things previously deleted to make room, to it). Mind you, I usually rip MP3s using lame --preset standard, so things vary between 150 and 240kbps.

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